Wow…. it’s like Christmas here today! After 2½ weeks of having to take my laptop to McDonalds (thank you, McD’s for free wi-fi!!), I’ve got internet where I’m living here in Romania!! Yeahhh!! Feels like the shackles have come off, especially as my laptop battery is completely shot, and, when fully charged, completely runs out in about 55 minutes… :(. But, no more! I’m plugged in, switched on… It’s been a good trip here, so totally different to Colombia, (where, as I haven’t been able to update my diary on the website, you might think I am!). I’m NOT in Colombia, for those who missed any of the last couple of months’ saga, because the advice of my doctor was not to do any long-haul flights at least until the new yer, after my (massive) pulmonary embolisms of 9 weeks ago… I’m still taking copious amounts of rat poison (Warfarin) each day, to keep my blood thin and un-clottable (yeah, I know, I’m a clot!!): and if you don’t know, long distance flying is a major cause of deep vein thrombosis – blood clots in the legs – so it does seem sensible to listen to the medics, especially as I have so many options of places to go, a lot nearer home! Like Romania…. ….if you know me well, you’ll know that Romania has been high on my list of places to minister from the day of the massive revolution they had here on December 16th, 1989. From that event, God gripped my heart and spirit with this country, and within 4 weeks of the Ceausescu’s execution, on Christmas Day, ’89, I was here with many trucks with supplies that Romania needed desperately. I fell in love with the country: it is breathtakingly beautiful in many parts, and with unbelievable ‘grinding’ poverty and tragedy in others. My ‘ministry’ here has been – in the early days – with small churches in rural areas – and for the last goodness-knows-how-long, more on a one-to-one level with individuals. This trip is in the latter camp, and it’s been good and profitable so far. To minimise the travelling, I’ve been here 2½ weeks, and have about the same period to go. But… ….I have a clear sense that, having had a 4 year ‘sabbatical’ from Romania, up until September this year, that God wants me here more often. I’m still waiting to hear from him what ‘more often’ means! Highly respected – and accurate – prophet, Chuck Pierce, had this word to say today:
Where did that expression come from? ‘The bets laid plans of mice and men…’? Comedian Eddie Izzard does a very sketch about it….
One of the things I’ve tried to learn over the years is to be ready when God suddenly seems to come up with a change of direction, and to be ready to move where he seems to be redirecting me. You don’t need me to tell you (if you’re a regular blog reader) how much I love Colombia! Originally, in 12 days from now, I’d have been planning the final bits of the trip to one of my favourite places on earth. I’d got a nice ‘team’ pretty much ‘inked’ in for the trip: I love to travel with a team, or at least one other person, for a variety of reasons – including haring the preaching, the praying, and I love to ‘drop people in it’ to do things they’ve never done, to find that they can!
So, a few weeks ago, I ‘lost’ three people who were ‘certainties’ for Cali: three weeks isn’t enough time to replace them, for such a duration – work, university commitments, family commitments, etc – and my dear friend Simon was only going for a week. I recognise that I’m still recovering from the trauma of my pulmonary embolism, its apped so much strength and energy out of me, my doctors would ‘prefer’ that I didn’t take any long-haul flights until the new year…
So…Simon is going alone, as I last heard: he’s only going to be in Cali for a week, and I tried and tried to get people who have expressed a desire to come, but drew blanks. God seemed, er, reticent to provide the airfare (around £1200 for 7-8 days, plus accommodation, wasn’t an amount I could conjure up from nothing…so, I’ve pulled out of Colombia myself, for this particular trip, and my Simon will go one his own for that week.
But God already had it covered in that my ‘new’ door to Romania well and truly opened last month, and I’m going there instead, probably for 5-6 weeks, starting today! I head over to England this afternoon, and fly to Romania tomorrow. It was good, I know, to have a four-year break from going to that lovely country, and to go to a different city was like seeing the Romania I fell in love with almost 25 years ago. So, no ‘miracle’ blogs from Colombia, but hopefully, so lovely stories to tell from somewhere a bit closer to home – and with no long flights to ‘disturb’ the healing process in my body – just a one-stop, approximately 4 hour (total) flight, which feels good to me and sounds good to the doctor!
As you know, I’m not one for posting a great deal of trite (tripe??!) information on Facebook, or here, hence the ‘silence’ again and lack of blog posts… not because I can’t be bothered, it’s just that I’m fairly sure you don’t want to know what I had for lunch, or how many times I went to the loo , or other such world-changing information…. 🙂
So, I’m sort of ‘back in harness’ now, after the traumas of late August, and my hospitalisation after the delightful pulmonary embolism saga….I THOUGHT I might be in action in Romania, but in truth, it turned out to be a very necessary couple of weeks doing very little, necessary in the ‘recuperation’ after the lung problem, and that, according my doctor’s advice, must continue for a few more weeks yet. Actually, I didn’t realise just how much the ‘saga’ took out of me, in terms of physical and mental energy and strength: it was only when I truly ‘stopped’ that I realised how weak I was: without wanting to over-dramatise anything, the doctors in hospital DID tell me I was ‘very, very lucky’ to be alive, and, talking to other medics, and other people, now recognise that those first few days were a very real ‘fight’ to stay alive. Being just a little more sensible than I used to be, I know that I need to treat my body with a little more tender, loving care even for the next few weeks…
So, in Romania, I was grateful to find that, actually, the people I went to had recognised that, too: and apart from a few small meetings, and a few one-to-one prayer/ministry sessions, the bulk of the time was – recuperation…. and I’m back there for more next week, ahead of going to Colombia – praying hard for the airfare for that, as I’ve not been able to preach and receive any preaching gifts for some months now….
Right now, though, I’m in France – having just finished a weekend with the wonderful ‘L’Eglise de la Source’ church in Lisieux, in wonderful Normandy. I’m here with dear friends Dennis & Cathy Acott, from Maidstone, and we’ve had the privilege of seeing God do some lovely, lovely things since Friday evening. More of that in a moment though, as I want to say how wonderfully we’ve been looked after whilst we’ve been here. We’re staying some distance out from Lisieux, at the home/ministry centre of a wonderful couple, Jean-Michel & Brigitte Bourgois. Their home is in a tiny village, Morsan, and is just amazing. It’s a large country house, with a number of gites – Dennis & Cathy are in one, I’m in another – and whilst the weekend has been busy, wonderfully blessed by God, effective – it’s been very tiring, too, as we’ve prayed with many people – this home has been like paradise to return to. Thank you, Francis & Diane Dognon (Leaders of the church) and Jean-Michel & Brigitte, for making this visit so wonderful….
Friday, Dennis drove us from Maidstone to Lisieux, via the ferry, which made a lovely change from the tunnel! The first meeting we effectively went straight into, a home group of dear friends Rene & Liza, and about a dozen or more people. I spoke, as Dennis had driven, though both he and Cathy introduced themselves: and then God turned up as only He can, and I think I can safely say that everyone who was prayed for was healed…. everything from minor pains to IBS to carpal tunnel syndrome to circulation problems, and it was a time of real blessing, and set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
Trying to FIND Jean-Michel & Brigitte’s home in the dark (we left the homegroup at 11.30 pm) was another issue altogether! The sat-nav/gps told us one thing, instructions over the phone when we were hopelessly ‘Bonnie Tyler’ed'(!! – ‘Lost in France, for those of a certain age or more!! – no, not ‘Totally Eclipsed of the heart’!!). FINALLY, at just before 2 am, we arrived…. to discover heaven on earth….
Fortunately, Saturday’s meetings were scheduled to begin at 2 pm, so we could have a lay-in and late breakfast, before attacking the baguette with my usual gusto, only to discover there was no baguette Saturday, but some beautiful brioche instead, and glorious home-made plum jam… hard life, eh?
Dennis and Cathy took the first sessions Saturday afternoon: yours truly filing the last slot, and the ministry time was, again, wonderful, with most, if not all, being healed. Torn shoulder muscles, supra-spinatus tendon problems, yes- osteoarthritic knees being instantly healed (I prayed for three ‘sets’ of knees and a single knee: I believe D&C had more!), heart problems were healed, major long-term back problems, there was as always some uneven length legs to ‘even up’, and a good deal of depression was lifted… it’s probably true to say, again, that just about everyone who came for healing was healed… Dennis and Cathy are brilliant at inner-healing issues (we work well as a team here, as I – to be honest – don’t have the patience to spend a long time with people who need a lot of counselling, whereas Cathy has endless patience, and Dennis is great, in those (and other) situations, at getting words of knowledge. There were many more physical issues healed, but it’s amazing how quickly they go from your mind once you’ve moved on to the next person. I’ll ask Dennis and Cathy to remind me, and I’ll post some more here….
Sunday . they spoke in the small town of Combon, a new church being planted by Francis & Diane, and were very blessed to be there. I spoke at another new church, slightly more established, in Beuzeville, close to the fabulous town of Honfleur. Again, just about everyone respinde to the offer for prayer for healing, and again, just about everyone received healing… it’s SUCH an immense privilege to be on the ‘sharp end’ of what God wants to do in people’s lives, and to see their faces, bodies and lives change as God invades them with his love and healing power…
The afternoon was in the packed church ‘La Source’: we all spoke again, and were then besieged for the next 2¼ hours by people who needed healing, including some who’d been prayed for for different things in previous meetings! Knees healed, shoulders, backs, stomachs, circulation…. so, so much was done by the Holy Spirit in those hours: and people who responded to what I shared about being ‘re-positioned’ by God, who just want more and more of him….
Today is a free day, then the drive back to Calais in the morning, and my own flight back to Ireland on Wednesday: just for a few days, before heading back to Romania again on Sunday, all being well, and finances permitting! – it’s been great to be back in Romania after a 4 year absence, and I have a sense that it’s going to feature considerably in the coming months in my diary. The recent visit was my 128th time time there (yes, you did read that right!!), and, if it is to become somewhere where I might even be based for ‘blocks’ of time, I’d value your prayers where learning the language is concerned(!!) – not the easiest of languages to master: and if it is to be for longer periods of time, your prayers for accommodation costs would be appreciated!
Please, if you pray for me, continue to pray for a complete return of strength and energy – no, please pray for even GREATER strength and energy! – that I had prior to the embolism…more to follow from here, I’m sure, and Romania, too….