Our London adventure
The day starts early because getting to the office in the morning has become an adventure. We have just passed our 18-month anniversary of living in London. Getting to the office involves walking to the bus stop, taking a bus to the train station, taking the train into the city, and then another bus ride followed by another short walk. In fact, our whole experience over the past year and a half has been an adventure. I think that when we were cadets at the training college someone forgot to mention, “Oh, by the way, someday the Army may decide to send you half the way around the world.” All I can say is that I am very grateful that someone managed to get a computer small enough to sit on my lap rather than one that fills a room. And I am grateful that someone else developed software that allows us to talk to and see people who are half the way around the world from us.
Ardis has managed to keep her reputation of not being able to hold a job since she is already well into her second appointment since arriving in London. She works as the assistant under secretary to the Americas and Caribbean Zone. On the other hand, I am still in my original International Headquarters (IHQ) appointment as finance secretary.
Our adventure goes far beyond just getting into the office in the morning. We have managed to do a bit of exploring around parts of the United Kingdom including Scotland over the past year and a half. And by the time this is published, we will have made a trip to Ireland. The wonderful thing is we still have plenty of places left for us to explore. So far I have made a couple of trips to India and visited five of the six India territories. I have also made a trip to Africa and visited the Democratic Republic of Congo territory with its headquarters in Kinshasa. Serving at IHQ, you cannot help but pick up on the international flavor of the Army. I have met some very wonderful, dedicated Army officers who are doing marvelous work for God’s kingdom in some very difficult circumstances.
It is fascinating to wander around Army facilities and see dedication plaques where the USA Western Territory funded a project that turned into a hospital or school. In India South Eastern Territory I attended the dedication service for Attoor Corps, which is a beautiful building sponsored by the USA Western territory. One of the interesting aspects of the dedication service—which lasted for four hours—was that there were no pews or chairs in the corps building other than for those who sat on the platform. I have to admit that I was very grateful to be invited to sit on the platform. The building was absolutely packed and the congregation sat on the floor. I have sat with territorial commanders and listened to their hopes and dreams for their territories. I have also spoken with corps officers serving in a remote village who live with blue tarps draped over the roof of their quarters in an effort to keep their few positions dry when it rains.
One of the real privileges of an appointment at IHQ is the opportunity of meeting officers from around the world. With Ardis working in the Americas zone, we are involved with a number of events with each session at the International College for Officers (ICO). It becomes a very small world when you discover that a delegate at the ICO is someone you met just a few months ago in their home territory in India.
The staff of officers who serve at IHQ come from every corner of the world. It is fun when a group of us are riding on a bus on our way to an ICO event and we strike up a conversation with someone who is curious about all of the uniforms. When we start to explain where everyone is from you glimpse the reaction on their face. At that moment you realize that it is truly an International Headquarters.
We have also been present at some rather historic Army events. We have seen firsthand the preparations for the High Council. We have attended the retirement of a General and the welcome of the new General that followed.
Now, that is something I never expected to see. So, the adventure goes on. Only the Lord knows for sure what adventure tomorrow may bring.