Probably all wrong Spanish, but, with only 48 hours until my lovely mate Brian Louden and I are on the plane from Heathrow 5 to Madrid, and then on to Cali, Colombia, the delight and excitement mounts. What makes it even more special is that Brian is so, so looking forward to it, and – er – apprehensive at the same time(!) – it’s his first time there, AND his first time away with me. AND, we know it’s going to be a great trip, because of the hassles leading up to it! Last week, Brian was at an astonishing 2-day conference on power ministry, led by Joaquin Evans, from Bethel Church, Redding, California: whilst there, he heard from the airline that they’d cancelled his (long-booked) ticket…… thankfully, they’ve rectified their blunder, and he’s on the plane Friday! The last couple of weeks for me have been, in a word, horrible in so many ways: and the times I heard that ‘little voice’ say ‘Don’t go! It’ll all stop!’ have really hacked me off…..so, more determined than ever, Friday, Heathrow 5, here we come. Six days later, the lovely Robert Hall arrives in Cali, from his 35 week-journey to get there (no, that’s an exaggeration, honest…. but it is about 2.5 days), bringing his fantastic Aussie humour, his recently acquired (2 years) AMAZING faith for healing, and countless fart jokes and farts….
Then, on the 4 November, sadly Brian heads of to the airport, and the equally lovely Simon Allaby and Nick Harding arrive. Simon only got home last Sunday (3 days ago) from 2 weeks in Pakistan, which has blown him away, and this’ll be his third trip to Cali. Simon’s a great preacher, I wish I could preach like him rather than ramble on like I do(!), and he’s been ‘right there’ for healing in Cali since arriving, 2 years ago, straight into a meeting from the airport, for me to say ‘Hello mate – can you pray for that lady there!’ – he did, she was INSTANTLY healed…. non-stop since then. Nick has been a dear, dear mate for (I always forget!) since er….2001…2000….2002…1999? – from his days when his spoke at his YWAM school in Argentina. Nick’s friendship has meant the world to me since then, and his lovely wife Sarah – whom I met on HER YWAM school in New Zealand in …er… 2004….2005? Their adorable sons have much in common with me, too – Milo (a very popular chocolate drink in Colombia!!), and Ralph…middle name Bennison…months on, I’m still utterly humbled by that…..
For those of you who DON’T know…. Bennison (though with one ‘n’ in those days) is a middle English word for ‘blessing’: and in French, again with one ‘n’, is from the French verb ‘Benir’ – to bless (Nous benison – we bless: nous vous benison – we bless YOU)…. I know, totally inappropriate to me, but for lovely Ralph to be called Blessing is wonderful…. Nick is a Chaplain in the detention area for illegals at Gatwick Airport (I think – not the airport I think – the job, I think!). He has the utter blessing of speaking Spanish fluently – though after 12…or is it 11…or 13 years since he spoke it, he might have to recall a few bits from the depths….. So, so looking forward to being with them ALL.
By the way, the header of the blog… is ‘my land, my country, my people’…. I’m an honorary Colombian, in my mind anyway! 21 days… amazing, amazing people in that historically troubled and battered land, some of the friendliest people you’ll find anywhere on the planet, and so, so hospitable. AND…. under an OPEN-HEAVEN.
So, God with us, I’ll attempt to blog and tell stories of the miracles – salvations – healings – every day…. I’ve got people who are ‘techhy’ so who knows, even without the lovely Lee Prior-Collier, I might still get some good photos, videos…. I thank God that the last couple of days my knees have been reasonable: after the last couple of weeks’ onslaught, they were terrible last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday…. but I sorta need them over the next 3 weeks, as I – and my four lovely fellow-wanderers – enjoy the presence, power, and miraculous intervention of the Creator of All Things in the lives of countless people.
God willing, too, I’ll meet up with Dario, the ‘favela’ boss: for a tour (ooer!) of his favela….we’ll go to the prison, hospitals, churches, homes… hopefully! I’m already ‘booked’ to ‘do’ a healing conference – that’ll be the first time I’ve done one there, so that’ll be exciting. 51st time, here I come….