Friday, November 23, 2001

It was Bible story time for our three-year-old grandson. When Daddy asked about David, our little Bible scholar said, "David obey God." But when Daddy asked about Jonah, our grandson said, "Jonah not obey. Go in whale." Then, for the grand prize, "What happens if you don't obey?" The little guy paused for a moment and then he answered, "Go in whale."

Part of the incredible impact of the attacks on the World Trade Center was that everyday people suddenly became national heroes. Fire trucks would roll through New York City with weary firefighters on board - and New Yorkers would erupt in spontaneous cheers. Ground Zero, the devastated area at and around the site of the collapsed towers, became known as Ground Hero. Professional athletes, who are our nation's heroes in less turbulent times, kept saying, "We're not the heroes - they're the heroes." Americans will not soon forget those firefighters, the police, the medical personnel, and the countless volunteers who gave everything they had to try to rescue those who were caught in those collapsing towers. The word "hero" may never be the same.

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

You've probably seen the G. I. Joe action dolls. I never bought one of those for my boys - but I did buy a special version of G. I. Joe lately - as an object lesson for our "On Eagles' Wings" team of young Native Americans. This particular, limited edition doll portrays a group of unsung heroes from World War II called the Navajo Code Talkers. They were soldiers who worked in wartime communications in some of the fiercest battles of the Pacific campaign. They used their Navajo language to communicate in a code that baffled the Japanese. Some surviving Code Talkers were recently honored by the President in Washington. The Code Talker G. I. Joe actually says a few Navajo phrases when you pull his string. I wanted to use that doll as an example of how some young Native Americans helped determine the outcome of the battle - and how God wants to use young Native Americans to do that today in the battle for their people. Now my Navajo G. I. Joe has stayed unopened in his box for nearly a year since I bought him - they're pretty rare. Because he's almost a collector's item, I didn't really want to take Joe out of his box. But you can't get him to do what he does if you leave him in the box.

Friday, October 5, 2001

Every year with our "On Eagles' Wings" team of young Native Americans is an adventure, no matter what reservation or villages we're going to. But our two summers in Alaska were especially challenging. Our usual mode of operation is to travel by bus to each reservation, and we carry under the bus everything we need for our outreach events, literature distribution, and the care of our team. Not when we went to Alaska. Some of the Native villages there are 400 miles from the nearest road! So, goodbye, bus! Goodbye, carrying everything we need with us! Hello, airplanes! Hello, boats! Hello, shipping everything ahead for each village! Hello, whole new way of doing things!

Thursday, September 13, 2001

There was just something about those great vacation adventures I would plan for our family- somehow our kids got to dreading my announcement that I had another one scheduled. Maybe it was that day on Cape Cod. Near Provincetown there are these monster sand dunes. And I had heard that if you climbed to the top of this particular mountain of sand, you would have a beautiful panoramic view of the ocean. So on a hot July day, we started trudging up that dune. And I kept encouraging the troops with the prospect of that fabulous view at the top. And when we finally reached the top, there it was - a panoramic view of another sand dune! Well, against strenuous protests, I moved the troops down that dune and up the next one, sure that our view was one dune away. And there, atop that next dune, we were rewarded with , yeah, another sand dune. And so went our afternoon, up a dune, down a dune, up a dune, down a dune. My mistake - I was sure that what I was looking for must be just over that next hill. It wasn't.

Thursday, August 9, 2001

Our church's youth group had just been out whitewater rafting all day. I had been invited to wrap up the day with an inspirational talk. And when I arrived at the rafting facility they were using, I was expecting to see just the youth group. As it turned out, this recreational company had 1500 people on the river that day from many different groups! So, I wandered around looking lost until someone from our church found me. And that night we had a wonderful get-together under the trees. Now, I didn't know that one girl at the back that had not planned to be there at all. See, she was a Girl Scout who had been there for the day with her troop. And they had somehow gone off and left her all alone. And she saw this group of teenagers meeting, so she wandered over to check it out. And she stayed...and she listened...and at the end, she was one of the young people who indicated they wanted to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I was at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, waiting for my flight in the lounge of Gate B6. Me waiting for a plane in Chicago is nothing new. But what was noteworthy was what happened at that gate while I was waiting. Before the passengers from my flight could board, the incoming passengers, of course, had to disembark. I had not expected to see the unforgettable, emotional scene that unfolded as I watched.

It was shortly after the Gulf War had ended, and soldiers were coming home. Clustered anxiously around the end of the jetway were a boy in a Desert Storm T-shirt, a little girl, and a wife carrying a flag with a yellow ribbon attached, and a friend with a vide camera aimed down the jetway. The wife was crying what must have been tears of anxious anticipation as her son was hanging on the corner of the jetway door, peeking down the tunnel. It was actually hard not to watch, and many people in the lounge were doing that just that - some were even wiping their eyes.

As more and more passengers streamed off the plane, the wife was fighting more and more to keep her composure. Then, as a flight attendant came out, the wife asked painfully, "Are there any more passengers?" She said, "Only a few." Moments later, as the last passenger left, that precious wife fell into a chair and melted into tears. I want to tell you, it was a heartbreaking moment. The anticipated reunion didn't happen. The one she wanted home hadn't come home.

Last week I was going through the all too frequent ritual of standing by an airport luggage carousel, waiting for Big Bertha - that's what I've named my suitcase since we spend so much time together! Suddenly the monotony was broken for all of us by this really cute scene - try to picture this. Here comes one of those luggage carts that looks sort of like a big grocery cart without the big basket, pushing it is this very little boy, still in pampers, barely able to walk - about one-fourth as tall as the cart.

Actually, the boy thought he was pushing the cart, actually his Daddy was right next to him with his hands on the bar above his son's head. Now, the cart was staying on a straight course, it was moving at a good speed...and finally the little guy got frustrated because he wanted to push on the handle bar which was way over his head. So in order to continue the illusion of "little boy pushing" Daddy picked him up, held him horizontal and let him push on the bar. But, needless to say, his father kept one hand on that cart, of course! Despite the way it looked to this little cart jockey, it was his father who was really making it happen.

My wife's dad didn't want the holly bush by his carport anymore, but my wife did. Dad said if we would dig it up, it was ours to transplant at the little Ozark farmstead that my wife inherited from her grandparents. Sounded simple. It wasn't. It took shovels, a chain, a pickup truck, and some major engineering to get that stubborn bush out of the ground and into the truck. Well, we quickly transported "Holly" to the farm, immediately dug a new home in the ground for her, and got her replanted. Then my wife poured on the water and the nutrients. See, just removing that bush from where it was turned out to be only half the battle. We had to get it replanted quickly in new soil - or it would never make it!

If you've ever had a teenage son, you'll know this answer. When a teenage boy gets home from school, what's the first question he asks? "What's for dinner?" Now one of our boys' unfavorite answers to that question was that dreaded "L" word - leftovers! That was especially scary after Thanksgiving, when we found it seemed like that turkey would never end. Now leftovers aren't too many people's first choice for a meal. Right? And the longer they've been left over, the more unsatisfying that choice becomes. I know I've never been to a restaurant who offered an item called "leftovers" on today's specials, or anywhere on the menu for that matter. Let's face it. They're second best - at best.

            

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

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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