Some of the older Brits reading this may remember a funny, satirical chat show Australian by the name of Clive James. He has a wonderful sardonic sense of humour, and many moons ago did a series of programmes on TV called ‘a postcard from…’ and went to many of the megacities of the world reporting on the normal and the bizarre. The one he did from Mexico City began with ‘Mexico City is the only city in the world where you leave the plane in mid-air’ –referencing the fact that the city is at an altitude of 7500+ feet ( 2500 m for the metric amongst us!). Given that piece of information, it helps to remember when just the act of walking can leave you breathless, and certainly the act of preaching for the foreigner is extremely exhausting. Clive James also said, referring to the pollution in the city, that to ‘open your eyes in the morning is to cry a little’, and also that ‘to run your tongue over your teeth is to taste the petrol’!
Having said that, yesterday I was taken to a city about two hours east of here named Puebla, which I had always regarded, having never been there, as a relatively small city. I guess by Mexico City standards it is small, a mere 6 million people! It was a great day of connection and networking, especially with a lovely pastor named Herman, and his wife Isabelle. Sometimes you meet people and know that you will work with them in the future: this is how I felt about these two. Remarkably, Puebla is a drive over the mountains from here, and it is cooler and the air is thinner, but the drive back coming over the top of the mountains and looking down on a relatively pollution free Mexico City was quite remarkable. It really is one of the most amazing places, its population being more than 50% of the whole of the UK, or in excess of three times the population of New York and London!
Over the weekend at the conference it was good to hear of some healings. This seems to be a slightly different trip for me, in that many other meetings I will be involved in, and have been involved in, are meetings for leaders and elders of different churches, which is a real privilege. Thursday in the evening there is a live radio broadcast in which I’m speaking, always a little bit nerve wracking, but again a tremendous privilege and responsibility.
Friday there are daytime meetings, and Friday is also the birthday of the youngest son of the family here that I stay with. So, suffering for the kingdom, and in order to celebrate Joel Luis’s (Jois) birthday I will be going to see the rock band Bon Jovi with him and his brother Benny! It’s a hard life 🙂
Well, quite a day in Mexico yesterday, what with the flooding and the terrible shooting in Juarez. We had tremendous rain here in Mexico City, but nothing worse than that up until now. The conference began well last night, with a good turnout, and are very receptive and enthusiastic crowd! The theme of the conference is ‘Rebuilding’, and I felt a tremendous freedom as I spoke and a very warm reception. Before the meeting began, it was wonderful to be greeted by a lovely lady, Magdalena, and her son Carlos; she was thrilled to be able to tell me that Carlos was healed when prayed for my last visit in April. He had had a lot of nodules in his throat, which affected him in many different ways, and they had all totally disappeared without any medical treatment or surgery within 72 hours. God is so good!
It is a real joy to be here with the church that I have visited many times over the last 13 years. When I first came here, in 1997, it was then a new church pastored by my dear friends Enrique & Mimi Osorio. Over the years my friendship with them grew and grew, and it was always a joy to see the church going too. Sadly, Enrique went to be with Jesus a year ago this week, the young man ( 58 years young!), and he is a sad loss to those of us who loved him. The church was then called ‘The lion of the tribe of Judah’. Enrique’s role and mantle has been taken on by his son Benny, who is doing a great job with his wife Paty in taking the church on and up into the future. We have recently – in the past week in fact – renamed the church ‘Mundo de Fe’ ( ‘World of Faith’), if the double privilege to have been here at the birth of the church, and now the rebirth of the church. The privilege is even greater, as it was a delight, nine years ago in December, to conduct the wedding ceremony of Benny and Paty here in Mexico City, and to now be involved with them in seeing God take the church to a new level.After last night’s meeting, it was a joy to be able to pray for a numberof people for healing.
I think prayer was answered when I woke up this morning in Toronto, at 4.45 am! Why is it so many flights I have to catch seem to be ‘crack of dawn’ efforts? I had to be at the airport by 6am. Yesterday, it was 5.30 am! Even after 23 or so years of doing this, it’s still an awful shock to hear the alarm go off at that sort of hour, and just know you can’t turn over and have another 10 minutes… But prayer meant that the pain in my knees was much lower, and the cramped flight, that I wasn’t looking forward to, to Mexico City, was easier than I’d expected. I’d pre-booked a bulkhead seat, but there was no bulkhead, so I could stretch my legs out! No upgrade, though, sadly 🙁
Arrived in Mexico on the 200th anniversary of Independence: flights were delayed, as the airport – and much of the city, it seems – was closed (an absurd thought about a city of 32 million people – it’s bigger than many countries!): we circled for what seemed like hours, but I reckon ours was the first flight to land, as the was no one in immigration and baggage, so I was through in about 15 minutes from landing, to see the smiling face of my great friend Benny Osorio. It seems I’m the first speaker at a conference tomorrow, so straight in at the deep end!
It’s amazing to think that this is my 27th time in Mexico, and it all began – together with my involvement in Latin America – in 1996. Well, actually, it the ‘challenge’ to come here came in 1994, in a ‘chance’ meeting (?!!) in Ghana, West Africa, with a Mexican who was then part of Youth with a Mission’s Mercy Ships ministry. The ‘challenge’ was very spiritual – not! – Hugo & I had challenged each other to see who could eat the hottest, spiciest food. His statement that a Brit could never outdo a Mexican wasn’t possible to fulfil in West Africa, where food isn’t particularly spicy, and so he told me to come to Mexico, where he’d give me habenero chilies… it took me, ooohhh, about 15 seconds to hear from God on that one, and I came, I saw…. and I conquered! Before you think that’s too unspiritual for words, it opened up Mexico to me, and here I met Argentinians, Brazilians, and, perhaps to me at least, more importantly, Colombians… who all, through a relationship formed over 2 weeks in Africa, invited me to their countries on the basis of relationship. I wouldn’t want to really go anywhere any other way!
Midnight 30 and I’m sitting in an hotel in Toronto, in the middle of a layover en route to Mexico City. Wednesday was a very long day – well, the trip started at 6pm Tuesday UK time in Belfast City airport, and a flight that was delayed nearly 2 hours – due, it seems, to incredible rain at Heathrow – which kept traffic (air, of course!) delayed all day…. friends who live near there say it started to drizzle at about 6pm…. hmm! One of the unexplainable joys of air travel and a travelling ministry. Back to the airport for 5.30 am this morning.
I mentioned in my newsletter that the past months have taken their tolls on me physically, especially my knees – which ARE being healed, as I’ve had people like Jean Hunter, Alan & Barbara Gouck (Barbara was healed nearly 3 years ago of a chronic osteo arthritic condition in both knees, so who better to pray for someone else’s knees??), and Rolland & Heidi Baker all pray for them. One I damaged 5 years ago in Cali, Colombia: the other I damaged in Bucharest, Romania in June, when all the people with me heard the noise it made when my foot and body turned a corner, but my left knee didn’t….
That was all to say that my knees sort wrecked today, having these hours in this lovely city. I DID get to the Niagara Falls – but couldn’t walk anywhere: the Falls are great, but… once you’ve seen the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe/Zambia, and the Iguascu Falls (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay) I’m not sure Niagara has the same effect on you… and then I DID go up the CN Tower, an act of faith for someone to whom heights represents a challenge! I did it though, and walked on the glass floor (1300 feet above the street) and went to the very top…. knee pain and knee jelly are an interesting combination!!! I just hoped there wouldn’t be a fire, as you have to walk down stairs, and my knees are in no shape to do that! I really would value your prayers for them, as I sort of need (ho ho!) them, and today, well, today has been a test of faith in my belief that they are being healed! My knees are being healed – with your help!
And so a crack of dawn start again tomorrow to head for the city that never sleeps – Mexico City. A busy 2 weeks methinks…
When I get to Mexico, I’ll try and fill you in on the latest USA situation.
Also to say that I now have a newsletter available – if you want one, and don’t get one either email or snail, email me with your email address or postal address and that will be rectified! Lots of stories… and three ’emails’ in the last sentence!!!! In fact, in 8 words….!!!!
Someone once sang ‘if tomorrow never comes’ – after the last blog it does seem that tomorrow didn’t come. I am very sorry! It has been a busy few days, I have been over in England, and travelling a good deal. Last weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at a celebration meeting at the House of the Open Door Community, right in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold English countryside. It really is a beautiful place to go for a retreat, or just for a short getaway, and it is a place where three times also a year, the Rhinos group of which I am a part, meets. So although it was a meeting, it was also going back to be with good friends. It was a delight to pray for many people at the end of the meeting, and especially to know that some even then experienced a measure of healing. Even more delightful was to be introduced to the meeting by long time friend Simon Forrest: I have known Simon since he was 16, along with his mum and dad and sister, and through our friendship he met his lovely wife Sherna, and they are both part of this community. I also tried something not advisable (!) In that I attempted to see if my head was harder than a Cotswold stone wall! I have to report that it isn’t! It’s the first time in my life than I have genuinely ‘seen stars’! It was great, too, to have the privilege of sharing at the Monday morning devotional time of Christian Publicity Organisation, (CPO perhaps better known as!), and a joy to pray with and chat to a few folk afterwards. It is a terrific organisation, facilitating churches and organisations not only in Britain, but further afield, with great professional material, and a great little magazine, called Inspire.
During those days in England, I was also able to catch up with many people I need to see and don’t get to see often enough.
So what else has happened in recent months? The trip to Australia was very good, it was fantastic to link up again with a long time – no see friend, Jason, and his delightful wife, Sharini, whom I’ve never met before. It was great to get a share in the number of meetings, to pray for many people and to hear again of some immediate healings, and some ‘in progress’ healings. These included a lovely man with extreme pain in his lower legs and feet, and with either fallen or no arches. By the time he returned home, all the pain had gone. Another lovely young wife, in the early stages of multiple sclerosis, was particularly discomfited by the reaction to certain injections that she had to give herself each day especially in her legs. I really felt as I prayed for her that the first sign of her healing would be that there would be no reaction to this particular shot: she was due that very short the next day Sunday, and would have prevented her from being in church. She was there in church with no reaction to the injection. Praise the Lord!
It is one of the great joys of what I do to hear people say at the end of meetings, or even sometimes conversations, that their faith has been raised, that they didn’t know God was still doing the things he’s doing in different parts of the world today. I know that one of my goals is to see faith rise in people as we live in a world that is in a state of emergency, with all its crises, that requires us as the people of God to use the faith of Jesus, where he told us we would have – ‘you will do the things that I have been doing, and greater things you will do than I have done because I’m going to my father’.
Just very recently to lovely stories, both very different, have come to me: some weeks ago I went with a friend to pray for a young couple, the wife almost full-term pregnant, but with the baby in the wrong position. The doctors had tried to turn the baby and been unable to and for reasons I didn’t go into in-depth, there seem to be much concern around the birth. As we prayed, I sensed that the baby would turn that night, and spoke to them. Praise the Lord, the baby did just that! The same evening, we went to pray for a young dad, married with two lovely young children, he is in his early 30s and dying with cancer. The doctors had not given a good diagnosis or prognosis and there seemed to be little that could be done for this young man, Robin. Often with situations like this, as someone who prays, you never get to hear the outcome, certainly not straight away anyway! At the conference last month with Rolland and Heidi Baker, a man stopped me to speak to me to notice this young family and asked if I’d heard about Robin. It seems that Robin is completely healed and has no cancer anywhere! Thank you Jesus! I know for sure that I can’t heal anybody, any more than I can get somebody saved, but I am grateful, so grateful, that God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak to overcome the strong. Isn’t God wonderful? I heard just this week that a lovely lady, Agnes Russell, whom I met with her husband Richard last year in Scotland, has also been healed. That was in the Marks and Spencer coffeeshop here in Bangor, Northern Ireland, just a few weeks ago when they were over visiting friends for a wedding! So much happens outside of the four walls of the church that IS church in its truest sense!
It would be fantastic if every story were like that. Of course there are always people who ‘do not get healed’: I do believe, from days many years back sitting in the church of Samuel Lamb, in Guanzhou, China, that my goal is to see everyone healed. I recall clearly to this day, 23 years on from their first visit to Samuel, hearing him say to me ‘What do you mean, people who don’t get healed? That situation never arises It’s not possible for God not to answer prayer’. So I still have something to aim for! But we live in a Christian society that for generations has grown-up with the curse of unbelief embedded in its roots, and this is one of many reasons why people might not receive their healing. If it was impossible for Jesus to not do miracles in Nazareth, because of the unbelief there, how much more we likely to be restricted by the curse of unbelief. I do believe, however, that breakthroughs are happening: the apostle Paul said in Romans 5:20 that ‘where evil abounds, their grace will abound the more’. We certainly live in an evil world. In Australia, I was asked to go and pray for a man a little younger than me, Wayne, along with one of the full-time staff of the lovely Diamond Valley Baptist Church in Melbourne. I’d already been told that Wayne had cancer and he wanted to die: it just is not possible to see people healed when they so clearly do not want to be. John and I had perhaps an hour and a half with Wayne: he was determined to see his late mum, and sisters both of whom died, and even though during our conversation his spirit seemed to lift a little, there was still a sense that he had no desire to see his cancer healed, despite having two sons and two grandsons of his own. John heard very quickly that Wayne’s housemate had returned home that same afternoon and found that Wayne had committed suicide in his back yard. So sad and yet there was nothing that could be done for him because of his own choice. In Britain in the past couple of weeks there have been two very sad occurrences: long – time friend Richard Hubbard, a great man of God, with a fantastic ministry and a lovely family, died with a rare untreatable and incurable cancer. Please pray for Lynda, Sam, Amy, and the wider family as they live through their grief. Just a few days ago, the one-year-old grandson, Quinn, of another very long time friend, Ishmael, died with a similar cancer. There are no answers, at least on earth, please pray for Quinn’s parents, Adam and Suzy, as well as for Ishmael, Irene, and their much wider family.
In 48 hours time, I head off to Mexico, a country itself in crisis right now. It seems that the drug wars there are accelerating, but it’s a country dear to my heart, and I look forward to a couple of weeks in Mexico City and possibly other cities alongside my dear friends, the Osorio family.
The trip to Mexico kicks in a very busy few weeks almost up until Christmas for me, with meetings in Ireland on my return early in October, meetings in England mid October, including the always longed for Rhinos, with two days and a bit being so important in terms of sharing lives and being prayed for, prophesied over, and recharged. A few more meetings in England follow that, and then a lengthy trip to Colombia from the last week of October almost to the end of November. Another week back in Ireland precedes 10 or 11 days in Sweden, where at the very least I will be both busy but also have the chance to spend time with my good friends the Vaims, the Gajickis, and the Christianssons.
But it promises much as I can to keep the blog up-to-date! I am anticipating many great testimonies to come from all of these trips.
No news yet from American immigration: other than that the immigration authorities decided not to ‘appeal’ my case but to completely reconsider it. This is good news, as appeals often unsuccessful and can take many years. It seems that there were points in the denial that was issued in June that were inaccurate under US immigration law, which were noticed by my lawyer. In the light of his pointing those out to immigration, this also somewhat unprecedented step of reconsideration has been taken.
During June, the house in Virginia suffered something of a disaster in that a mains water pipe burst and filled the house with water – no surprise there then! – What exacerbated this was the fact that the east coast of the USA was experiencing a heat wave of unprecedented proportions: the lowest temperature during the three weeks the house went unchecked was 95F (38C), and often even higher, so the house was like a swimming pool in a sauna! Tremendous damage to quite a few things, including the need for some large portions of the internal walls to be removed, and of course a great deal of cosmetic damage to carpets and furniture. I’m so grateful to God that many years ago – 1984 – year I went to Bible school, he encouraged me to give up the last house I owned, and to not worry about possessions. I wish I had learned that lesson instantaneously (!) but I did even then begin to learn it slowly, and the burglaries in my apartment the England four years ago, with the loss of a huge amount of ‘stuff’ has taken me further down the road of not worrying about possessions. I’m still learning! Many and years ago, I read a book by American pastor Max Lucado, and in which he said ‘we don’t possess our possessions, our possessions process us’. I so don’t want it to be that way, so this current situation in the USA has been another leg of the journey for me. It has been a hard learning curve, as of course I have not been able to be there, see the damage, assess what I do and don’t need to repair or replace, or even choose the colour of the carpet or the paint on the walls as the place is rebuilt and redecorated. What I do know is that, if sitting here right now and writing this, I have tremendous peace, which can only have come from God.
This has been a long blog for you to read, think you are sitting through it! there is still much more I could have said, but you get the idea!
Once again, my apologies for the lack of anything written here. It’s not that it’s been a quiet summer, though I have taken August pretty easy, after the pressure and stress of the past months (17 months now since I was last in the house where all my ‘stuff’ is! – news about that in a minute), I realised how totally exhausted I was, so felt that, as August is a pretty ‘thin’ month for preaching in churches (as God goes on holiday, of course!), I’ve taken it a bit easier.
We just had a great weekend here in Bangor, with Rolland & Heidi Baker, from Mozambique (10,000 churches planted in 9 years, orphanages, schools, hospitals built, miracles by the tens of thousands, and over 200 raised from the dead….). Makes me look very hard at what God does with and through me, and realise, too, just how far I have to go in my walk and life with Him. I love to be challenged though, it does me good, and at every opportunity, I rubbed shoulders with them both to get everything from them that I could! Rolland kept praying for me, he said ‘You’re too much fun to leave alone!’ so I was zapped dozens of times in a few meetings!
Also, in Bangor, for the past 75 years, there has been a wonderful missions conference – they get great speakers in, and this year was no exception, with Mark Buchanan, from Vancouver Island, Canada, and my great friend Simon Guillebaud, from Burundi. Simon challenges me just by WHO he is, and what he does, as much as what he says. Mark was inspirational and had me in tears at the end of his sermon Sunday morning.
I’ve been up and down to Coleraine a few times, to my lovely friends, the Barrs, sometimes for informal meetings, and sometimes just to watch TV and drink a Magners or two… for the tee-total among you, Magners is apple juice: for the rest, it’s the best cider I’ve tasted!
Back at the start of the month, I preached in Catford again – Brownhill Road Baptist Church: it was a lovely time, and, as with when I was there before (November last year), ended up praying with a good many people. Please, if you would, pray for a lovely couple I met there: Nabil & Zoe Abou-Rahme, I guess in their early thirties: Zoe has a very rare form of cancer (two very young children), the top experts at the Royal Marsden & Brompton hospitals are at a loss to know how to treat it, inoperable, and immune to chemotherapy.
And…. pray please for a lovely young lady I met in Melbourne, Australia, in July: Bethany Wake. Daughter of Wycliffe Missionaries, Bethany is 15, and yes, you’ve guessed, she has a rare and untreatable form of cancer. Had a wonderful time with her, her dad, and a couple of pastors, such faith in the hospital room. She too has a facebook prayer page – pray for Bethany Wake.
Lots more to write…. but it’s nearly 1am, and I have to be up at 4.15am to go to the airport! Will add more tomorrow….
Delayed sharing this piece of news until I’d got a clearer picture of what’s going on… for those familiar with my ‘USA Saga’, something happened that Gunnar, my wonderful USA based immigration lawyer has never experienced! Whilst I was in Romania last weekend, I had an email from him, incredulous at the reply he’d just received from the Immigration Service, that my application was denied, on the basis that ‘Foriegn Mission Director/Missionary’ was a not a bone-fide job per se…. the fact that churches all over the USA have both Mission Directors and Missionaries, all recognised by the tax/government/social services, seems not to have reached USCIS (Customs Immigration Service). The decision is appealable, and I/we (church/lawyer) are going ahead with it.
I had a long chat with Gunnar on the phone, and he is astonished. Everyone over ‘there’ and those I’ve talked to here all believe this is part of an ongoing spiritual battle, which we are asking God very powerful to intervene in! I’d really value your prayers over this issue, as I have to officially appoint Gunnar by 25th June to appeal it for me, which also means coming up with a considerable amount of money for the official appeal fee, plus Gunnar’s own expenses. Right now, I have none: summer (and Christmas) are the worst times of year for people who live like I do, so your prayers for faith, hope, and provision would be greatly appreciated!!
Two and a bit fantastic days away with the ‘Rhinos’, at the beautiful, peaceful retread, House of the Open Door Community, near Broadway, in Worcestershire. The value of these days can never really be communicated: they are special in so many different ways. We laugh until we’re hoarse, we share lives, we share ‘successes’ and failures, we drink wine, eat incredibly as the Community look after us so well, we cover each other’s backs, lift each other up with the most powerful, outrageous, uproarious prophetic praying you could ever imagine…. and leave refreshed, built up, established in our calling once again, and ready to claim more of God’s Kingdom to come, and his will to be done…. wonderful days.
In between times, I’ve been in Northern Ireland, for r&r (rest and relaxation for the non social networking readers amongst you!), to spend time building wonderful friendships here….. in the mix are frequent visits to my dear friends Andrew & Valerie Barr, in Coleraine: with them last week for a gathering in their home, a lovely evening of just sharing what God is doing in this lovely country. I’m back in Coleraine on the 17th, to speak at a men’s meeting in their church, where I’ve been asked specifically to talk about miracles…… Your Kingdom Come, Lord Jesus!!! And then staying over with the Barrs so I can share a Magners with Andrew…. non alcoholic, of course!
It is so lovely to be able to come home to this house: especially with so much football and cricket on tv right now! If anything will help me unwind, it’s sport… even if England can’t manage to beat the USA!
The more I dwell on the ‘event’ blogged about the journey (in blue, 24 May!), the more astonishing it gets…. I’ve talked to Dave & Clare, and Ian, who were with me on the trip to Colombia, and they are as astonished as me…. in fact, Dave reminded me that it WASN’T 2 hours, but an hour and 50 minutes, the rain re-started when we’d been ‘home’ 10 minutes…..
What’s more, the storm went on all around us on the journey home. Incredible thunder and lightening on all the mountains around us: it was like we drove under a huge umbrella. You have to see and hear an ‘Andes’ thunder storm to know just how incredible they are, and just how miraculous this ride was. Even a few weeks on, my jaw just hangs open when I think of it…. God is so, so amazing!
Since returning to the UK, I spent time in England, visiting my sister, brother in law, and nephew, in Cornwall, and then some lovely days away with the Rhinos (if you’ve never read my blog before, you’ll find out who the Rhinos are on the ‘who is Paul’ page!). It was such a blessing to be with them, and the prayer/ministry time we all get from each other is just so vital and powerful.
A couple of weeks ago, another part of my life ended 🙁 …. when my dad died, I was 12 (he died 45 years ago in September). Two amazing men from our church, Victoria Baptist Church, Eastbourne, took on significant roles in my life, one – Norman Barber, my Sunday School leader, took on the role of the ‘dad’ who took his boy to different places – Twickenham for rugby, Farnborough Air Show (the year Concorde did its first ever public ‘fly past’) and many other things. The other man, Roy Lanning, who was my ‘Covenanter’ group leader, took on the spiritual role. I am so deeply grateful to both men for looking after a lost and bewildered 12 year old…. Norman died some years ago, but Roy died just 2 weeks ago, and it feels like something else has ‘gone’ from my life, around the same time as mum dying…..
And for that, even more I’m grateful for the Rhinos, who cover me spiritually, emotionally, practically, watch my back, and love me to bits…..
So, tomorrow & Monday, Coleraine, Northern Ireland: a meeting with my dear friends Andrew & Valerie Barr, in their home. Wednesday back over to England, en route for Romania, then back to Ireland the middle of the following week…. would value your prayers!
COLOMBIA PART 2….!!!!
Something quite astonishing happened on the way back by road from Buenaventura…. I’ve said before that it is a dangerous road, only two lanes, over the Andes, dangerous in daylight and good weather….. so even more so at night, and in the middle of the most incredible rainstorm I’ve seen in a long time. It’s normally about a 3 hour journey in good weather. We’d left the church after the evening meeting to go to get a sandwich in the nearby shopping mall, when the rain arrived. It was so hard it took out all the televisions in the mall, and was even finding gaps in the roof (of a newly built mall) and was gusting inside the food area. We were, if I’m honest, a little worried about the journey back! Bendy mountain roads, no white lines, no cats eyes, steep drop…. even on top speed the wipers weren’t handling the rain, and the road was like a river…..
Having seen God do many wonderful salvation and healing miracles, I sat in the back seat of Walter’s car and thought about the miracles Jesus did…. I have to say I’ve not been overly successful with geographical and meteorological miracles in the past (:-(), but just declared out ‘Peace be still!’ with all the authority I could muster – and the rain stopped!!!!! It didn’t begin again until we were all nicely safe and secure in our apartment…. what’s more, the 3 hour journey (good weather) that should have been more like 4-5 hours bearing in mind the conditions. took just over 2 hours…. so, without wishing to over-exaggerate, it would seem we were transported some distance, too. Before you go ‘He’s out of his mind, now he’s really gone over the top’!!! – don’t forget that there were 6 of us in the car who all experienced the same thing…. and there’s really no way you can do that journey in the time we did: huge trucks, farm vehicles, buses, and frightened drivers all use that road, and overtaking ‘spots’ are 1) at a premium, and 2) extremely risky! And if Jesus said ‘You’ll do the things that I have done, and greater….’ then – bring it on, Lord!
A meeting in yet another dangerous area of Agua Blanca was on, then off, then on again at the last minute… the pastor, David, was worried not many would come to hear the gringos (never a problem for me with numbers, but seems to be for others!). He needn’t have worried – about 400 turned up, and again the whole meeting was one charged incredibly by the power of the Holy Spirit. The whole evening was dynamite, and I felt really constrained to make an initial appeal for salvation, and then leave some time before making an appeal for healing. Often, if you make such appeals close together, the people who have responded to the call for salvation rush across to the ‘healing’ side, and they can get missed by the local church leaders…. It was right to do it, as about 120 gave their lives to the Lord, the church leaders chatting with all of them to follow them up. I should think a further 200 (at least) came forward for healing, and there were many who were…. All of us ‘Brits’, plus Diego and Walter, plus Lupe, Walter’s wife, were praying for the sick for around 2 hours
A mum, carrying her 6-7 yr old daughter came to me, the little girl had very damaged feet and legs, no arches in her feet, with severe walking difficulties. Prayed for her, and she and mum left…. prayed for some more…. only to find mum and the girl back in front of me about 20 minutes later, with mum laughing and crying, and the little girl walking by her side – with arches, no pain, walking perfectly. Apparently, they’d got home, and the daughter told mum ‘When he prayed for me, I felt this amazing heat right through my body, and saw a brilliant white light, and saw God, who told me I was healed’…. when they came back, I got them up onto the platform to testify, along with a number of others who’d received instantaneous miracles…. the testimonies, of course, led to even more healings…. healings went on until all had been prayed for, at about 1045pm (from a 6pm start!). Dave & Clare were back at that church the next night, and were praying for eople until 1130pm…
…whilst Ian and I were taken by taxi to Puerta Tejada. Never been there before, and I was told it was about 45 minutes out of the city…. 2 hours+ later, and having stopped many people to ask the way (most of whom made encouraging comments like ‘don’t go down there, it’s too dangerous!’ and ‘keep away from that street, it’s too dangerous!’) we found the church…. to find, as we’d say in England, 3 old ladies and a dog at the meeting…. hmmm. By the time Ian got to share his testimony and speak, and I did too, there were about 15-20 people, and some people got healed, so I’d never say it wasn’t worth it…. They want a 7 day ‘crusade’ there next time I’m in Cali, seven days in the danger zone, huh? Yes…..
Another ‘interesting’ arrival at a meeting found a similar story – 3 people, plus, outside, a devastated pastor, who, that day, discovered that there had been immorality at the heart of the worship band, resulting in 25 or so of his 30 members leaving the church…. to say I felt out of my depth with how to address the situation, so fresh, would be fairly accurate, but I am so grateful to God that we (Ian & I) were there. We spent time praying with the remnant, especially Oscar, the pastor, and his wife, for an hour or more, and, it seems, left them encouraged, blessed, and re-envisioned.
Another lovely meeting, this time in the north of Cali, pastored by a couple, Candy and Diego: on the surface, it seemed more of an ‘up and out’ church than I’m used to being in in Colombia, the church only 7 months old, but with well into 3 figure membership/attendance. Once we got down to the nitty-gritty, it was a church full of people financially destitute, incredibly sick and incurable, and many with humongous problems…. a lot of healings, and lot of people prayed for, and a lot of blessing…..
On the last Sunday, Ian blew everyone away at Walter’s church: Dave & Clare did the same at my friends’ Hendrik & Teija’s church, and I went to yet another church I’ve never been before. I knew next to nothing about it, but the name of it ‘got’ me as I walked in! It’s called ‘Generacion de Fuego’ – Generation of Fire…. and boy, was it a great service. Souls saved again, I guess I prayed for 100 for healing, stretching my Spanish incredibly (I’m grateful that God seemed to do some miracles with my Spanish more than ever before!), and during preaching, prophesied over a number of people in the congregation and band…. It was a wonderful ‘meeting’ end to a quite astonishing trip….
Hundreds and hundreds saved: hundreds more healed, invitations back to do many ‘7 day’ events next time, invitations to Peru and Ecuador, and, more than anything else, the total, mind-blowing, incredible privilege of being there when God turns up in meeting after meeting after meeting…..
Well, what can I say about Colombia, Cali especially, that doesn’t sound like a repeat from the past 14 years….? Hot weather (around 35-38C most days), and every meeting wonderfully blessed by God… some new church locations, some re-visits, took three people with me – Dave & Clare from England, who have been with me before, and Ian from Northern Ireland (though he’s English!) for the first time. I arrived ahead of the others, and had a great weekend preaching in a couple of churches – one pastored by very-long-time friends Hendrik & Teija Hoere, in their lovely new building, a church with a great name too – El Abrigo el Altisimo (the Shadow of the Almighty). and another in a place named Yumbo (pronounced ‘Jumbo’, but with a ‘soft’ j), a huge industrial city north of Cali, to a new church to me pastor by the President of the pastors association, Pedro Rojas. Both were great meetings, and very hot (!! clothes changing colour due to excessive water content!), and prayed for loads of people… some in Yumbo testified to immediate healings, and there were some people who made a first time commitment to the Lord, too. The first half of the sermon was translated by a guy who had lived in London for 8 years: in fact, very close to where I was born! But… just because you can speak English doesn’t necessarily make you a translator, and my Spanish has improved somewhat, so I had to help out occasionally! The lovely brother concerned made a valiant attempt at his first ever public translation, but it was hard going from a preacher’s point of view! Pedro wants me back, which is nice to know, especially as he’ll be President of the pastor’s association for the next 2 years!
Translation is a real ‘gift’: knowing languages doesn’t always mean much, as you have to instantly be able to contextualise and idiomise what is being said…. it became a lot more cohesive when my dear friend Diego took over half way through, but God used the whole service to do some lovely things….
A return visit to another long-time friend’s church, Norbey & Carmen Arias, Casa de Dios (House of God) was again a lovely meeting, with a super time of ‘proxy’ prayer for Carmen who has cancer, amongst many other things. We were able to go to their home later in the trip to pray for her, and there was a noticeable physical and emotional improvement in her conditon. The service was tremendous, with – again – many being prayed for, and some immediate testimonies.
A ‘usual’ trip to the port city of Buenaventura was a great time – though it was, again, markedly hotter than Cali, reaching about 42C (about 112F for the small percentage of the world still on that scale!) with intense humidity. It was a privilege, once again, to be able to go into the huge, desperately poor hospital in the city: I discovered on the Sunday that the director had stopped Christians going there for some time, so I saw God’s hand on the visit even more. The conditions are tragic: the desperation of the patients even more so. Ian was with me, Dave & Clare went to the emergencies section. We spent as much time praying with the families visiting as we did with the patients – families have to provide all the food, a lot of the hour-to-hour care, including changing & washing clothing and bedding. It is such a privilege to be able to bring hope into hopelessness, as well as healing into people’s lives, which God did with a number: greater still was the fact that at least 15-20 people gave their lives to the Lord, patients and family members – still, of course, the greatest miracle of all. There were some genuinely immediate healings, a lot testifying to pain going, and joy coming into desperate lives.
Wonderful church Saturday evening, outside the city, in the jungle, pastored by friends Daniel & Liliana: the church was packed, with loads of young people too: it was an ‘electric’ atmosphere, and a good number gave their lives to the Lord, and there were some wonderful healings, including a man, who’d had long-term back and spinal problems, much pain, who testified to instant healing. Daniel & Liliana are an amazing couple, and they are really seeing the Kingdom of God brought into an incredibly tough situation. They are so poor, the church is actually situated on a bend in the road known locally as ‘Dead Man’s Curve’ as so many accidents happened there…. they are changing that! Buenaventura is also a hotbed of witchcraft, all types of oocult activity, and a violent city…. three weeks before we were there, a car bomb was exploded outside the town hall. Sunday morning was in a lovely church in Buenaventura, with a wonderful lady pastor: many people again responded to the gospel, and many were healed… what more can I say….? It still amazes me, after all these years…..
The evening meeting was a slightly different ballgame (!)… such a religious spirit in and over the church, Dave and I hit it as hard as we could, and pray for change there…. so many …er… unusual things going on in the meeting…..
Club Noel, the children’s hospital in Cali, again a regular visiting place and scene of many, many miracles over the years, was a similar story…. hope, joy, salvation, healing…. Ian really grasped the opportunity to see miracles happen, and a young girl, about 6 years old, who had never walked, took her first steps, to the astonishment of her mother and aunt, as he commanded a miracle in the name of Jesus. It is hard to describe, in hospitals in Colombia, the appreciation of patients and families, to have ‘gringos’ even bother to go there, let alone engage with them and bring something into their lives that wasn’t there before. Miracles of all sorts before your very eyes….
Some astonishing meetings during the second week…. I was asked to speak at an evangelistic meeting in a gazebo in a public park, in the poorest and most dangerous area of Agua Blanca, itself the poorest and most dangerous part of the city…. I wasn’t totally aware of QUITE how dangerous this district – Mohica – was, until we got there, when the pastor, Raul, informed us that he’d specifically requested armed police to be on each street around the park… loads of them! Pump action shotguns, machine guns…. the pastor himself had experienced a huge muscular neck and back spasm at 3am that morning, and was healed instantly….. loads of people at the meeting, plus a large number of young people playing football or just ‘hanging out’ at the park…. MANY saved, loads healed…. a fantastic night. My friend Hendrik had been in that very same area a few months before, and was robbed by 5 armed gunmen… didn’t know that until afterwards, perhaps a good thing!
Long blog, this one, too… I’ll add more tomorrow! Much more to add….
A long time since the last blog…. there are a number of reasons for that, not the least of which was the death and funeral of my mum in March and April, and the slow agonising demise of my laptop which refused to run the necessary software for updating here… there are other reasons, too, maybe for later!
Mum’s death, though in many ways expected, still affected me deeply. Though she had been in dementia care for some 5 years, until February, she seemed to be ‘going along’ as per normal, but then it was noticeable that she was going downhill. Since mum had been in care, I’d tried to get to see her (and my sister and brother in law) every 6-8 weeks: she lived in Cornwall, which for those who don’t know is the most extreme westerly point of England, and as I look back now, I’m so glad I saw her a good deal, even though for most of those years in care she didn’t know who I was. Strange, isn’t it, how we are sometimes? I saw mum more when she didn’t know me than I did when she did know me…. March saw her getting more frail, and then just around her birthday the deterioration was rapid. I was over with her for 2-3 days before she died, on 22 March, and, obviously, back again for the funeral on 1 April. Saying goodbye to mum had another strange impact on me…. it made me miss my dad all the more, even though he died 45 years ago, so with all this going on, blogging didn’t seem particularly a priority. One of my favourite rock songs is ‘The Living Years’ by Mike & the Mechanics, and it’s all about how our priority seeing people who are dear to us can often be overshadowed by ‘doing’ life…. I’m so grateful and blessed to have had a mum – and dad, though for a very short time – who loved me to bits, and would do anything for me.
My trusty 4 year old Hewlett Packard laptop had severe damage done to its operating capabilities by the very people I had to contact to sort out an ‘issue’ with it – the technical support section. Countless hours on the phone to their ‘help’ (joke!!) centre, then their complaints department (don’t bother with them if you have a complaint – they can’t and won’t do anything!), did nothing at all, after their initial ‘expert’ had rendered the machine almost useless. I had to give up the fight with them once mum became worse, and big trips intervened, but I will resume it in the next few weeks, even though I’ve had to acquire another machine in the last few weeks. Now I’ve finally reinstalled the software I need for writing here, I’ll – hopefully- be a little more frequent.
The slow moving machine that is USA immigration seems to have almost ground to a halt…. though there was one disastrous mess up with the application to them submitted by the lawyer…. Immigration for some reason had my permanent residence application with me as both the ‘petitioner’ and the ‘beneficiary’, and the postal address of the church in Virginia wrong… so the receipt for filing, a very vital stage I’m told, was sent to the church, rather than the Pastor: problem is, the church is only occupied on a Sunday pretty much, from about 9am – 130 pm. Because of that the receipt was returned to immigration as undeliverable, resulting in them effectively ‘shelving’ my application for 3 more very expensive (for me) months. I called the lawyer to find out what was happening, only to discover it was….nothing :(. So, it goes on…. I keep hearing more and more ‘horror’ stories about friends and their ‘issues’ now going to the USA…. right now, I have no idea when I’ll be able to go back there…. it’s over a year since I was last there, and a year next Wednesday since I was ‘returned’. As well as not being able to see Katy, Joshua, and my grandsons – which is tough, I miss them terribly, it also means that I still can’t even transit through the States en route to Latin America, which really does nearly double the cost of getting there.
It’s been ‘interesting’ in the few months I’ve not written here to see how many people are actually interested in reading the blog! After such a long silence, I’ve heard from some people who seem to have missed it…. hopefully it’s a lot more than have written to me!
AND SO TO WHAT GOD HAS BEEN DOING…..
There have still been a lot of trips during these months, though the ‘diary’ section is way out of date 🙁 ….. I’ve also been determined to rest a bit more between trips, as I know what last year, effectively living out of a suitcase, did to me physically and mentally, so I am scheduling more ‘pit stops’ at home in Ireland.
Since last writing, I’ve been in Romania, Mexico, England, Scotland, and Colombia. All have been good, with Mexico and Colombia being great! The Colombia trip comes to an end on Tuesday (18th) then the long haul home from Cali, via Bogota, then Toronto, to London, ash cloud permitting.
It’s been 5 years since I was last in Mexico, but it was like being at home straight away, staying with my dear friends, the Osorio family, and being involved almost exclusively in their church, La Leon de la Tribu de Judah (The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, if you can’t work that one out!). A wide variety of meetings, from cell groups to men’s groups to a number of services. Many people prayed for, some healings, and – it seems – much blessing for them and for me. I had one unusual meeting, which I had to be taken to by boat, on the canals of Xochimilco (great name, huh?!), with the meeting being held in the Mexican equivalent of a Garden Centre! It was wonderful to see the Osorios again, though the joy was tempered by the fact that my dear friend and brother, Enrique, the ‘dad’ of the family, was not there, having gone home to be with Jesus, last September. He was the same age as me :(. The trip to Mexico was curtailed and changed due to my mum’s increasing ill health, and then her death, so I plan to go back to Mexico later in the year for a proper trip. All the chopping and changing of dates meant that charges were incurred for flight changes, I had to ‘lose’ and overnight hotel booking (for a 21 hour layover in Toronto) and car hire…. I was going to use that 21 hours to go and visit Niagara Falls – well, I would have been relatively close…. in the end I had to route through Montreal, which again required a hotel and car… but, the airline did me a small favour in that they upgraded me to ‘Executive First Class’ from London to Montreal (and boy, was it good!)….
Healing news from Scotland and Ireland too: Steve -‘To date my shoulder and neck, which have troubled me for many months, neither are causing me any pain’… ‘Annette & Roddy’s baby is now in correct orientation’ – a lovely couple from Ireland whose baby was breech, looking unlikely to turn before birth, did so overnight!…. (south east England) Tim – after 55 years of 12 day a month migraines (crippling ones), no headache for two years come August….
Scotland again… “My mum told me that at the end of the service on Sunday you asked for people to go forward for healing. She also told me that she felt with all her being that she was to go forward but she never did. My mum has an exceptionally close relationship with God that shapes her whole life and she couldn’t understand why she felt her legs would not walk her out to you. My mum is a real tough cookie and part of me feels that she didn’t want others in the church to see her as she would not want others to see her pain. My mum has Arthritis and Psoriasis that causes her pain on a daily basis, but she never complains and she has such a sunny and positive spirit that she never feels sorry for herself. Nearly everyday she tells me in some way or another how blessed by God she feels her life is.
She told me how you had also said about rubbing or touching can bring healing or closeness and as she left i think she gave you a wee shimmy, she felt she had to do something as God had spoken to her so strongly. She told me that she genuinely believed that she had experience a touch of healing through this contact…she held out her left hand and her fingers did in deed look straighter than i had seen them in a very long time. I know you probably get hundred of emails asking for prayer and healing and you probably only feel you can heal the ones that God has called to you, but i really believe that my Mum was spoken to on Sunday and for some reason she couldn’t make it to you. Therefore, please don’t find me rude, but could you please say a prayer for my mum? I really felt i had to search you out and contact you because she really felt you had a strong impact on her and she so rarely does anything for herself. Though, she may throttle me if she ever finds out I’ve emailed you about her!” And then, a couple of weeks later… “Just a quick update to let you know of some of the healing that has happened for my mum! Last week i was home visiting my mum and she showed me her right hand….her fingers for the first time in about 20 years are straight! She hasn’t been able to straighten her hand out for as long as i can remember but her fingers were so straighten out she could put her hand flat on my leg. She has also been wearing a splint recently to straighten her hand out and that too appears to be holding straight on its own without the splint. I pray that more healing keeps coming for my
mum but i can’t express how grateful i am for what has happened so far! I really was taken aback at her hand, i truly believe you are bring miracles to my family and for that, I thank you.”
Craig (NI) – severe hip and upper leg pain healed… Sydney & Carol, incredible ongoing miraculous healing…. Sydney from a thumb cut off in a work accident, Carol from paralysis caused by failed back surgery…. Ragnhild from Finland, healed by email (! God uses it, don’t knock it!!)
Great few days with my friend Mike Edwards and his lovely ‘Voice of Comfort International’ church in Greenwich, South London… many prayed for, and a time of real blessing it seems, for the church, and it was for me, too….
OK…. that’s a long enough ‘first’ blog after so many weeks! I’ll do Colombia, which will include a lot (! tell us something new, Paul…!!) next….
There are lots more stories in addition to the ones I put in yesterday’s blog, but a couple more that were so special they are worthy of extra mention. A young mum, who had severed from severe depression when I visited her church a few months back, told me that she is completely healed of it when I was back there a few weeks ago. Another young lady, whom I discovered I’d had the privilege of praying with at the Detling Bible week last August, was then suffering from acute anorexia, and was under 5 stones in weight (under 70 pounds, Americans!). The doctors told her she was dying. She came and spoke to me in a church a couple of weeks back, probably doubled in weight, looking totally different, and well and truly healed from that terrible addiction.
I’ve not mentioned names, because I’ve not asked the people concerned if I can, and it would be an intrusion into their privacy for me to do so. If I can get them to write out their stories, though, then I’ll place them on the testimony page!
Over a month and no blog… I do apologise if you’re one of those who looks here regularly to see what’s been going on…. there are no real excuses, just that I tried over the holiday to take a real break, something I rarely do, and realised that I’m not very good at knowing how to relax and rest… I hope and pray that your Christmas and New Year were as relaxing and restful as mine, and that 2010 is a time when you know and experience the presence of the living God more than you have ever done. Christmas for me, with dear friends in their lovely home, was a real blessing.
An enforced additional rest occurred at the beginning of the month, when I flew back to England for 2+ days with my accountability guys, the Rhinos, when the UK was at a standstill (again!) because of snow. We were scheduled to meet in the middle of the Cotswolds (for those of you who know England), and then I was preaching there and in Worcester at the weekend. Well, that part of England was hit especially hard by the weather, so by the time I landed in England, everything had been cancelled!
The frustration with airlines today reached a new peak for me over the next 24 hours as I tried to get to Ireland. One of the things that I appreciate about the USA is that customer service IS just that…. in Britain we’re not very good at it sometimes! It was certainly non existent with the airline I was dealing with, and what had begun as a 70 pounds round trip escalated into a changed ticket, one way, costing 173 pounds! What a bargain – not!
A recent return visit to Loose Baptist Church, Maidstone, was a really great time. Youth meeting Friday evening, a Saturday morning session on healing, which resulted in praying for a large percentage of the people there (it was scheduled to finish about 12.30pm, and, if I recall, we left the building nearer 3pm!). Saturday evening was with the Elders of the church, and Sunday was a packed house. There were some who testified to having received healing, and it was especially delightful to pray for a man named Bob, after I’d had a word of knowledge concerning bad pain in the right side sacroileac area of the back. No one responded initially, which is always an ‘interesting’ (!) time: Bob hadn’t responded as it was his first time in church, dad to one of the young women of the church, and – he would say – not yet a believer…. he was healed, and ‘gob-smacked’ according to his daughter, Sarah! A lovely guy, Matt, was healed in his knees, and there were other testimonies, too.
A great weekend up in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, with good friends Andrew and Valerie Barr…. I was with them for an evening just prior to new year, and prayed for a lovely guy, Craig, in his forties, but with major-league hip pain. God is good – he was healed, no pain since. Visited then, too, the home of a couple, the husband had, 5 weeks earlier, cut off his thumb, the wife was rendered paralysed and incontinent when surgeons, doing spinal surgery on her, probably severed a nerve…. they had been told (I stand corrected if I’ve got these numbers slightly wrong!) that only 1 in 10,000 surgical procedures to put a finger back actually work…. well, we stood and agreed in prayer that his would – and it has worked! Sidney was also told by a nurse that if they see one in 3 years work it is unusual. He has almost total feeling and senses to the thumb restored, apart from maybe the top quarter inch, which is coming back! The wife became ‘continent’ almost immediately, has full feeling restored to her right leg, and use, if not yet full feeling, which will come, of her left leg. Both are miracles!
One of the things that is ‘difficult’ about what I do, in praying for people, is that you don’t often hear what happens. British people especially it seems are reticent to report on what God does…. it was fantastic, then, to hear about a couple prayed for in Bangor, Northern Ireland, who had been told they could never have children: and to discover about 2 months after praying for them that the wife was 6 weeks pregnant! Just Sunday night, a man told me in church that his right arm, which had been causing him a great deal of pain, was healed when I’d prayed for him in October. Thank you, God! It’s a privilege to pray, many times, never knowing the outcome: it’s an even greater privilege to share in the thanksgiving to God when someone tells you that God’s done what you prayed for!
Just a quick mention about my USA immigration situation: I’m delighted to tell you that, after 4 months of putting the application for permanent residency together, Gunnar, the lawyer in Pennsylvania, submitted it to the US Immigration service on December 21. It was a nice Christmas present to hear that! The whole petition is about 300 pages, hopefully covering every aspect of what the CIS (Citizenship & Immigration Service): they may ask for further evidence, or simply approve it. Gunnar reckoned on December 22 perhaps between 2-8 months. I think I have to go for interview, probably a medical (cough, please…. takes me back to school days!). Now would be a good time for God to start moving the mountains many have told me that he’ll do! Perhaps mountains of paperwork…? Gunnar told me mine was the largest application he’s submitted in his time as an Immigration Lawyer.
Meanwhile I’m learning what it is to rest and relax, ahead of a very busy schedule about to unfold. This coming weekend I’m back in Ayr, Scotland, at the lovely Southside Christian Fellowship. Hoping to get Graham with the new gall bladder etc., along to tell his story…. Then middle of next week out to Romania for 5 days, and probably a change of schedule to the last newsletter – perhaps to Sweden, with Mexico happening in March after yet another trip to Romania, with Pakistan (the invitations to other cities there keep coming in!) in April, and now Colombia in May. I’m hoping to move the Philippines on to June, maybe tie it in with time in Malaysia and possibly Australia (how do I end up there in the winter????)… Who knows, maybe by the time I go to Mexico and Colombia, I might be able to do it via the USA, which is so, so much cheaper than alternative routes!
Wow, Christmas seems to have arrived so quickly this year! I’m back in Ireland, since Thursday, having made my flying visit to Romania (which was a good trip) and then the long drive down to west Cornwall to see my mum and sister, and family. It’s sad to see mum most of the days I get to see her, as she spends a lot of time sleeping, and – mostly – she doesn’t SEEM to remember who I am. Dementia is a horrible thing, and I empathise with anyone who has relatives suffering from it, or alzheimers….
Still trying to get the house organised in Ireland, why oh why am I so un-practical. Show me a diagram of how to put flat-pack stuff together, and I’m lost instantly! And paint and I have never been friends…. I’d rather preach in a jungle village and sleep in a mud hut than decorate!
I do hope and pray that you will all have a lovely Christmas, knowing the presence of the living Jesus, God’s greatest gift to humanity, in everything you do. I pray, too, that 2010 will see your dreams fulfilled, and the blessing of God take you to increasing levels of faith and experience. Thank you for your love, interest, support, and care in 2009.
Wasn’t able to finish writing here two days ago as my internet connection wasn’t good enough…..
I have been very blessed by some wonderful people from the church in Ireland who have systematically cleaned and decorated (still a work-in-progress!) the house, and people who are doing things I’m hopeless at – like plumbing in a washing machine & dishwasher (I was given one of those – it’s just like being in America!), putting flat pack furniture together, and other stuff I hate, lose all the screws for, and can’t even understand the instructions!
Today was a long day, up at 4.15 am to be at the port for the ferry to Scotland, then a long drive south ready to head for Romania at the crack of dawn tomorrow. I just marvel at my aged car, which flies down motorways, and I think today it wondered what had happened to it, as, for the first time in 3 years, it has no suitcases or bags in it!
A quick mention of an error in my newsletter – my phone number should read +44 7976 529325!
Some further wonderful news concerning Graham, from Troon, mentioned below. He was due to have surgery for a double hernia and a hiatus hernia 8 days ago. Having prayed for him, with my great friends Graham & Margaret Wallace, 2 weeks ago, Graham saw the consultant 11 days ago, and was told there was no need for surgery…. God’s blessing him and his family outrageously!
The lovely chaplain of Kilmarnock Prison, whom I met when I visited there with Steven Anderson, of the Scotland Healing Rooms ministry, was awaiting double hip replacement surgery, and was in constant pain, and walked accordingly. Steven wrote to me last week and told me that since that Friday, 12 days ago, Colin is walking perfectly normally with no pain… and Jim, a painter, who could hardly walk to the front of the church for prayer in Cathcart, Glasgow 11 days ago, went into work the next day running and jumping, climbing ladders, and testifying to all his work-mates about God’s miracle healing power. I love this stuff!!
Last Tuesday, I was on the ferry with my overladen aged Toyota, from Stranraer to Belfast, to go to my new UK home. The sea was ‘interesting’ for 3.5 hours, with a force 9 gale blowing! I’m so grateful to God that I’m blessed to have no problems in the air, in cars, or on the sea- which is a blessing, as I spend so much time in one or other of them!
Just a quick note first to say my Christmas newsletter has been posted on the ‘newsletter’ tab (what a surprise!).
November’s been a pretty busy month, with a great deal of travelling in the UK, all of which, I’m delighted to say, has been excellent! It was a joy to spend three days with my great friends Dave & Sian F-J, and their sons Drew & Tim: known them since 1984 (scary – 25 years!) and they bless me so much when I’m in their home. That was en route to see my family in Cornwall, which is always lovely, and though, while it is lovely to see mum, it is hard when she longer shows many sign, if any, that she remembers me.
On the return trek, it was as always great to be able to speak at City Church, Plymouth. It was a great morning, and a good number responded for healing. It was a thrill, too, to receive a prophetic word (thanks, Angie!) concerning finance: such a need right now! So bring it on, Lord! The same evening, I was with my great friend Andrew Pearkes, and his wonderfully ‘out of the box’ church, Maranatha, in Exeter. It was a blast, with many responding for ministry.
A lovely 30 minute early morning for the devotional time at CPO (Christian Publicity Outreach) in Worthing, and then came the long haul north to Scotland. I am so blessed by the Lord for the car I have in the UK – my 16 year old Toyota Carina, with 160,000 miles (petrol, not diesel – not so uncommon for a diesel!) on the clock, just keeps going, it seems, better and better….It was so weighed down with ‘stuff’, the tyres at the back disappeared into the wheel arches! Because of my enforced sojourn in the UK, everything I have there is in the car now, en route to Ireland next week. As I have been unable to get at anything in the house in America, I have had to buy many many things as the seasons have changed! When I was ‘returned’ to the UK in May, it was spring, so I had t-shirts and polo shirts, and a spare of shoes! Today, as I write, it’s 1 degree celsius in Bangor, Northern Ireland, 34 fahrenheit! More about immigration and Ireland in a minute!
It was lovely to be with long-time friends Graham & Margaret in Troon, on the glorious west coast of Scotland. During the few days with them, Margaret took me on a whistle-stop tour of the homes of some very sick people, with whom it was a delight to pray. In one home, of a couple George & Karen, there was a very real sense of God’s presence, and Karen’s dad, Alec, saw a very specific vision/picture for me, which was an incredible encouragement. Thank you, Alec…. In another home, of Graham & Lynne, God just totally blew me away.
I’d been in their home about 13 months ago, Graham (early 40’s I guess – if you’re younger Graham, I apologise!) had been allowed home from hospital for a few days, possibly his last time at home having just had surgery for (now) untreatable cancer. He’d had his gall bladder removed, and a few parts of other organs, and there was very little hope or time left. Seeing him last week, totally healed, I wouldn’t have recognised him…. when he was scanned, he’d got a new gall bladder, and other organs were all intact! What an amazing story! Since last year, the family have been on a round the world holiday, kayaking all over the place, and two weekends ago, in mud and rain, Graham and his two lovely children walked 8.5 miles…. God is amazing!!!!
A wonderful weekend with the Scotland Healing Rooms folk: a great time in Kilmarnock Prison: please pray for a resident there, Brian: had a long chat with Brian, 95% blind, with a real sense that God is going to do a miracle for him… he has another 13 years there, having been sent down for murder… .but nonetheless, a lovely man, and someone who God loves dearly. So many challenging and stimulating questions from the prisoners, even if I did need to have translation from broad Scottish into English to understand them!
Wonderful meetings in Edinburgh, Cathcart, Glasgow…. loads prayed for, hopefully faith raised: and then the honour of sharing with the radical bunch of people who ARE the core team of Scotland’s rapidly growing Healing Rooms. And a fantastic word from God for me from Stephen…. thanks, my friend!
Right now in Romania, where it’s bizarrely warmer than most of western Europe: should be freezing here now. Busy weekend, then back to England Monday.
I’m hoping and believing that the immigration saga will move on another huge step this week: it seems that my great Lawyer, Gunnar Armstrong, is about ready now to submit my application/petition to the Immigration authorities. It’s a huge file, apprently! Please pray, if you do, that all the encouraging words about God acting swiftly, moving mountains, etc., that I’ve been given, will kick in as all the documentation is sent off!
In the meantime, I’ve taken on the rental of a little house in Bangor, Northern Ireland, which will now become my permanent UK base. It’s a major league step of faith, but I know that through this whole ‘visagate’ saga, that God has been stretching my faith in every direction, both in trust and in ministry, and there are so many positives now coming out of what, 8 months ago, and over recent months, has seemed to be the opposite! Thank you for your prayers. Do give a ring if you want to know more.
Writing this from the beautiful Devon countryside, with grey skies, pouring with rain, and the sun out…. only in England!! Slowly making my way down to Cornwall, to visit my mum, sister, brother in law, and nephew, stopping en route to blog, hopefully get my newsletter written (none this year so far 🙁 – well, it has been an unusual year of change, and I wanted to write something positive!), then at the weekend, speak in two great churches, City Church, Plymouth, and Maranatha, Exeter.
Last Sunday was really good, in many ways. At Brownhill Road Baptist, Catford, in the morning, and felt a real liberty there…. gave a word of knowledge concerned with healing, to which (at first!) no one responded…. that can throw you when you feel convinced God has said it. So I did a ‘Heidi Baker’ and pushed it, at risk of looking an even bigger idiot, until finally someone responded to it. Phew! As far as I know, healed: then at least 3 others said it related to them, too. I made an appeal for people to come forward for prayer for healing, at least 15 did, and then, as always, a few more after the meeting (!) – and was then told that had NEVER happened before in that church…. one or two people told me there and then pain had gone, or a discomfort disappeared…. so…. let’s see what happens for them this week!
On in the evening to my Rhino-buddy John Pressdee’s (and Yvonne’s, of course, but she’s not a rhino!) church, in Orpington – another Baptist church, but shaped in a way that is really ‘Pressdee-shaped! – it was such a privilege to go there, as, only 16 days before, the whole Pressdee family mourned at the funeral of their lovely 41 year old son in law, Andy: to be ‘big’ enough to have someone speak on healing when you have just NOT seen someone so close to you healed, is wonderful, and I sensed God would do some good things as a result. Another word of knowledge, this time in the form of pain (it’s at that point you hope someone responds to it, as you can get left with the pain yourself!). I got out of my car, and it felt like someone had put both legs on a stretching rack, the muscles in my upper thighs felt at breaking point. So dutifully I shared this: again, no response. Hmmm. Then felt it was possibly hip related, at which point a lady responded, prayed for her, and she spent the rest of my sermon on her back on the floor! During the sermon, I talked about seeing the supernatural replacement of hip joints, at which point she sat up and said ‘I need that too!’, so, after further prayer, she was moving her hips and legs in ways she hasn’t done for some time! God is good!!! And my own leg pain went at that point….
Others testified to their own healings, too, including someone with really bad shoulder pain. I always look forward to hearing the stories at some point into the future!
Back in England again after a really good few days in Bangor, Northern Ireland. Since writing here a couple of days ago, I’ve spoken the lady with cancer, and the salvation of her friends is very real! It is such a privilege to see God do what John Wimber (the great American healing pioneer, and evangelist) used to call ‘the stuff’. I’m so glad that God uses pathetic, wrung out individuals to work through in bringing transformation, by the power of His Holy Spirit, into the lives of other people. The lady with cancer is breathing better, but still needs a lot of prayer.
On Wednesday evening, spent time with a lovely pastor that I only knew a little until then, Noel: it was good to get to know Noel (I do remember that his wife Janet cooks good curries!) – I had a real sense Wednesday evening that our meeting was infinitely more significant than a social reunion. Met him in the recording studio of a guy named Jon, whom I first met two years ago. Prayed for him at a meeting, where he was, if I remember correctly, playing guitar and keyboards (brilliantly) – while suffering the most horrific diseases in his body, doing everything from a wheelchair…. his sense of humour, even then, was remarkable (I’m more and more convinced that healing comes through laughter and fun – that’s what makes the JOY of the Lord our STRENGTH). Joy isn’t in the miseries who so often tell you, long faced, with monotone voices, ‘I’m full of the joy of the Lord’ – if you haven’t met people like that yet, thank God you haven’t and pray that you don’t!). Jon was then 4 and a half stone in weight (63 pounds for American readers, or 24 kilos for euros!), suffering from, amongst many things, chronic crones disease, premature hair loss, and (from the long list left that I can’t remember!) was told that he and his wife would have no more children…. By the way, Jon is in his 30’s, been sick for years.
Well, he runs around now like a 15 year old, has incredible energy, the doctors say he has no trace of crones left in his body, AND – his hair is growing again!!!!! He also now weighs 8 stones (112 pounds, about 50 kilos) – AND AND AND – he and Dawn have a wonderful new baby….. astonishing!!!! God is outrageous! God, heal every part of Jon’s body left to be healed, and grow his hair thick and long…..
One of the lovely things I inadvertently missed blogging from Colombia, was a visit to a secondary school. where all 4 of us – Alan, Dave, Clare, and me – were asked to share our testimonies, our walk of faith, and then answer questions, all of this under the banner of the students wanting and needing to hear and speak English! It was a great time, with a very attentive, and then enthusiastic audience, who asked some very good questions.
Tomorrow, Sunday, I’m speaking at a church I’ve not been to for, I reckon, 15 years (is it true preachers speak everywhere twice, once on the way up, and once on the way down – it’s good to be back??!!). My long time friends Dave and Pat Bridle have invited me to Brownhill Road Baptist Church, in Catford, S E London: it’ll be great to be there again. Then, in the evening, I’m at Green Street Green Baptist, Orpington, Kent, led by my wonderful fellow Rhino friend, John Pressdee and his amazing wife, Yvonne. They really have done wonders at that church, so I’m up for a day of healings and miracles, and – where necessary – salvation!
Just a quick update on the USA situation: 7 months since I was last there now, but it looks, just looks, that in the next few weeks the lawyer will be submitting my petition for permanent residency, to become the Director of Foreign Mission for Restoration Christian Centre, Newport News, Viriginia. What that means is that I contniue to do what I’m doing now, in involving that church more and more in missions, still getting to travel just as much as ever, hopefully with a few more of RCC’s members in tow! There are still many months to go, humanly (Gunnar, the lawyer, estimates 6-9 months), and potentially many hoops to jump through, and hurdles to negotiate. Your prayers would be appreciated.
Due to the protracted nature of the immigration saga, I took a giant faith leap this past week, and have agreed to rent a house in Bangor, Northern Ireland, which will of course become my UK home. I’ve realised that with the amount I’m in the UK and Europe anyway, it is sensible to have somewhere that can be home AND office. I’d really value your prayers for this, as it is, for me, a big commitment financially for the rent, and practically, too, as it means furnishing the house, and, of course, now paying rent here, and bills and utilities for houses on two sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps I could get some tips from Members of Parliament in the UK on how to run two homes…..!!!! (They own theirs, though….)
Looking back, the trip to Colombia was, once again, fantastic. It is always demanding there, partly due this time to the abnormal temperatures, but also the humidity and the altitude. But so, so worth it! A good number saved, many healed, lives transformed, churches turned upside down…. wonderful! God is so gracious and so faithful every time I go there, and with those who go with me.
The trip home seemed to last forever – 10.5 hours non-stop Cali to Madrid: and, though I managed to get four seats to myself across the middle of the plane, and lay down, I STILL couldn’t sleep 🙁 . Why is it that, on a short haul flight, say to Belfast, or to Romania, I fall asleep before the wheels have left the ground, and long haul, I hardly even close my eyes? Murphy’s law?? The 4 hours in Madrid airport waiting to fly to London seemed interminable as well – thank God for Starbucks!
A few days away with the Rhinos was just the prescription following that trip, especially at the beautiful House of the Open Door Community, in the middle of the Cotswolds, England. Seven of us (missing one 🙁 – we miss you Phil!), lots of laughter, some tears, good food, and amazing ministry within the group, is so so important to me.
Right now, I’m in Northern Ireland: after the heat of Colombia, the Irish climate doesn’t QUITE compare, with a nice wind, cool to say the least, and a good bit of rain! But God’s the same here as He is in Colombia, and yesterday, in the morning at Christian Fellowship Church, Holywood, and in the evening at Towerview Free Methodist Church, God turned up and blessed people. Many ministered to in the morning (well past 1p.m. before leaving the hall), and again in the evening – a lady with lung cancer (lungs so bad and so noisy they kept her awake at night) and – I think – 3 secondary cancers, including liver – she was breathing easily after prayer, and three ladies, who’d driven quite a distance to get to the meeting all got saved! Praise the Lord!!!
Here in Ireland until Thursday, then heading back for a full day of preaching Sunday in South London.
Well, tomorrow we leave Cali 🙁 – this trip has gone so, so fast, and so many lovely things have happened, 17 days was just not long enough.
Heard great reports back from Sunday’s visit to the Baptist Church in San Fernando: I guess Alan and I must have prayed for the majority of the congregation of 200+ – I think it was one of the latest finishing services the church has had! Not the preaching, you understand – the praying! The preacher was excellent, I hear… 🙂 For a church that is probably not used to my style, or testimony and preaching like Alan’s, there was very real blessing there. It has been great to stay at the Baptist Seminary – a lovely lady who works here, Gloria, has had very real peace the last two weeks over biopsy surgery – she was desperately worried about it, and she had the biopsy Tuesday. We heard today that she is doing great, back home, and thanking God.
You’ll have read (maybe??!!) further down this blog about Andres David, the 14 month old who got a whole grape stuck in his throat, cutting off not only his own breathing (that was restored) but worse, cutting off the oxygen to his brain. He’s been is a completely comatose state for 4 weeks, no movement, nothing…. since praying for him last Friday, he has started moving, he’s opened his eyes spontaneously, and there is ‘life’ in his eyes – God is so, so good…..
Last night Dave and Clare spoke at the great church ‘Dios Esta Presente’ (God is Present here), at the church’s request on ‘Halloween’…. they did that, but unpacked all sorts of good stuff on being set free from fear, healing, and more, and prayed for many after the meeting.
Various hospitals over the past few days, too: prayed for loads of seriously sick children at the ‘Club Noel’ children’s hospital: if history repeats itself there, God will heal all of them, and many parents too…. I’m in faith for that. At Santillana Hospital, prayed for a good number of patients, again many kids, and we know of some who were healed, and for some the progress has begun.
Planning to be back here in March, hopefully for a month that time….
And now, packing – aarrgghh! – and the long trek home. Dave & Clare head back to the USA, via Bogota and Washington DC, Alan to Bangor via Miami, London, and Belfast, and me back to London via Madrid (11 hour flight…. ooohhhhh!). Value your prayers for safe travel.
Another great day yesterday. Dave & Clare disappeared off at the crack of dawn to do two services in Casa de Dios church, 7 and 10 am (there are some churches that have their first service at 6am – I know, I’ve done that a number of times – 6, 8, and 10am!). Great meetings, prayer and prophesy flowing…. it is great to have found out about Carmen, Pastor Norbey’s wife, who, a year of so ago was diagnosed possibly with cancer: prayed for her a lot last year, and, whilst she is still unwell, it is now definitely NOT cancer…..
ALan & I went to the Baptist Church of San Fernando, in the north of Cali. Our accommodation here in the city this time is, in fact, in the missions house of the Baptist University (Fundacion Universitaria Bautista), and the opportunity came to preach in a church I’ve not been to in all the 12-13 years I’ve been coming here because of that link. A good friend told us we’d need shirts and ties (rather than polo shirts) – I’ll be honest, my first response was either they have as we are or not at all, but pretty rapidly after that the apostle Paul’s response to ‘become all things to all men in order that I might win some’….. repentance on my part! So Alan and I went shirt and tie shopping! I own a good number of ‘proper’ shirts and many ties – it’s just another of the frustrating expenses that the immigration issue with the USA has dumped on me, as I can’t get at them….
So, dressed up like dog’s dinners, and trussed like turkeys, we set off…. once we met the Pastors, Leonel and Consuelo, all the doubts of it being like so many Baptist churches changed! There ended up being great freedom, a wonderful response from the congregation…. Alan (again) spoke very well, and at the end, I asked for people who wanted healing to raise their hands… probably 10% did, in a crowd of 300… then the other 90% proceeded to come forward too! Much pain went – migraines, tumours, carpal tunnel (there’s SO much of that here this time), arthritis pain went, and I’m looking forward to hearing what happened to a dear lady named Graciella, in a wheelchair, who looked like she was ready to get out of it and run….
Today’s planned day out at the Juan Valdez Parque de Cafe is off… Pastor Walter, who was taking us, has a sick little daughter, so rather than expect him to just leave her, we told him to stay at home with her. So, I guess it might be shopping and a movie….
Tomorrow’s a potential early start, and a good day…. with a school at about 8am somewhere in the south of the city (we’re pretty much in the middle, and it’s a big city!), and then the kids hospital, Club Noel, where I’ve seen whole wards emptied of terminally sick children healed and go home… (see Dr Dunia’s video interview on the testimony page – she confirms it!!)
Wonderful reports back from last weekend in Buenaventura…. the pastors of the church, Abraham and Xiomar Ramirez, have said that it was a major turning point in the life of the church, that it has taken the church to a whole new level of faith, expectation, and power… that means so much to the Kingdom, so thank you, Father, for your blessing there, and please maintain and then increase the growth, passion, and power….
Tuesday night’s meeting at the foundation…. you can find pictures from that meeting, if you’ve signed into Facebook (along with, it seems, about half the world!) at this link: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30407679&id=1289037028
(you might have to cut and paste this). Again, feedback has been marvellous… people healed, saved, and blessed.
This visit is even more latino than ever (!) in that we’re getting our meeting details often on the afternoon of the evening we’re preaching… you just roll with it here, and, even trhough I like to know ‘up front’ where we’re going, it’s actually quite easy to remain phlegmatic and chilled about it…. having said that, we DO have some of the next few days schedule now, so that’s updated on the ‘diary’ tab.
Wednesday, Dave and Clare went to our dear friend’s Walter & Lupe Torres’ church…. a lovely meeting, with, as usual D&C praying for everyone and prophesying over all or most!
Alan & I were at ‘Casa de Dios’, ‘House of God’ church. It is pastored by my long time friends Norbey & Carmen Avias. I’m always amazed at the turnout for midweek meetings outside of countries in the western world: a good number, Alan spoke brilliantly. It’s fantastic to see how God is taking him to new levels in every meeting, and giving him revelation….. he’s gone from telling the wonderful story of his wife, Barbara’s miraculous healing – he still tells it (and she has the most famous ex-osteo arthritic knees in the Americas!) to preaching what God is giving him, and a real liberty to preach with revelation. When I think back 22 months to a Sunday morning in Bangor when I met Alan & Barbara, and Alan wouldn’t have been 100% convinced then that God could do what was prayed for, though I think he knew deep down that God was the only hope for healing Barbaba’s knees….(they were! – rapidly) but not before God set him on fire, with all I could describe as a ‘Pentecost’ experience… he’s still on fire now…..
When it came time to preach at Norbey’s church on Wednesday night, I’d got a great ‘platform’ prepared for me by Alan, and I went for it…. God gave me many prophetic words for people, and then we prayed for a good number at the end… healing testimonies will come, but, more importantly, lives were changed by the world and the power of God…..
It’s still unusually high temperatures here – 35-38C daytime (98-104F Americans!), so it was lovely Thursday evening to preach in the garden of the home of Diego and Pilar Reyes. They are SUCH dear friends, planting a church in the heart of their community, Jamundi (pronounced Ham-und-ee)…. 25 people, 60% of the not yet Christians, sitting in the (relative) cool of their verandah on a warm summer evening (jealous yet??!!). We all went, Alan again spoke very well, I preached, and asked Dave to do the evangelistic appeal. 13 people gave their lives to the Lord. Thank you, Father! We then prayed for everyone: prophecy and healing were sown into lives.
At that meeting was a lovely man I prayed for 2 years back – Umberto, and his wife Helena. Their grandson, 14 months old, is in a coma having swallowed a grape 5 weeks which stuck in his throat, cutting off his breathing, which in turn cut off the oxyegen to his brain. Medically there is nothing that can be done for him: but we went to their home to pray for him, and a real peace from God fell: we left, believing that the miracle for Andres David would happen. It was great to see Umberto again, as, 2 years ago, he could hardly walk, with chronic hip problems, walking with sticks (canes, for Americans!). My prayer for Umberto, in Spanish, has become apocryphal… I was well into the Spanish prayer for a miracle when I totally forgot the word for bones… asked Diego (under my breath)… ‘huesos’… off praying again, asking for ‘nuevos’ bones…. slight problem in Spanish is that huesos is similar to ‘heuvos’ (eggs), and nuevos is similar too… so ended up commanding ‘nuevos heuvos’ to Umberto…. new eggs – I won’t trouble you with what that translates to in real terms in Spanish, but it refers to an altogether different part of the anatomy! You can work it out! Lots of laughter…. then ‘nuevos huesos’… Umberto now walks perfectly, no sticks: he walked up six flights of stairs to pray for his grandson, better than any of us did! Thank you Jesus!
Last night, back at a wonderful church in Agua Blanca (that’s White Water’ by the way…. there’s little other than stagnant toxic water evident in the streets!) at the church Hefzi-bah, pastored by an amazing man, Fernando, in a wheelchair 23 years. I’ve know Fernando a while, and his church is wonderfully liberated and free. Last night, Dave did some crazy stuff with a load of the children there, Alan spoke and shared Barbara’s story better than ever (you have to be so, so proud of him Barbara!). Dave sang a lovely song of his about God’s grace, based on Psalm 51… so again, a great platform to preach from.
When the ministry time came, we prayed for everyone (probably over 200) to receive the crazy Spirit of God (( base that on 2 Corinthians 5:13!! – ‘If I’m out of my mind, it’s for the sake of Christ…) – and then, for healing, involved all the kids in praying for the sick. Many healing manifestations began – feeling muscle growing on wasted limbs, carpal tunnel being healed, pain of all sorts leaving bodies…. and then prayed for Pastor Fernando… all of us believe he’ll be out of his wheelchair before long (as a policeman 23 years ago, he was shot in the back and it destroyed his medula (I have no idea what that is, but thankfully God does!).
Busy day tomorrow with a number of meetings…. and even more blessing to come…. fortunately Dave & Clare drew the short straw, with a 7am meeting, and another at 10am! They are at Casa de Dios, Norbey & Carmen’s church – I’m with Alan at a Baptist church in the city somewhere, which has required buying a tie (it’s hot enough here without being trussed up!).
A great weekend in searing heat in Buenaventura. Hosted by the church Allianza Cristiana (Christian Alliance – quite easily translatable really) and the pastors Abraham & Xiomar Ramirez, there were quite a number of meetings, and some wonderful healings… Buenaventure IS a tough city, but God is at work there, amidst the poverty and violence of a rugged port city. The temperature was incredibly draining, outside very high 30’s (100+F), in the church touching mid 40’s (115+F) and so, so humid. My clothes changed colour when I preached, including the knees of my trousers! Perhaps that’s too much information… 🙂
Maria was healed of spondylitis…. Leidy of serious lung problems…. Diomedes was healed of long time spine issues…. Manuela of pain in the pancreas and spleen… Judith of throat and ear pain…. more to come!
Tonight, Tuesday, Dave & Clare were at a church I’ve been to before, pastored by a lovely man, Farid. It is a cell church, about 100 there, and they prayed for and prophesied over everyone.
Alan and I were at the wonderful kids foundation, Fundacion el Abrigo, in Agua Blanca. Every Tuesday they hold cell meetings and once a month a healing meeting. That was tonight. It was the biggest meeting they’ve had since it began, 25% more than the normal number, and there were some instant healings. Tatiana, severe stomach pain for a year – healed: Theresa, joint, bone and tissue pain in her left arm and right leg – healed: Genni healed of severe arm pain…. more to come!
It was a shock to learn of another big immigration issue, though reassuring in a bizarre obtuse sort of way! Benny Hinn was refused entry to England last week, so it’s quite good to know I’m in somewhat exalted company! If you want to know more, you can read about it a www.bennyhinn.org
Arrived here in Cali, Colombia, on Wednesday night late… long, long day of travelling, made all the longer (and much more expensive!) due to the fact that I can’t even transit the United states whilst visagate rolls on! I had to fly through Madrid, then into Bogota, 3 flights, 5 airports, 24 hours… having left England with the temperature at around 14C (that’s about 56F for American friends), it was 26C (80F) at past midnight, and getting hotter! Day temperatures are soaring….
Quietish day to recover yesterday, and today thrown right into busyness! Driving to Buenaventura for a very busy weekend of meetings – but that IS the city where the little boy came back to life last year, and hundreds were saved and healed there in March. It would be amazing to see the same again: so Dave & Clare Cleave and I would value your prayers for a miraculous intervention. Alan Gouck arrives from Northern Ireland on Sunday night, but it is strange here without him and John Crowder, from Virginia, who is still recovering from his quadruple heart bypass surgery.
Buenaventura is Colombia’s main port: it is tough, dirty, rough city – that Jesus loves… it is far, far hotter there than it is here, so we’d value your prayers for that part of this hectic weekend, too – it’s been 45C (118F) and 100% humidity the last few days there, so….preaching is like taking your own in-built shower!
The next 15 days seem to be fully packed, and, please God, the blog will be full of wondrous stories….
As for Visagate (!), Gunnar, my lawyer, is hoping to get all the info he needs from John and the church in Hampton within the next 48 hours, and my application for permanent residency should go in next week. It could take a few months, it could take a few years…. many have been praying that God will move mountains, so now would be a great time for that!
My apologies for the long delay here again… I’ve not been doing nothing (in fact, I’ve been quite busy!) but I just want to report things clearly, especially where this absurd visa situation is concerned!
Had a really good morning at Pevensey Bay Baptist Church mid August: first time there, but it was great to see Terry Fitzsimons, whom I knew from my old Youth for Christ days (they ended 1983) when he was a tremendous evangelist to the travelling community. Prayed for a lot of people after the meeting, and, as usual, I hope and pray to hear good reports from there one day soon!
It was good to be in Ireland, where I ended up staying for 2 weeks, since then (and anyone who knows me will know how wildly funny this is!) I’ve been staying in West Hoathly, West Sussex, LOOKING AFTER 3 CHICKENS!! I’m house-sitting for friends who are on holiday in the USA, and where they live is quite rural, hence the chickens… I’m not the world’s most natural ‘good life’ person, but the eggs do taste good, and the birds are quite sweet…. my biggest responsibility is to get them up in the morning, and then put them to bed! Nick & Sarah’s house is quite rural, and built on quite a steep slope: of course, the chickens are at the bottom of the slope, and by the time I get back to the house, I’m panting!
Two lovely Sunday preaching engagements this month, at two unrelated Kings Churches, in Addlestone, Surrey, and Wellington, Somerset… prayed for a good number of people at both, and in Wellington is was great to receive a picture, drawn for me, by Joe Jenks… prayed for his 3 year old brother, Sam, last time I was there, who had never spoken: that same Sunday night he spoke, and Joe drew me a picture saying ‘Thank you for Sam’s speech’, to Paul from Joe. It’s impossible to get something like that and not be in awe of what God can do…. and not be brought to tears! Same meeting, Tricia, who I prayed for last year – 15 years off work, on many benefits with major back problems: she came and told me – walked into doctor, signer herself off, same with social services, got a job…healed…. wonderful!!! Thank you Lord…
My visa situation is that now, I’m submitting a permanent residency application through Gunna, the lawyer: the church in Virginia want to appoint me as Foreign Missions Director. Gunnar’s working on it now, and is hopeful of getting the application in forst week in October. There’s a lot of water still to flow under the bridge, and it might be anything from 6 months to 2 years before I might be able to go back. 5 months since I was last there…. seems an eternity already, so possibly 2 more years isn’t a great blessing! But God is good, I asked him to give me peace to be able walk through the months ahead, as well as hit the accelerator where ministry is concerned, rather than just buckle and hide! Thankfully he seems to be doing that….
Thank you to everyone who has written to me, with words of encouragement, and blessing… thank you for praying, if you did, for the Embassy visit last week. It seems that the B1 US visa is not the one I need, so a fresh approach is now in process for a religious workers visa (R1) or permanent residency. I’m really none too sure what all the letters mean (B1, B2, R1, R2… we live in a world of letters and numbers!). What I do know is that God is doing something in all of this immigration stuff, and I want to come out of the end of the process having understood what He’s trying to achieve!
I’ve been over in Ireland for a few days now (cool and wet, compared to the sauna of the Oval in Surrey for the triumphant Ashes victory (yeaaahh!!!) over Australia. If ever I need proof that I’m still English, it’s when football and cricket are being played! I plan to stay over here for another few days, while I take stock of the visa situation, and work on the alternatives!
Well, I now have the date for my interview concerning the visa to the USA… it’s this coming Thursday, 20th, at 1045 am…. I asked the lawyer, Gunnar, to arrange it in Belfast, if possible, as the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London, can sometimes be hectically busy, and more than a little intimidating. I’m at the Belfast Consulate, which is great. There are loads of ‘requirements’ which I’m now working through, just to ensure that the interview takes place. Seems like you only have to breathe out of turn to get the appointment cancelled and the visa fee lost!
I’d value your prayers, as it seems that the US Embassy feel they have the right both to hold the passport of visa applicants, and deny the applicant permission to leave UK for any purpose whilst the application is ‘in process’…. hmmm. I’m due to be in Romania and Colombia within the next 6 weeks, so some prayer into that bizarre and absurd ‘rule’ would be appreciated!
Right now, I’ve just finished being involved at the Detling Bible Week, in Maidstone, Kent: a wonderful week of ministry, teaching, connections, and God’s blessing…. it really is such a privilege when you hear of people’s lives being changed forever by God’s power, and that somewhere in that you’ve had some involvement…
A lovely lady named Anne came up to me last Sunday, after I’d spoken in the Communion Service (which, thankfully, went ahead as a ‘normal’ communion service, despite the ‘warnings’ from Health and Safety – God bless ’em! – about swine flu. A huge percentage weren’t in faith to catch it!! I asked anne what I could pray for for healing: nothing, she’d come to say thank you – for praying last year. Then, she’d suffered from chronic depression for over 30 years, multiple failed suicide attempts, and every morning woke with a ‘flicker’ behind her eyelids when the depression kicked in before she’d opened them, and the thought ‘Oh, I’ve got another day to live’…. Since the same meeting at Detling last year, she’s not had a moment of depression, no flickers… and a transformed life.
My dear friend Timothy Bigden, whose testimony is on the testimonies page, told his story to the conference of total healing from 55 years of chronic migraines, and hasn’t had one since… Two years ago, prayed for a (then) 4 month old, Jude Hudson, just declared profoundly deaf by doctors: Jude hears now… God is so, so good!
A good number of people healed this year, too…. great connections with a number of people – including an amazing guy, Simon Guillebaud: a wonderful French couple, Francis & Diane Dognon: Catherine Brown, a prophet from near Ayr (my Scottish ‘home’!): renewed friendship with my long time friends Geoff & Annie Lawton – I worked alongside Geoff for some years in Youth for Christ in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and I guess it’s at least 20 years since our paths last crossed!
My apologies for the big gap in writing here, but a few weeks back I decided that I’d do what those who care for me, and those to whom I’m accountable (they care for me immensely!) advised me to do: take a break…. The past 3 months have been very stressed, and so I ‘disappeared’ for 3 weeks, to get up late, watch films, see a few friends. It became possible for me to stay in a couple of places where I could be on my own, which, with the lifestyle I lead, is very, very rare. The more I began to unwind, the more tired I became, and I spent a lot of time thinking, praying, sleeping, reading, and (this will astonish those who REALLY know me!!) I hardly looked at my computer!
It was most certainly what I needed, particularly with the ongoing ‘visagate’ situation: there were so many questions to answer for the lawyer, US immigration forms to fill in, and some of the questions took hours! On one of the official immigration forms, there was a box 2.5 inches (about 7cms) by 3/4 inch (1.75 cms), with the instruction: ‘List all the countries you have been to in the past 10 years, with dates’…………….!!!!!!!! It took 16 sides of A4 paper to do that (that’s about 22 pages of US letter paper, for my American friends!). As my diaries/agendas are in the house in the USA, I had to do it from passport stamps – 3 passports, the current one, and two old ones. Passport stamps, for those who are used to them, are often illegible: over inked, under inked, smudged, one over another…. it took me about 20 hours just to decipher them, and then longer to put them in date sequence, and I particularly wanted to get it right so that I could demonstrate where USA stamps were transit stamps to other countries. Maybe now I have that information, perhaps I’ll post the finished article here, as (depending on your mindset!) it is either very impressive or completely crazy! Of course, it was made more difficult, as there are no stamps in passports within the European Union countries, so I had to compile those from past web pages, memory, and other people’s memories and agendas!
Hopefully, all the documentation and information that the lawyer, a great guy in Pennsylvania, Gunnar Armstrong, needs, is now with him, and it’s possible that in the next few days the visa application will go in, and the appointment for my interview will be made.
So, I now feel refreshed, at least: all I did in July was spend a very happy and blessed day speaking at St Luke’s Church, in Maidstone, on my return from a good trip to Sweden. It was great being back in Maidstone, even though my dear friend Eric, the Vicar, was on holiday.
This coming weekend, I head back to Maidstone, for the Detling Bible Week, where I’m speaking at the Communion service on Sunday afternoon (those with Detling memories will recall the ‘4-5 hour line’ of people wanting prayer for healing a few years back. Much as I’m happy to do that again, it is somewhat of a relief that there is a fantastic ministry team at Detling headed up brilliantly by Pat, Eric’s wife, and so the prayer burden is well shared! I’m also sharing seminars with my great friend Arnold Muwonge, from Uganda. The seminars are called ‘Pray the world’, which sounds pretty good from my point of view!
Following Detling, I should have been going back to the USA for a few days: instead, I’m going to Eastbourne, where I had such a great tome back in May. I’m preaching in Pevensey Bay and probably a couple of other places in Eastbourne, over the weekend 14-16 August, and then – if it’s confirmed – going to Uganda on 22nd, for 10 days. A couple of preaching dates in England, followed by a short visit to Romania, will precede – hopefully – a return to the USA for a few days r&r before heading for Colombia for 3 weeks at the end of September.
I’ve wanted to wait before writing here about the visa situation, so that there is something positive to report: I saw the London immigration lawyer last week. Also through a long time connection – a student on a YWAM school in England maybe 13 years ago – I was put in touch with an immigration attorney in the USA who is very familiar with YWAM and offers low cost immigration services to missionaries. He has spent many phone hours – at no charge – going over the circumstances of my situation. He knows that being a US resident has never been on my radar screen and feels quite hopeful about the outcome once the true facts are documented and presented.
I have reams of questions to answer and just need time to sit down with all my paperwork and get the answers down – hopefully that’ll be in the next few days. US immigration want to know every country I’ve been in in the last 10 years with dates… help! Very difficult for all the European ones of course since we don’t need visas….