Over the years, I’ve taken hundreds of people on ministry trips overseas with me, and I get asked a lot by people about going with me. I’m in the process of writing a page for the website about going on a trip with me: some of the requirements, the expectations (from my – and the people I’m going to) perspective, costs, accommodation, etc.
I thought it might be helpful to get some of the people who have been with me more recently, to write their own view of what a trip away with me is like, but far more significantly, what it has done for them, their view on who they are and what they can do (that they might not have thought they could do!!). This is a list I’ll add to as I get more ‘testimonies’ back from just some of the people who’ve been with me. Over the years, I’ve taken people with me to many countries: including France, Romania, Sweden, Ghana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malaysia, China, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Bongo Bongo Land, and many more….
Chris Spark – Chris has been with me four times now, to Colombia, and is going again later this year. He’s just taken early retirement from being Director of Mathematics (it’s actually a far grander title than that, but I can’t remember it all!): Chris and his wife Abigail, who is involved in ministry with the Dalit people, in India, are moving into a new ministry focused era in their lives. Chris is a worship leader, and a prophetic man.
I first met Paul in about 2007 when he was preaching in Exeter, and after several years of occasional contact, I offered to help him out with any ministry he might be doing in the area – meaning playing guitar at any local meetings. I didn’t communicate that very well, and Paul asked me to go with him to Colombia!
I’d never been west of Newquay before my first trip in 2012. I’ve been part of a team as large as seven, and as small as four – though at times there were only two of us.
There are various aspects to any trip, but the main one is always the evening meetings – though Mondays are often rest days. The meetings have times of loud, and sometimes tuneful worship, followed by inspirational preaching – – don’t go to impress people with your theological knowledge – tell stories about the power and the love of God, and then watch Him perform miracle after miracle!
Mornings are often spent praying for the sick in hospitals – in one place we went to, a Christian doctor would write out prescriptions to go see the English pastors for prayer! In the afternoons there might be the occasional meeting, or trip to help feed and pray for the homeless with Ana Bustos.
There are several places Paul may take you to meet his friends, such as Ana Beiber who runs a shelter for the abandoned elderly of the city. You will come away from some of these completely blown away by the way God is using surrendered people to look after those who can’t look after themselves.
I would say that a trip to Colombia would be life-changing in every respect. Paul is a true leader in the sense that he “prepares God’s people for works of service” – basically, he gets you to get on with it. If you lack faith for seeing healing and miracles take place – come to Cali – you will see God use you despite any lack of faith on your part.
Finally, Paul’s ministry is a wonderful antidote to the money grabbing, cynical televangelism you may have seen in various places. Your faith will increase and you will experience first-hand the love of God in action in a city that needs Him so desperately.
Peter McAvoy – has considered careers in the Marines and the Police, but has a clear call from God on his life to pray for the sick, help the poor, and to do evangelism. Peter’s been with me to Colombia twice, and other places in Northern Ireland as a mate and pray-er for the sick….
A trip to Colombia is well worth the money you spend to get there, it has completely changed my life and how I see and know God.
It’s a very busy schedule and there is a lot of opportunity to preach and pray for people(I’ve never prayed for so many people in my life). Paul leads the team really well, it’s always a fun and relaxed atmosphere and there’s always time to just enjoy each other’s company and go and do something fun as a team.
You will be challenged if you allow yourself to be. I was put on the spot quite a lot in terms of praying and preaching which scared me but it really stretched my faith and meant I had to trust God in everything.
If you are planning on going with Paul to Cali you need to get yourself right with God before you go, if you’re not already right with him. You are there to be Jesus and to serve his people. The people there will be very expectant that God will do something for them and that he will use you to do it, so it’s important that you are on good terms with God. You will visit people like Ana Beiba, Ana Bustos and Enrique(reconocer), these people have given their lives to serve God and to help the broken, they are an inspiration and just being in their company will change you whole perspective and how you live your Christian life.
Make the most of this trip, preach as much as you can and pray as much as you can and I guarantee that you will see God move in supernatural ways. You will not be the same ever again!!
Brian Louden is a microbiologist from Kent: Brian’s been with me to France and Colombia, has a real passion for God’s supernatural power to be demonstrated in people’s lives, a real gentle, compassionate heart, and a love for people – a key ingredient that the others have too, if you want to be on a team with me!
What can I say about a trip to Colombia with Paul Bennison?
If you are looking for an experience which will challenge you, and pull you swiftly out of anything resembling a comfort zone – whilst giving you the chance to meet some of the most genuine people on the planet then this is it.
Someone once said that “some people don’t need to get out of their comfort zone, they need to be thrown out of it”
Paul doesn’t throw you out – but there are times when it feels like he gives you a fairly hefty push (but he ALWAYS has your back – it’s a safe push)
The churches are always very welcoming – and different from each other. They are churches in the truest sense of the word – don’t expect comfortable seats, air conditioning (might have a fan if you’re lucky) or a slick PA production, but DO expect to find people who love Jesus, who want to make a difference in their community.
Often loud (sometimes very loud), meeting in “churches” no big than some front rooms in the West, you get a sense of the hunger for more of the Kingdom.
Will your life change? Oh yes. It’s impossible to see God do what He does best – changing lives, and not find it changes your life.
And you will see people healed. Physically, spiritually, emotionally – and you get to be a part of it.
You get to visit people who selflessly give of their time and energy to people who have nothing, highlights are Reconocer with the inspirational Enrique, and the “home for the abandoned elderly” with the infectious smile from Ana Beiba.
The only way to describe both these places is a small piece of heaven in the midst of hell.
And the steak……the steak…… Worth the plane ticket alone.