Da da da dah, da da da da da, da da da dah deh…. good song, that stadium anthem by Europe! The countdown is that it’s 5 days until I go, again, with a team, to Cali, Colombia… 🙂
But first…it’s been a good couple of weeks, spending time here at home, visiting people to pray for them in their homes, catching up with friends and supporters here in Ireland that I don’t get to see very often. It’s also been very necessary to give the old knees a rest before setting out on the journey to Colombia, and all the activity there: I’m more than convinced that increased pain, not just in the knees, but in the various ligaments and muscles that the knees affect (hamstrings, iliotibial band, calf muscles, quads, groin), has been, at least in part (major part!) an attack of the enemy. Yesterday, I had no choice but to go, as a willing masochist, to see my great sadist physiotherapist friend, Tony! – so now I’m recovering from the bruises, too – but the muscles etc., do feel so much better! I’ve seen a few physios in my time, but I don’t think I’ve ever come across one as strong as Tony!
I normally tell a physiotherapist – ‘As hard, deep, and strong as you like: I’ve got a high pain threshold’. He’s the first I’ve ever had to tell to stop!!
What has been absolutely wonderful is that, for the past week, I’ve had come to visit me a wonderful couple, Ian and Bev Roberts, Aussies who live in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. To say that Ian and Bev became dear friends during my ‘sojourn’ in their part of the American world, would be a massive understatement. The fact that they’ve flown here to be with me is statement enough of our friendship: and, like lots of you will know, I’m sure, when you have such close friends, it makes little difference however long the gap is between seeing each other, when you next get together. It’s 6½ years (at least) since we saw each other: but we ‘picked up’ the great friendship even further on down the road than we’d left it all those years ago.
God-given friendships are so vital. I love Ian and Bev dearly. When I was in ‘locked horns’ with US Immigration, and doing ‘battle’ with a rapidly deteriorating friendship there, Ian spoke much wisdom to me, and frequently calmed the troubled waters! Bev is an inspiration to me, too: she had a huge car crash 25 years ago, that pretty destroyed her left leg, and she’s lived with a ’10 out of 10’ pain level in her knees and legs since. She’s just retired, but was a physical therapist for many years, helping, among others of course, people who’d had their knees replaced. In April 2013, she had her left knee replaced: working at a large orthopaedic hospital, she had great treatment, the best surgeon (‘A text-book replacement’, he said). Bev’s pain level now is probably ’15 out of 10’ L – and she frequently encourages me to not let anyone put knife or a titanium prosthesis anywhere near my knees!!
Last Friday, we were involved in a unique meeting in Lisburn Cathedral, where, for the first time, people on both sides of the 30 year ‘troubles’ came together in a church to worship God. It was a very powerful time.
Out of THAT meeting came two invitations to preach… Sunday morning, at a fellowship – ‘The Lighthouse’, which has the same sort of people as were in the Cathedral: I’ve been there before, and had a tremendous time. And Sam Wright, the Canon of the Cathedral, asked me if I’d speak at a healing service there Sunday afternoon, which is a wonderful privilege.
And then, Tuesday morning, over to England, to fly all night to Bogota, then on to Cali Wednesday morning, and 35 degrees Celsius temperatures! Not that there’s any chance to sunbathe…. I’ve never come back from Cali with a tan!
A great team – hopefully, Ian and Bev, whom I’ve mentioned: Andreas and Kristin Max, a wonderful young couple from Boras, Sweden: and, for the last week, my great mate Simon Allaby, who has been four times before.
It’s been a battle getting to this point of almost departing for the trip. There have been a number of obstacles and arrows thrown at some of the team, including me. I really could do with God doing his creative miracle on the alien objects half way down each of my legs, but nothing’s going to stop us now…. (I feel another song coming on….!!). And those of you who’ve followed the story of my past year and a half will know that that it’s been a place of personal financial constriction. It’s eased just a very tiny bit, but I’m still praying for God to provide a good deal to get me through to the 17 November, the day I get home!