Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Little Airline Humor

I fly to many places that I must be. In fact, I flew last week, and will be flying again in two weeks. These anecdotes were a humorous reminder that life is good and we must enjoy the ride. Number 17 was one of my favorites.

All too rarely, airline attendants make an effort to make the in flight "safety lecture" and announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:
1. On a Southwest flight (SW has no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced, "People, people we’re not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!"

2. On a Continental Flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we’re reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."

3. On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.

4. "There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane"

5. "Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."

6. As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Ronald Reagan, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"

7. After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced, "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, it is a sure thing that everything has shifted."

8. From a Southwest Airlines employee: "Welcome aboard Southwest Flight 245 to Tampa.. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab in the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if yo u don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised."

9. "In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite."

10. "Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Southwest Airlines."

11. "Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."

12. "As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."

13. And from the pilot during his welcome message: "Delta Airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"

14. Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City the flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump, and I know what y’all are thinking. I’m here to tell you it wasn’t the airline’s fault, it wasn’t the pilot’s fault, it wasn’t the flight attendant’s fault, it was the asphalt."

15. Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, Texas, on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what’s left of our airplane to the gate!"

16. Another flight attendant’s comment on a less than perfect landing: "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."

17. An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the Passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying our airline." He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?" "Why, no, Ma’am," said the pilot. "What is it?" The little old lady said, "Did we land, or were we shot down?"

18. After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the attendant came on with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Capt. Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we’ll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal."

19. Part of a flight attendant’s arrival announcement: "We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of US Airways."

20. Heard on a Southwest Airline flight. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing and if you can light ‘em, you can smoke ‘em."

21. A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport. After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to Flight Number 293, nonstop from New York to Los Angeles. The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax... OH, MY GOD!" Silence followed, and after a few minutes, the captain came back on the intercom and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier. While I was talking to you, the flight attendant accidentally spilled a cup of hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!" A passenger in Coach yelled, "That’s nothing. You should see the back of mine!"

Pray for the Mountain Villages of Peru

I received the following update from Russ and Sherri Fleetwood, two missionaries working in the outback of Peru. Many villages are facing the same kinds of things. One man spoke to me about how the excessive rains have ruined their crops for this year. Potatoes are rotting in the ground. Wheat and corn is also in danger. Pray for these villages.

April 13, 2009

Donde Corren Las Aguas (Where the Waters Run)
When we mentioned in our last update that it was raining a lot, little did we know that even more was yet to come! “It’s the worst it has been in 40 years”, some people say. We certainly hope that this year is the exception, not the rule! Landslides have been the biggest issue, but flooding has also been prevalent. One street became like a muddy river with water running through doorways into people’s homes. In other locations, foundations for walls have been eroded, leading to collapses. One hillside behind a group of houses melted into mud and was running down into doorways and passageways. Almost every roadway in the area has been blocked by slides at some time or another. As quickly as they can be cleared by a bulldozer, more hillsides give way and block the road anew. There was even a 2-day stretch when every route out of the Conchucos valley was impassable. In recent weeks, city officials have rented more machinery in an effort to keep roadways open. They have also been trying to size up the damage that has been done. At least 10 houses have collapsed and as many as 100 are in danger of collapse. The city water supply has also been in danger. The cement holding tanks had to have some emergency repairs. Thankfully, the rain has let up for a few days at a time – enough for things to begin drying out. But the occasional heavy shower or extended drizzle continues to cause problems.
As recently as last night we had a downpour. A canal up the hill behind our house became blocked, causing water to run down through a pasture and into our yard. The back wall of our adobe storage building collapsed. Water then ran through the building and into our neighbors’ living room downstairs. (We live upstairs.) We quickly dug drainage ditches in the yard in an effort to divert the water. Thankfully the rain eased up before any of our neighbors’ possessions were damaged. It was a personal reminder of how people have suffered through the rains this year.
Please pray with us that the local government will take steps to improve drainage here in town and along the roadways when the weather clears. It is likely that with dry weather the need for improvements will be forgotten – that is, until the rains return next year! But at this point, we’re just waiting for them to come to an end this year!

Good Friday
Here in the mountains, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is important. For weeks leading up to it, the custom is to gather in your local Catholic church building and review each week a different story from the life of Jesus. Two weeks ago it was the story of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, when the people laid down palm branches and their cloaks in his path, as if welcoming a king. This past week, the focus was on Jesus’ death on the cross. There was some reflection on His resurrection, but the focus here is more on His suffering and death. It is good to remember how He suffered for us – the price He was willing to pay and how He can identify with our pain. But to not celebrate His resurrection is to deny the victory and hope that Christ provided for us. As Paul said: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Cor. 15:17-19) Indeed, it is the subsequent resurrection of Jesus that allows us to call the Friday of His death “good”!

On this Good Friday, we were planning to be in the community of Conopa to show the Luke Video in Quechua. Our friend, Magno, had arranged this opportunity with the local catechist and community leaders. Showing the video would have required that a heavy electrical generator be carried by hand up several hills! Due to road closures, we were not able to make it to Conopa. Magno was nice enough to come into town and let us know that the road and the trails were in horrible condition. We hope to show the video in early May. God’s Spirit is working in Conopa and we are excited. But in some ways we don’t know what we are getting ourselves into. There are a lot of traditions here that conflict with scripture. But there are a lot of traditions that are suspect or whose original purpose has been forgotten. We are always eager to share with anyone who is open. May those who are seeking a real relationship with Christ build upon good traditions while letting go of bad ones.

20 Years!
Not to trumpet our own horn, but since it is the custom here to throw your own party, we figure we should announce to you our recent 20th wedding anniversary! On April 8th in 1989, Russ and Sherri were married at Royal Lane Baptist Church in Dallas, TX. Where have the years gone? Wow! God is good to have blessed us in so many ways during these 20 years. We typically take some sort of outing on our anniversary. Last April, while in the USA, we sought out the blue bonnets and paint brushes (wildflowers) of Texas. This year, since so many roads were blocked or at least damaged, we stayed home and celebrated by cooking hamburgers and watching a movie.

Many of you prayed for our friend and sister in Christ, Natalia. On Sunday, March 15, Natalia went to be with the Lord. After her stay in the hospital some weeks earlier, she had returned to her son’s home where she had many visitors in her last weeks. She remained sure of her heavenly destination and was ready for relief from her pain. Her passing was especially difficult for her daughter, Elida, who is a single mother of two and was very close to her mom.

It was our first wake and burial since living here in Peru. Customs here are quite different than in the USA. The family endures some very difficult days not only of mourning but also trying to provide food and refreshments for visitors. They also accompany the casket all night long getting almost no sleep until after the burial. It is almost as if the culture here feels that family members should suffer physically as well as emotionally – as a tribute to the deceased. Many people joined the procession to the cemetery. It was not as “reverent” as one would expect in the USA, but it was a sign of how much Natalia was loved and respected. Some good words were shared by a brother in Christ – Natalia’s pastor from when she was part of a Pentecostal congregation.

Change Is a Part of Growth
You may have heard that the IMB is going through some restructuring. The goal is to position our agency for the future – through better use of resources, better engagement of people (both on the field and worldwide partners), better support, streamlined administration, more local ownership… Certainly, the world is changing and we must adjust to those changes. Here in Northern Conchucos, we will be affected minimally. But we will be part of a new team – the Ancash Quechua Team. Brett and Brenda Cargile will be moving to Huaraz to lead this new team, which will include those of us currently serving in Northern and Southern Conchucos, as well as others working with nearby Quechua people groups. We will also be part of a new “Middle Indigenous Cluster” belonging to the “Americas Affinity Group”.

As the Ancash Quechua Team meets next week, please pray with us that Father will give us a vision for the future that has Him at the center of creative and effective strategies for reaching our people groups. We confess that we have no genius or adequacy for the task, but pray that His power and glory will draw many to Himself.

- Protection of many homes and lives during the heavy rains.
- Protection of Maximo, brother-in-law of Eulogio, during a recent fall from a muddy trail.
- Natalia’s promotion to Heaven – freedom from pain, being with her Savior.
- Recent x-rays showed that Lucho’s fractured leg has healed. Now he only lacks exercise to regain mobility.
- Time spent with Magno (from Raj Raj) here at our house when not able to reach the communities of Conopa.

- For relief from damage caused by flooding and landslides. For preventative measures to be taken.
- Please pray that leaders will emerge from each of our Bible study outreach groups.
- For unity and the Holy Spirit’s leadership during our Ancash Quechua Team meeting in late April.
- For opportunities to build new relationships with new communities in the area of Conopa.

May you know Father’s abundant blessing,
Russ and Sherri

Let Me Be
Caedmon’s Call

Lord, You are the maker of my heart
The framer and reshaper of my soul
Master and Creator, Healer and Sustainer
I will put my trust in You alone

Teach me to be faithful to confess
In this way my spirit will be blessed
Though my sins are daily, You have loved me greatly
Removing them as far as east from west

Let me be open, let me be humble
Let me find the joy of my salvation in Your cross
Let me be broken whenever I stumble
Let me remember the great mercy of my God

Give me the full measure of Your grace
And as it is reflected in the Word
Faith and reassurance, mercy and endurance
Carry these to those who haven’t heard

Let me be open, let me be humble
Let me find the joy of my salvation in Your cross
Let me be broken whenever I stumble
Let me remember the great mercy of my God

All I have needed is laid at Your table
All my achievements, I lay at Your feet
Alive in Your spirit, I’m willing and able
You make my joy complete

Let me be open, let me be humble
Let me find the joy of my salvation in Your cross
Let me be broken whenever I stumble
Let me remember the great mercy

…You make my joy complete…

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dream Big

We should dream big. We serve a big God. Dream God-size dreams. Watch this video on You Tube and see what I mean. Take time and let it load if your connection is somewhat slow. Susan Boyle is a great illustration of dreaming a big and fearless dream. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did.