It’s been good to be home for a few days, and now, I’m glad I blocked out a bit of time in my diary where I wouldn’t do any meetings or travel, as it’s amazing how much is involved in putting together a team, and a trip, to Cali – a slightly bigger team than normal, and with no-one, this time, who has been with me there before. One of the guys going, a great young man, Peter McAvoy, HAS been to Cali – 4 years ago, he spent a few months working in the Children’s Foundation run by the church ‘Mision El Abrigo’, started by my great friends Hendrik and Teija Hoere, and now led by Wilmar and Marlene Gomez. Hendrik & Teija now have a much wider apostolic ministry, still based at ‘El Abrigo’, and have just arrived in Bolivia for a few months’ ministry there.
I’m taking 6, possibly 7, people to Cali from 4-28 July. Like last time, it’s thrilling for me, as it’s another multi-national team: as someone whose passion IS for the nations, to take the nations to the city I love, is such a blessing. Apart from me, there’s possibly another Englishman, Alex. There’s a lovely ‘history’ behind Alex (possibly…please, Alex??!!) coming: he’s married to the love Karla, whose dad I was at school with, and in the same youth group as! There are three great young people from Northern Ireland, Carly, Grace, and Peter (he might have to be called Pete to save confusion with English Peter!!): a lovely young lady from Rouen, France, Caroline: and yet another lovely young lady, Margrethe, from Oslo, Norway. And me! It’s a particular blessing to people from the church I attend here, when I’m home: and with Margrethe, it’s tremendous, because she was a student at a Youth with a Mission school I spoke at, in Culiacan, Mexico, 11 or 12 years ago. She’s very kindly told me that she remembers a lot of what I said….probably the jokes! They are all ‘quality’ Spirit-filled young people, willing to risk anything to see God move people….we should get on really well!
But trying to co-ordinate everybody’s dates – as usual, people will be coming and going, some for the whole time, others for part of the time, so trying to work out dates, accommodation, programme, etc., is rather challenging! Add to that that five – including me! – are having to ‘pray in’ our fares and accommodation costs, it adds a little extra stress: especially as about now is the best time to book the flights, as it’s only 6 weeks until I arrive there, and firm up all the ministry opportunities! If you are willing and able – and want! – to pray for them, and me – as we mostly pray for our ticket money, here they are:
I think you know what I look like, so I haven’t put my photo in here! Anyway, the others are all so good looking, I wouldn’t want to spoil the view…!! Of those going, I’m the only ‘regular’ preacher: but it’s always my desire to ‘drop people in it’ where opportunities are concerned, and my ‘ethos’, if that’s the right word (I was going to say mantra, but it’s a bit non-Christian!), is that I want the people who go with me to return home with THEIR stories of what God has done, not telling folk back home ‘Paul did this, we saw God do that through Paul’…. I’ve put the wonderful Billy Graham as the featured picture, with his humbling quote: for me, this is the motive of everything I do, and will be the backbone of this mission trip….
Everyone going is pumped up for it: I only hope I’ve got the energy and the ‘knee power'(!) to keep up with some many young people…. only Peter and I are more than 35 years old!! And quite a lot MORE than 35 years old….
It’s amazing how much there is to do in organising even a relatively small team to go to the other side of the world, so I’m grateful for days home to be able to do it.
It’s also an opportunity to pray for people locally: yesterday, I went to pray with a lovely couple, whom I was put into contact with via a friend of a friend. It’s a pretty desperate situation, a brain tumour, that the oncologists have said there’s nothing more they can do for her. For me, I’ve so often found that it’s at the end of the doctors that the Holy Spirit turns up, and that’s my prayer for that dear lady. It seems quite a few people want to see me, it’s always nice to feel wanted! It makes a nice break from trying to find flights and juggling dates….!