Monday, July 14, 2008


Gayla and I are traveling over the United Kingdom this week. We started in Pwll, Wales last Saturday after landing at London Gatwick Airport and taking a 2 hour train ride to Pwll. Dan Irving from Chico, California and Humphrey Birkenstock, from Johannesburg, South Africa joined us for the train ride that actually lasted 3 hours. It seems that the commonly on time train service had a delay, what they call a "signal malfunction". After waiting for 45 minutes on the tracks the train continued on and we were met by Andy, the Director of Urban Saints. The delay with the train meant that Gayla missed her speaking at the general session. We were more than able to make up for this over the next two days as Bill Hebner graciously found opportunities for us to share about Amor and the South Africa trip at numerous occasions. This camp was located beside a river that opened out to the Atlantic ocean. Just under 200 young people were camped out in tents learning about Christ and how they could help change the world.

Monday, Gayla, Dan and I took a train back to London while Humphrey headed north to Rhyl, Wales, home of Bill Hebner and family. We are in London now to meet with the leadership of Toc H, Urban Saints and Young Life. The adventure of the day was when we arrived in London at the Paddington Train Station. We had just arrived and stopped in the station for a cup of coffee. Just as we began to sip our coffees a loud alarm went off announcing that were were to evacuate the terminal immediately. Hundreds of people quickly left the train station to the streets of London. A bag left on a train dock caused suspicion of a bomb and the police had us evacuate. We have surely left the peace and quiet of Wales. We found a suitable hotel in the Kensington district and met with an old acquaintance of Dan Irving's from his Toc H days some 30 years ago.

I took a short walk outside the hotel after dinner to discover that we were just blocks from Kensington Palace. In 2000 I had the pleasure of meeting with the personal assistant of the Duke and Duchess of Kent who were residing at the palace. This was also were Princess Diana had an apartment, adjacent to the personal assistance office. I had gotten a private behind the scene tour of the palace courtyard and then treated to fish and chips at the Goat Tavern across the street from the Palace. What was quite unique was the personal assistance had been on a mission trip with Amor the previous year. We share stories of Mexico and I learned that he had decided to pursue a career in the ministry. I only recently managed to connect again with him to learn that he is now an acting minister with a church in England.

One great story I have to share was told by Bill Hebner this weekend. There is a show called the "Secret Millionaire" here in the UK. It seems the show sent cameras and a crew to follow Bill around in Rhyl, Wales after hearing about all the great work he has been doing for the community. Bill took them around for days showing them all the great work going on by all sorts of people. By the time they stopped filming and following Bill, the Secret Millionaire announced all sorts of charitable contributions to various people and charitiable entities that Bill had shown them. Much to our delight, one if them was Toc H which I had introduced Bill to in his very own home town of Rhyl a few years ago. It appears that the Secret Millionaire made a 30,000 pound comtribution ($60k US) to the Rhyl Toc H Chapter. In case you didn't remember, Toc H of the UK funded the program at the University of California in Irvine, California called Community Concern in the 1970's which was the group I first went to Mexico with to the Tijuana orphanage where I met Gayla and where we subsequently started Amor Ministries!

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