As some of you know, my involvement as a missionary/preacher in ALL of the Latin American countries, came about through a ‘chili eating’ challenge thrown at me in Ghana, West Africa, in 1994! Some people seem to think that they have to have 50 prophetic words, 100 emails, and ten years of struggling to hear God, before going where he wants them to go….
A guy named Hugo Jimenez, in Ghana, told me that an Englishman could never eat a habanero chili… not wanting to be ungentlemanly, I took up his challenge to go to Mexico and prove that I could. I did. It took me – ooohh – all of 5 seconds to ‘hear from God’ about going: about as long as it took the words come out of my mouth – ‘You’re on!!’
As soon as I stepped off of the plane in one of the most astonishing cities, landing in one of the most astonishing airports, Mexico City, without a doubt, I knew God was right in at the heart of my being there. 17 years on, and numerous Latino countries later, invitations from people from coming to me BECAUSE I was in Mexico City, God is STILL in it all. Especially Mexico City itself, and Cali, Colombia, of course! Did I hear God on Labadi Beach, Ghana, eating goat kebabs cooked on a car-wheel hub, talking to Hugo? Too right I did: the unexpected, the ‘still small voice’, the storm, the calm… God speaks through any means he wants….
Almost immediately, I met the Osorio family: and loved them. Enrique, the ‘papa’ of the family, sadly (for us, not him!) now cracking wonderfully dry, humorous jokes, and – (true Brit-style!!) sarcasm, with the Jesus he loved and served, both as a Pastor and as a Doctor, became a dear, dear friend right from the beginning, because of his humour.
I became part of their family: and to this day, I love them all to bits! One of my greatest ‘privileges’ in 34 years of ministry, was to be asked to be involved in the wedding of Benny & Paty (Enrique & Mini have two other sons – Enrique, and Jose Luis (Jois)) – Benny’s the middle one… in December 2001. It was such an honour.
An honour that I still don’t take for granted, and hold it close, to be involved with their church that Benny & Paty took on from dad, and a good number of other churches that they have a real pastoral, and apostolic input, into. I always feel that Benny & I have much in common (apart from the fact that he’s young, he’s got hair(!), he’s married to a wonderful girl, Paty, and he’s extremely clever – all of those things and more, aside!), in that when I first knew the family, Benny would have been the ‘quieter’ son, perhaps a little shy… (there’s my connection – along with music, movies, cars….!!). Since stepping into Dad’s shoes, Benny has exploded into life, ministry, a fearless dynamic preacher, and taken the church where God really seems to want it to go….
So, it’s great to be going there again! I head across the water tonight, to England, and then the looooong haul via Toronto, tomorrow, arriving just prior to midnight (7 am UK time), having left to go to Heathrow at 8 am UK time)….. really appreciate prayers for the old knees. They’ve recovered pretty well in the short time since coming home from Colombia, though slipping down a stair and ‘tweaking’ the left one last weekend wasn’t helpful!
And please pray that God ‘turns up’ like he does in Colombia: I’m still on a roll from last weeks’ trip, and feel well fired up!
Whilst I’m there, I’m guessing another milestone might be passed on this lovely ‘Lee Collier’ special website! Start date – around 28 March: sometime, in the next couple of weeks, it’s likely to have its 10,000th hit!!!! I’m stunned…. around 2,500 a month….so, Lord, lift YOUR name, not my website, EVEN HIGHER with what you’re about to do….
‘Lord, I’ve heard of your fame: I STAND IN AWE OF YOUR DEEDS. IN OUR DAY, IN OUR TIME, DO THEM AGAIN, and in your anger, remember MERCY’. Habakkuk 2:2
…and that is followed, verse 3, by: ‘GOD CAME….’