Been a really good couple of days here, including some very valuable and important time spent with Pastors, building and extending our friendships and relationships, a trip for Alan & Barbara to the Children’s Foundation run by Pastor Wilmar’s church, El Abrigo. It’s an amazing ministry, totally ‘faith’ funded, and they look after around 100 kids a day, for 9 hours, feeding them, teaching them, and training them, giving them medical and dental care – in fact, today the dentist was there! It’s a wonderful place, filled with the Presence of God, despite the presence of 100 kids!
Spent a lot of time with Wilmar, and, today, with Pastor William Castaño. William is one of the loveliest, most humble men you could meet, one of the most respected pastors in the city, and such a blessing to have had him involved in organising things for me here over the past year. William is going to be looking after my programme here from now on, along with one or two long-time pastor friends of 16-17 years. William has a wonderful teaching ministry, a theology doctor (so he’s good for people like me to have around!), and seems delighted to take over this – for me and those with me – very important role.
One of the great blessings about William is that he seems to work on ‘western time’ – that is, he’s not late! Previous pastors I’ve worked with don’t seem to worry about time (which also means they don’t worry about honour), so if a meeting is due to start at 6 pm, an hour away, our pick up time would (notionally!) be 5.30 pm, rush hour, and often it seemed to happen more on Friday’s, the busiest rush hour…. one church, which was a turning point for me in moving in William’s direction, was a church pastored by a man I know, his church a good hour away on a good day: 6 pm start, a ‘5.30 pm pick-up’ which I insisted had to be 4.30, and which, in the end, turned out to be an ‘8.15 pm pick-up’. We got to the church 3½ hours late: I just can’t dishonour people like that. Bless ’em, the congregation were still there, singing, as they had been for over 200 minutes…. There was a lot more besides that, but to have a couple of hours with William today, and for him to fill in any ‘blanks’ we had left for this week, is such a refreshing blessing!
Tonight, we;re at a Vineyard church, ‘La Vinia’ (unsurprisingly!), pastored by great friend Oskar Muñoz: it’s the church where the miracle ‘scar’ healing occurred for the translator, Omar, last time, so we’re looking forward to it immensely. Tomorrow, is another lunchtime appointment, followed by cell group meetings for a church, and the rest of the week is roller-coaster, with Barbara speaking at a women’s meeting Thursday morning (but they Alan & me there! – apparently there’s an 18 year old son with autism, so we can handle that!), the drug rehab centre (Reconocer), more meetings, possibly the maximum security prison in Palmira on Friday, more church cell groups, more meetings right up (almost) until Alan & Barbara head back north on Sunday morning, and me on Monday….
Salvation, Miracle, and healing stories to follow….