Tuesday, October 30, 2018

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When our friends heard that our family had been invited to Alaska for a week of ministry, they were all excited for us. They said, "Oh, it's beautiful, you're going to love it! When are you going?" "February." "Oh." See, I get invited to places like Florida and Arizona in the summer, and Alaska in the dead of winter. We had a wonderful week, but the time came for my wife and kids to fly home because they had to get back to school, and I stayed for several more days of ministry. We were out on the Kenai Peninsula, in an area that felt fairly remote. We arrived at this small airport one night to rendezvous with our pilot. Dick was a missionary pilot, trained by Moody Bible Institute's top-flight pilot's school and he was experienced in flying into many remote areas of Alaska. But that night his cargo was the people I love most. My first cause for a little worry was his request to help him push the plane out of the hangar and onto the runway. That was new! Yeah, and it was icy. I had never pushed my plane into position before. I didn't like that runway. It was covered with thick, deeply-rutted ice from one end to the other. And at the end of this fairly short runway was a big stand of trees you could run into. Oh yeah, and it was heavily overcast-no moon, no stars. Well, I helped my wife and three children crowd into Dick's little Cessna, I waved good-bye as they started bouncing and maneuvering down that icy runway. I really didn't like the conditions, but I was okay because I really trusted the pilot.

Monday, October 29, 2018

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It happened decades ago, but it's one of those events I'll never really forget. It happened in Chicago where I grew up. It was the most devastating tragedy most of us would remember from that time. It was December 1, 1958, and a fire broke out at the foot of a stairway in the Our Lady of the Angels School. That fire raged out of control very quickly; it cut off all normal escape routes. Ninety grade school children died in that fire. But there's one I remember vividly from a news account that I read at the time and I still have not forgotten it. This little boy was in a second story window-they actually had a photo of him. The boy's father was down below, yelling to him to jump into his arms. That boy could see the fire racing toward him from behind, but he refused to jump. Then, one awful moment, the boy disappeared from the window. He was one of those victims.

Friday, October 26, 2018

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I grew up on the south side of Chicago, and honestly we did not have a lot of sheep running around. So I listened with fascination when I heard my father-in-law tell about being the shepherd for his family's flock of sheep. He was just a boy, he was the only child, and Mom and Dad left the sheep pretty much with him, and he was with them a lot. One day he and his parents were watching the flock and he said, "Would you like me to call one of them out?" Right, kid. Like one sheep is going to know it's him you want? So Mom and Dad kind of laughed. The little shepherd asked them to pick a sheep they wanted called out, and then he made a little bleating sound and the selected sheep proceeded to leave the flock and come right to him. Mom and Dad were still skeptical. So he said, "OK, pick another sheep." And they did. Another bleat, and Mr. Sheep answered the call. And no one else could get that kind of response. That little exercise was repeated several times, until there was no denying the amazing fact: those sheep had such a personal relationship with their shepherd that his was the only voice they followed.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

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If they ever ask me to be a participant in those Nielsen ratings of who's watching what TV show, they'll probably find me watching the Weather Channel more than a lot of viewers. Oh, not necessarily because I'm intrigued with low-pressure systems, or barometric readings, or cumulonimbus clouds, (See, I do watch.) but because I want to see my future in the places I might be traveling to. But sometimes, they don't have the weather on. I remember a while back they had a primetime documentary show called "Storm Stories." Now while the story of a storm that happened twenty years ago isn't going to help me plan for tomorrow, the stories were pretty dramatic. They often featured amazing accounts of the people who survived major weather disasters-and the people who didn't. It was especially interesting to see what steps would help you to be a storm survivor rather than a storm victim.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

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She was one of the most admired women in the world-Mother Teresa, that angelic woman who devoted her life to the least of the least in the slums of Calcutta, India. The world's greatest leaders wanted to meet her and to experience her love and her moral authority. And actually, she was just a diminutive woman who made such a difference in the world. Some years ago, a young man wrote a letter to Mother Teresa, asking her how he could make his life count as she had with hers. He waited six months for a reply from this very busy lady. When it came, it was just a postcard with just four words on it-four very powerful words-"Find your own Calcutta."

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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"They were our pilots. It was our aircraft. The aircraft should not have been on that runway." That's what an executive of Singapore Airlines told reporters after their Los Angeles-bound jumbo jet crashed on takeoff from Taipei, Taiwan. It snapped into three pieces and it burst into flames. Eighty-one of the 179 passengers aboard died in that crash. It was a crash that never should have happened. The pilot somehow ended up on a runway full of construction equipment. The resulting collision was obviously deadly. The pilot had warnings; preflight briefing papers and two big signs indicating the number of the runway he mistakenly went down, but it didn't matter. He was on the wrong runway.

Monday, October 22, 2018

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Connie was in the campus outreach club I ran near her high school. In some ways, she was a typical teenager. In other ways, her life was very different from her peers. Every morning about 5:00 A.M.-while her peers were still sound asleep-Connie was at the local ice skating rink, practicing. And when her friends were all enjoying their summer off, well, she was in Colorado in a rigorous training program for ice skaters. A few years later, my wife and I were in Holland teaching a European youth workers conference. As I was in our bungalow, preparing for the next meeting, I had the TV on in the background, with a telecast of the Winter Olympics going. I wasn't paying much attention because the commentary was in Dutch, and my Dutch isn't what it used to be. But suddenly I heard a name I recognized-Connie's name. I looked up in time to see her on the screen, proudly representing her country in the quest for Olympic glory. You know what? I knew how she got there.

Friday, October 19, 2018

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So I heard this comedy routine that suggested some humorous ways to finish this sentence: "You're having a bad day when..." Well, I heard on the news about a man who might be a finalist for the "baddest day of the year" award, and there's nothing humorous about what happened to him. There was years ago an Avianca Airlines plane that crashed on Long Island. It was a flight from Colombia to New York. This particular Colombian man was seriously injured in the crash. Well, that's a bad day; I mean that's a really bad day. They rushed him to the hospital where it was determined that they'd have to do abdominal surgery. And when the surgeons opened him up, they found little plastic bags in his stomach full of cocaine. He was a drug courier, and he had ingested those little bags of cocaine to smuggle them into the country. So after he crashed and then was operated on, he was arrested. Now who would have ever thought he would be found out? He was.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

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I've only been to Israel once, and just for a short visit, but I will never forget the thrill of seeing those places where Jesus walked when He was there, and watching all those names and places in the Bible suddenly come alive. It really was one of the highlights of my life, I'll tell you, except for one thing. I went alone, on my way back home from a ministry trip to Africa. As I stood on the Mount of Olives, and as I walked the streets of old Jerusalem, as I experienced the feel of Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee, you know what I kept thinking? "I want my wife to see all of this. I want to experience this with my kids!" Yes, Israel was terrific, but I really wanted to share it with the people I love.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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Years ago we were just beginning the process of building our Ministry Headquarters. At that point, all that was on this field was the footings for the building and a barn that was on the property. Volunteers were in the process of renovating and weatherproofing that old barn for storage when some friends donated a truckload of office furniture to our ministry. It was going to be a few days before we could bring that furniture into the barn, so we had to leave it next to the barn, which meant it had to be covered to protect it, right?

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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