During the same weekend as Plymouth Argyle football fans were in mourning for their team’s defeat in the Division 2 play-off final at Wembley, I had the joy of speaking at a church I’ve been going to for many years in that city, City Church, led by a couple amongst my truly best friends, Julian & Olwyn Friday. They’re in the process of moving house, so I stayed with another couple amongst my dearest friends, Roy & Angie Beaumont. Roy and Jules had asked me to pray for another pastor in the city, Andrew, recently diagnosed with bowel cancer.
It hadn’t registered with me that I’d be driving from the south east (having flown into Heathrow from Belfast) to the south west – on bank holiday Saturday, and back to the south east on bank holiday Monday!! If you’ve ever driven the journey to Devon or Cornwall at ANY time in the summer, you’ll know it’s nightmare: bank holiday is an exponentially bigger nightmare!! I think my driving total for the weekend, having driven to Plymouth on Saturday, into extreme south west Cornwall Sunday, and back to Maidstone, Kent, on Monday, was a marathon – but so worthwhile, if only because of Andrew, but for much more, too.
Andrew was diagnosed a few weeks ago, with stage 3 bowel cancer. He’s a real ‘mover and shaker’ in the Kingdom of God in Plymouth, with a church that is alive and vibrant. A very definite and likely target for the enemy. During a lovely hour with him and his wife Catherine, Andrew felt strong tingling in his abdomen and bowel: he stood up wondering if it was just the way he’d been sitting, or the belt of his jeans digging in. It wasn’t, it continued….God began something which I haven’t heard the end of yet, I know that! They went off for a few days break away, so I’m sure there’ll be news soon….
My lovely friends Chris and Abigail Spark came to City Church on the Sunday morning: Chris has been to Colombia with me 4 times, Abigail is involved in India wit helping girls and women rescued from the sex trade and trafficking, so they prayed for some folk with me…. God began a few things in some of the folk that again, there’ll be more to hear about in the coming days!
Then I was down to West Cornwall to see my sister and brother in law, in St. Agnes: and on Monday – aarghh Bank Holiday Monday coming out of Cornwall!! – heading almost as far east as I’d been west, to my lovely friends Lee and Katie Collier, in Maidstone. They’re both doctors, both been to Colombia with me (wonderful to have doctors who believe in miracles!) and I asked Katie if there was anywhere I could get needles stuck into my knees (!!) as the weekend – and the weeks before – I’d hammered them, and they were shouting at me for a doctor to stick some steroids in them – the alleviation from pain UNTIL God heals them totally…. I’m actually at the Mater Hospital, Belfast, on Thursday, for an appointment with the orthopaedic consultant, who’s going to tell me that the only course of action is to replace both of them: having talked to so many people who have had failed knee replacements, that doesn’t even begin to feature on my radar. God has healed so many pairs and single osteoarthritic knees since that horrible affliction has affected mine, that believing he WILL heal mine isn’t the issue. I’ll keep going, I refuse to stop, until my turn comes around!
Bless her, Katie offered to stick the needles in mine: so on Wednesday, she drained off loads of fluid that shouldn’t be there (quite a few mililitres!), injected the cortisone/steroid: and today I’m beginning to feel the benefit of her genius injecting! Praying the effect will keep me going through a few months: it’s a strange sensation, having them stabbed! – but Katie got right in first time into the joint, bless her!
A lovely evening Wednesday with Dennis and Cathy, with whom I’ve had some lovely ministry opportunities over the last 2 years or so: hopefully Dennis is going to Colombia with me in October…(says the Lord, Dennis!!! Lol!!)
I’m now with friends Nick and Sarah, in West Hoathly: again, Nick has been in Colombia with me, we met n Argentina (as you do!) in 2000, when I spoke at his YWAM Discipleship Training School, when he was a mere slip of a lad(!)….interestingly, I spoke on Sarah’s Discipleship School, in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2005. Then I discovered they’d met and were getting married! They’re dear, dear friends, despite the big age difference!!
Tomorrow, on to Meopham, in Kent: to be be more wonderful friends, Mark & Anne Hendley. We met about 14 years ago, when I had the privilege of praying with Anne as she’d waiting in a queue of about 400 people who all wanted healing. How she’d even got to that conference, no one knows as she was so sick with M.E. but she’d waited and waited…. she’d been taken ill with it, if I remember right, on the second day of their honeymoon, and so had been ill all their married life. That evening, and overnight, God healed her totally….Mark’s not been to Colombia with me (yet!!), but he has been to France, and it’s always so good to be with the Hendleys, as I don’t get to see them that often.
Sunday, I’m at Brownhill Road Baptist Church, 292 Brownhill Road, Catford, London SE6 1AU: it’s a regular place for me, I really enjoy being there, a church where loooong time friends Dave & Pat Bridle are Deacons – we’ve known each other since the late 1970’s, through Spring Harvest. It’s an 11 am service, and my great friend Paul Goodman (yes, he’s been to Colombia with me!!), is joining me, so it’ll be good to have him to share a bit about his experience of that country, and pray with people!