When I wrote the blog last night, it was very late, after a very long meeting – well, very long ministry time! The atmosphere in the church was wonderful, a real sense of expectancy among people who had never seen me before, let alone heard of me (that’s the way I prefer it!). Always, as a preacher, at the end of a meeting, I analyse how it went: sometimes you know it was decidedly ‘average’, sometimes ‘not bad’, and sometimes ‘pretty good’. I reckoned that last night’s was pretty good, I was ‘on a roll’ and Benny did a marvellous job translating and keeping up with me. It’s not so many years ago that he wouldn’t do it, as translating ISN’T merely being to speak English, even if the person speaks it well. I’ve had some people translate for me over the last 30 years, whose English is excellent: but they can’t translate to save their lives! Thinking rapidly ‘on your feet’, contextualising what’s been said, trying to rapidly make jokes ‘work’ in a foreign language – is just a small part of translation.
It throws you completely when you’ve said one sentence, and are thinking about your next one, when the translator turns to you and says ‘What did you say?’ – and by then, because you’re on to the next sentence, you’ve forgotten it!
That’s why, last night, it was so good, and has been all week with with Benny, and it helps, too, that he’s a preacher in his own right. If the ‘preachy’ bit flows, people respond much better, as they’ve not had long silence in the sermon whilst translator and speaker compare notes! I’m still amazed at the ‘volume’ of response last night, about 90%, and just want to honour that dear brother who was so thrilled with his ‘circulation’ miracle that he was NOT going to keep quiet. Not sure I’d have been so bold, at his age – or any age! – to want to testify to your church that particular miracle!
This afternoon,, Benny’s brother, Joel Luis (Jois), who is an excellent doctor, is attacking my knees with big syringes! Draining off excess fluid from knee joints is a VERY strange sensation but not quite as strange as having stuff pumped back into them! Jois is going to stick some stem cells into both knees later…. truthfully, the old knees haven’t been TOO bad here in Mexico City, perhaps it doesn’t help that walking for us foreigners presents a walking problem all of its own, in that it is about 8,000 feet above sea level (2600 metres), and, though I’ve been here many, many times over the years, you DO notice the aditional stress on your heart and legs a bit!
It’s looking good for Benny and Daniel, Sunday evening’s pastor, to go to Cali with me later in the year. That’ll be a blast….they’re such good friends, and great fun, as well as being tremendous men of God. And they won’t translators, nor will my English friend Nick