A lovely start to this long-awaited trip – great team, bonded really well together: Dennis & Cathy Acott from Maidstone, Johnny Mawhinney and Thanney Pyper from Bangor, Northern Ireland, and me – from Bangor via a circuitous route! The journey was, of course, long (just a bit short of 24 hours: the flight was ok, but the trip started well having a lovely time praying for my dear friend Margi Bland, in the Flying Chariot restaurant in Heathrow Terminal 2 – start as you mean to go on! We were grateful for that opportunity, and for the food there, as the food on the flight, to be complimentary to it, was dire!
We went, with miracles having happened for Thanney – his broken hand being SO much better, and so opposite to what the doctors had predicted – pins to hold the bones together and new plaster cast – all he has is a small velcroed plastic guard for it!: Johnny, for whom God answered prayer with provision for the trip: and me – even up to the Sunday, and into this week, these old knees being so bad I couldn’t really walk, but I’m here, and walking (even if with some difficulty, and slowing the other guys down!), and Dennis, who doesn’t handle heat too well, doing very well in this climate…. Oh yes, and a new miracle for me – I slept the whole journey from London to Bogota, and even on the 40 minute flight from Bogota to Cali. I NEVER normally sleep on planes….
At the El Abrigo Foundation, Thanney and Johnny have done a big ‘clear-up’ job, assessed what was done in Thanney’s absence since July, assessed what is needed to get the place ready for it’s ‘inauguration’ on November 12, the day before we fly home. They’ve already worked hard, carrying tons of ‘waste’ steel, plasterboard, etc., down 4 flights of badly designed stairs, which took them hours… We are still praying for the Lord to provide around £4000 to get the place complete for November 12 – a relatively small amount out of the overall cost of £55,000, but it’s seeming difficult to shift that shortfall….
I’ve taken Dennis and Cathy around the city a bit to acclimatise them to the culture, as well as the climate…. and in doing that we’ve prayed for people in shops, in a ‘downtown’ shopping centre, which once upon a time I was ‘banned’ from going to by the people I stayed with in the early days here 20+years ago, as it was too dangerous…. I have many friends there now who run or own tiendas (small stall-like shops): a lovely time today with my long-time friend Fernando in his watch shop (I love watches, but have really grown to love Fernando, and his daughters, who help him run his shop. He’s coming to church on Sunday morning, a lovely church – Dios con Nosotros (God with Us), and I think the family will come too. This ‘dangerous’ place had us all sitting behind the counters (I’m always invited in, but normally it’s only me!) – and served with coffee, water, a lot of lovely personal friendship hospitality, and Fernando wanted to bless us with the gift of a watch each… of course, we declined… not!!
First proper church meeting tonight, at the church of great friends Wilson Monroy and his wife, Luz Eneth – Oasis de Restauracion (probably doesn’t need translation!). I got all the team up to speak – and they were all brilliant, everyone’s ‘bit’ tying in perfectly with the next person’s bit…. coincidence or not??! Johnny had said to me before the meeting tht he had no idea what to say, but Biblically, at times like that, ‘open your mouth and I will fill it’ – love from God! – is often so very true, and he spoke really well for someone not accustomed to ‘preaching’…The church is in a very dangerous barrio, Los Lagos (The Lakes), and the meetings end relatively early – 9.15 pm – so people can get home before it gets too risky. We prayed with a lot of people despite the deadline – just one or two lovely stories from the prayer time:
- Cathy, who has a wonderful ministry of putting people in touch with God (Sozo), in inner healing too, as well as physical healing prayed with a young girl who was obviously in pain, physically and emotionally (Los Lagos is VERY poor as well as dangerous), and she was beautifully blessed by God through Cathy talking to her, praying for her, and hugging her… a hug can bring more healing sometimes than hundreds of words….
- Johnny, who suffers from a prolapsed disc in his spine, and severe back pain/sciatic nerve pain, and I prayed with a lovely lady – Amanda – 76 years old, who ‘acquired’ chronic back pain when she was 16. Ok, so it was Johnny’s first ever meeting here, but I said to him this one’s yours, mate(!), and Johnny prayed: I asked Amanda how her back felt. ‘The pain feels like a little ant moving in my back’ (after 60 years of chronic pain!): prayed for her for a few minutes more, and the ‘ant’ was deceased….
Others were healed, and blessed: a lovely man, David, with a number of really nasty physical problems, was visibly getting freed from them as he had the ‘heavies’ – Thanney, Johnny, and me – pray for him.
Cathy’s been asked to talk about Sozo, and do some of the ministry associated with it, in one church already, and there’ll be more, I’m sure. People outside of meetings are lining up to be prayed for, and what might look a relatively ‘relaxed’ programme on the day we arrive rapidly morphs into a packed programme – as packed as the traffic will allow us to get to people! Cathy’s thoroughly enjoying (NOT!!) the traffic…!!
Other people want us for other meetings… it’s a wonderful privilege to be given the opportunity to speak in so many places, so many churches, pray for some many people….
A terrific time tonight praying for Wilson and Luz Eneth, as tomorrow they take a team right down near the Ecuador border, of 32 people, with trucks laden with food, clothes, toys, and so much more: I can’t remember the name of the city, but it’s poverty-stricken, still with much guerilla activity, a lot of murders – a really dangerous and needy place, with only one church….
Please pray for that trip: a long drive first, then 22 hours on a boat – exhausting, and certainly worse than London to Cali by Avianca Airlines!
Well, it’s 0145 a.m, I think I need sleep now!