Having been a good boy, and done exactly what the doctor ordered (and my doctor’s Practice Nursing Sister, too), I stayed home, rested, ‘recuperation, if you like: and what lots of lovely caring friends told me, too. And even now, I’m still taking it easy, but just somewhere else! I know I’ve said this before, but my home in Bangor is a place I love to be, and a place I love to go home to, the first place that’s really been home in decades, so it wasn’t a problem staying home. I did actually feel that I needed to get away after my release from captivity, sorry, hospitalisation(!), as there are always things to do, people to see, when you’re at home. I remember, when I was little, someone in my family used to say that ‘the devil makes work for idle hands’…. hmm, not quite sure of the root of that saying, but often heard people say it….
But when you’re at home, you do do things: so once the doctor/nurse had got my blood INR (Internationally Normalised Ratio: any better off now? No, nor me!!) up to the numbers they wanted, courtesy of those nice syringes into my gut, and the rat poison, warfarin, down my throat, my doctor said it was o.k to travel again. My next ‘big’ flight is Colombia next month, so it was felt that what I sort of regard as an ‘afternoon out’ trip (as it’s not long haul) was in order: and now, I’m in one of my favourite countries, Romania, in the delightful little city of Sibiu, do a little work, but also resting, too.
Then it’s back to England to head straight off – by car this time – with lovely friends Dennis & Cathy Acott – to Lisieux, Normandy, France, to the church ‘Le Source’, pastored by MORE lovely friends, Francis & Diane Dognon, for a weekend of teaching – and practical! – on healing. It’s been about 23 years since I last came to Sibiu: to say it’s changed since then would be an understatement! Quite recently, it held the distinguished title of ‘European City of Culture’, and even looking out of my window here, it’s easy to see why. I never got to see much of it all those years ago – it’s a bit difficult to sight-see with a few 38 ton trucks and some littler ones, with you!
To the testimonies! A couple of months or so back, I had the privilege of speaking on a Friday night and Sunday morning at St Hilda’s Church of Ireland, in – I think, Dunmurry, It’s hard to know where on place ends and the next one starts in Northern Ireland! (Thinking about it, the whole of the UK is like that! – but we might know where Scotland begins after the vote this week… 🙁 – I hope not, to be honest, that the Union stays intact). That Friday, I met, and had the joy of praying for, a lovely lady, Janeece, and her husband, Ronnie. I won’t go over Janeece’s story again (if you want to see it, look at the entries for June 7, 9, and 11). Janeece had had cancer: the transformation, visually, of her was remarkable, BUT, she’d also had spinal surgery (related to the cancer) which had left her in agony, and we’re still praying into that one, as God hasn’t YET fulfilled that part of Janeece’s healing. Janeece asked me to pray for her parents, Roy and Margaret: Margaret, too, had cancer, Roy a long-term hacking ‘bone-jarring’ and exhausting cough. I’d love to say that Margaret was instantly miraculously healed: she wasn’t, and there seemed to be the sort of ‘resignation’ that is – humanly – understandable with cancer, that she was ‘nearing the end’. God really blessed her with peace, and – correct me if I’m wrong, Ronnie & Janeece! – a release from a lot of a pain, meaning that, when the end DID come, on August 5, she went to be with Jesus in a lovely, peaceful, dignified way.
The ‘blessed’ part, though ,is Roy….who himself was diagnosed with cancer the day his dear wife died. Roy has become a lovely friend. When we first met, Roy had for many years, no time for God. Maybe even a little ‘anti-God’! But he saw the change in Janeece, from the Friday afternoon, to the Saturday morning, and was happy enough to have me pray for him when I asked if I could, for his cough. Next morning, the cough had pretty much gone. Within a couple of days, gone. Then he had to go into hospital for surgery related to the cancer: and the cough returned, as so often happens on hospitalisation in my experience. I’m sure you know this, but even the medics – certainly at the Ulster Hospital – recognise that blood pressure rises at the sight and smell of hospitals! Roy ASKED Ronnie & Janeece would I go to hospital to pray for him. Wow…yes, of course I would, and did. The cough receded, but didn’t go. He again asked if I’d go to see him, and pray again. Of course! What I felt then – just the week before last – was that Roy would have one final mammoth cough, and then it’d be gone. I do believe that’s what God told me to say to him: but I think you know that I’m reticent, more often than not, to declare ‘God has told me…’ as so much garbage is passed around between Christians under the ‘uncontestable’ banner that ‘God has told me…’ He was due to start chemo last Thursday: when you know that, on diagnosis, the docs’ prognosis was 4-12 months max for Roy to live, chemo seemed almost unnecessary, as they said it might extend his life by a few weeks… when pitted against the potential side effects of it, and as God seems to be ‘on his case’, an ‘experience’ that Roy didn’t need. I said to him that (again, without the God has said bit!) my feeling was that, in declining the chemo offer, that would be when God stepped in and finished the job….
Well, last week, Roy had one mammoth cough, with grunge coming up from deep in his stomach and gut (one of his cancers was in his stomach): you might find it a blessing to know that he filled a couple or more quite sizable bowls!! Roy asked – again! – of Ronnie & Janeece, would ‘God’s mate Paul come and pray for me again’ – I must confess I loved being seen to be God’s mate! – and R & J told me he tells everyone about God’s mate… well, I heard from Ronnie by text yesterday… The hospital didn’t do any tests on Thursday, his first scheduled chemo date, because they couldn’t ‘cure you and that chemo would only give him an extra number of weeks. Roy decided, then, that he’s ‘going to trust God for his healing. His cough and breathing difficulties have not returned’. Watch this space….!!! C’mon, Roy, living in the Kingdom is so much better than living outside of it…. I heard, some time back, from another long-time friend, also Roy, who also had a long-term, often embarrassing cough (he’s a Financial Services Advisor, and would often have a coughing fit in clients’ interviews… also, news of a story about one of Roy’s wife’s friends: here’s what Roy said –
Hey mate just to let you know that on the Weds after you prayed for her, Angie saw Joy who said she wasn’t completely healed but was much better and thought she’d be better again the next day! Also you prayed re my throat and the frequent choking sessions – well, after the 5 mins on Sunday afternoon I had a minor splutter on Weds and one or two irritations only since, compared to 2 or even 3 REALLY annoying and frustrating 5 – 6 minute sessions per day previously – thanks mate !
And, last Sunday, I was at church, and a lady came over to me asking ‘Are you Paul?’ I had no recollection of her at all, but she told me some wonderful news. About four years ago, I was asked to go and pray for a young mum-to-be (it was this lady’s daughter). She was right on her ‘due date’, but the baby was in breech position. There were many reasons, due to her medical condition, why she just could not give birth – even by cesarean section – with the baby breech. Doctors had tried to turn the baby, but with no success. Mum-to-be, and her husband, were scared, to say the least. Four years on, I hear the news – that, that night, in her sleep, the baby turned…and she gave birth normally, to the delight of the whole family, and, of course, great relief to them as well, as it could, without God’s intervention, have been life-threatening to mm and baby. God’s so amazing, isn’t he? It still blows me away after all these years…
Lastly for this blog, you might remember that I told of the five of us on my Cali team, prayed for a man at Ana Beiba’s home, who had died, about 30 minutes before we got there. I mentioned, too, that God said something to me about ‘someone’ to lay down next the dear man’s corpse: as I’d ‘blown’ God’s instructions in the same scenario in the past (I’d learned it’s best to be obedient by 2008!!), I asked if he was telling me to do it. The answer was a clear ‘no’:which probably meant that it was to be Pete McAvoy…. I waited a few minutes, then threw it out as a ‘general’ statement, at which point Pete said that God had told him to do it a few minutes before…. You know, in situations like that, the ‘end product’ (in the case, a man coming back to life from death) isn’t what God’s concerned with. He’s concerned with our willingness to be obedient: nothing more, nothing less. Bless him, Pete did it, and if you think to pray for Pete, honour him for his obedience (it’s never easy in a situation like that, and the dear man was already covered in flies) and ask God to bless Pete by giving him his heart’s desire. If you want proof, just a little further down there’s a picture: if you don’t want to look at a corpse (shame on you, how will you ever do what Jesus did? 😉 ), then don’t scroll down…..Pete, mate, I honour you: God WILL bless you for your obedience, I know it wasn’t a flippin’ easy thing to do, but you did it. God bless YOU, Pete McAvoy….