The header is actually the names of the two churches we’ve been to the last two evenings…. again, such wonderful names that inspire – faith, expectation, hope, reality, and many other powerful truths. Thursday night, at Revival of Fire Church (Avivando del Fuego – yet another amazing inspirational name for a church that would leave ‘Piddlehinton Parish Church’ in the cold!) , pastored by Edwin Suarez, who has become a very good friend with his lovely wife, over the past couple of years, we were welcomed with a splendid meal, a thousand hugs, manky’cheek kisses’ – and a lovely meeting which, ministry-wise, went in a different direction to healing and miracles – yes, there was payer for those things, and yes, they happened, but a lot of it was for families, for the parlous state of Venezuela – there seemed to be a number of Venezuelans in the church who had had to escape the famine, bloodshed, anarchy, and violence in their country…. Dennis got a number of leaders wanting answers to all sorts of questions, but God did what he always does, and met people’s needs, and pain went, long-term sickness went, hope came, and expectation received.
Cathy and Johnny took a rain-check on going to the meeting, Cathy still suffering the short-term legacy of numerous dashes to the bathroom throughout the previous couple of nights and days, and Johnny, who had carried so many heavy bags of rubbish down four flights of stairs at the Foundation could hardly move a muscle, let alone go and speak in church and minister to people! Dennis and Thanney were both tremendous in what they shared in the meeting, and it has been such a blessing to listen to them, and to have my longest-time friend here in Cali, Hein Hoere, translating for us.
When I first ever come to Cali, Hein was the first person to translate for me – a Dutchman with perfect Spanish and English, translating from third to second languages is a real gift…. I was speaking at Youth with a Mission (Juventud con una Mision) on ‘Goals, Dreams, and Visions’ – still a ‘pet’ subject on envisioning people! – and explaining, at one point, the differences in a key Bible verse about vision: Proverbs 29:18. In the King James English version, you probably know it – ‘Without vision the people perish’. In the New International Version, it reads something like this: ‘Without revelation, the people cast off restraint’ (hmm, you have to dig deep into that to find vision and perish!). In a Spanish translation, it says ‘Without prophecy, the people run like a car without brakes’. Hein’s translation (which I picked up from just one word) was ‘Without prophecy, the people run like a cow without brains’! – it was the cow (vaca) that made me realise I hadn’t said it too clearly! It’s remained a laughing point throughout our 21-year friendship, and he’s a BRILLIANT translator.
Last night was a new church and new pastor to me – ‘Bajo La Uncion del Espiritu Santo’ – ‘Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit’ – why not try that name, Tolpuddle Baptist! – led by a wonderfully ‘unreligious’ pastor – Carlos Arboleda, and his lovely wife, Maria Isabel – great worship, a welcome second to none, a liberty and freedom that lived up to the name of the church. Thanney and Johnny had worked their little socks off at the Foundation all day, putting up countless ceiling tiles, and numerous other jobs, Thanney had over-worked his broken mitt, and they decided that another evening to re-charge was in order. Cathy, fit and not running anymore was ok to be there, along with Dennis and me.
One of the great things about this trip has been how we’ve not one ‘colluded’ on what we’re each going to talk about, and yet everyone’s message has totally dovetailed with each other’s…. it’s a coincidence, that, don’t you think?? ;-). There was a lot of laughter as Dennis shared his own miraculous healing testimony (and teased Cathy into the bargain – a dangerous ploy on his part!!), Cathy was excellent as she’s been every time I’ve heard her speak, and I was just outst…average, but the people laughed a lot a my initial stories of my waistline being down to Colombian food – mondongo, chunchulo, papa rellena, hot chocolate drink with cheese, and so much more… and how God got me here in 1995 first time with a sticker – ‘Fat people are harder to kidnap’! The ministry time was wonderful, with healing after healing from each of the three groups – Cathy with Wilmar translating (and he’s a great faith-pray-er himself), Dennis with Hein (a great faith pray-er too), and I somehow ended up with a lovely lady named Laura, from Chile – who translated from Spanish into Spanish for me, but we got by as my Spanish, this trip, has been stretched outrageously, and surprised ME on numerous occasions! It’s great for me, though, as, at school, in the 4th year (15 years old) we studied Chile, and I was transfixed by this amazing shaped country, 4,000 miles long I believe, and about half an inch wide, that exports guano (seagulls droppings) as one of it’s main industries… and thinking, I’ll never go there, my family don’t do that, but I wonder… maybe this is the opportunity, 50 years on, to see a potential ‘perished vision’ resurrect…
So many different diseases, infirmities, pain, traumas – all went. I’ll maybe do another blog later (time is running out for us now this evening before we’re out again) with some of the testimonies…. suffice to say that God did wonders, as usual blew me away time after time… I’ll include pictures in the next blog, too, as I have to edit them, size wise, and tempus has fugited very quickly!!