To say the last 18 months have been unusual would be an understatement in the extreme! To all those who think ‘living by faith’, seeing thousands healed over 35 years. travelling to lots of countries (many of which I’d never have CHOSEN to go to but fell in love with after God made it clear I’d be going!), is a wonderful life, let me put a few of the not so wonderful things into perspective for you when you try and follow the call of God obediently – and these just in the last year and a half!! (Not including, in previous years, losing my home completely 5 times, having to choose to give up the last house I owned – mortgage, but some equity! – 36 years ago in order to go to a ministry training centre for a time which the equity paid for!). If you still want to be a missionary and live by faith after this, then I’d say that God has called you!
But do you know what? I wouldn’t swap the house, equity, or anything, for what I’ve seen God do in the last 40 years, more especially the last 34 years – because He’s blown me away with what He’s done with and through this plonker from the East End of London, with where He’s taken me, with who I’ve met and become friends with all over the world (having never travelled abroad before apart from to France), what He’s given me the grace (and guts!) to eat (cow’s eyes, live flying ants, snake, cow’s lips, cat, dog…..want me to go on??!!), and now, arriving in Wales on the next ‘leg’ of my life of adventure, knowing that people of the Kingdom of Heaven have been praying that I’ll come here – for 4-5 years… I’ve not been part of too many churches in my life – most have been long-stay churches – I have to say it’s wonderful to come somewhere where the folk want me, are totally non-religious, not threatened by anyone with an existing ministry (you might be shocked at how many churches are, so they don’t want you!), and I’ve had more people visit me and help me here in 5 days than I had in the last 6 months!
Here’s the last 18 months in a nutshell(!):
- the previously documented wrecking of my right knee by an orthopaedic consultant in Belfast in January 2018, to then not being able to walk (and acute pain) for 10 months as a result,
- somehow managing a 3-4 week trip to Colombia in a wheelchair, to waking up one morning IN Colombia with my legs looking like I’d been stood in a barrel of beetroot juice all night and being diagnosed with chronic cellulitis
- some preaching – with mobility difficulties! – in Northern Ireland
- speaking at a great conference in Dublin in November and seeing God heal
- being told by other orthopaedic consultants that I might never walk again
- not being able to walk from my living to my kitchen (about 15 feet/5 metres) so not being able to eat for many of those months (but losing 120 pounds weight/8.5 stones/55 kg was a bonus)
- having the blessing of wonderful friends, Roy and Angie, from Plymouth, flying to N Ireland to spend 5 days with me to clean my house, and cook many meals I could freeze and then just stick in the oven, my not-yet-Christian neighbours in Northern Ireland frequently cooking Sunday lunch for me so often I had one meal a week(!)
- to being persuaded to move from Northern Ireland to Gravesend – and most ludicrously to do the move without a removal company
- giving away about half of my home in Northern Ireland as it wouldn’t fit on the trailer
- to renting a second floor (third if you’re American) flat/apartment without seeing it first, realising that there was no lift/elevator but about 36 stairs (poor knees!!) – and because of its location (about 20 minutes from London) – at a rent that made my eyes water – 3 times the rent I’d been paying in Ireland – God does have a great sense of humour! God made me aware early on that it wasn’t it a long term stay – thankfully – for all sorts of reasons, that he’d taken me there for a purpose which I’m thrilled to say has been fulfilled
- to being promised about a third of the rent difference by a ‘friend’ – the same promise every month for the 6 months I was there – and then to be told ‘You need to learn to live by faith’… hmm! He’s a guy in his forties and I’ve been living by faith for 40 years.! If I’m honest, it was hugely dishonouring and insulting! God’s wonderful though – he came up trumps every month so I didn’t have to even delay the rent 🙂
- wondering where I’d go after Gravesend (isn’t that just an awful name for a town? – I used to think that when I was a boy listening to the football results when they’d announce the ‘Southern League’ scores!)- there were a few places that seemed to be on the horizon (I DID wonder if one would be Colombia, but not this time!). Thinking it would be one place, then God hi-jacking my plans (!) and bringing me here to Wales – there are so many prophecies about Wales right now, and so much expectation, it’s exciting to be here to be a part of what God is going to do.
- renting a house through Air BnB for the next 3 weeks that is owned by the neighbours – extreme new agers, with books titled ‘Healing by Magic’ and similar – probably more occultists than new-agers!
- Most of my home is stored in a friend’s garage: and the stuff I asked the removal men to bring here for the next month or months, they mostly didn’t – including most of my clothes! If you hear on the news of a naked limping overweight walking round Wales, it might well be me….
- Then not really knowing where I’ll be staying/living after that – but I’ve been here before, and God’s always kept his promise from 40 years ago: ‘Trust me for your home, security, and income’.
So, despite the spiritual battle that was the last location, I’m really excited to be in THIS spiritual battle for a nation that has revival history – astonishing history – and the promise from God through countless people that Wales is on his agenda again….
A lovely friend from South London sent me this verse a couple of days ago – Job 36:16:
He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.
That is a wonderful encouragement and blessing!
Now to let these knees recover from 36 stairs for 6 months, and there’ll be no stopping me again….