In September it was given to me generously by a friend in church so that I could take it to use here in Brussels, and it was invaluable for keeping me enjoying music CDs, in touch with students here (email), family (Skype), friends and supporters (email, blogs & msn) and the outside world (BBC news, blogs), for downloading sermons (Piper on Hebrews), for admin (prayer letters, keeping tag of my time and money, online banking), prep for French class each week (online Belgian newspaper meaning I didn't have to buy one) and general info (Brussels public transport system, cinema info, travel info for getting to England, etc.)
Although it coughed and choked (froze and needed to be forcefully turned off) every now and again, these periods got increasingly frequent and violent until on Monday 13th March, when I got back from Mons GBU meeting, I found it had slipped into a coma. The light turned on, the HDD could be heard turning a little, but no sign of life on the screen. Nor when it was connected to a different monitor. At one point I had 3 computer buffs in my room all staring at it... each looking just as blank as the screen itself.
And now the computer doctor (read 'man in laptop shop') has uttered those sad words: 'Votre ordinateur est complètement foutu.' All he can do is retrieve the files I had saved in My Documents.
So, thank God for the gift of the laptop and the blessing it was.
Thank God also that at the time when it went into a coma, a new housemate moved into the studio in the basement who wanted to share the internet connection in my room, so found out about my comatose laptop and lent me an ancient spare one of his. It doesn't do internet, but for admin and typing emails / blog entries in advance it's fine, if a bit stiff in the keys, and it plays CDs (listening to Kreisler's Schön Rosmarin as I type this!) so thank God for that :) And this timing also means that although I have a year contract for the internet connection which I'm not using, from the moment the laptop died 2 guys in the house started sharing the internet connection (my room being the only one with a phoneline) so they'll pay - God is truly good at working these things out.
"And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you have need of them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with money bags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." [Luke 12.29-34]