Letters From London

What’s a Phenomenon

by Will Pratt – 

There’s an old joke about a farm hand who asked his boss, “What’s a phenomenon?” After a moment’s thought, the farmer replied: “D’ya hear that lark singing in the sky? That’s not a phenomenon. D’ya see that brown cow lying in the meadow, chewing the cud? That’s not a phenomenon. And do you see that thistle in front of the cow? That’s not a phenomenon. But if the cow were to get up and sit on the thistle, then sing like that lark in the sky, that would be a phenomenon.”

This June, 30 volunteers from the Winton Bournemouth Corps, where Kath and I soldier, will go to Kiev in the Ukraine, paying their own fare. That’s not a phenomenon. A similar group did it three years ago when they held a 10-day Christian music school for 200 Ukrainian youngsters.

This time, 10 of the 30 will devote themselves to repairing a building so it can become a place of worship, a social center in the cruel Kiev winter, and a youth center in summer.

Kind people have been sending us money, blankets, clothing, medical supplies, musical instruments and so on. But that’s not a phenomenon.

The organizer of this expedition, a police officer and solo horn player, is learning all he can about Kiev. He’s already spent two weekends there.

Last week his wife found a new girl sitting next to her at the council office where she works. The lady’s just arrived in Britain, having married an Englishman. Where’s she from? From Kiev, where she was a school teacher teaching English.

When a fluent translator arrives on your doorstep, can you call that a phenomenon, or just God answering your prayers?

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