It’s not often, I’d Cali, I’d give a header to a blog that says ‘cool’ where Cali is concerned – but then it’s all relative! Cool this week has only been around 32ºC in the afternoon (as opposed to the ‘often’ 38-39ºC!), and it’s 7.35 a.m. here as I write, and it’s a ‘paltry’ 22ºC!!! (An Irish summer’s day….?). I think God’s been kind weather-wise, cool-ish start. and no doubt ramping up as the next 2 weeks unfold. I don’t think it’s officially the rainy season anymore, but boy, have we had some thunderous downpours! They don’t last long, but they turn the roads into rivers in no time, soak you to the skin, and 15 minutes later you’re bone dry!
It’s been a good settling in time on three fronts – for Jeff, Ian, and for the new apartment. Some of you know that for much of the last 10 years, I’ve rented short-term rental apartments, which, as Cali is getting a new ‘image’ both appearance-wise, and socially, more and more people are coming here as tourists now, which wasn’t the situation 20 years or more ago: and consequently prices have rocketed upwards for renting apartments, and for hotels (not that I’ve ever stayed in one here!). For about a year I’ve been looking around – or, I should say, my great friend, Wilmar has been looking around! – for a good size, reasonable price ‘permanent’ apartment for me to bring teams to. It’s cheaper to rent long-term than it is to rent 3 or 4 times a year short-term now – and it means I don’t have shuffle my luggage backwards and forwards to Northern Ireland!
He found the perfect place! Next door to his, and Marlene’s, own apartment! So some of the week has been getting the apartment equipped, it was rented completely empty. I’m praying that some money I’m half expecting next week materialises, and can buy some more bits and pieces of furniture for it. Most importantly, the internet was installed on Friday! The apartment will comfortably sleep 6, which is usually the maximum number I like to bring here – 5 is more manageable and gives more scope for people to preach, pray, testify….. you name it.
Ian and Jeff have taken to Cali like ducks to water: they seem very ‘at home’ with the lovely people of this city. Outside of church, we’ve prayed with a lot of people – Jeff’s one to just go up to someone and ask to pray for them (good man!), and has seen God answer prayer on the streets -and, we pray, last night, a lovely little Down’s Syndrome girl, who mum was very happy to have her prayed for.
Because of the whole ‘settling in’ element of this week, Wilmar hasn’t organised too many meetings, especially as the primary reason for Jeff coming here was to have a mouth make-over(!) from my genius dentist friend Ana Lucia Arbelaez! Jeff saw her handiwork in Thanney’s and my mouths, and even in the first 3 days, he’s been transformed! From Tuesday to Friday, he was in the dentist’s chair for about 25 hours: 5 extractions, 15 root canal fillings, 27 million injections(!!) into his gums….still a lot to be done, but he looks a different man! If you want to see the transformation, here it is – and remember this is nowhere near finished, and the bottom picture is only temporary teeth! –
Apart from Ana Lucia’s rapid genius, this would have cost Jeff in excess of US$50,000 (approx £38,000): Ana Lucia’s charge? US$9,000 (£6,700)!
That ‘primary’ reason was, I think, God’s way of getting him here, as he’s prayed for lots of people, and that will increase a lot as the meetings mount up.
In the lovely church of Pastors Edwin and Edilma Suarez, we saw some amazing things happen. Their church is upstairs – and as the enemy is having a right old go at someone’s knees – and now, legs – it was a challenge! BUT miracles happened – including a wonderful one for a young lady, Nora. Prayed with her with Ian: she was in extreme pain in her back and neck, with compacted vertebrae at the top of her sine, and further down, a herniated disc. The doctors hadn’t been able to do anything other than prescribe painkillers, which in my own experience, with my knees, don’t really do anything however strong they are. As e we prayed for her, you could see the change – in her face, and skeletally. Se began to cry as the pain went, and, while we were praying, she started praying for us – especially my knees. When we ended, she stood up, and every scrap of pain had gone, and she had movement in her neck and back that she hadn’t had for a long time. Thank you, Lord!
She was followed by Carlos, a man in his late sixties we reckoned. He’d got a hospital appointment in 8 days (from last Thursday) which was the final appointment before having part of his foot amputated, with the most grotesque gangrene in his big and second toe. It was very painful, he said. As we began to pray for him, I knew, without a doubt, that God wanted me to hold his foot, including the toes: I have to be honest and say that I struggled with that and argued with God for a couple of minutes! But I had to, so I did. And the blackness immediately began to fade…. it was still discoloured when he put his sock on, but much lighter, and I’m believing that in a few days, when he goes to the hospital, it’ll be completely clear. I’ll do my best to find out!!
I could already fill a number of pages with testimonies of healings and miracles, but as this is the first blog I’ll leave it here. If you’ve been expecting to see blogs every day, my apologies: there are reasons why there haven’t been any, but I’ll be doing them every few days from now on.