Mixed Bag

Today I will give you some highlights on my current trip to Virginia Beach, where I am spending a few days. Thanks to my mother's new job at Holiday Inn, I was able to get a great rate here for a few nights--and with the current price of gas, staying here from Saturday to Wednesday for services comes out about even to driving back and forth.

Sunday I had services first at New Creation AG in VA Beach and then at Ocean View AG in Norfolk that evening. Both services went well. It was my first time to visit New Creation, although I had met the pastor's wife, Debbie, before and found her to be a kindred spirit. They were having an afternoon barbecue at the music leader's home, as a Memorial Day celebration, so I got to eat some great food! Hamburgers, hot dogs, sweet watermelon and homemade brownies. YUM! Plus, I enjoyed the conversation a lot.

Ocean View in Norfolk welcomed me warmly back for another time. I spoke there four years ago, with my mom along for the ride. An interesting side note: the Sunday morning I spoke there, a man from Richmond was visiting his mother who attended that church. He passed by my table and took a card and spoke to me briefly; he said he would support me. I didn't know if that would actually come about, but sure enough, for the past four years, he's been supporting me for a generous sum each month. I've never seen him again. When I knew I was going to be back at Ocean View, I was eager to meet this man's mother, to tell her how good her son had been to me. However, I discovered upon asking around, that the lady went to be with the Lord around Easter. She was quite a saint and dearly beloved by her congregation, so I shared the story before I preached as a different twist on a "missionary testimony." The church was very touched that this lady's legacy could live on in a way that they never expected.

Yesterday was a holiday; obviously, I wasn't going to have success in making phone calls to pastors, so I gave myself permission to "suffer for Jesus" at the hotel pool. Late this afternoon, I suffered for Jesus again by going to the theater to see Prince Caspian. *For those unfamiliar with the term "suffering for Jesus" it's my father's teasing way of explaining when a missionary gets to do fun stuff in the course of doing missionary work.

If you liked The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, you'll like Prince Caspian. That's the basic sum of this film. I think Prince Caspian is better in some ways, because I liked the plot of the book more. There is less dissension among the four Pevensie kids than the previous book and film, and more of an outside threat to Narnia, mainly the Telmarine people and their dictator, Lord Miraz. The guy playing him did the evil usurper role perfectly! The main "battle" scene is very much like the battle in the first movie, down to the same location (I believe). Aslan is barely in the film, and like the first, the religious nature of the original CS Lewis story is completely overlooked. If you take your children to see it, you might be dismayed by the fact that the Pevensie children routinely tell each other to "shut up" which struck me as realistic sibling rivalry, but I know some people don't allow their children to talk to each other that way. However, the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. I don't know where they filmed the beach scene, but I'd like to suffer for Jesus there! All in all, I liked the movie.

For months now, I've been traveling periodically to this area, I've had one burning question. From the time one gets on 64 East, outside of Richmond, one can notice that on all of the entrance ramps, coming onto the highway, there are red and white striped barrier "arms" in the up position. I racked my brain as to why anyone would need these barriers to prevent people from driving onto the interstate. I thought, maybe in this tidal area, it has to do with flooding. After all, they get a fair amount of hurricanes here. Yesterday I finally got the chance to ask someone, and found out that I wasn't far off the mark. They're not for flooding, but indeed for hurricanes. During a hurricane evacuation, traffic could be routed north and west even on the wrong side of the highway to accommodate a massive amount of traffic out of the area. Barrier arms would prevent people from driving head-on into traffic.

My father is in the hospital again, with a very ugly infection in his right leg. We thought it was cellulitis, which he's had before, but as it turns out, it may be worse than we naively expected. His current prognosis is worrisome: his kidneys are shutting down. The doctors stopped all antibiotics for the infection, for fear that they are damaging the kidneys. For now, we have to wait and see what the doctors will say. Please pray for him. This is his third hospitalization since August, and I think he feels a little more like Job everyday, losing different parts of his health.

Ariel Rainey