[by Earl Blacklock] When Canadian bush pilot Robert Gauchie left Cambridge Bay on February 2, 1967, he had every reason to be confident he would arrive in Yellowknife, less than six hours away, by late afternoon. He flew a single-engine Beaver, built to be both rugged and reliable. He had every kind of communication and navigational aid available. Just over two hours later, Gauchie encountered a driving snowstorm. When he attempted to set up an instrument course, he discovered two crucial instruments – his turn-and-bank indicator and his artificial horizon – were not working. Descending quickly, he flew by sight until he spotted a stretch of clear ice. There he set his craft down. Advertisements
[by Earl Blacklock] Elyesa Bazna was the butler for the British Ambassador to Turkey in the final years of World War II. He was also the highest paid spy in history – at least on paper. Bazna is known to history as Cicero, his German code name. He approached the German embassy in Ankara with an offer they couldn’t refuse – an opportunity to regularly see the contents of British Ambassador Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen’s home safe. The Ambassador was careless about following procedure, regularly bringing sensitive documents home. He was unaware that his trusted valet had made a copy of the key to his safe, and was regularly rifling it for secrets.
[by Earl Blacklock] Leprosy is a chronic bacterial infection which causes disfiguring skin lesions, blindness, and absorption of bones and cartilage. Formally known as Hansen’s disease, leprosy is only mildly communicable. Nevertheless, over a period spanning thousands of years, it has been a disease that has meant fear, rejection, and personal terror. Since its first diagnosis in the United States, thousands of people contracted the disease. Those diagnosed with the disease suffered shame and sorrow. Starting in 1921, public health authorities in the United States sent patients diagnosed with leprosy to the Public Health Service Center in Carville, Louisiana for isolation and treatment. Mail to the outside could only be sent by a staff member, after sterilization.
[by Earl Blacklock] Robert E. Peary was the first to lead a successful conquest of the North Pole, one of the great achievements of history. However, the measure of the man can be found in what happened after his return. Peary had made previous expeditions to the North, including a failed attempt to reach the pole in 1906. He and his men came within 174 miles before they had to turn back, barely alive. In 1908, at the age of 52, Peary knew he was facing his final chance to reach the pole. He planned his expedition carefully. A thick-hulled ship named the Roosevelt carried him to Cape York, Greenland. There he met his Inuit helpers and their families, who knew him well from his previous expeditions. They came on board for the journey to the jumping off point at Cape Columbia, the northernmost point of Canada. There, they spent the winter locked in ice. The Inuit hunted for extra food, and they built sledges for the journey.
[by Earl Blacklock] Amadeo Pietro Giannini was an innovative banker who was responsible for most of the services we now consider part of what we can expect from our neighborhood bank. Where other banks opened from 10 to 3 weekdays, Giannini’s Bank of Italy opened from 9 to 5 every day but Sunday. Where other banks limited their business to businesses and industry, Giannini served the middle income wage earners from convenient branches. Where other bank executives closeted themselves in expensive offices, Giannini insisted his executives be out on the floor, visible and accessible. The bank was consistent in making a profit, even in the midst of the worst economic conditions. Only two years after starting the bank, Giannini’s biggest challenge arose with the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. He saw the challenge as an opportunity, however.
[by Earl Blacklock] Father Pierre was a defrocked priest who, convicted of murder, had been sentenced to life at hard labor at the infamous Devil’s Island penal colony. The evidence against him seemed conclusive. The widow he was accused of killing, who had made him her beneficiary, was known to be fearful, keeping her door bolted after sundown. Tracks in the snow led from the widow’s house to the rear of the church. And his blood-stained cassock was buried in the rectory garden. He proclaimed his innocence, but would say nothing more, and he was convicted. Hard labor at Devil’s Island meant hours of work in the jungle, felling trees or doing whatever else the authorities demanded. Malaria and other tropical diseases were constant companions. Father Pierre always did his share and more, helping those who were weaker to finish their assigned duties.
[by Dean Smith] Biosphere 2, located in Oracle, Arizona, is a 3.14 acre (1.3 hectare) controlled environment that researchers have used for various projects. The giant enclosed glass dome, constructed between 1987 to 1991, contains a variety of environments including rain forest, savannah, desert and even oceans. For decades, it has been used for agricultural research and even for planning how domed environments could function on other planets. As these different environments were created, the researchers made an interesting discovery. When they planted various types of trees, they found in this perfect environment the trees grew much quicker than they did in the wild. However, before the trees reached their full size, many toppled over or began to lean.
[by Earl Blacklock] Prior to 1854, Japan was a reclusive nation ruled by a shogunate that had isolated the nation for 200 years. When Commander Perry sailed into Tokyo harbour aboard the frigate Susquehanna, he demanded a treaty between the two nations that would guarantee the safety of shipwrecked American sailors and allow American ships to refuel on their way to Asian markets. Much has been made of the threat that the American guns posed to the Japanese that day. Less known is the story of the role played by a Japanese man who had returned to Japan after being rescued by American sailors. Nakahama Manjirō was only 14 when, in 1841, he was shipwrecked with four others. They made it to an island where they survived for six months. They were rescued by the American whaler ship John Howland and taken to Honolulu.
[by Earl Blacklock] Elizabeth Gray Vining was an experienced American teacher who, in 1946, had the opportunity of a lifetime – to be the English tutor of the Crown Prince of Japan. Emperor Hirohito had specified the qualifications she was to meet. She was to be a Christian woman, “but not a fanatic”. Japan was recovering from a devastating military defeat; the Emperor had been permitted to remain as a figurehead ruler. Real power, however, rested with the Allied commander General Douglas MacArthur, and the Emperor wanted the Crown Prince readied for this new world. Elizabeth was told her purpose was to open windows to the world outside Prince Akihito’s household and culture. Elizabeth’s influence went beyond her lessons.
In John 14:27, Jesus said He came to give us peace, but added His peace was not the same as the world’s. Jesus’ peace was different. To the world, peace can only take place when there is no conflict and in this crucial way Jesus’ peace was different. He gives us peace in the midst of conflict. Conflict or trouble can come in various forms — from terrorism to health to financial to family. Jesus told us when He died, He would send us a Comforter. One of the emblems used in the Bible to picture the Holy Spirit was a dove. And even today, the dove represents peace. When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and He wants to fill us with God’s peace. But too often we put up walls preventing this.
Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4 NASV) Many have used this verse believing if we seek after God, He will give us everything we desire — a big home, a great job, a new car…. the list is endless. But is this how we should interpret this verse? As we struggle with sin, we know in our mind it is wrong and we realize we need to stop. But the biggest part of our struggle is that we still want this sin. We still desire the pleasure it brings or the rush it gives us. Some even miss it, when they try to stop. So it is a battle between what our mind knows and what our heart wants. Maybe God wants to change your desires so you no longer want the porn or the new pair of shoes or the drugs or whatever bondage enslaves you. Instead of praying for the big house, ask God to give you the actual “desires of your …