June 25, 2006

55 years before 9 11 acquired its bad name, there was an auction held in Lancaster. There, one Mrs Thomas, wife of Major Ian Thomas bought an old country house. She paid ten percent more for the house than she’d agreed with her husband; the place was run down; she was expecting their first boy; yet, when she should have stopped bidding, the holy Spirit prompted her to continue.

She wondered who would ever want the place. Yet that formerly rundown place became the first Capernwray Centre, a Christian training facility which now boasts 23 other centres round the world.

Yesterday, accompanied by her husband, who is in a wheelchair and nearly 90, they witnessed the opening of a new dining room. I was there too, but I had only come from Lancaster, they’d traveled from Colorado, where they now live.

I was challenged by them. It’s amazing how sixty years can change things. Imagine them at the end of 1946. The country was depressing enough at the end of the second world war. They’d paid more than they’d expected for this almost uninhabitable big old house.

I have many thoughts/ideas/dreams/plans that get drowned in the ‘realities’ of the situation. Next time, I’ll remember Capernwray

Well done Ghana

June 24, 2006

It’s been a busy week, but not so busy that I didn’t catch Ghana’s entry into the next round of the world Cup. Well done Ghana, next stop Brazil.

While France were struggling against Togo yesterday, I was at a gospel choir concert, where I met the Ghanaian mum of an excellent soloist. I congratulated her and reminded her that we just handed them the mantle for this year. We’re expecting great things from Ghana, so that in South Africa, it would be both Nigeria and Ghana fighting for the cup.

Actually, this world cup is creating too much of a conflict of interests. I’m struggling to keep up with all the things I have to get done. And now, Wimbledon is about to begin … what is a man to do?

Good day in church

June 19, 2006

We had a great time On Sunday. The praise and worship flowed, like we were really communicating with God.

We had guest speakers, a father and son team, Ron and Andrew Eagle. They work so well together. Today, the main talk was from son Andrew. He started by saying that the standards of the new testament are much higher than that of the old, but before we think it’s impossible, Jesus himself is the way by which we can reach them.

It’s like the bar in a high jump, being raised to an impossible height; but there’s a springboard. The Holy Spirit is the coach, always encouraging us to achieve. Like all true athletes, we have a gym. He’s given us every heavenly blessing to achieve our goals

Then the father Ron picked up the thread. He said two things; first all the spiritual training and gymnasium is for purpose, that we may achieve our God-given goals. So, first, we must work out those goals, in order to set our target objectives. Second, the gym, trainer and springboard would be useless if we didn’t apply everything. They’d just sit idle unless we actually made use of them, and if we didn’t make use of them, we wouldn’t be fit for purpose.

June 18, 2006

I went to visit a friend this weekend. As we took a stroll on Saturday morning, he told of how he came back home with his nine month daughter, just as the England V Trinidad was ending. As he got to the front of his house, some youth who had been watching the game from the pub opposite came out, moved towards him in a scary manner and started chanting “two niil, two niil!”

Now, anyone who knows my friend would have worked out that as he was born in Nigeria, and as he spends most of his working life in the United States, he’s not really a Trinidad supporter. In fact, if you know him as I do, you’d know that he’s such a big fan of English football that apart from when England plays Nigeria, there’s no real conflict of loyalties with him.

We talked as we stepped on broken bottles outside his house. Well, it’s next to a pub, and maybe a few drunken white youths may not realise that if they start chanting menacingly at a black father and his nine month old baby, he might feel threatened. What would have happened, if … shock of shocks … England had lost that game.

All right, let’s get this in context. I’ve lived in Lancaster since 1990, and I can honestly say I’ve come across very few acts of overt racism. In most cases, people standing by have done something about it. Once, when I’d just arrived, a fellow uni student told me to go back home, and his friends immediately apologized, blaming drink. Then there was that guy who literally walked through me and challenged me to speak and get beaten up. I saw him about three times, the third time as I stood at Customer Services in Saintsbury’s. The staff who’d heard his challenge told him they wouldn’t serve him.

On the whole, I’m not really that worried about such things. But I hear the news and You’d be surprised to know that I’ve had a BNP leaflet through my door. Actually, come to think of it, my friend, (the one I spent the weekend with) once had a leaflet thrown through his door when he lived in Purley, asking if he’d like to attend a meeting to discuss the increasing influence of non-British people in his neighbourhood. We just laughed when he told me. Is it really that funny?

Well done Ghana

June 18, 2006

Great game yesterday. None of the radio commentators of the BBC gave Ghana much hope against the Czechs, but they did it in style. Thanks for brightening an otherwise difficult train journey. now it simply remains to beat the USA, and you’ll be in the second round.

Anyone out there?

June 15, 2006

If you’ve been wondering where I am, the simple answer is here. I’ve discovered that the last two posts I sent have not appeared. It was as though I hadn’t even written them. I’ve looked everywhere. If this one appears, then the cage has been aprung, but if it doesn’t … then what? I suppose I’d have to go back to the dark ages and use the telephone again.

It’s begun

June 10, 2006

At last, we’ve played the first two games of the World Cup. I think you’ll be reading lots about the World Cup in the next month, from all sorts of places, so why not here too?

I was walking home, listening to the game between Germany and Costa Rica, when I realised that it wasn’t worth killing myself for. With the headphones on, I could hardly hear anything else, (not even the roadside traffic) and in any case, I knew Germany would win. After the brief scare of the equaliser, things returned to what we all expected. By the time the game was over, I was back home to hear all the details from the commentators.

Now, if Nigeria had been playing, I wouldn’t even have been out in the first place. but more on that on another day. My question though is how come we’re not there this time. Since 1994, we’d come to expect that Nigeria would be at each world cup for ever. And may I remind my gloating English friends that in 1994, they were all busy supporting Ireland, just like most Nigerians would probably be supporting Ivorycoast or even Togo … now there’s a laugh!

Most comentators talk about the great teams of Africa missing out this time. Well, I don’t know about Cameroon and South Africa, but I saw Nigeria’s failure coming. After the heady days of 1994, we’d been performing worse and worse. Our last victory in a world cup game was the first match in 1998, when we beat an underperforming Spanish side in a thrilling game. That victory alone took us to the knock out stages, but in 2002, we didn’t even get that far, losing two and drawing an inconsequential game to England.

If you ask me, we’d begun to expect that we’d be in the World Cup. You know how it is, big names in big clubs. They’ve seen it all before, played in the big games. We had Nigerians in Chelsea, Arsenal, as well as clubs in France, Italy, Germany and Spain. By the time it dawned that we might be sitting on the sidelines cheering other teams in germany, it was too late. Suddenly, everyone woke up. They sacked the coach, and started playing well. But it was too late.

I saw the game against Algeria, the last game in our qualifying group. It was a goal fest, but it wasn’t enough. I can’t remember, but I think all Angola had to do was draw their game, and they did. During the African Nations cup, we huffed and puffed and finally earned our bronze medals. But that’s not getting us to Germany, boys! Didn’t you realise that earlier in the qualifying stages?

Maybe we’ll do a France. Remember them? They weren’t in the USA ’94, but look what happened in ’98. Mind you, the cup was held in their country then. But South Africa might just be close enough for us.

In the meantime, who should I support? Not Angola. Sour grapes there I’m afraid. Togo … our neighbours? That’d be a wasted vote, … sorry boys. Maybe I’ll just support Brazil. You know, like those Manchester United supporters who don’t know where Manchester is on the map, but who expect their club to win everything.

By the way, thanks to the Ecuadorians for restoring my faith in the unfancied team. That’s what Nigeria did against Spain in 1998. Maybe I should support Ecuador now. And you never know. The Chelsea chequebooks may soon be waving in the face of some Ecuadorian … or … perish the thought … some Angolan? No no no!