A very worthwhile and enjoyable long(ish)-haul drive last weekend down to Devon, to speak at the Mid-Devon Christian Vision for Men (CVM) curry evening – my long-time friend Kevin Ball asked me to the lovely named Copplestone Methodist Church, Crediton, and it was a good evening. A good number there, Kev was a marvel in that he cooked an awesome amount of three different curries – hot, not so hot, and vegetarian (a curry without meat isn’t really a curry for me!!). Good curry, too – went for the hottest one, thoroughly enjoyable beef! Some good chats with a number of guys before the event, including a ‘blood-brother’ from Stratford, a fellow Cockney in the heart of Exmoor!!
CVM is a great ministry to men – the last few years it has expanded hugely, and for their ‘main’ event nationally – a weekend ‘in a field near Swindon’ (not hugely appealing to a dodgy-kneed non-camper like me, though!) they have in excess of 2,500 men, with many saved, and lives transformed.
Kev very honouring of our friendship, and of me, in his introduction. Not knowing most of the guys there, I thought I would hold back on some of the more ‘extreme’ testimonies I’ve seen God do, but still told a good number of the amazing things God is doing these days. I wanted to challenge the guys with ‘Wouldn’t it be awful to get to the end of your life and discover that you’d wasted it?’ – and it was more because of that theme that I prayed with a good few men – one lovely guy said to me: ‘I’ve realised that I’ve wasted my life up until now, and don’t want to waste the rest of it’ – I know a few felt that way. The joy is that once you reach that point, then you can decide not to waste the rest of what God has given you….
Just a couple of the comments from men there were a blessing –
- A great curry evening, Paul, an ordinary guy used by God to do extraordinary things. We ALL have a purpose!
- Andy Laidlaw Great night mate, thanks Paul for a splendid talk
One guy I spoke to was amazed at where God has taken me over the last forty years, the number of countries, and said ‘man, you must be loaded with money!’ – so I gently told him that wasn’t the case, that it’s 41 years on January 18, 2020, since my last ever salary cheque (and it was only half a month’s pay anyway, as I left at the end of December to go into Christian work!). That God has provided through his people, and supernaturally, blew him away even more!
Back at Kevin and Della’s home in Okehampton just in time to watch Brighton & Hove Albion thrash Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 on Match of the Day – capped off a great evening!
Down to Plymouth in time for the meeting at City Church – a super church that I’ve had the joy of visiting to speak at since January 1983 (my goodness me, tempus fugit and all that – 38 years and they still let me in! I picked up the same them as Saturday evening to start with, but as I so often find, digressed (moved off at a tangent??!) talked more about some of the more ‘outrageous’ things God is doing. It was great because my wonderful friend Julian had a word of knowledge early on that resulted in healing, and as I walked into the meeting, another long-time friend told me that her back, which had given her a lot of trouble, was completely healed last time I was at the church. Always nice to get those sorts of ‘occurrences’ BEFORE you speak!
The friendship with City Church has a rather lovely history too – I met a bunch of folk from there as they were prayer-walking and doing evangelism in the ‘suffering for the Kingdom’ location of St. Tropez! – I was speaking at a Christian holiday campsite, which I had to ‘suffer’ for many years (a great improvement on a ‘field near Swindon’ I’d have to say!
Prayed with a few folk at the end of the meeting – some felt the touch of God but no ‘dramatic’ instant healings – though I’m still in faith for Julian’s healing and will never give up praying for him. It was such a blessing that the whole church prayed for me, too – for my home here in Wales, for the restoration of my family, and for my knees to be healed. Colin, one of the leaders of the church, made a wonderful declaration about the family. It was so good, too, to be able to have a great lunch and a few hours, with Roy and Angie: the dear friends who flew to Ireland last year to help me when walking was impossible – so they cleaned the house and filled the freezer as Angie made constant meals for me over 5 days to keep me going for weeks and weeks!
And then to spend the evening with Julian and Olwyn, we haven’t really seen each other to natter to for a long, long time. Jules has M.S. – if you feel led, please remember him and Olwyn in your prayers. It was great that their daughters were there, Megan staying overnight so we caught up a few years of life too!
The journey back up the M5 was a bit of a pain as it rained most of the way, but I’m grateful for the car I have, even though it’s 11 years old now!
I was scheduled to go to Colombia with my dear friend Thanney, two weeks today, but because I’m hoping to start yet another ‘moving’ process any day now, I’ve postponed my involvement to be in Wales for when it might be possible to get into my own place. That means Thanney’s going alone, to start the process of the next BIG building project in Cali – seeing architects, planners, community leaders of the barrio we’ll be working in, and the city authorities. I’m very envious of him being there for 4 weeks, but then I’m looking forward to being totally settled here. I’m so grateful to Rob and Lucy for having me in their home while the home-hunting process happens – they’ve put up with me for 9weeks now! They’re a real blessing to me.
If any of you have had cause or need to ring me in the 13 weeks I’ve been in Wales, I’m sorry if you’ve not been able to! Phone signals in Welshpool are fine, but I’ve been in two villages a few miles out of the town, and had no phone signal from two of the major providers, O2 and EE, for all of those weeks! If you need to get in touch, emails work fine, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp are keeping me alive to the outside world!! I can pick up text and voice messages on the phone when I go into Welshpool…