Lee’s quite amazed…. Wednesday night, he spoke to the largest group of people he’d ever spoken to (about 40): yesterday, he spoke to 3,000: today, on the live tv programme for the church ‘El Abrigo International’, he spoke to 100, 000+!!! I have told him that it’s unlikely he’ll increase that level of multiplication every day!
It was a great rpogramme, with immense opportunity to preach the gospel, and to tell stories of the amazing things that God does – and all on Good Friday, too…. what better day to tell the Good News of Jesus, salvation, and healing, on the day that we celebrate him doing it for us….
I’m waiting to hear the outcome of a ‘usual’ Colombian piece of administration (!) in that we have two ‘key’ meetings tonight (I only knew of one of them until about an hour ago!) where I’m expected to speak at both, and both seem to be un-cancellable… ho hum! I’ll just sit in the air-conditioned room whilst the locals sort it out!
It’s been very hot the past couple of days – 35-37C (100-104F), and, because it’s the rainly season (though the rains from 2 years ago haven’t stopped yet!) it’s very humid, too. Have to say, though, when my phone ‘told’ me the other night it was -3C in Belfast, I felt a bit smug… 🙂
Had a lovely email from Northern Ireland, about some people healed at a meeting I spoke at a month or so ago. A lady with a very sore shoulder, felt strange heat(!), her son, attending the Alpha course, had pain in his leg, and awaiting hip surgery, is now pain free: an alcoholic man, also at Alpha, was almost totally deaf in one ear, and has heard perfectly ever since…. God’s good!!
Just conscious that God’s going to do something special as it’s Easter…. by his stripes, we’re healed, by his death we have life, and by his resurrection and ascension we have power – so, bring it on, Lord!!!!
5 April (later!)
Boy, it was hard work getting up at 6.30am after not getting to sleep until 330 am, and having had no sleep in Monday night/Tuesday morning! But last night’s meeting was so, so worthwhile – Lee and Chris praying/prophesying in ways they’ve not done before, and, even though I wanted to leave it all to them, it’s impossible when people know you, and want you to pray for them…. to see that old lady stop shaking, to see a lovely guy named Adrian immediately move into receiving prophetic words – and the wisdom he’d asked me to pray for, to see many others touched as the ‘Three Amigos’ exhaustedly (but with God given energy and adrenaline!) pray and pray and pray….
When Lee spoke last night, he said that it was the largest group he’d spoken to in such a situation in his life… just wait til the morning, mate!
Then the taxi to the Velodrome: good friend Pastor Gustavo Escobar had again organised a good event to pray for the city, and some of the people I’d met in the same place last year were there – so good to see Ricard di Rocca, Steve Swisher, and others. Good contacts made with other pastors, for the future – including some from Uraguay, Brazil, and Spain.
Im many respects, for us, it was just a case of ‘being’ there: both Chris and Lee brought good, short greetings (hope mine was good – and short – too!!) – to the 3-4,000 assembled gathering. So, last night was biggest, huh, Lee…?!!!
It seems like there’s a pretty hectic schedule: Walter kept throwing names, pastors, church names at me last night: if they all happen, it’s going to be hectic. Throw into that mix numerous hospitals, maybe a prison, the Home for the Abandoned Elderly, and much more…. Friday, I THINK I’m speaking at a conference run by Hendrik’s church, on my ‘pet’ subject for many years – ‘Goals, Dreams, and Visions’ – been a few years since I did that! It seems that there’ll be a few Easter services, too: though many go away on vacation during ‘Semana Santa’ – Holy Week, and it’s noticeably quieter with traffic noise outside.
We thought we were going to a meeting at 5pm this evening…. but this is Colombia, and I’ve heard no more about it (it’s now 6.15pm – but that means nothing here! Sometimes we get delivered to meetings 3 hours late!). If we hear nothing soon, it might just have to be a trip to the French restaurant/bar over the road…
5 April, 2 am!
Great to finally have Lee and Chris here! We arrived back at the apartment from the airport at about 930 pm, and 30 minutes later, pastor friend Walter blithely informs us we have a meeting – tonight! Arrived there about 1045pm, one of typical Cali-esque prayer vigil meetings….!! Welcome to Colombia, Mr Prior Collier and Mr Spark!!! We were actually planning to go over the road to lovely French bar, and witness to a beer or two, with some chips and dips! Chris was almost dead on his feet by the time we got to the meeting, which involved us from about 1130pm…
Chris did a couple of songs, Lee spoke well, and then we ended praying for just about everyone! Prophecies, healings (including a lovely old lady of ‘shakes’ similar to Parkinsons, and chronic back and leg arthritis)….
BUT.. better still, for me – and the guys, as they’d heard the story! – was to see Jose Luis and Aida there… parents of 4 month old (then) Jose Luis Jr, of cranio synostosis, miraculously healed in November. His illness (if that’s what it could be called) was that his fontanelle had closed – about 20 months too soon. That same day in November, God re-opened it… mum and dad are both saved (that’s even better!!), dad baptised last week, JL Jr doing wonderfully well, and we’re having lunch with them at their home on Sunday…. You can imagine the hugs and tears!!!!
As we returned to the apartment at 0045 am, Walter blessed us with the news that we have to be at the Velodrome at 8am for a city wide prayer gathering…. so now, it’s 210 am, and I’m going to TRY and sleep after the thrill of tonight’s reunion with that lovely family!!!
Hello from my beloved Cali, Colombia! Arrived very late last night (I’m 6 hours behind the UK, and an hour – I think, behind east coast USA): for all three of us travelling yesterday, it was, er, an experience! Chris and Lee suffered in one way more than I did – victims of the French or Spanish (can’t quite work out which!) air traffic control dispute, but I understand they’re both winging their ways here as I write….. I’m so looking forward to them being here. And, now, only 8 days to when Alan arrives here, too….
Mine was a long ‘day’ – about 27/28 hours, having only managed 2 hours sleep the night before. But Monday was a LOVELY day – I spent it with my Katy, my wonderful daughter, whom I haven’t seen in 3.5 years (ask US immigration why!!). We had 8 wononderful hours just talking, talking, talking: we went from Starbucks to Costa to a restaurant to Costa to a wee bit of shopping to Costa to Starbucks!! Coffeed out! It was hard driving away from her, but just praying that the US saga (which IS moving, however slowly) will end, so that it isn’t another year before I see her again.
Monday evening was also wonderful – a great surprise to be able to spend the evening with my fantastic friends Nick & Erica Lugg: many years ago, Nick travelled with me quite a bit, so many hilarious escapades: Erica, too, on occasions. They then moved lock, stock and two smoking barrels to Zambia for 7 years, but are now back revolutionising a church in South Yorkshire. It’s been a good couple of years since we last met, and then it was in the context of a mass party to celebrate their homecoming from Zambia, so chat was limited then! So, so good to see them both: they were ‘dwon south’ en route BACK to Zambia for a few weeks.
Yesterday, Tuesday, began for me at 4 am 🙁 ! No delays, knees holding up pretty well – UNTIL – some wonderfully nice dodo (bless him!) rammed my legs with his hard sided carry on bag getting off the plane in Bogota, and it made me twist my leg against the seat support… managed to get here, to my second home (Ireland is first now, in case you’re wondering!), met by a genuinely delighted trio of men, pastor Hendrik Hoere, big Dutch Jan, and ..er… someone else I recognise, and should know! – still managing to walk, but that function became almost impossible by the time they’d gone from my apartment…. prayed VERY hard as I piled creams on them both, andswallowed the occasional pain-killer(! – even people who pray for healing feel pain!!!). Wondered if they were SO bad I wouldn’t sleep, but, thank you Lord, I slept like a log from 3-1030 am…. still very sore, stiff, but I WILL NOT stop, I WILL NOT give in… they are under MY authority because of Jesus, and yours, if you pray for me, also because of Jesus!
Hendrik and the others were so GENUNELY thrilled I was here again: it’s lovely when you don’t just hear the words, but sense the heart when people speak. Hendrik has blessed me so much, and recently told me that, to many pastors here, my love for their country is so special. Their love for me, and their willingness to keep having me back, open their churches to me, involve me in their lives, is even more special to me.
Alberto (‘Beto’) the apartment owner, is so lovely: he was waiting to greet me at about 1am, with beers, fresh lemon juice, coca cola (I was going to say coke, but being where I am, thought maybe you’d get the wrong idea!!!) in the fridge: the air conditioning had been on for hours, so the place was lovely and cool, and absolutely spotlessly clean. So, so good to be here.
I’m told I might have a meeting tonight! – wasn’t expecting that one, but hey, that’s what I’m here for, though I’d love to be at the airport to meet Lee at 520 pm, and Chris at 710 pm…. we’ll see if the meeting materialises, as here, you’re never QUITE sure…!!!!
As the ‘onslaught’ on all of us coming here hasn’t abated, even en route, I’m more convinced than ever it’s going to be an amazing trip! Please pray, because, as I’ve always believed that – if you haven’t met the devil today, the chances are that you and he are walking in the same direction…! R T Kendall said that if you haven’t met the devil today, you ought to be worried…
Hopefully, I’ll keep up with the posts here on at least a daily basis, and also check out the Facebook page ‘Cali 2012’ where Lee will be posting…
Well, the ‘big’ day for going to Colombia again approaches fast (Tuesday), and between now and then, I have a day in London with my daughter, who is visiting England from the USA. It’ll be wonderful to see her, the first time in 3.5 years, due to the foibles of US immigration – hoping and praying that my knees do a good job Monday – and then for the next 3.5 weeks!
I’m so looking forward to Cali, Colombia: even though this is my 41st visit there, there’s never anything less than MORE anticipation of what God’s going to do there, and with Chris Spark, Lee Prior Collier, and Alan Gouck with me, it’s a cracking team, Grommit, to coin a phrase from Wallace and Grommit!. Their excitement and expectation raises mine, so we should all be pretty hyper by the time we arrive! Disappointingly (and again, in part because of the foibles of said US immigration) we’re all travelling separately, though Chris and Lee do actually make it from London to Madrid together! My sojourn around Canada is the same, and then the delights (for Chris, too) of Bogota’s El Dorado airport. Lee arrives about tea-time, Chris mid-evening, and me at 11.15 at night, so spare a thought for the poor Colombian pastors who’ll be in Cali airport for about 6 hours!
Would appreciate your prayers that everything to do with the trip goes smoothly: in many respects, it’s like a second home to me now, but you never know with airlines, and sometimes (!!) Latino timekeeping during the trip. My left knee is pretty sore today (both aren’t brilliant), but I’ll get Alan to pray for me before we leave (he doesn’t travel there until 12th April, by the way), as they’re always better when he gets his ‘praying hands’ on them. On a purely human level, removing God from the equation, I wouldn’t be going because of my knees: but I refuse to give in, and, as my great friend Andrew Pearkes, from Exeter, said to me on the phone today (another healing minister who’s health and body are under extreme assault) he just thumbs his nose diagnoses, pain, and the enemy. That’s pretty much my story, too, so I’m on my way…
I’ll endeavour to keep the blog updated each day when I’m away, as there are bound to stories to tell! Please pray Tuesday for us on the flights – in Toronto airport, if any of you know it, there’s about a mile walk from the plane to immigration: then a sharp left turn, and a mile walk back to the plane, which takes off about 50 yards from where the London flight lands, but you have to clear immigration first… 🙁 THAT walk is a bit of a killer with duff knees! Bogota’s not much better, plus there’s the delightful prospect of standing in long immigration queues. Mucho oracion, por favor, as they’d say in Colombia (much prayer, please!).
Still suffering the ‘aftershocks’ of the identity theft a couple of weeks ago, with phones still not working as they should, and now, the police are involved. Hopefully, the CID will trace the owner of the phone who started this whole saga off!
The past few days have again been filled with meeting people, pastors from other churches, praying for sick folks in their homes, and, last Sunday, speaking a couple of times in two different churches. In the morning, it was West Church, in Bangor, at their ‘Cafe Church’ meeting – very informal, non-threatening environment to people not used to church, and, bearing in mind it was mothers day, a pretty good number there. I didn’t get away until well past 2pm, praying for people, which was, as always, a privilege.
In the evening, I was at Glenvarna Christian Fellowship, near Newtownabbey, about 10 miles the other side of Belfast from Bangor. I’d met the pastor, Billy McClay,the week before, and we’d really ‘connected’, then had last Friday morning with him and his wife, Clara, and other friends Drew and Valerie. Billy & Clara are an amazing couple, with an enormous vision: they’ve raised well over £1million, without loans, in a relatively short time, to build a facility for the community. It’s all the more remarkable, as Billy told me he’s 75 years old (I wouldn’t even THINK of hazarding a guess as to Calra’s age!! – let’s say she’s about 50!!! 😉 ). It’s a church linked to the Toronto Airport Church, and it seems that God turns up pretty frequently! He certainly did Sunday night – I reckon I prayed for just about everyone there after the ‘preach’, and then it’s into their church cafe for tea and toast. Can’t beat that!!
There have also been an nice number of ‘new’ invitations coming in – possibly one in Gillingham, one in Chatham, and some more from Worcester. It’s becoming increasingly evident that my lovely, trusty old Toyota car in England isn’t going to cope much longer, and, with invitations coming in from new places in England, it’s vital to have one that is reliable for the future. My Toyota IS relaibe, but now 19 years old, heading for 175,000 miles, so it doesn’t ‘owe’ me anything, but it’s just cost more than twice its value to repair something that ‘seemed’ quite minor… I really don’t want to let ‘her’ go: she’s been such a great car, maybe she’ll keep going a bit longer, but I think her time is nearly up! It wasn’t helped today, when my car in Ireland just suddenly started to sound like a souped up banger: new exhaust tomorrow, and these days, they’re not cheap.
Knees: hmm… not too bad, at times: pretty grim on Monday after spending a lot of time standing, preaching, and praying for people, but they do seem to recover reasonably quickly, which is a great blessing! Still painful, sore: but I’m praying that they’ll be ok for the Colombia, trip which is less than 2 weeks away now. I’m praying for the miracle that I’ve seen God do for so ny people, restoring knees, even giving brand new knees.
No ‘letter from America’ – (you’d have to be of a certain age to remember THAT programme on tv!) – yet: who knows, eh? Just recently, on one of the tv channels, they’ve regularly started showing ‘US Border Patrol’ programmes: it’s fascinating to watch just how different their immigration officials seem when the cameras are there! Guess that applies tothe UK and Aussie ones, too, though: I’m sort of hooked on these programmes since May 2009!!! I wonder why…?
Over the past few days, I’ve had the opportunity of chatting to some people I wouldn’t have been able to if I’d been in Mexico: my own personal sense is that there’s an increasing, concerted enemy onslaught on a my own existence and life (see the entry 5 March for an example!). It’s easy, when you live the way I have for the past 33+ years, to wonder if God’s finished with you, trying to tell you something you’re not hearing… you name it. So, to talk to people who are ‘front line’ ‘edgy’, radical people, and to discover that the onlsuaght is on THEM, too, is a blessing – not that I want them to be under attack, but because it’s good to know it’s a much more general attack!
Last week was perhaps one of the most disquieting of my life – I became a victim of identity fraud – it was actually a blessing I was in the UK and not 7,000 miles away in Mexico, as I was able to see it early, and begin the process of dealing with itbut not before my phones had been illegally diverted to other numbers, and my bank account had been accessed. Normally, I’d laugh if anyone tried to get anything from my bank – there’s never anything there! – BUT… I’m taking a few other guys with me to Colombia, and I’d paid the rent for our accommodation there, and my own airfare, from a credit card: I’d got their money for the rent, and what I’d gathered together for my airfare, in the bank…. quite a lot, by my standards! – to pay off my credit card today.
First I knew of it was that I had an email from British Telecom thanking me for ordering call doversion: I hadn’t. A call to them – from another phone, as I couldn’t use my hijacked phone – and I discovered that ‘someone with a foreign accent’ from an unknown mobile phone number had bypassed BT’s security and changed my phone, and then my mobile phone SIM card number was remotely hacked, and changed.. I couldn’t access online banking, and found from my bank that it had been suspended because I ‘couldn’t answer the answer the security questions when they called (to the diverted phone, obviously!) relating to a large transfer to another bank’….
Boy, this is getting serious now! For the first time in a couple of weeks, I was quite GLAD I’d hurt my knee, as it meant I was on hand to begin to unravel this saga, which still rolls on, and will involve the police almost certainly. Other issues got ‘flung’ at me during the week, too, which made it a very ‘interesting’ week indeed!
I’d so value your increased prayers: please pray for all the people you know in ministry, as it seems that as the world gets ‘darker’ so the attritional, and full blown, attack, on those in ministry, increases….
It’s been an interesting few days trying to work out if or what (if anything!) that God’s trying to say concerning this unscheduled break in travel plans… if I’ve anything to learn from getting injured having prayed for someone else! One friend has suggested the ‘wounded healer’ idea… what I DO know is that I’ve certainly increased in ’empathy’ with people with extreme pain since damaging my knee (almost 2 years ago now, in Romania), so that’s very positive. I’m sure God’s going to heal it, and the fact that there are times when it is much better, AND the fact that, generally, when I’m preaching or praying for people, I don’t even notice it, gives me confidence that God knows exactly what he’s doing if he can ‘heal’ it for short periods of time…
I also recognise that I’ve acquired a ‘wisdom’ with age(!) – recognising that to have gone to Mexico might well have damaged the knee considerable more: once upon a time, I’d have gone anyway, but I do realise the value of bones and joints a lot more than I did 30 years ago….
And… I found this great quote, from a long-time ‘old’ friend, Graham Cooke, which has really spoken to me, even though I think I ‘knew’ it, and perhaps sums up why so MANY people, who have vision, passion, drive, and perhaps live ‘outside the box’, are under attack:
“Your faith being tested produces endurance. Let endurance have its perfect results so that you may be complete. The whole point of a trial is to give you something, not take anything away from you. It is to advance you and add something to you. That’s why you should be joyful, because God allows in His wisdom what he could easily prevent by His power.”
Advance: that’s always been the dsire of my heart, I don’t ever want to ‘stand still’, but constantly be going deeper into all that God has has for me, and that I can take to the people it is my privilege to go to. So with that comes ‘trials’: I sometimes feel as though the last 10 years, perhaps more than any other decade in my life, has been one long trial, but as I look back, I can see just how much God has moved me on, so it’s all worth it.
And this, from Dr Mark Chironna, not a big ‘name’ outside of the United States, but hugely regarded for his healing and prophetic ministries there:
It takes courage to walk away from those things that have outlived their purpose in your life. For those who are addicted to the status quo, you will find no support for making such a radical decision. However, once you find your courage, and take the step of faith to walk away from the familiar and venture into the unknown, you find yourself connecting to like-minded others who recognized the call to come up higher!
So trials and change are a worthwhile process for me to go through right now – and, I’ve no doubt, until I die! – so bring them on, Lord!
It’s been great in the last few days, too, to be invited to speak at two churches where I’ve never preached before, one in Kent, one in Northern Ireland: it’s always such a privilege to be invited.
Well, I have to admit that I didn’t think I’d be sitting writing my first blog from Mexico – in the UK! – but here I am… I was packed, raring to go to Mexico, all ‘online checked in’ on the flight for Wednesday morning, realising Tuesday evening that it was going to be a physical impossibility for me to go, as I’d so viciously ‘tweaked’ my knees a week earlier, when leaving someone’s house… as I was halfway down the steps outside, leaving, I was told that the (very dark!) steps were not easy – a fraction after I’d already begun to stumble down them! Both knees ‘went’, left worse than right, and it was only the bonnet (hood) of their car that stopped falling flat….
I still reckoned I might make it to Mexico: so to England, the dentists, and a further uneven piece of ground, and my left knee was done for… I guess, in 26 years of travelling, it’s not a BAD record that this is the first trip I’ve had to cancel, out of hundreds, maybe thousands… touble is, cancelling late means cost, losing flights, getting an alternative flight in order to be home to rest – cost an arm and a leg, but I reckon that’s a small price to pay if having gone would have meant I’d have damaged my knee, maybe irreparably. So some unscheduled rest days, a lot of disappointment, but when I finally brought my legs to rest yesterday, I couldn’t even stand on the left one until today… I love Mexico very much: so many wonderful things have happened there over the years, and I’ll go back as soon as I can: but it IS a city at 7,500 feet altitude (2,500 metres), so walking and breathing are exercises you have to concentrate on for the first few days: up at about that altitude, you actually have to THINK to breathe in between the gasping! So, perhaps a good thing I’m not there.
I’d really appreciate your prayers for this left knee especially: I’m still believing for total healing for it, and I won’t give up…. and your prayers that God will, one way or another, graciously cover all the losses involved in having to cancel!
Just thought I’d put a few lines here ahead of flying to London tomorrow, en route Wednesday to Mexico City, and, I imagine, the city of Puebla, plus a few others! The past couple of weeks have been busy in a ‘quiet’ sort of way, visiting a number of people in Northern Ireland, very often to pray for them, and, tonight, to speak at a meeting for Holywood Christian Fellowship Church, nothing to do with the Oscars – much better than that! – on the edge of Belfast. It was specifically geared to praying for the sick, and it was a really lovely evening – with a few ‘fringe’ people on the edge of church (mostly hooked in through their current Alpha Course) being there. As always, it was a great privilege to pray for quite a number – probably not far short of 75% of those attending! – and for some, they clearly felt God doing stuff in their bodies.
It’s 1.am now…. I’m due to get up at 5.15am to head for the airport, and then for the delight of first, the hygenist, then the dentist, in Worthing tomorrow afternoon! My dntist is great – a really good bloke, and not just because his name (genuinely!) is Mr Bean….
Tomorrow night is with my Rhino mate Russ and his lovely wife Roz: so looking forward to just chilling out with them, with a meal and a bottle of…. rosehip syrup? Nah…. red’d be nice!
Really value your prayers for a couple of things: on one of my ‘home visit prayer’ sevenings, the house I’d visited has dodgy steps… which I was warned about as I was in a forward motion down them when leaving! Fortunately, the car bonnet stopped me going flat on my face, but I did ‘tweak’ both knees (which had been doing so well up until then), and they’ve been more than stiff and pain since…. not what I want/need at all, in truth, with the best part of a day sitting on a couple of different planes on the way to Mexico, or walking at 7,500 feet altitude, which is a lesson to be learned on every visit there: thinner blood/walking’s harder/airports are huge/planes always park the furthest gate away from baggage/knees hurt more…. and if you could just add finance into your praying, I’d be grateful. It’s an ‘interesting’ time right now, and this past week I’ve paid for the Colombia trip in April, which does sort of ravage any semblance of budget!
I’ll do my best to keep in touch whilst I’m away, and to spell better, because my blog inspector tells me that one post, a couple of weeks ago, especially, was ‘obviously written in the early hours of the morning when you were tired’! (just like this one…!!)
It’s been so, so necessary to have a few days at home ‘recovery’ time: when I got back after the trip (below), I could hardly walk, so much so that I got halfway up the stairs, and could go no further, up or down (Grand Old Duke of York, or Kermit – you decide??!!). It reached a point where I had to try and defeat this ‘can’t pray for myself successfully’ syndrome (I have no problem praying for others, but seem sungularly unsuccessful in praying for my own body!). It worked, to some degree: added to wonderfully when Alan & Barbara came round on Wednesday, and prayed for me… more mobility than I’ve had in weeks!
Getting ready now to head off again: Mexico is, right now, quite turbulent (a big prison riot just in the last day or soi in Monterrey, and so much of the durg war taking place there now no longer ‘western newsworthy’…. Very relieved that , in the light of my incapacity last week, I wasn’t in Romania (the cold would have played havoc with ANYONE’S joints!), and able to really get ready to see God do stuff in Mexico City, Puebla, and wherever else meetings have been arranged.
Really good time with the book publisher in Milton Keynes, their Editorial Assistant seemed very happy with it, with a few tweaks, and – it seems – they may well publish. After all this time, like I’ve said, it’s an odd feeling! Add to that, too, that ANOTHER publisher, who has become a good friend, wants to publish it: an abundance of opportunities after many years of closed doors!
I’ve been told many times over the years to ‘self’-publish’ – I’ve never felt right about that, and would rather leave it unpublished: it ‘feels’ to me that to do this is SO plugging your own material, it’s relatively costly (to me, right now, anyway! – probably £2-3,000) and then you HAVE to push what you’ve published at every meeting in order to even begin to chip away at the capital cost! I’ve never felt free to sell stuff: I’m not even very good at promoting what I do, who I am, where I go, as at the end of a meeting, if I’ve preached, it doesn’t occur to me to do that either (I just automoatically move into praying for people). Add to THAT that it might work for someone whose ministry is solely in the USA and UK, driving round with bootfulls of books, cds. dvds, etc. As you know, that isn’t what I do either: I DO preach in the UK, hopefully one day the USA, and Australia. It’s sorta hard to take hundreds of books on a plane with stingy luggage allowances to places where they can’t afford to buy them, even if they can read them!
I’d value your prayers for wisdom as I send the manuscript off the the other publisher, that I’d know which is the right one. The first one doesn’t distribute – yet – in the USA, so, who knows, if I can go there again, that might be a factor!
I NEVER EVER want to become one of those speakers who spends more time selling their goods than they do talking about the testimony of Jesus. That is the ONLY thing that is important to me, and so are people, with whom I love to spend time at the end of a meeting ‘engaging’ with them before praying.
Going to Maidstone was for a purpose: to hook up with my lovely friends Clive and Mel Williams, with whom I stayed: staying with them is like being at home, as they give me ‘space’ to be alone or with them, and don’t fill the house with people who need ministry! I love going out to people’s homes: sometimes to stay if I’m on the road, sometimes for a meal, but (and I think I understand why people do this!) I often arrive and it has seemed like an opportunity to get friends or family round who are sick… it’s a bit like a busman’s holiday! Sometimes… just sometimes… (and I hope you understand this) I just want to have an evening, or a day, with friends… 🙁 It is one of the countless reasons why, when in Colombia especially, (and as there are often 4 or 5 of us) I rent a short-term apartment, which we all ‘chip in’ to financially: when you’ve spent the day in hospital/prison, in pastors meetings. and church meetings, it’s a place where we can just be ourselves – and that’s vitally important.
It also gave me a wonderful opportunity to spend a couple of hours with my dear friend, Mark Hendley, a pastor in Maidstone: and Lee Collier, a children’s doctor and worship, who is one of 3 (at the moment – Chris Sparks from Paignton and I are the others) and hopefully 5 (Alan, my dear mate from Bangor, and Gerry Page, a brilliant musician, gifted evangelist, from Eastbourne) who are going to Cali with me for some or all of the dates 3-24 April. I’m so very excited about the 5, and the 3!
Sunday was with my lovely long-time friends at Kings Church, Addlestone (I’ve been speaking there at least once every year since 1986!). They’ve been through some changes over the past 7 years, many of them not easy, but the ‘feel’ of the church last Sunday was something so good, so solid, so right: and they have, in having had the numbers of the congregation ‘pared down’ (pruned?), they have a core who can see the very big, exciting next stage of their vision be fulfilled. Richard & Louise, and they adorable daughters, have become dear friends, much llike their predecessors, Nick & Eric, so another ‘home from home’.
Having had 2 and a half weeks on the road, preaching a lot, in the car a great deal (I don’t know how many miles as you know from below, the speedo and odometer gave up the ghost! Oh well, it’s only money…!
Lots of beds, lots of time in the car, lots of standing, walking – meant that when I finally ‘stopped’ yesterday, my knees decided to let me know they’d done me a marvellous favour, especially considering the intense cold (-15C at times where I was), and by lunchtime, I could hardly walk. A little TLC and a lot of prayer, declaring, and commanding has seen a huge improvement today, so thank you Lord for that! I really do need them working to as great capacity as possible in the altitude (2500 metres, or 7500 for those in the USA!), busy-ness, and intensity of Mexico City in less than two weeks, for what already seems like it’ll be a busy programme. More salvation, more miracles there, please, Lord!!
As I’m learning to ‘rest’, I have just a few things on the agenda for the next 12 days, before headiing to England (and the dentist, for problems with an already-root-canal-filled tooth) on 27th, and Mexico on 29 February to the 12 March. Holywood Christian Fellowship Church, Belfast, Sunday evening on ‘Does God heal today?’ up next!
I’ve been in a few locations over the past few days where the internet connection (wifi) has been so ‘iffy’ that I couldn’t open and edit the blog… seems I’ve got an extra bar today so making use of it!
It’s been a busy 10 days in England – kicking off though in Northern Ireland at a men’s breakfast – West Church – great food, just a small number of men though, but still a good time. Over to England that afternoon, and driving straight down to Worthing, and just happened to look at the speedometer of my faithful old Toyota (to make sure I wasn’t exceeding the speed limit ;)) as it decided to give up the ghost… it’s funny, but when you get a ‘new’ car you want to try and keep the mileage down: with my old faithful, at 172,000+ miles I’m willing it up to 200,000, so sadly, along with the speedo dying, so has the odometer 🙁 . Need to get that sorted next time I’m in the Worthing area with my wonderful mechanic friend…
Lovely morning at CPO, the Christian publications ministry, who produce vast numbers of the terrific posters and church publicity: spoke at their Monday staff devotional, and had the privilege of praying with a few of them over the next few hours…
To Bolney…. wonderful to catch up with Simon (who went to Colombia in November) and Sarah and their delightful family, and a really good evening meeting with – I think(!) – one of their homegroups. Spent some time, too, with a web design friend, Pete, who’s going to do something new for me: this webpage is now 5 years or more old, and is showing its age in an era where technology moves so fast. Hopefully soon, I’ll have something where I know how to post videos, pictures, enable people to leave testimonies, and be able to link with and update through Facebook and Twitter…..
It’s always a delight to go back ‘home’ – Eastbourne, where I was last weekend. My parents moved there when I was 6, for my sake, as I was boirn so ill that the London – east end, to be specific! – climate wasn’t helping my condition. Hard to imagine for most of you (and me!) that I was about half the weight I should have been at that age: finally diagnosed as coeliac. Having, of course, grown up in a church culture where healing stopped at the end of the New Testament, coeliac was incurable, though manageable by diet: and then, having sneakily eaten ‘glutenised’ foods without mum knowing when I was a bout 13, without any side effects, suddenly realising much later in life that I’d been healed of the disease when healing wasn’t ‘done’… in that same season of my life, having also been born with a ‘small spina bifida of the neural arch’ (apparently I was about 1mm away from being a full ‘spina bifida’ baby…), suffering with terrible back pain as a result, and being healed (no hole in my spine…) when I was 18 through the wonderful faith praying of a man named George Tarleton.
So Eastbourne (and the small village of East Dean, just 3 miles west) were home from 6-26 years old, and to go and be with Glyn, Emma, their family, and their wonderful community-orientated church in Old Town, has been a blessing, and was again last weekend. Wondeful to see God changing people through that church – from all sorts of horrendous backgrounds – and on Sunday, preaching in the morning, and in the evening, praying with a family whose home was being assaulted by some disturbing manifestations (the family are in the process of getting saved, one by one… so the enemy doesn’t want to let go!) was marvellous. Praying with a not yet 3 year old little girl on Monday, in hospital, who has had her death certificate written out in the past, was also such a blessing!
And then…. Rhinos. Just the most amazing 3 days, I needed it so much this time, and God just turned up in power, grace, love, strength, affirmation, prophecy, blessing…. you name any other similar gift or even adjective that goes with those words, and you’ve got the 3 days we’ve just had…
Now, to Milton Keynes, to see a publisher who SEEMS (along with another publisher too now!) to want to publish the book I was commissioned to write 8 years ago, it never happened then, nor as it went the rounds of the publishers just as the banking collapse occurred: now may be the time…. After 8 years in my mental and computer ‘archives’, it’s quite a strange feeling….!
Maidstone tonight…. til Saturday, spending time tomorrow with one of the guys who’ll be part of my team to Cali, Colombia in April: then Addlestone, Surrey, to speak at Kings Church: then home on Monday…. phew! Romania’s gone on the back-burner for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because it looks like they could be heading for another revolution (and where I stay is where the fighting is, 2 short streets away), and because it’s -20C there and people don’t go out unnecessarily when it’s that cold!
As the diary gradually begins to take shape after the period of ‘planning inactivity’ I mentioned on 19th, it almost feels strange to see the next few months fairly well booked up now! Various preaching engagements have come for England – some just waiting to finally confirmed – and Romania and Mexico, along with Colombia, are the big awaydays in the list now. Romania may still be uncertain, as I’m being advised by folk there to be wary, as there is huge rioting, a lot of violence, in protest at the government austerity measures, but, on a much more serious and sinister level, apparent talk of another revolution to bring the government down. Normally, it wouldn’t trouble me to be somewhere like that, but where I stay in Bucharest is – literally – two short street walks away from the main centre of violence. So… I’m holding off buying my ticket right now!
Mexico is likely to be busy, and also warm(!) – even though it’s hard to complain at the weather here, which is crazily warm! I’ve already got a couple of great guys going with me to Colombia in April, and waiting for one, maybe two more, to give me the nod. Lee, from Maidstone: Chris from Paignton, definites it seems, bith really great blokes, and with immense natural and spiritual gifting. Chris is a maths teacher – just a shame I didn’t know him 40 years ago when I was taking – and failing – my maths ‘O’ level four times before getting it at the fifth attempt (with the lowest pass grade!). Don’t you feel better now, knowing that, and knowing, that during those years of maths madness, I worked in a bank…. 🙂
Chris will be great at working out prices on the exchange rates! (well, it IS about 2800 to the pound, not a particularly easy divisible figure! Lee is a paediatrician, so wonderful to take a doctor who wants to be involved in miracles, and great that, if the opportunity is needed, some of the childrens and old people’s foundations might benefit from his medical skills….
And so, two weeks in England to come, a few preaching engagements, meetings with people I need to catch up with, and, all being well, a time with the nice folk at Authentic Media, who are interested in my book…. ooer!
I don’t think I mentioned it here, though I did in my newsletter, that January 18th was an anniversary. It was that date, in 1979, that I earned my last ever salary cheque: how faithful God has been over the intervening 33 years to an unknown, unskilled, and (then) very shy Englishman. So, so, so much has happened in those years, most of it wonderful, some of it not quite so (!)….
My blog inspector (!! – a very dear friend who gently mentions to me if I’ve not written here for a while – and quite rightly, too! Thank you, Barbara!!) said to me the other night ‘You’ll start again with “oooohhh dear”….’ – so I won’t this time!
The past 3 weeks have been a time where I’ve felt certain that God has just had me on ‘hold’ with regard to going anywhere and planning anything. I’m not the world’s best person at sitting and waiting, I envy (in the right way) people who can sit and listen to God and do nothing else: I wish I could. Until 3 or so years back, my diary/agenda used to be booked up a couple of years ahead, and, for me, there was an immense security in that, knowing that, to myself at least, I could justify saying I had a travelling ministry… but it was like a straightjacket: people would get in touch asking if I could go here or there at relatively short notice, and I couldn’t, which sort of disturbed me, but the security was greater than being disturbed. Gradually, it seems as though God has ‘weaned’ me off of booking a long way ahead, to this point where, until really the last 24-48 hours, I’ve not felt the ‘liberty’ to confirm any of the opportunities that I have ahead. It’s been a vital time in looking at what I do, how I do it, and the means with which I can – or can’t – do it all with!
It has been good, too, because I made something of a mistake in going to see a physiotherapist to ask for exercises for thigh muscles, which as a result of my knees hurting, would tighten up the moment I started walking…. I told him to leave my knee alone: but when you’re flat on your back, and he’s a 6 feet 3 inch ex-army bloke who’s determined to see what my left knee could and couldn’t do, it’s difficult to stop him when he’s got his great mitts on your knee!! When I came out his place, I could hardly walk… resulting in excessive fluid forming inside my knee to ‘defend it’… I had that drained (30 mls!) by the doctor, closely followed by cortisone… so it’s actually been very beneficial to save my knee from the thrashing I give it when I’m away on a trip!
And… just 4 or 5 days ago, out of the blue, I received an invitation to speak at a conference in France, in May: until not-so-long-ago, I’d have had to say ‘no’ to something so close dated: but just the day before, I’d been with a friend, and his love and passion for France came up, and I voiced mine, together with my sadness that I’ve not been to France for a good many years. Other ‘short-dated’ invitations have come in, too, which are now in the diary, and I’ve now felt that I can start to put ‘flesh on the bones’ of an open calendar.
I could have been in Bolivia now, but really didn’t feel any freedom to try and pray for the inordinate fare to Santa Cruz, taking the scenic route because I can’t – yet, still!! – go through the United States. The difference in fares going through Miami, which I couldn’t, or Toronto/Bogota, or Sao Paulo, was about £1,000!! It would also have taken at least 2 days to get there: as I was 59 a few weeks back, whilst not succumbing to the ‘age’ excuse, I hope, I really feel that the era of my life when I could even FACE a 2-3 day journey is somewhat historic! My wonderful friend Hendrik, from Colombia, wanted me to go with him: but as he’s going again later in the year, I can go with him then. And, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve also felt that God’s wanted me ‘static’.
So, I’ve now got some dates on the diary page: some preaching in England, a number of other important meetings with people and organisations, with Romania for a few days riding on the back of that trip. Mexico and Colombia are now – in my mind, at least – in place, and late May I’ll aim to head to Australia.
Meeting with the Rhinos in a couple of weeks is something to so look forward to: such a vital part of my life, relationships, ministry, and sanity….! They’re all more insane than me, so I feel comfortably at home with them!
Thank you so much for your prayers, your love, and your support last year: I covet all even more this year. Bless you loads!