Archive for April, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010
April 24, 2010

The staff at our hotel invited us to join them for a special breakfast, which was most enjoyable.

The day was warm and sunny, so when we and our friends went to Speakers’ Corner, many people were in the park and at the Corner.

Longest-running Musical
April 22, 2010

Now that the flurry of activity about our plane flight is past, I can return to narrating some of the events of previous days.

On Saturday, April 17, we went to Queen’s Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue to see Les Miserables, which is touted as the world’s longest-running musical ever.

It first opened in Paris in 1980, then in London in 1985 at the famous Palace Theatre, so it is celebrating its 25th anniversary in London.

The London Team
April 22, 2010

By this time I have a photo of our London team, taken at the retreat.

How many can you identify?

We have tickets!
April 21, 2010

This is about 1:00 PM on Wednesday, April 21.

I just talked by phone with a real person, a British Airways agent, and we now have tickets to come home on Monday, April 26.

So, while we have five more days of delay, we at least have a plan, and we are content.

Thanks for your interest and prayers.

Hope is rising
April 21, 2010

This is 8:00 AM on Wednesday, April 21.

The ash cloud has thinned out, and safety authorities have determined that aircraft can tolerate moderate levels of ash, so all UK airports are now open. However, air traffic is light at the moment; it will take time for normal flights to resume.

British Airways has resumed long-haul flights today.

For a period of time they will run flights around the clock. This announcement brings consternation to the residents near Heathrow because Heathrow normally closes from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM and the nearby residents can get a few hours of undisturbed sleep.

So far I cannot get a re-booking either by phone or on line. I will spend the day and trying and trying again.

Our travel agent in US says you will get a quicker response if you contact British Airways yourself there in London. And when I call BA here, I cannot get a real person, only a recording saying that if you booked your ticket through an agency, contact that agency! So if anyone says John is going in circles, you may as well believe him.

Renting a private jet seems out of the question – not at all in keeping with a simple lifestyle – so we will keep trying to work the regular system.

And safety authorities caution that if the volcano should resume major eruptions, all airports will be closed again. (It seems I hear loud groans on all sides.)


Update on Volcano and Travel
April 20, 2010

This is being written at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, April 20.

I had an appointment to be in WI this weekend to speak at a missions conference at New Vision Church. We have accepted as fact that we will not be home in time for me to make this connection because of an unalterable appointment with a volcanic ash cloud here in London.

The Iceland volcano, after a quieter day on Monday has gained strength today, and the wind is blowing the new ash toward UK. British Airways has not resumed any flights out of London, and will not project when flights may resume, and when they do begin, I will likely not be a top priority passenger.

If this continues for too long (whatever that is) I am not sure what I will do. I could go overland to Spain and fly home from there, but I haven’t had the nerve to check the cost of such an itinerary. Nor have I checked the cost of taking a trans-Atlantic ocean liner. And rumor has it that all rowboats out of Plymouth, England, are already spoken for.

“I” in the above paragraph actually is “we,” including JoLene, as I deem it not wise to let her in London, as lovely as this city is, while I return to USA.

Th effects of this shutdown are far-reaching. Chris Sharp and daughter Whitney are in Lusaka, Zambia, and British Airways can guarantee them a flight home on April 29. How is that for priority status?

We are now staying in the home of our friends Jay and Judy, who have said we may camp with them as long as necessary. I doubt that they have any idea what they are saying.

In their home neither the ceiling nor the floor fell in overnight, so that is encouraging. See my blog “Things Keep Changing.”

Thanks for your interest and prayers.

Things Keep Changing
April 19, 2010

This is Monday morning, 7:45 AM in London.

Well. we did not fly home on Sunday.

We got re-booked for Monday, but all British Airways flights have now been canceled for today (Monday). We will have to wait until 1:30 PM London time to call our travel agent in US to see what the options are.

It is not likely that we will get home soon.

Today, as a cost saving measure, we will move in with our friends Jay and Judy.

To add to the adventure, at 4:45 AM today water started pouring into our hotel room from the room above. We personally had just vacated the room when the whole middle portion of the ceiling fell in. Most of our belongings were still in the room, so I had to pick my way over plaster and debris to collect our clothes and suitcases. Thank God we are unharmed.

Now, isn’t your life dull and ordinary compared to this?!

Chalk Cliffs
April 18, 2010

For an excursion during our retreat, on April 13 we packed lunches and drove to the white chalk (limestone) cliffs near Eastbourne.

We went first to Birling Gap. For those who care about such things, while Worthing is west of the famous seaside resort Brighton, Birling Gap is east of Brighton, and the resort of Eastbourne is still farther east, all on the English Channel.

A Retreat
April 17, 2010

Our London team went on a four-day retreat to the town of Worthing, south of London, west of Brighton, on the English Channel.

We stayed at a large guest house owned by Arab World Ministries.

Sunday, April 11, 2010
April 17, 2010

Today we worshiped with Paul and his family at St.Mary’s Church of England in the section of London known as Walthamstow. Many people from Pakistan and Bangladesh live there.

A Norman church was on this site by the year 1108. Here are some views of the church.