george hancock stefanProbably one of the funniest things that happened on my recent trip to Romania was the acceleration of my clock. It took me a while to figure out what had happened.

The difference in time between New York City and Bucharest is 7 hours. My flight from JFK, New York to Otopeni, Bucharest was over 11 hours.  After a few pleasantries and dinner with my hosts, I was so exhausted that I went to sleep at 10 p.m.  I set my alarm for 7:00 a.m. because I was scheduled to preach on Sunday at two different churches – one in the morning and one in the evening.

The other thing to remember is that Europe runs on a different electrical system and so you always have to bring little electrical gadgets that have propensity to fail.  Thus I had my computer connected to one and my alarm clock connected to another.

My alarm clock sounded at 7:00 a.m. and I quickly got up, showered, and went downstairs to meet my host.   I was surprised at how dark it was outside and that there were no one else around. I went from the top of the building to the bottom – six stories – and no one was awake.  On the way back up to my room on the third floor, a concerned, sleepy building watchman came out and asked me if everything was alright. He had heard something in the building and when he saw me, he thought that I may be sick and came to help me.  After we confirmed that it was a little past 4:00 a.m., I went back to my room.  At that time I saw that my watch did have 4:00 a.m. and my alarm clock had close to 9 a.m.

I reset the alarm clock and then in one hour I found my problem. Either because of an electrical jolt from the outlet or a jolt during the trip, my alarm clock became defective. It added more than half an hour to each hour. I slept from 10 to 4 but, by adding 30 minutes to each hour, it looked like 7:00 a.m.


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I was so happy that I was the first one up, showered dressed, and ready to go and preach.  However I had to wait another four hours until my seminary hosts got up.  They looked much more rested than I did.

To create more humor to the story, I remembered at that moment that my wife had asked me if I wanted to pack her travel clock that runs on battery. Oh, if only this husband will listen more to his wife, he will be a better traveler, or at least in this instance better rested.

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...