So sorry about no blog yesterdy, it was a very late night the previous evening, at a church ‘Nuevo Vision’ Filadelfia (New Vision Filadelfia) It is pastored by an amazing lady, Fanny, who in 10 days’ time, is 86 years old. During the worship, this little lady, who due to her age, is stooped somewhat, and who is no more that 4 feet 6 inches tall (1.4 mts – it’s lovely for me to feel like a ‘giant’ when I’m standing next to her!), was dancing at the front of the church….she is a living of example of never giving up, her goals and dreams for her church and the other churches she has input into, takes her many years into the future!
Oh for more people like her. If I’m honest, that’s what I want to be like! Although I’m 25 years her junior, I want that fire and passion, authority and vision, for the next 35 years of my life (or more – friend Arthur Burt, a well known minister in the Americas, and especially here in Colombia, is well past his century now, a friend in the USA heard him in Miami 18 months ago, when he was 101 years old). Maybe, because we live in a society that has ‘accepted’ that 65 is the retirement age (until recent government austerity changes!), we lost, to the Kingdom of God, an army of people who retire and then ‘settle’. That’s not intended as a criticism, just a fact. A lovely very-long-time friend in Hove, Sussex, Charlie Pocock, is still active in preaching, and, until not so many years ago (maybe 5?), active in missionary work, especially in Malawi and Zimbabwe. Right now, he is, I think, 93 years old.
So, back to Filadelifia, which probably doesn’t need any translation, as it sounds the same(!). Of course, the OTHER Philadelphia, in the large county to the north of Colombia, is ingrained in my psyche, as that’s where my ‘American Saga’ began! The worship, two lovely young ladies singing to music from their computer, was lovely: it just goes to prove that without a band, and with canned music, you can still take people into God’s presence.
Brian spoke very well again: he has never done any public speaking until this trip, apart from occasional prophetic words in a meeting back in ‘safe’ England. Every time he’s spoken, it’s got more and more confident, and increasing in length, as he’s growing into it at a rate of knots! Like many speakers, a lot who’d never admit it, he’s dead nervous (I am, still, after 30 years), but he did a great job on Wednesday night. We had Francisco, another pastor friend, translating: and he’s not really translated for someone who speaks proper English before (he’s done a bit for Americans 😉 – and he did a great job too.
After I’d shared a little on ‘What the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth’ might look like, and how, despite whatever (often massive) limitations we have, that it IS possible to bring the Kingdom in to wherever we are (the last few verses of Habakkuk 3 prove that, after he’s spent two chapters of his wonderful little book complaining to God, and then getting severely reprimanded!), then came the appeal – we agree (Brian and me, that is!) that it was 100% response….
Interestingly, in this church, the prayer needs were a lot more to do with family/social/work issues. Of course there were some healings, but once I started to get people wanting prayer for financial and practical intervention from God, I knew the Habakkuk ‘preach’ was right…. end of chapter 3 especially! ‘Though there is no…..food in the cupboard, petrol for the motorbike/car/money in my pocket/money for hospital treatment/though my vegetables won’t grow (my paraphrase!) – YET I WILL rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.’
Having said, that were, of course (I expect it here, as I now expect it in most places) healings: a lady deaf in her left ear heard: a young lady with ultra thick glasses (I’d guess she was 13), took off her glasses and could see (I learned later from her that the ophthalmologists had said her sight would deteriorate even more rapidly over the next few months until blindness arrived), Brian prayed for a guy literally just brought in off the streets, a guy who sleeps rough, alcohol and drug dependent, and Brian set him free from the addictions, and through a prayer of repentance….
All the ‘usual’ stuff happened, which believe me I don’t denigrate as someone (currently) living with constant pain (knees – though they’re getting better noticeably, thank you Lord! – maybe that’s because I’m due an appointment on November 27 – under the doctor’s insistence! – with one of top orthopaedic surgeons in Norn Iron (Northern Ireland for the uninitiated!!) to talk about the replacement of both knees turning me into the ‘Six million dollar man’! – titanium knees. I don’t want them!) – in the church on Wednesday, chronic back pain was healed, more ovarian problems in the ladies, of course – there seems to be an ‘epidemic’ of ovary issues this trip…
More arthritic folk received instant relief from their pain, others ha ‘an improvement’ in their sight which I told them would carry on each day, so long as they ‘rejoice in the Lord;’ for what he’d begun…. So, yes, another late night home, from a very trouble barrio, but thanking God for his presence and blessing on that lovely pastor’s church.
Yesterday, after the initial ‘rush’ of meetings, was free: probably a good thing for Robert, who arrived yesterday from Australia. I”d fixed it in my head that he was arriving at night: so Brian and I were sitting waiting for friends in a shopping centre when I got his message from the airport! ‘Where are you?? I’ve been at Cali airport over an
hour!’….aaarrggh….. fortunately, I grabbed a taxi driver who was willing to exceed the speed limits, and we got to Rob in about 25 minutes! Needless to say, he was rather jetlagged, having had a 16-17 hour time-change, but he made it through to 9pm with a glass of wine, and a glorious cup of Juan Valdez coffee… it’s nearly 10 am now, and he’s still blotto!
This afternoon, we have one of the ‘highlight’ visits of any tip – the ‘Reconocer’ – the Christian drug rehab home. It’s wonderful to see young men and women whose lives had previously been trashed, worshipping the Lord, and on the road to a ‘life of abundance’. We’re always there quite some time, as we pray for all of them, and – if God gives them – bring prophetic words to them. It’s a wonderful but ‘draining’ experience. It’s a marvellous story, Reconocer: it’s based in house formerly owned by the infamous Rodriguez brothers (both extradited to the States some years back, and in jail until their deaths) – they ran the second largest cocaine/other drugs cartel in this nation, as well as many other ‘industries’ and businesses: second only to Pablo Escobar, in his hey-day, and responsible for the cartel war which for many years destroyed this lovely country. Redemption: their house used to rehabilitate the very sort of people they had destroyed.
I’m still trying to raise the ‘final’ sum needed to pay for Ana Beiba’s house extension, at her home for abandoned elderly people: getting there, but still some way short, and though I plan to see her over this weekend, I’m not going to mention that – in faith – I’ll have the money for her by the following weekend, certainly by the time I leave on November 14!
Tomorrow, a busy day: two churches that sort of clash: one meeting at 4pm, the other at 5.30pm, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to drop Brian and Robert in it, and I’ve told Brian (Rob’s still asleep!) that they’re preaching at the 5.30 meeting! ‘Iglesia de Restauración Ministerial Shalom’ (Church of Restoration of Shalom), Brian & Rob – and me before they’ve finished as I hope to be there in time to encourage them! – Iglesia visión y avivamiento (Church of Vision and Revival). Please pray for them, as neither have preached before!
Sunday, busy too… Brian will be with Wilmar Gomez at his church, Mision el Abrigo (Shelter Mission), and I’m way way out to the very etremitiy of Agua Blanca – Los Naranjos (The Oranges, unusually!) for… ooohhhhh….. an 8 am service., with Robert. Hope his jetlag has gone by then! More blogs before that, though, I hope!