i’m often amazed at how often, while on a trip overseas, i bump into someone i know. last time i was in london, i ran into andrew jones in the gift shop of the tate modern. i’ve chatted with todd hunter in the red carpet club at heathrow. i met john ortberg in the garden tomb, in jerusalem. i could go on.
on this trip to africa, i had two of these! and they are both just so stinking random.
it’s a small world case study #1
thursday morning, over a week ago, i woke up in lusaka, zambia and caught an early flight (an 18 seater!) to ndola, zambia. ndola is in the north central part of zambia. the airport is wonderfully hilarious – the “arrivals” area (which actually has a large metal sign that says “arrivals”) is a metal shed with openings on two sides that you walk through. the baggage handler brings out the checked luggage on a zambian equivilant of a radio-flyer wagon.
anyhow, it was still early in the morning, and our group hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. so our mini-bus took us about 10 or 15 minutes to a “lodge” for breakfast. there was another group of americans there, larger than ours. at first, i assumed they were a tour group, not a “missions group”. but i overheard a few phrases that made it clear they were a church group (you know the kind of phrases i mean). and i walked past a guy wearing a Michigan hat, and said “Go Blue!” to him (i grew up in michigan). then it dawned on me: my father had mentioned to me a few weeks back that he thought my brother-in-law’s brother (who was also one of my best friends in junior high) was going to be in zambia about the same time as me. so i asked one of the group members, “you don’t happen to have a chris dunlap in your group, do you?” “sure, he’s our group leader!” was the response.
i found chris, and we had breakfast together. we hadn’t seen each other in about 18 months, so it was fun to reconnect, and extremely surreal to do so over breakfast in a guest lodge in ndola, zambia.
while having breakfast with chris (who was with a large group from his church in suburban detroit), the youth pastor of the church came up to us and introduced himself. he was shocked to meet us YS-folk (karla yaconelli and tic long were with me) in zambia, and blogged about it here, along with a photo. after breakfast, i saw that a bunch of the high-schoolers from the group (it was a multi-generational group) were loading up a mini-bus to head off somewhere, so i stuck my head in the window and cheered them on. three of the girls said, “hey, i know you from somewhere.” i figured they just had jet-lag.
“didn’t you speak at ‘spiritual emphasis week’ at southfield christian high school a couple years ago?” one asked. well, sure, i did.
it’s a small world case study #2
this past wednesday morning i woke up early in livingstone, zambia (at victoria falls), and got in a minivan at 6am to go to a game park in botswana for the day. we drove about an hour, crossed the zambezi river (into botswana) in a small boat, and drove another 1/2 hour before embarking on a 2 hour boat ride alongside the edge of the chobe national park. by being in a boat, we were able to see hundreds of hippos, as well as lots of crocs and other animals.
the boat dropped us off at the dock of a nice-ish guest lodge for a pre-arranged lunch, prior to taking a jeep-like vehicle into the national park. the eating area at the lodge was right alongside the river (beautiful setting). we were walking to a table, when we ran into thom and joannie schultz (along with their son, matt, and joannie’s parents). thom and joannie are the owners of group publishing, one of the major “competitors” (not the best word) of ys. we’ve known thom and joannie for years and have a warm relationship with them. they had just arrived and were staying at that lodge as part of a couple-week-long safari vacation.
so, sing along with the little round-headed animatronic children: it’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all…