Friday evening, as we’re in a different apaprtment to normal, this one with a huge balcony, we thought it would be nice to ‘do’ church by inviting a few people whom I’ve known for some years for a barbecue. Lee & Katie did an amazing job with the food, and, we reckoned that at least 20, maybe more, people came. They included translators, friends like Dunia, the doctor: some pastors and their wives. It was a great evening. Here’s what Lee wrote about it on Facebook:
Ok so Friday night we had a gathering at the apartment – we had a BBQ and cooked a load of really good steak. People that know Paul from across the city came, some of whom had never met before. We had I think over 20 people.
It was really nice to chat and hang out and for people that we have got to know, to get to know each other.
Paul said “this is church” which I really agree with – church is not just services but relationships and friendships between people whose paths may not have crossed if it wasn’t for mutual love for Jesus. It was a privilege to host a party in Cali!
One of the pastors who came has featured in my story-telling in many countries – Umberto. I met him about 4 years ago, when he was crippled with both hips wrecked, and extensive referred pain right down both legs. I prayed for him in Spanish: was doing ok, even with ‘carreras’ – hips. At that point I realised to my horror that I coyuldn’t remember the word for ‘bones’ in Spanish, so whispered quickly to friend Diego, also a pastor, to ask. ‘Huesos’ he told me. Of course! I knew… but because I’d lost my train of thought, and ‘nuevos’ (new, in Spanish) and ‘huesos’ sound similar… I commanded, in the name of Jesus, ‘nuevos heuvos’….at which point, everyone looked up, laughed, and flummoxed me asked Diego what I’d just said. ‘New eggs’….same sort of masculine significance as anywhere in the world. Umberto whispered something to Diego: I asked what. ‘He told me to tell you that his wife will be very happy with your prayer!’
A year later, my name was bellowed loudly across a food court in one of the malls. Umberto, walking normally, no limp, no sticks: his wife on his arm. ‘Paul! Paul! Nuevos carreras sobrenatural!’ (supernatural new hips). And his wife added, with her thumb up, ‘Y nuevos heuvos tambien!’ (and new eggs, too!). Oh the joy of my linguistic ability…
This is Umberto….the man in the shorts. His wife is hiding behind my mate Edwin Vargas….and Diego is ‘my shape’ man in the background!