As you’ll know from previous posts, I dearly love the family I stay with here, and who, many years ago, pioneered a church in a difficult area: hence the name of the church as it was then, ‘El Leon de la Tribu de Juda’… you probably don’t need me to translate that for you.
I really AM part of their family, and first preached in the church in 1996, maybe early ’97. Then, it was populated with many lovely people, among them homosexuals, transvestites, prostitutes, many others of extreme poverty. Enrique & Mimi Osorio, whose vision it was, loved those people just like Jesus loved them, and, of course, with love, acceptance, and no condemnation, people soon become the people God wants them to be. Enrique, who was 1 year and 3 days older than me (me, a mere youth!), was one of my dearest friends, a Latino with a British sense of humour, one which his son, Benny, has inherited, so it’s unsurprising that I still love coming here, with Benny & his adorable wife Paty, and their three gorgeous kids, leading the church.
Enrique, who was a doctor/consultant qualified in about 6 different areas of medicine, as well as being a GP – If I recall the sign above the days in those days, his special areas were cardiology, urology, gynaecology, pathology (I’m struggling now!)… tragically, Enrique went to be with the Jesus he loved and served too young, for us, anyway: 57, but in the hands of Benny & Paty, the church has carried on it’s same love that was its foundation, and, as they’ve grown, changed the name, moved districts – Barak – and are involved with many churches in this mammoth city. Benny’s been to Colombia with me, and, God willing, going again in April, this time with another dear friend who is also a little crazy, like me, like Enrique, Benny… Daniel Ortiz, ‘Danny’….
It’s for me a real privilege to come and serve churches over many years, serve ministries (that’s why I’ve ‘fought’ against having my own ‘ministry organisation’ – you can do God’s work just as well without one, serving friends like these year in year out…
And, of course, the benefits… there’s some wonderful eating places here, not the least of which is the Rincon Argentino, where I suffered last night with, I think, the biggest ‘smallest on the menu’ steak I’ve ever eaten! Please note: I left most of the chips(!), though the delightful Negra Modelo beer slid down a treat!