My sincere apologies at not blogging for a few days. Many reasons, not the least of which has been extreme exhaustion at the end of the day, with countless numbers of people both prayed for, healed, or the happy recipients of a miracle – and there have been quite a few of those…. When you get Caleños – people of Cali – saying that weather is very hot, then you know it’s just not us pasty, sunlight-stricken Brits, for the most time, that are finding it draining. Generally, at this time of year, the mid-afternoon temperatures are 28-32C. This time, they’ve averaged around the 36-38C mark. Not a huge difference, you might think, until you come to do anything. Normally by now – 2 weeks into a trip to Cali, I’m pretty well adapted, and not finding it a hard to keep moving. This time, it’s a whole new ball game!
There are other contributing factors to the lack of blogs. I can’t go into any detail, obviously (as you’ll see why when you finish this paragraph!), but a ‘situation’ arose during the April visit which was, to say the very least, unfortunate, one that should never have happened, and, I pray, never happens again. No details, sorry, but a church in this lovely south-west part of Colombia, has ended up devastated, it’s like a human earthquake hit the church, and it’s going to take a long time for that church – to recover. As the ‘leader’ of the teams that I bring here, I felt I needed to do two things: firstly, to apologise to my dear friend, Pastor William Castaño, who organises much of my (excellently and packed) programme here, and to offer not to return here again myself, or with teams, as ultimately I’m responsible, having invited people to join me, even though the actions of others can never be accounted for. Secondly, to see the Pastor of the church, with William, and Pastor Wilmar Gomez, to offer the deepest apologies possible, and I made the same offer to him, to step away from Colombia.
William nailed his colours to the mast, on my account, by asking me to speak that morning, before going to the church, to a fantastic group of pastors. For me, it was such a blessing, to know that a man of William’s stature in the Christian world here and in other parts of South and Central America, effectively ‘endorsed’ me. It was a great way to begin what were going to be a tough few hours. There must have been 25 pastors present: Wilmar translated for me, and prayed, as we saw God instantly heal about a dozen of them, from osteoarthritic knees, backs, ankles: carpal tunnel syndrome: chronic back pain, and all the usual suspects….
Then to the church: the first little while was tough, the sorrow and devastation of the Pastor & his wife, evident in their faces. I did the only things I could do, as I’d done with William. Both were graciously considered, and no, I didn’t need to quit as the situation appeared so cut and dry. It was with a huge sigh of relief that I sat in the back of William’s car on the way home, and sadness both for the victims of the situation – the church – and got those involved in it. I’d only heard from Wilmar about this situation the night before I flew to Cali.
In the last blog, I mentioned I’d had – or rather, my amazing team had mentioned – a strange ‘turn’ that I’d had last Friday. Subsequent conversations with my dear friend, Lee Collier, who’s been here two or three times before with me, and is a doctor – as his his wife Katy – suggested something different: Lee was concerned enough to ring, and, actually, Id wondered the same thing as the ‘turn’ was happening: to suggest it just MIGHT have been a TIA (transient ischaemic attack – a mini stroke…. I haven’t yet checked it out with a doctor, and nothing even remotely similar has happened since…..but it was most definitely an attack of the enemy, to rock the boat even more than it had been rocked by the events of April. Sleep became an increasingly distant friend as my head could not put the April situation down (I slept 29 hours in my first 14 days here), it was, although resolved with the necessary people, it still ran around in my head… I do think now, in the light of sleeplessness, heat, and ‘busy-ness’, along with an enemy who is not in the least pleased with what God’s doing here, that everything combined together to try and ‘side-line’ me. I ain’t having that!!!
I want to say more about this amazing team I’ve got here this time in another blog, but I am absolutely blown away by who they are, how they’ve been, what they’ve done, and their sheer adaptability not only to an ‘alien’ city, the heat, and the altitude, but to what God is doing in them and through them. I’m blessed, as always, to have great people with me!
Oh yes… nearly forgot… the old weight is still continuing, after 45 years of failed diets, to still fall off me….! 37 kgs, a tad under 6 stone in proper money: the heat’s combining with every else to do me a favour!! Yeahhh!!!