Phew, home at last, and now, after a day of bones, knees especially, deciding that they were objecting to the last 4 weeks away and the 30+ hour jounrey home (even despite being able to lie down on a wonderful Busniess Class bed/seat! 🙂 ), I feel pretty much back to normal this morning, and ready to roll again! I think, though, that it’s sensible to give the old knees – and the body – a good time to recover, and prepare for the onlsaught of Colombia at the end of the month. It had been my plan, following a pretty busy July-December last year, to have January relatively clear so I could rest up a bit: but, 5 or 6 round trips to England for various reasons (one for France) in the month sort of put paid to that! Now, I’m going to be desperately holding on to March to do what I’d designed January to do – but, who knows…? The best laid plans of mice and men…. where DID that expresiion come from?
Some amazing testimonies back from Melbourne – this one, from Robert Hall, with whom I’ve shared so many of the amazing miracles of the past few weeks:hey Paul, got this from Amy who we prayed for at youth unite
Basically I’ve been sick my whole life but really unwell the past 2 years, with multiple things. About a year ago they found a tumour on my liver, that they originally weren’t sure if it was cancerous or not. So they carried out tests and blood tests to test for certain cancer markers and the last two came back positive. So with two it wasn’t a good sign, until I got healing prayers at youth unite. I went back to the doctor on Thursday and she said everything was Normal! Which is an absolute miracle because I thought that there was no way of getting out of this. But the tumour has no signs of being cancerous anymore!!
and this one from the person concerned, but as I’ve not asked (yet) for permission to include names, I won’t: Hey guys!
Just in case you don’t remember me, I asked for healing and prayer last friday night because I had been unwell and got back 2 positive cancer marker tests. I said I would fill you in on the outcome and its a miracle to say the least…..
i went back to the doctors Thursday to follow up bloodtests and she said she can’t see anything sinister anymore!!! The tumour is still there but isn’t showing any signs of being malignant anymore which is insane.. After this, I definitely believe in the power of healing because those two tests were pretty definite!
Thankyou so so so much for praying for someone you didn’t know, it means the world to me and obviously God used His power through all of you! God bless and thank you all so much xx
Wonderful!!! Thank you, Lord: thank you for miraculous healings… there’ll be more stories filtering back over the next few weeks, as is par for the course, so I’ll let you know…. some lovely ones that I don’t think I’ve included here or on Facebook – Robert’s friend, Gordi, from Sydney (see 25 February) – did a 12km run on Tuesday, and, as far as we know, another 20 km Thursday: no swelling in his knees, just a ‘twinge’ from muscles coming back into use having been under-used due to his knee problems. Michelle – a whole new joy and liberty in her life after years of allergies and other issues….on the last day, praying for the Hall family, with whom I stayed – Shey felt a huge transformation in her head (it was already lovely, and pretty clever!) – she’d always (like I used to have, and still have to fight) lived with a fear of speaking publicly, basically insecurity based on comparing yourself with other people. I know that only too well. Prayed with all their sons, 3 autistic/aspergic, such a transformation in them in the past 6 months….
What a trip that was: and (wonderfully, after a day recovering from the journey home!), an open invitation to go back anytime…. one WONDERFUL thing that Robert said as I was leaving…. bear in mind, this is the bloke who, 8 months ago, said ‘the only faith I have is to ask you to come here to pray for my boys’… now is in SUCH a place of faith that he said ‘I love having you here, love doing stuff with you, but in terms of faith and praying for people, I don’t NEED you like before’ – he’s in SUCH a place of faith now, and that thrills me more than anything. I’ve always wanted to see people who travel with me/I go to, to grasp that God can do it with them, and in doing so, do myself (theoretically!) out of a job….
Once again, I really can’t work out what this software is doing, but if you have ‘blank bits’, hold your mouse button down over the blank bits and all will be revealed…. Adobe Contribute software, I hate you!!
A whole ’round’ of people to see, pray with, chat with, be blessed by, and hopefully, bless: seems like God wanted to do that, as much happened! I love watching God at work… met a guy last week, Alex, on the fringe of ‘God stuff’ at best, who’d had loads of pain in his right arm: he came back tonight for more prayer as his right arm was healed, and now wanted prayer for his damaged lungs. Felt instantly better, his whole visage changed… Ralph & Anna, with 8 ravaged years of their lives wrecked by Anna’s 3 assaults by cancer, to cancel her out: talk about blessing! – Anna was wonderful freed from her history by God, it showed in her face and voice, as death, chemotherapy, radiation, and anaesthetic all lost their grip on her life. She went from being wrecked to rejoicing, very ludly! Ralph then told me that, when I was here (for 5 days! – never do THAT journey again just for 5 days!!) in August 2010, God healed him of his long term carpal tunnel pain. He was (then) soon due to have surgery, and was clearly delighted that he didn’t need it…. prayed with a lovely young lady, I won’t mention her name as I didn’t ask permission to tell her story by name: she’d been traumatised by the massive bush fire here four years ago (if you remember, thousands of homes were lost, and a load of lives). She nad her family had lost their home in an instant, she’d gone through anorexia, bulimia, self-harm, and now, pseudo siezures (it IS a diagnosis, I’m told). Her whole face changed as Rob & I prayed for her: it was almost like you could see the weight lift off of her…. Pam, also a cancer sufferer, also had a big weight lifted off of her: I’m told that the effect of chemo and anaesthetic stay in your system a long, long time, and, of course, have untold side effects and damage caused. Pam seemed to be blessed out of her boots, it was wonderful to see.
And so, with many more stories to tell, that was my last ‘meeting’ tonight: it’s been an amazing two and a half weeks, with some incredible blessing. Now, two-thirds packed, in case tomorrow gets ‘hijacked’ and I run out of time(!), I hed, tomorrow night, for Melbourne Airport, and the 30+ hour trek home, including all the waiting in Singapore and London…. I’d already fallen in love with Australia, many years ago: I just think my love for this country has reached a new level, and I hope and pray that the folk here will want me back soon, despite ther length of the journey!
Blog friends, I really can’t work out what this software is doing, but if you have ‘blank bits’, hold your mouse button down over the blank bits and all will be revealed…. Adobe Contribute software, I hate you!!
26 February (later)
And, as if today hadn’t been blessing (if draining!) enough, just as I was dropping off to sleep, my UK phone, which I pretty much leave alone when away as roaming costs are so ludicrous, made the ‘text message received’ noise.., as if ing (if draining!) enough, just as I was dropping off to sleep, my UK phone, which I pretty much leave alone when away as roaming costs are so ludicrous, made the ‘text message received’ noise…
Dear, dear friends, Nick & Sarah Grace Harding messaged me to say that their second son was born today. Their first son, Milo, was born 20 months ago in pretty traumatic fashion, premature, whilst they were on holiday in France… but God was just so involved in that.
I met Nick in (I think!) 2000, speaking on his YWAM school in Argentina: despite an age difference enough to be father and son, we became great mates: Sarah I met in (I think) 2005 on her YWAM school in New Zealand, and really got on well with her. Astonishingly they were both from West Sussex, and despite meeting them 5 years apart, they met…fell in love, and married…. live in West Sussex, and introduced me to their lovely friends – and now my lovely friends, Simon Allaby & Sarah Allaby….
Now, today, their second precious son is born. And now, trying to sleep in Australia, can’t, because I feel so blessed, honoured, and unworthy as they’ve texted me the news about 8lb 1oz Ralph, born today… middle name? – Bennison… blown away, honestly….
I’ve always felt it an ‘un-apt’ (if there is such a word) surname for me: it comes from middle English, and from the French verb ‘benir’…. to bless. I just pray that Ralph’s name will follow him all the days of his life, grace him, and abundantly provide for him as he becomes the man of God Nick & Sarah will raise him as…
Today has been such a ‘privileged’ day of praying for people, not just in seeing what God does for them when you do, indeed, have the PRIVILEGE of people, ill, hurt, damaged, vulnerable, make themselves vulnerable to you for you to pray with them. I had three such people today, in a row, and God touched and blessed their lives in such a way that left me in awe. One, a lovely guy – I’ll just call him R – had had such a battering in his life, sometimes inflicted, and yes – sometimes brought on by himself – (since when did God outcast us for bad decisions, choices, and actions), left completely broken and at – in his words – the bottom of the barrel (I guess he might be a few years older than me, and he’d felt his life was irredeemable. God cracked open the heavens, and tipped ‘grace’ can over his head today….
Another person, hounded by (their words, not mine) ‘personal demons’ (named them), and God broke a pattern, a vicious circle, over that life…
Another, at their wits’ end about what to do… grace, mercy, and love cascading down over them…
Still not quite recovered from last night, with the lovely Johnnie Walker (still delight in his name!!) massivley transformed in the past 9 days, and testifying to to being overwhelmed with God’s love, freedom, mercy, and grace after 67 ‘wasted’ years. How wonderful to have your last 33% of life become so worthwhile after the loss of the previous two thirds…. I’m gob-smacked.
Others prayed for today included a lovely family ‘matriarch’ in the nicest sense, just so unwell, and a son, healed last week, but the the enemy stealing his healing away to discourage him, only to get it back today…
Then, the family meal with Shey Hall’s family, the McPherson side: such an honour to be a guest in their family.
I’ve so grown to love both sides of the family over my times here in Melbourne, and left with praying for big-daddy (not in size, but stature) John, for a miracle for his back….God, grace him outrageously, too, tonight….
25 February (even later – 1130pm here, 1230 midday UK)
Well, after last night’s and this morning’s exertions, neither Rob or I were desperate for another meeting tonight – one of those times where you know the enemy would rather you stay indoors and sleep – but it turned into a great evening, with a good crowd at the church, and probably just about everyone prayed for! Some lovely stories, from tonight and other evenings’ reports received tonight. This evening, no ‘blockbuster’ events, except that Johnnie Walker, the expat Brit whom Rob & I prayed for at St John’s church a week ago Saturday – suicidal, wrecked life, ‘waster 67 years’ as he said then – came – totally and utterly transformed, saved, delivered of his spirit of death/suicide, healed, and gave his testimony tonight, much to his surprise, then I got him praying with people….as I did with others who’ve been healed: there’s no one better to pray for the sick than someone who’s just been healed, like there’s no one better to preach the gospel than someone just saved. Lots of good stuff tonight, pain going from people’s bodies, plantus fasciitus healed (no idea if I’ve spelt that right!), some wonderful ‘reelease’ prayer for people, many tears, and much blessing. Wondered if I’d ‘pushed the boat out’ a bit far for some Christians by talking about some of the reasons why people DON’T get healed, but Rob reckons I hit it just right, so I’ll trust his judgement! Only just home at 1130, from a 730pm start, and still a good number around right up until we left, which is always a lovely sign that it’s been a good meeting!
Amazing testimony from a few days ago – from a lady named Pam, currently undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, due soon for a mastectomy, in a lot of pain, and with some of the ‘usual’ chemo side-effects: emailed Janeece, Shey’s mum, with this: ‘Thank you so much for providing Alex and I with the opportunity of meeting Paul and praying with him. I feel FANTASTIC this morning’….not a bad testimony from someone as sick as she is!
Elvira, from Uzbekistan, prayed for recently – 9 days ago to be exact – hung around until the very end to say that she’s TOTALLY healed of celiac disease, has been eating totally normally since the day I prayed with her, her husband is over the moon, and the kids totally ecstatic to have mum ‘normal’ nad eating McDonalds, ice cream, bread, pasta…. wow,God’s good!
Gordi, from last night in Sydney, ran 12kms tonight, no pain in his knees/legs/ITB (google it!!), and totally blown away by the fact that we were willing to fly there to pray for him. To him, that was as much part of his healing as being prayed for, that we were willing to do something crazy in order to bless him….
Many other good stories and testimonies, but I guess you might be getting bored with them by now…? Busy day tomorrow, then a ‘Shey’ family meal meal (man alive, have these two got BIG families!! – mine could all meet in a small downstairs loo and there still be space for others!). Some pastors want to meet up with me, which – who know – is good for future visits here!
25 February (later!)
Nice but busy afternoon praying for ‘the surgery patients’ again today! Wonderful to hear reports of from Dennis, about Ninette (see 18th February post): she’s 85, and last week was healed from 30 years of chronic back pain, stood up straight after a lifetime of scoliosis, and the goiter on her larynx is gone. Dennis said today that for the first time in memory, he’s heard his mum say ‘I feel really well, and have no pain!’. Wonderful, thank you Lord!! Dennis wanted prayer himself last week, but, as often happens, nothing happened immediately: no change when he arrived again today. Set to on HIS lifelong back pain, and hereditary scoliosis, and diabetes. He’d not been able to lie down FLAT on the floor, only with his back curved, and couldn’t previously get back up from that position…. today, he laid flat on the floor, and sat upright from a lying position, from his waist, without using his arms! His face was a picture…. guessing that means, as God doesn’t tend to leave people half-healed, that the diabetes is gone/goin, and that his ‘regular’ loo trips in the night will have stopped….
I also have absolutely no idea why, on the blog page in the browser, half the text is missing: this glorious software once again! It IS there, if you hold and drag your mouse over the blank bit, it mysteriously appears…..
Sunday morning saw a return visit (last time, August), to Cornerstone church, in Laurimar, part of the larger area of Doreen, in which Robert & Shey and the kids, live. It was a lovely meeting, ended, as usual, with many people to pray for, and the the family/friend mentioned for lunch on Saturday, were there, so involved them in the praying, too. Time was a bit pressured, but it was great to see one lady, whom I’d prayed with earlier in the week, then in the most terrible state of anxiety, causing her to shake violently: I nearly didn’t recognise her yesterday, such was the transformation during the week.
Then it was a quick dash home, pack for an overnighter (turned out to be half an overnighter!), in Sydney, so we had to head to the airport by 1.30, arrived in Sydney at 5pm, the first house for the whistle-stop prayer tour, by 6pm. We went to pray for a great friend of Rob’s, a runner even more lunatic than Rob – a multiple ultra-marathon man, Gordi, who is doing a 100-mile run in New Zealand next month, a lovely little girl severely brain damaged, and then the super couple with whom Gordi had arranged accommodation for us.
Gordi would openly say he’s not a Christian, a sceptic: but he knows Rob, knows he’s very ‘normal’ (as long distance runners could EVER be normal!). Gordi had huge problems with his knees, as well as something with the initials ITB (some sort of vital bit connecting hips to knees!), his glutes (no, I don’t know either!!)… knees would swell terribly if he ran, couldn’t bend them, let alone squat…. was squatting regularly and often within minutes, the tighness in his thighs gone, the pain in his back gone… he’s going to try his knees out with a ‘short’ 30-40 kms run tomorrow…. and is ‘committed’ to signing up to the God squad if he’s healed!
The little girl, Isabella, was damaged at birth after heart surgery, and a subsequent shortage of sugar to the brain – I need to ask my friend Dunia, the Neurologist in Colombia, about what that does, next month! It’s my experience that change, healing, miracles, and transformation in such a brain damaged person, will normally come in stages: her dad and mum were amazed that Isabella allowed Rob & I to hold her, talk to her, pray for her, for so long, as she’s normally very fractious with strangers. She’s a beautiful little girl, and I long to hear from the family how she progresses from here….
Then, out to meet Rod & Melanie, a really lovely couple, good friends of Gordi’s, for a great meal, and then back to their astonishing house, right on Sydney Harbour, overlooking the famous Bridge, and of course, the amazing Opera House. Shame it was dark when we arrived, and when we left at 4.15 am, to head back to the airport, as Rob was due at work by 8am! Rod had had for a very long time, a terrible pain in his neck, for every movement of his neck, and undiagnosed lumps in his hands, and other parts of his body. The neck pain went prety much immediately, and he was turning his head a lot just because he could…! The lumps WILL go, of that we were sure: and Melanie, like many Christians who say that there’s nothing wrong with them, just turned out to have been born blind in her right eye…. she felt God something as Rob stuck his finger in her eye(!), so, we wait and see how she woke up today….
In an hour, begins the merry go round that now lasts until Thursday, with appointments for healing, and a meeting tonight, at Diamond Valley Baptist Church….
Saturday was a much more laid back day – I’m grateful that it was, as it’s pretty much non-stop from Sunday until I head for Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport on Thursday night for the long haul home. Some of the people I’ve met this trip – twin brothers, their sister, and house mate, kindly took me out to lunch, really great guys, and then, at home, from late afternoon, the house started to fill up with people to celebrate Robert’s 37th birthday. It was so good to see both sides of the Hall family, plus loads of friends, some I’ve had the privilege of praying with over the past couple of weeks, all in all a chill out day!
In a couple of posts recently, I’ve talked about Dennis, who had Reynauds Disease – dangerously low oxygen levels (SATS) in his blood (15% when I first met him). Here’s an email I received this morning, after their 2nd visit (for a top up of healing!), when Janice, his wife, also wanted prayer for her hand….
HI Paul, bless you I just have to let you know the latest after our visit to you on Tuesday after noon at Rob and Shays house .That night (after your prayer for my left hand and wrist that was broken and didn,t heal properly) I awoke feeling like my fingers were straight. thanked god and went back to sleep the feeling was incredible next morning my hand looked like no change, until this afternoon ,I found the first finger on my left hand was absolutely straight.I am lost for words to express how i feel ,and husband Dennis is also feeling changes that he cant put into words . But i have noticed him using his oxygen machine less during the day , although it has’not been as hot in the mornings and he can go outside he has even given some help to our son inlaw fixing a gate without the machine.also picked up his own tools in his shed to do a little job.It is also strange that staying at Leeanne our daughters house after seeing you Dennis machine has an alarm that lets us know if he is not breathing or over breathing,he never hears it but i do, and it kept me awake for hours . because i didnt get up to see why it kept alarming we found next morning the lead to the power had come out of the machine and the batteries had gone flat , so he was without oxygen for about 3or4 hours sleeping away none the wiser ,so that ment he had another 3 hrs for the battery to recharge. before he could use it again to go home . We both look forward to you returning to meet up again, we both thank God for you, God bless .Janice & Dennis
Quite wonderful, thank you God! This is a man who couldn’t walk more than two steps, or speak two words – ON his oxygen machine – just a few days ago…
It’s always daunting for me, despite all the years of doing it, to go to a meeting knowing that you’re a) going to be the one speaking, and b) the one in whom (rightly or wrongly) people put their hope for healing and transformation. Even more daunting, when that crowd is 175+ young people, aged 13-25 years old, and you’re old enough to be the great-grandfather of some of them!! Rather than put MY report, here’s the report of the Youth Pastor, Hayley, immediately after the meeting last night:
Hi Guys, thanks again for tonight!! Some healings that I was told about from my leaders:
2 knees – one was just painful tonight & it was completely better. The other girl had never been able to bend down on her knee & she was able to do that but still had slightly pain but was so excited
One leader has never been able to breath through his nose and after prayer he could
One boy dislocated his should 3 weeks ago & hasn’t had full movement & all movement returned and pain gone
One leader from another church got prayed for by year 8s and she had lost her voice & it nearly completely returned.
One girl told me that she had a lot of emotional healing.
& they are just the few that I have heard
Pretty amazing, and wonderful to ‘feel’ faith rise as you speak, and then see the young people praying for each other in groups, as well as having the endless queue of more wanting individual prayer!
Great at lunchtime Friday to see my long-time Englsin friends Alan & Gillian Butler, who pretty much live here now, as one of their sons, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren are here in Melbourne. We reckonedit was about 18 years since we last met, and so there was much talking taking place in between mouthfuls of lunch, and it was good to be reminded of their walk of faith, and God’s provision over many, many years: our stories have many parallels, and it’s always good to spend time with others who’ve made what the world would are ‘lunatic’ decisions – like selling your house, walking away from a good career, and hitting your 60’s with no pension because God’s told you to…. More power to you, Butlers: and thank you, God for your faithfulness.
Great day yesterday, relatively sedate(!) – lunch with Craig Ogden, pastor of Plenty Life Church. So good to catch up with him, even if it wasn’t possible on this trip to be with his lovely church. Prayed last weekend with some friends from Kazakhstan, Agniya, the wife, well pregnant with number 4 (7+ months, I think), she’s had morning sickness the WHOLE pregnancy, and really couldn’t keep food down… she also ha a terrible allergy to meat, especially raw, a bit of problem when you’re cooking for a family! Yevgeni and Agniya are a really lovely couple, so it was a delight to hear yesterday that she’s not had morning sickness since being prayed for last week, and handles meat now, with no reaction! Yevgeni’s sister, Aliona, and her husband Nicolai, also Kazakh folk, just visiting on holiday, came for pryaer, too: so good to be able to pray with them, they’d just had two miscarriages, and wre longing for baby number 2 to go with Leo. Fear, memory, and the (albeit, perhaps) sub-conscious reaction to it happening next tie, are very real in these situations, so it was wonderful to be able to pray for closure (not to forget the lost children) but to embrace God’s peace, and for the next ‘attempt’ at conception to be free from those fears. Agniya, of course, is delighted at the freedom she now has to enjoy the rest of the pregnancy, and Yevgeni can eat meat 😉
Then to the ‘small group’. run by long-time friends Jase McEwen & Sharini McEwen… just nice and informal, then prayed with a few – Patrick had a semi-busted lateral (something) ligament (LCL) in his right knee, very sore and painful: it was healed. Back pain, well, he’s had it a long time (hereditary) but it wasn’t painful tonight, so…time will tell! Others prayed for, too….mostly for things not immediately possible to know they’ve been healed from, but wonderful to hear from Jase a testimony that something from the last visit, which was an impossibilty humanly and medically, is now possible…. I DO lve this stuff!
Today, I get to catch up with ‘old’ friends Alan & Gillian Butler , living here now, but I knew them for many years as friends in Barnstaple, and Alan as a wonderful friendly travel agent. Been many, many years….! Then to see the lovely Peter Reale, mentioned last week, follwed by a United Youth Service for many churches…. could be a busy evening…!
Sorry about the white lines, but this was’nt a cut and paste from Facebook, it just has a mind of its oen, this software!
Slightly different day today, in that there was no church ‘official or unofficial’ meeting, just doing the Christian equivalent of a doctor’s round praying for various people in their homes!
Kicked off well, as, over here in Australia, they have a brilliant Christian bookshop chain, Koorong, which is so bright, contemporary, and packed with just about every book imaginable, it puts to shame some of the poor offerings I get to see elsewhere. So, spent a couple of hours trawling theirs displays and shelves: unfortunately, I don’t have endless cash, or infinite luggage weight for the flights home(!), but came away happy with my acquisitions!
The main focus of the day was a drive across the city for a meal with a couple of people I met last time: just as Rob & I were leaving to go there, one of local Youth Pastors and his wife came to ask for prayer. I’ve not asked for their permission to post this, but the husband had had, for a few days, a really sore shoulder – more than sore, tendon/muscle painful. It went, straight away. Then he went home and moved furniture, so is back for further prayer this evening! His wife, with disc problems in here back – one had popped out a bit – wasn’t in pain at the time, but I sense God touching her back and healing it, and her pilates class in the morning should show up and defects….!
Then down to Forest Hill, to the home of Scott & Natasha: if you followed here consistently, they were blessed with the birth of a lovely daughter around the time of my last visit, who was born with spina bifida. I’ve prayed for them a lot since visiting Poppy and dad and mum in hospital since last August, and to say Poppy is a miracle, and absolutely gorgeous, would be an understatement. Obviously there are still ‘works in progress’ in her body, but God is God and he IS at work in her. She’s now 6.5 months old, and, when I got the opportunity to hold her and hug her last night, it was with prayer over her all the time as well as conversation with Scott & Natasha, and their other guests. Prayed for some of the other guests too… 🙂
On the way back home, late, Rob wanted to stop by a friend’s house: she and her partner are equally crazy long-distance running friends of Rob – the guy is in training for his ‘Ironman’ ordeal in 5 weeks, they run super marathons and much, much more… the girl, last Friday (a fit, fast cysclist amongst all the other fitness stuff!) had a car pull out on front of her. The impact was considerable (it even made the news), and she burst a disc in her spine. That was removed by surgeons last Friday, and a steel ‘cage’ put in to replace it. Her biggest concern was the pain and pins and needles in her right arm, after her desire to run and ride again! Here’s what she’s just sent Robert on Facebook:
“Thanks so much for last night, I really appreciate it and guess what? The strength in my right arm has improved dramatically. What a special gift you and Paul have, and how lovely that you share it so unselfishly.! She and her partner aren’t in the God ‘camp’ (yet??!), so it’s always lovely when something like this happens so instantly, with, of course, no strings attached, and no conditions.
Busy day Thursday – frommid-day, probably until midnight, so there might not be any more posts here today!!
Having never been one the sort of preachers or pray-ers who can just go along a line tapping people on the head, saying ‘be healed’, or worse still (for me!) one of those who is so desperate for everyone else present to see the ‘pray-ee’ fall on the floor, pushing them over by whatever means they can, praying for sick people, and for salvation, takes some time. Please believe that have absolutely NO problem with people who fall and are genuinely zapped by the power of God – been there myself – but so often it’s almost a peer-group pressure thing, and I’d rather it didn’t happen at all than have people fall over because it ‘looks more spiritual’. Yesterday was one of those days when praying took time….
Apart from the odd occasion when Jesus did something like spit in the mud, most of what Jesus did gave affirmation to people, and he engaged with them. Engagement with the people I pray with is very important to me. So, last night’s meeting, agsain in Diamond Valley Baptist Church, which began at 7.30, ended at way past 11.30pm…. hence no report here last night, as I’d had people to ptay for ‘privately’ in the afternoon, so I was well and truly wrecked last night!
Dennis, whom I mentioned a week ago, had come, with his wife and daughter, a 3-4 hour drive, not so much for healing, but a ‘top-up’! I really like Dennis (you might remember he couldn’t move or speak hardly last week, connected almost constantly to his oxygen tank, with his blood SATS down at 15, which, I understand, could have made him dead. Thank God, last week, that turned right around: when they arrived yesterday afternoon, Dennis’s skin colouring and even tone (he’s 72 years old), had changed completely: perhaps that was the celebratory glasses of champagne the family shared a week ago when Dennis hadn’t needed his oxygen tank for hours. Once, it seems, he’d leaned forward very quickly, and blacked out: but even though the family called the ambulance (normally he’d have been rushed off to hospital), the medics decided that he was ok, a little ‘blip’ – and since, he’d been improving daily, putting on weight which he’d needed to. He came yesterday, in his words, ‘to get a top up from you as you’re still here!’. You know me: I can’t top anyone up, can’t heal paper without sellotape, but of course, I believe that God can. He left the house striding out again…
His wife, Janet, said there was nothing wrong with her… except for a badly mended broken wrist, it seemed: pain went, I reckon the wrist will be straight by this morning. Shey’s mum, Janeece, was healed last visit of long-term ladies ‘stuff’, but seemed her blood pressure was playing hard-to-get. She told me yesterday it had always been 160 or above, 80 or above (systolic/diastolic readings). I’d prayed for that soon after arriving here: with a big smile, she tells me she’d not taken the heart meds for days, her BP down to 124/80, a reading it had NEVER been…
Then the meeting… what an assortment of people! First up, Susie – her husband Andrew had had his knee healed Saturday, and the residual ache prayed for on Monday evening. What I hadn’t ever asked is how he wrecked his kee in the first place: seems he was on a trampoline, feel VERY badly, and his right leh was at 90 degrees to the knee – pointing forward AGAINST the bend… I can’t even comprehend, even as a bloke with knee trouble, how much pain he must have been in. His steel plates, he says, are now disappearing (he could feel them), pain free, walking normally…. Susie, who’d been healed on Saturday of issues with pelvic area/bladder issues, had them come back Sunday… and gone again last night.
Cameron, sleep apnoea (hope I’ve spelt that right!)… major reaction to prayer to clear his airways: guess to see him again I’d know if he slept soundly without his ‘usual’ oxygen mask that goes with the turf. Sherrie – schizophrenic, looked awful, uptight, looked daggers at Rob and me, even though she’d come to us for prayer, eyes tight, small, hard… prayed that the sweat blood from Jesus’ head, which I’ve leanred/been taught, was for mental & emotional healing, to pour over her… we sent to the bathroom to check her face in the mirror – she was transformed. Ok, I know that with such illnesses, humanly, they take time/counselling etc…. but did they take Jesus time? Did he send them off saying ‘You look alright for now, but go and see a shrink tomorrow?’? I don’t think so…. smiling, laughing, eyes sparkling where they looked like two pee-holes in the snow earlier…
James, Robert’s twin brother, who’d had his right knee totally smashed in a motorbike accident last time I was here, sat last night with us, and others, and we saw and felt the steel screws and plates disappearing – his surface skin turned grey, the ‘lumps’ which had really bugged him, going down, and the swelling below the patella disappearing….
….and loads, loads more…. all manner of pain went, chronic fatigue, migraines. What can I say, but thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus!
18 February (late!)
Ages back, an Irish comedian, Jimmy Cricket, used to have a catchphrase ‘And there’s more’ which became a TV programme… I feel a bit like nicking that catchphrase when I’m away on trips, as, even since this afternoon, there’s been more – amazing stuff that God’s done and doing.
Busy surgery tonight(!) but great to have Robert with me: a seeming never ending stream of people desperate and longing for healing, reassurance, blessing. We began at 6.45pm, and finished at 11.05 pm, so were both absolutely wiped out: I at least have the advantage of a lie-in, poor old Rob has to be up at 6.45 to get to work.
A lot of things I get asked to pray for will only be known in the few weeks or months ahead – like a lovely misionary couple, longing to have another baby (a lovely son, about 1 year old called Angus – the dad’s from Dundee, Scotland!), mum with a prolapsed womb and a damaged back from the delivery of Angus (oops… glad for spell checkers, I missed the ‘g’ out!!), dad with chronic fatigue, a damaged wrist (healed, thank you Lord) and disc problems – only a scan will confirm, but the pain instantly decreased….
A lovely old couple, Johan , 82, & Wilhelmina, from Holland, but 63 years in Australia, and still with his Dutch accent – good man! Jo shook with severe tremors, and osteo-parosis, ironic as he was a chiropractor in his working days. Tremors all but ceased, and pain decreased massively throughout his body, just a small ache in his right hip: wonderful!
Alex, about 28, smashed left wrist, healed badly, a lot of pain – all went… Andrew, whose wrecked and pinned/plated knee was healed Saturday, had experienced a small ache below the patella, but walked in like he’d never HAD a bad knee, and the pain went: he’s also convinced that the steel plate is shrinking, as he used to be able to feel it easily, and can’t anymore…
Russ, prayed for Saturday, recovering alcoholic (he arrived tonight from the AA meeting, bless him): really hugely ‘delivered’ from lifelong depression, walked out with a smile, pain in his knee also healed.
Chris, who was healed on Saturday of asthma – he’s been walking, swimming, and exercising without once using his inhaler since Saturday, was healed of a severe back problem then, too: went to chiropractor today to take his son, and the chiro man said he’d ‘do’ Chris’s back while he was there. Chris told him he didn’t need a session: chiroman said he’d check him anyway, pronounced a completely fit and perfect back, and then Chris told him what had happened through prayer. Wonderful testimony, thank you Lord.
For the ‘easily offended’ amongst you, don’t read on, as what I’ve pasted here is the ‘blood ‘n’ guts’ version of my mate Robert Hall‘s day today, with full Australian English includd (!) 🙂
I haven’t been putting up heaps of stuff because I have no idea whether people like to read it but this one I thought I should. I was chatting with the large lesbian lady from accounts about the weekend so she gets her hoof out of her shoe and says her heel is in agony and can I fix it. So I say ok and pray for it and nothing happens except a little less pain, so I felt like a knob head but gave it a second shot and it comes good and she is stunned. So I go back to despatch to help load a truck and Mick was driver. I was crapping myself a little bit because Mick is a ‘very vocal bikie’ and some months back I had prayed for his stuffed from football knee . anyway before i get there i hear him bellowing out thanking me and jesus and it was completely restored within 2 days. So then he tells me his arse cheeks are really tight and sore and asks if its ok to ask for prayer, so there I am holding the truckies arse praying with us both in hysterics of laughter along with the other 3 guys who can’t believe their eyes. You have no idea how grateful to Jesus he fixed that one real quick
And there’s more…but it’s late (1am here) and I need horizontal…!! Thank you, all of you who pray for me, and please – keep going!
Have to put an interim ‘afternoon’ post in here, as the last 2 hours have a) been filled with ‘patients through the surgery'(!) but b) been really quite wonderful. A lovely man, Chester, drove 3 or more hours to come here to Rob & Shey’s home, with an 84 year old, Des: Des suffered for the last 2 years with a chronic inner-ear dysfunction, having no balance, and constant dizziness – turning always made him feel he would fall. He was also pretty much stone deaf. After praying for him, he went out onto the patio/deck for a smoke 🙂 – with no balance problem, walking upright, and a true sense conviction that damage done surgically to his left ear 66 years ago was being righted…. Chester got more than he bargained for, only thinking he was bringing Des, but God’s presence was all over him, pain going away from his back, amongst other things… he’s promised to call to report on everything I prayed for him today….
Then, Dennis arrived with his mum, Ninette, (not the same Dennis as last Tuesday). Mum has suffered with acute osteo-parosis since 1983, crippled with pain: scoliosis too, causing a major stoop in her body, and surgery on a goiter in her throat many years ago left her larynx badly damaged, with merely a gruff ‘stage whisper’ for a voice. Prayed, obviously, into all of that (she’s narly 86 years old), then she went into the living room while Dennis stayed in the kitchen for some prayer…. by the time he went back to join his mum (10 minutes??), all Ninette’s pain had gone – literally, all of it – and was standing up straight, looked much taller than 30 minutes earlier when she arrived! Not only that, but strength was back in her voice….
Flippin’ ada is about all I can say, apart from thank you, Lord!!!!
Shey’s mum arrived, she’s a member of the church I was in yesterday…. Johnnie Walker is totally healed, and well-saved….told Janeece (mum) that all the ‘demons in my head have gone, prayed all morning, looking absolutely totally different….
Keith, Shey’s granddad, healed last time of Parkinson’s and lameness, now has his spine healed, standing upright for the first time in years….
Pete, with massive lung issues/cradle cap… prophesied the Samson story over him Friday… cradle cap meant he pulled most of his hair out by the roots, so bald, flaming red raw… hair’s growing again, since Friday…. awesome! Thank you God!!!
Well….. it just rolls on and on and on…. not preaching anywhere this morning, which was nice, but from 1.45pm, praying for people in the ‘doctor’s surgery’ type format again… Barry had chronic lower back pain eased, Kay the same, Nicky had a big reduction in what she call ‘disembarkation syndrome’: she’d been on a cruise, ok on the ship but every symptom of ‘movement’ relating to being on the sea once she landed, and a reducion in pain from neuropathy… two of the ladies came from the same church as Johnnie Walker, and they were talking about how astonishing the change was in him!
One person (no names!) sadly came for prayer, young (21), severely aspergic, with no hope, no life, no friends, and (as far as the person was concerned) no future, the future only being a continuation of the past, really didn’t want to change, so I refused to pray for him: there’s no point in praying for a person if they don’t want to be healed…. I spent 35 minutes trying to engage with him: clearly intelligent, but (as with this and similar disorders) the person was socially unwilling to connect….
…..so it was nice to end praying for these folk, and a few others, with a lovely atheist named Kenny! Keny had major league surgery very recently on one of his knees, he’d completely snapped the anterior crusciate ligament and split his patella in two…. they’d been ‘reconstructed’ under surgery, but yesterday, he fell on the same knee, and knew that he’d split both again….his limp and the pain in his face were intense: three minutes later, he walked out, with a big smile, no limp, his sister astonished, and all his lovely Christian dad (Keith, who I’ve mentioned before) could say was ‘bloody hell!’…… By the way, 82 year old Keith asked for more prayer this afternoon to rid himsself of his fianl bit of ‘stoop’ in his back, and his shuffling walk…. a delight of a man to pray with, and in tears over what had happened to Kenny… don’t forget, Aussie men don’t cry… 🙂
Wonderful!!!! God’s so amazingly marvellous… Again, totally knackered after praying for people non-stop, for a good number of hours, especially that 35 minutes with the asperger’s sufferer: maybe some of you will think it was unreasonable of me not to pray for the person, but so often, sickness of any sort can become our security, our identity, and consume our personality. Also, there’s the ‘fear’ of what will happen if you’re healed and the social service benfits stop…. that’s when we need GOD’S social security system – Psalm 103, the first few verses… ‘Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not ALL HIS BENEFITS’…and when go on to read what they are, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to rely on the world’s benefits when you can have your life back….
Overwhelming day today, of seeing God’s love, grace, mercy, and power transform many lives…. even after 27/28 years of doing this, it still blows me away to see what God does when even a little faith is ‘cut loose’ and unbelief begins to cower and then run. I was at St John’s Anglican church, in Diamond Creek, for what was supposed to be a 3 hour meeting, including lunch, and me speaking…. a really good number there, probably about 75, and God realesed miracles and healings a plenty….
Susie – a great deal of pain in her abdomen, and back: from what she testified, all gone. Totally overwhelmed, blessed….
Andrew – Susie’s husband – arrived limping badly, walking with a walking stick/cane, totally wrecked and pretty much fused right knee, steel screws and plates in it, asked after prayer to do something he hadn’t been able to do a few minutes before, like squat… squatted, no pain, no problem, totally healed: got him praying for other people with knee problems, some immediately healed…he went for a long, long walk all around the large church complex, without his stick, and then stayed to impart his blessing from God to others, before leaving with his stick under his arm!
Name I’ve forgotten… a lady with such chronic pain in her spine, unable to turn or bend or raise her head, large lump to left of her spine, even unable to look down to read, had to get a ‘light’ Bible to hold at arms length in front of her, laying down … completely free head movement in moments….
Johnnie Walker…. great name, Englishman (should really be Scottish with a name like that, eh??!), awful background & history, his words ‘a wasted life’ (67 years old), suicidal every day, 3 marriages, his kids not spoken to him for 20 years, highly intelligent intellectual bloke, broken foot and a migraine just to add to his problems, and a self image of total worthlessness, questioned his own salvation: foot healed instantly, migraine healed instantly, filled with the Holy Spirit, left the meeting standing upright, tall, with his whole persona changed…. the radical transformation that came over him was so total, it was almost unbelieveable to see.
One of the ‘problems’ with praying so long, and for so many, is that you forget who you prayed for, and what they were healed of. All I know is that the feeling after praying, and someone telling you that they’re healed, is so, so wonderful. I guess a good 40% of the people who were at the meeting came for prayer, and (conservatively) 75% healed, miracled, others in ‘process’…..
….and many, many more healed. Thank you, Jesus, you’re amazing….
What had been scheduled to be a 12-3pm meeting, finally ended when the last person was prayed for, and pretty much totally healed(!) at 6pm.. somewhat knackered, but elated….
…..topped off with pizza, a beer, and meeting Kelvin, Robert Hall’s running mate, here for a 50 km race tomorrow. Wanted to pray for him to have his examined for doing such a crazy thing(!!) but to him it’s a ‘short’ race…. must be mad…
Yesterday was Robert & Shey’s small group meeting, from their church. It was god to see some folk I already knew, and meet a few I didn’t, and great to have the opportunity to pray with pretty much all of them, if not last night, then during the day today. Prayer for some was for healing, for others it was to determine God’s call on their lives. I wasn’t expecting to speak, to be honest, as I’d asked Rob if that was required, so it was a bit of a surprise when Raff, the small gropu leader, and the senior youth pastor of the church, asked me to! I’m rarely stuck for words when it comes to talking about what God is doing…..
Today, there was a steady stream of people coming to the house, for healing and/or a chat. It was great to see Pete Reale, who, last August had 2 months to live with cancer literally everywhere, and new tumours and ‘hotspots’ appearing throughout his body. The cancer’s gone: but a few months back, the enemy launched and attack on his lungs (Pete’s 26 years old, by the way), and when he walked in, he was grey, gaunt, and having suffered from cradle cap, had had to pull out most of his hair. His lung capacity/effectiveness was 15%, he could hardly breathe, and it was very difficult for him even to speak. He came with his mum, who’d had to drive him: and both of us saw the skin coour change, his breathing become a LITTLE more regular and easy, and he walked around the house a bit without too much trouble, something he’d not been able to do until today, spending his time mostly prostrate on the couch. I’ve felt, ever since I first met Pete, 2.5 years ago, that God’s got a clear purpose for him, so I want to pray more and more for him in the next couple of weeks.
Prayed for at least 4 or 5 others, too: one lady, Marie, with parkinson’s, and depression. Her shaking stopped instantly, and the whole of her persona lightened as the depresion and anxiety began to lift. Another of the Diamond Valley Baptist pastors, Paul, had an injury from the turn of the year – he’d driven a spike into his arm – the wound wouldn’t hel. Robert had prayed for him in hospital, when he went to have it stitched, intially, and the strength came back supernaturally, but the wound would not heal…. on his way home in the car, Paul decided to rip off his dressing – and there was new skin on the wound…..thank you, Lord! He was over the moon.
Tonight, it was the usual Friday meal of all the Hall families – and me! Good to see them all again, along with a couple of neighbours, the husband with an un-healing wound(!), a duff knee – the pain went from his knee as Robert prayed for it. The wife, Heather, was born deaf: usually, when there’s been no hearing, that comes back slowly, as it would be too much for the brain to handle otherwise, so we’ll wait and see what her story is, and pray for her more….
Last evening’s meeting was not so much a meeting, but a gathering of ‘patients’ in the living room of Robert & Shey’s parents-in-law, all then flitered in one by one or two by two into another room, where I was waiting, with Robert, to pray for people. It’s actually quite a nice ‘scenario’ to pray for people in that way, and it was excellent last night. Must have prayed for a good 20 people.
It’s a format that seems to work very well here in Australia! Some lovely things happened, a good percentage were healed instantly, or are works in progress (according to my friend John Paul Jackson, healing is God taking something away that shouldn’t be there: miracles are God putting back something that wasn’t there – miracles generally instant, healing – by nature of the word – is a process)….
First up was a lovely lady named Leanne: I actually met her first last time I was here, when she was very sick with cancer. God totally healed her, to the point doctors have said she’s completely clear. Because of that, last night, she brought her dad (Dennis) and mum (Janice), who drove many hours (5, I believe), to be there last night. Also has a serious bladder disorder, which was prayed for after we’d prayed for dad.
I’m actualy waiting for the eaxct name of Dennis’s disease (will post it correctly if I’ve got it wrong) – Reynaud’s Hypoxia, of which there are 5 stages, and Dennis was at the worst one, having had it 20 years. He carried a portable oxygen tank with him, nasally connected: he couldn’t walk more than 2 steps without stopping to breathe, even talking was a major exertion for him, two words then much deep inhalation of air before the next two… his complexion was grey. Well… God is absolutely amazing, in that first, Dennis started to talk more easily, then colour came back to his face, his eyes we sparkling, so I asked him to walk, minus the portable oxygen tank and without the tubes…. he did, easily: then picked up a chair to carry (apparently that would have totally finished 10 minutes earlier), then walked into the kitchen and back…. now, a lovely skin colour, breathing totally normal, and, when it came to leave, he STRODE out to the car ahead of his wife and daughter, minus oxygen tank. He’s normally in bed exhausted by 7.30pm, especially after such a long journey: at 9.30pm, Leanne called the house, they were sitting up, chatting, dad perfectly ok, sharing a bottle of champagne to celebrate (Rob’s mum in law thought they didn’t drink alcohol up to that point!!). That’s the way to do it – thank God, and have a glass of champers!!
Other people who were there, waiting for their ‘appointment (!) were stunned as Dennis walked out. One, who’d only come to be with her brother who wanted more prayer (he’d been prayed for Tuesday night), Kylie Inglis, wrote this on her facebook page…. I just saw a man who could barely say two words (let alone walk without gasping) on an oxygen tank, walk out without his oxygen tank, healthy as – after being prayed for and healed. worth the 5 hour drive i think! Praise Jesus! – and was then questioned ‘how?’ by her friends… then this: (blushing slightly now!) – a guy with a healing gift is visiting from the uk. i hung out with him last night, such an awesome sincere guy. for those needing it, he is here for the next 2 weeks praying for their healing…. I am SO grateful to God for doing things I can’t even begin to know about!
One lovely man, Chris, was freed from back pain, supra spinatus tendon pain: he testified afterwards to really feeling the presence of God on him, and God touching the damaged bits. Another lady with pain in most key ‘motor’ joints (shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles) had a significant pain reduction. Keith, Shey’s granddad, who was healed last time of parkinson’s (he’d shaken quite violently for 16+ years), had his lower back pain healed last night (only 81 years young!), a lovely lady, Marian, was healed of arthritis in her hands, other pain reduced… be gone by today, I believe…. Shey’s grandmother, Maureen, was prayed for last time I was here, as she couldn’t sleep: she’s slept perfectly ever since…
The guy who’d come Monday night, Laughlin (‘Laugh’) was born 3 months premature (he’s 33 now). Due to the prem birth, he’d had many problems, not the least of which is his left eye: at birth, because of the problem there, doctors operated on him – but he was to young for the surgery, and they did it baddly, ripping his retina. In oxygenating his eye to try and help that problem, they over-oxgenated, and effectively killed the retina. His left eye is significantly smaller than the right., and effectively blind, only being able to see blurred light. Overnight Monday, he’d kept waking up feeling pressure in it: as Rob & I prayed for him last night, his eye noticeably started to change shape, the lids ‘swelling’ (to like, normal), And Laugh could feel it. His eye opened more, and his pupil seemed to be enlarged…. I think he’ll be back for more over the weekend!
There were more…. but I need to close here now, and then start thinking and praying about tonight’s meeting!! This is wonderful….
An amazing evening… hope it’s ok if I update here tomorrow (which will still be today in the UK, of course!), as I’m pretty cream-crackered….
Nice relaxing day here, much needed after the journey, and ahead of tonight’s first meeting. It was an ‘informal’ gathering in one of the rooms at a local Baptist church: and a great start to the trip. Maybe 40 people there, but a good percentage of that number were healed tonight, including an arthritic hand (Linda); a young lady’s (Laura) knees; another young lady’s (Natalie) back, spine, and supra spinatus tendon (in the shoulder) healed – we both felt her spince click and move, and she said it before I asked her if she’d felt it, which is always nice! Other back pain went, a ‘sciatic’ type pain in one lady’s right leg, which actually is the knock on effect (referred pain) from a cancer that was heled 2.5 years ago when I was here, tonight was the first I knew of it! A young lady in a wheelchair, Wendy, with cerebral palsy, no previous feelings in back or legs – both tingled extensively, no motor function in her feet – they moved – left her to Robert & Shey – here’s what Rob said on facebook (it was his and Shey’s church we were in):
Heaps healed, I spent ages on a lady with cerebral palsy, she gained some motor skills, her arms straightened out and tingling but she was terrified of trying to walk. She has a way to go though. Then I got a bad back person & a abdominal pain person that got healed which was great.
Others healed too, love Rob’s word, not mine, ‘heaps’ healed…. so, a great start… more to come….
Arrived safely in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday morning, grateful for safe travel, but not always for the young lad in the seat next to me who kept fidgeting all night from Singapore to Melbourne!! One of the ‘joys’ of travel, I suppose. If you’ve not ever done ‘longhaul’ flying, you haven’t missed much(!) – it’s a funny feeling waking up, as I did, Saturday morning, about 8am, to be ready to go to the airport, and thinking ‘I won’t be in bed again until Monday night’! One of the (many, many) things I’m grateful to God for is the fact that I don’t really seem to suffer from jetlag: even though my time asleep on the flights (13.5 hour flight London-Singapore, maybe 1 hour ‘napping’ in total, 7 hours Singapore-Melbourne (no sleep), I was able to stay awake all day yesterday here (11 hours ahead of UK because of daylight savings time) until I knew I had to start to get ready to sleep at 10pm. Even then sleep didn’t come quickly, it never does for me (it must be lovely to be one of those people who can sleep anywhere at the drop of a hat!), but boy, did I sleep well then, until 10am, so hopefully ready for my first meeting later on today.
For all my compatriots in the UK, suffering the cold (on the way to Heathrow airport on Saturday, the signs on the motorway were for ‘severe weather Sunday’), I feel for you! It was only about 30C here yesterday! It’s lovely to be warm, and it certainly does my knees the world of good in the warmth! I’m grateful that the lack of movement they get on longhaul flights seems to wear off sufficiently fast these days to make walking not-so-bad the next day. Robert here can’t wait to ‘attack’ my knees with prayer…. I’m up for that!
There will probably be people back in the UK who’ll want to have me ‘delivered'(!!) as I bought some ‘Tiger Balm’ patches in Singapore airport Sunday, used them last night whilst asleep, and they seem to have done a good job so far…. I know some Chrsitians who think stuff like that is wholly demonic, but when you read the ‘ingredients’ there’s nothing demonic in them!
So, up and runing! Come on, Lord, do some MIGHTY exploits in the next 17 days!!
At last! I found someone at Adobe who actually got round to sorting out the accessibility to the website! Countless hours on the phone and online with them, so much time wasted, especially today, when I’ve got loads to do ahead of leaving for Australia in the morning. Now for some updating….
Since 4 January, I’ve had a couple of wonderful weekend bookings – one in Rouen, France: the other in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. Two funerals – my lovely nephew, Stewart, on 11 January, and my lovely mate Martin on 29 January. Those of you who follow me here will know that I love France: and was so grateful to long-time friends Colin & Sue Enticknap for inviting me to their terrific conference last May. The gap of about 18 years between then, and my previous ministry opportunity in France, was one I’d been asking the Lord to sort out, and I was so blessed He opened the door last May. Then in December – Lisieux: and, from that weekend, when I met a lovely bunch of people from a great church, simply known as ‘The Gospel’ in Rouen, I was invited to their church in mid-January.
It’s funny how the best laid plans I make so frequently don’t seem to be the best laid plans that God has! I’d planned, following a busy autumn, to have a few weeks of little activity in January, ahead of Australia (tomorrow, until 1 March), and Colombia (26 March onwards). Instead, I feel like a yo-yo, having been to and from England 4 times already in January, and once this month already, some great meetings, and little time for my knees to benefit from the break. But my lovely friend, Alan, has just been round to pray for them: in fact, they were so bad yesterday I actually wondered if I’d go, chatted to Alan on the phone last night, and almost instantly they started to recover. I was thinking about that later, and relised that Alan has quite a unique anointing, as even just talking with him about them, the pain began to subside. It’s not the first time that’s happened, and it’s a pretty wonderful gift to have.
Rouen was just fantastic. A great group of people, the leaders, Bernard & Ann-Margrethe (Switzerland & Denmark), and Gerard and Elisabeth (Dutch & French – with whom I stayed, fantastic hosts), a whole lot of faith cut loose in so many people’s lives, a good number of people healed (another Bernard, in such pain almost head to foot that he could hardly sit OR stand: a lady with severe stomach and abdominal pain healed, and more…). God really did turn up in a wonderul way there: and it loks as though I’ll be taking some of the folk from that church to Colombia at some stage, if not this year, then next.
Bishop’s Stortford: well, to be more exact, St James’ Church, Thorley, was a lovely weekend too. Led by Bob & Jackie Payne, they are the parents of Sarah Allaby, wife of my great mate Simon (she’s a good friend too!). Saturday evening, and two Sunday morning services there, and people prayed for at the end of all of them. One young lady, I think her name is Laura, had suffered acute back pain all her life, and the medical prognosis was that nothing could be done for it, she’d just have to ‘manage’ it. Nah… thank you, Lord, that you touched that back and healed it: she loked so surprised as some pretty intense heat went into her back, and the pain disappeared. Lovely! It was great to arrive at Bob & Jackie’s home, and hear that someone named Beverley waslooking forward to seeing me….who’d been around in the era when I worked with Youth for Christ, in East Sussex. When we met, we worked out that it was probably 34 years since we’d last met! What was lovely to hear, even after all those years, was that her life was impacted by some of the stuff we did in YFC in those days….
Funerals.. two: two too many! My lovely nephew Stewart, who was hugely physically and mentally handicapped, alng with asthma, epilepsy, no immune system, and lots of other stuff, went to be with Jesus, aged 34 (him, not Jesus!), but a good 25 years after the age that meics had ‘prognosed’ for him very early in his life. That, in the main, was because of the awesome dedication, lve, and commitment my sister, Vivien, and brother in law, Derek, gave him. A good number attended his funeral: and, even though Stewart couldn’t speak, WHO he was, rather than anything he said, impacted and changed people’s lives, a point which a number of people on the day, testified to. Just goes to show that it’s not words that impact people, or even attitude: it’s WHO we are.
On the day of Stew’s funeral, did a detour to Cornwall via Worthing, to go and see my dear, dear friend Martin, in St Barnabas’ Hospice. I’m so glad I did, even though humanly it was way out of the way, as 5 days later, he went to be with the Jesus he loved so much, too. His funeral was last week, a gret crowd there, including another whole crowd of people I’d not seen for years.
Please pray for Vivien & Derek, as they try to readjust after 34 years of 24/7 care for their son: and for Janice, Martin’s widow, and his dughters Lucy and Jo, and their families.
Monday to Wednesday this week, I was in the Cotswolds with my wonderful Rhino friends:a fantastic time of passion, prayer, prophecy, laughter, conversation, and wine….I don’t know WHAT I’d do without them. And so, after 2 days at home, which I covet these days and try and protect as much as I can, it’s off to Australia tomorrow…. leave here at 11.30am, arrive Melbourne Monday 7.20am…. prayer for sleep on the planes, if you want something specific to pray for! And…no delays, and for my kees to do just what dear Alan has prayed for them, and get into line with their created condition, and for the pain to be gone…..
4 January 2013
No excuses….! Been a while, I know, but these few weeks have been a real haven for me, whilst storms seem to go on around with, especially with people whom I’m very close to. Just after the last post (bugle sound??!) I headed back over to England, foir a couple of reasons – one being my 60th birthday, which I celebrated with my lovely Rhino buddies in a super restaurant in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire (Nick, baby Rhino, lives there, and it was central for everyone else). So lovely to have very, very busy guys commit a day just before Christmas, to be with little ol’ me: I am very very blessed…. It’s my belief that ALL blokes need a small handful of other blokes (or one or two, at least) around them, for freindship, accountability, fun, laughter, raucousness (yeah, even at 60 – and I’m 10 years younger than a couple of them!), rebuke, and love. Most blokes I know who DON’T have anyone THAT close to them also don’t ever want to be told they might be wrong…. 🙁
Then it was down to Worthing, to pray for my long-time mate, Martin, and his lovely wife, Jan: Mart is in process of cancer taking over his whole body, it was really quick from when he was first diagnosed, to now – I herd today that he is now in the Hospice. That – rightly or wrongly – brings a mental ‘fear’ all of it’s own. I’m hoping next week to get down to see him. I’m over in England – again – as, tragically, my lovely nephew, Stewart, died on the Saturday before Christmas, and it’s his funeral next Friday. Derek & Vivien, my sister and brother-in-law, would really value your prayers, as it’s a devastating time for them. They sacrificed much of their own ‘future’ to become constant 24/7 carers for dear Stew: they wouldn’t see it is a sacrifice, and no one could have been loved and cared for more than Stewart. It really was their ‘call from God’ to ‘nurse this child’ – a prophetic Scripture they were given when they adopted him at 3 weeks old, more than 34 years ago. Right up until December 22, 2012, they happily and willingly did that. But Stewart’s fourth ‘blue-light’ visit to hospital in 8 months finally took its toll. Please, if you pray for me and family, do so especially now, and next Friday, whilst triumphant in many respects, is also going to be very, very hard.
I’m involved, too – from afar, admittedly – with my lovely friends from Virginia, Aussies Ian & Bev, who are also having a traumatic time in many ways,and we talk quite frequently, and often at length, on the phone. And, whilst I’ve been in Ireland, I haven’t been TOTALLY idle(!) – praying for individual folk, and, wonderfully, seeing God heal. A young mum named Kelly, suffering with acute tachicardia, has been totally healed. Friends of hers, not yet Christians, I also had the privilege of praying with – along with my lovely mate Alan, last Sunday morning. Dickie, the husband, died for 15 minutes in March last year, and, though (obviously!) resusscitated, has never regained health. Looking forward to hearing about him in the next few days… at the same time, we prayed with a lovely named Kathleen, suffering from advanced cancer…. so I’m really well and truly UP for seeing cancer overurned, in her, and especially in Martin. Please pray for them!
It’s amazing how much time organising trips can take – especially ONCE they are organised, and having to unorganise and the reorganise them! I was actually booked to fly direct from Belfast to Paris (yes, the ‘delightful’ Charles de Gaulle airport – which, to me, for many years, resembled more the lining of the famous former president’s enormous nose!!), as I’m speaking at a super church in Rouen next weekend. But, the funeral is a must: so the cancellation/rebooking/ arranging accommodation in England/pickup/drop off at the airport takes an unnecessary amount of time! And boy, it costs a lot to cancel….! So I’m headed for Paris now on Saturday, on the first flight out of Heathrow, and straight into ministry when I get to Rouen…. having just been with Martin, and at Stewart’s funeral, I’m going to be in the right frame of mind to do the enemy some major damage over the weekend! So, come on Lord, do your stuff!!
Hmmm… here come the apologies (excuses??!) again…. really has been hassle with my laptop, and with my tablet: I don’t think I’m one who normally blames ‘the enemy’ for too much, when it’s often just ‘the stuff of life’, but to have had hassle with both (especially when my laptop was recently reformatted, so should be relatively trouble free) does seem a bit of a coincidence. I’ve managed, at last, to get this software to open again, so I’ll hurriedly type as much as I can before it crashes!
Those few days at home were very necessary, between Colombia, and heading off to France. It took my body a few days to recover from the ‘cement injection’ I mentioned in the last post, below (!): but the time seemed to flash past, in a blur of unpacking, laundry, cleaning, er…flattening/smoothing the clothes (why iron stuff when the shirts are going to be UNDER sweatshirts or jumpers, anyway??), and then repacking.
Then it was back over to England, a night stopover with Denis and Cathy Acott in Maidstone, with whom I went to France, and then the drive to Lisieux, in Normandy. I have to confess for a long-time love affair with France. It’s a beautiful country, and, despite the mis-conception that many people have that the Brits and the French don’t like each other, I have to say I haven’t found many French people I don’t like, or towns, or regions…. or wines, or baguettes! The three of us were sharing ministry at a day long conference, on healing, taking a session each during the day. The church, Eglise de La Source, is pastored by a fantastic couple, Francis (French) and Diane (English) Dognon: very radical people, with a passion for evangelism, church planting, and the under-privileged. It was a bit of shock to know how much France is struggling economoically, as it’s not been one of the ‘up in lights’ struggling Eurozone countries (like the Republic of Ireland, Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal). A god percentage of the church’s congregation are very poor, on benefits, and receiving ‘Red Cross’ food parcels: just the sort of church I love, too. There was a great turnout, for a full Saturday conference not long before Christmas. Dennis kicked off proceedings, followed by Cathy, then yours truly. We ended up praying with and for people right through the day, including over lunch, and even into the begining of sessions – one young mum was in so much pain before I got to speak (maybe she was hoping to get out of my session??!) – so intense she blacked out for some time. Prayer put a stop to it, thankfully, but by then, someone had called the paramedics, and they insisted on carting her off to hospital though she didn’t want to go…. nothing better than having blue-light paramedics come to a healing conference!
A good many people were healed, some fully, some progressively: some will be, by now (a week later). I got, as usual, a whole bunch of people with major knee issues – everything from arthritic to wrecked (empathy here on both counts!!). Two of the folk hadn’t been able to kneel, or sit back on their haunches for years: both did both! Thank you God!!! Others knew pain go from knees, limbs, backs…. my premise is, that the more I keep praying for people’s knees, and they get healed, the more God will one day look at me and say… ‘You kept doing it, despite your pain… so, have some healed knees yourself…!’
We had a wonderful time on the Sunday morning with about 25 leaders from the church and its associated ‘plants’: we prayed for, and prophesied over, all of the folk: such a privilege, a blessing, and thank you Lord, the words spoken over them rang true with all of them. It was a delight to be with the Dognons: even more so, in their Sunday service (at the very civilised time of 3pm!). Many prayed for, some healings, many blessed…
Of course, it wouldn’t have been a trip to France without endless baguettes, French butter, cheese, jam, and assorted wines! And some delightful Calvados… It was great fun for me, too, as we went to and from Lisiuex via the Channel Tunnel, a first for me, even though it’s been there for many years. So so quick, and quiet… I’m sold on it!
You might remember that I went to France in May: my first ministry trip there for maybe 18 years: I’d prayed during those years for God to open doors there for me, if he’d be so kind. Well, Brem-sur-Mer (May) opened doors: then Lisieux, two visits in a year (thank you God!): on the Saturday of the conference, after my session, I got to pray with a few folk who’d travelled from Rouen for the conference: God blitzed a few of them, healed some, and obviously scrambled their brains, as they asked me to speak at their church conference! In January…!! Yeah!!!! So, back in January, it seems, 11-13, and a charismatic gospel fellowship in Rouen. Thrilled to bits here 🙂
Back home again for a few days, in time to watch England wallop India at cricket (hallelujah!), West Ham thrash Chelsea, and catch up with ‘Homeland’, a brilliant tv series. Oh, and prepare hours of ministry, pray unceasingly…. :). And now, back to England: this time for a good day Friday – my Rhino mates are congregating to celebrate my 20th birthday (x3) with me: I’m so grateful to them, some are driving a long way just to be with me. I feel very privileged. Then down to Worthing to pray for my dear mate Martin, who, humanly speaking, only has a few weeks to live, with that foul ‘c’ disease: man, how I HATE cancer, HATE the enemy. Please pray for Martin & Janice: medically nothing can be done for him, and in his words, ‘we’re preparing for the worst, and believing for the best’. I’m praying that Saturday will be a day that reflects a quote from the awesome C T Studd, the last lines of which were ‘I’d rather run a rescue shop within a yard of hell’. Martin ain’t going there, thankfully, as he loves God: but his disease is hell, and rescue is what I have in mind for what I’m asking God to do….
Then it’s back home: a few weeks break, recuperation, recovery, rest, from the travels of the last few months: then back to France, Hemel Hempstead, Rhinos, and Melbourne, Australia….
I’ll do my utmost to write here again after the weekend!
Well, I have to say it’s nice to be home, though I miss Cali terribly! The journey home was a total nightmare, courtesy of Air Canada and British Airways: Air Canada’s 3.5 hour delay in Bogota meant missing my London connection in Toronto which meant an overnight stop (turned into just over an hour in a hotel by the time I’d had to fight the airline for accommodation!), which in turn meant changing my flight with the wretched British Airways from London to Belfast. Bear in mind I HAD a ticket, to Belfast: and the change was out of my control….it’s at most, on a ‘bumpy flight’ day, 1 hour. BA charged me an additional £264 for the pleasure of exactly the same seat number I would have had the day before! If I heard they went bankrupt tomorrow, I think I’d laugh…. What should have been a 20 or 21 hour journey home, ended up being 49 hours!
….All of which was such an unforunate end to what had been such an astonishing trip! I guess the enemy had stick his oar in SOMEWHERE to try and blight it. By Tuesday night and all of Wednesday, I felt like my body had been filled up with quick-setting concrete. Thankfully, yesterday and today, it’s been much better, even my knees have recovered quite well, which is a miracle. I’m eternally grateful for prayer. This weekend is odd/surreal/bizarre, too – pick whatever similar adjective you like – as my great friend Le Prior Collier is currently over in Virginia, USA, trying to make head or tail of the the wreckage that seems to be the house I once went to for rest and realxation, and where – pretty much – all my worldly possessions are. He’s there so that I can – hopefully – see, via the miracle of the internet, what is in boxes that house much of my stuff since the huge flood there 2.5 years back, to decide what I need shipped back to the UK, sold there, or simply thrown away…. It’s hard, as it’s the first place I felt ‘at home’ in many, many years: so there are emotions attached to it that go along with the ‘pain’ of having had my stuff forcibly wrenched from me without so much as a ‘by your leave’ from good old American immigration….
But I can HONESTLY say that it ALL pales into insignificance, if not inconsequence, when I think back on 3 weeks in Colombia, and the testimonies that I’m receiving even sonce I’ve been home. Here’s one I’ve asked permission to share: I’ve not edited it, I’ve left it in wonderful ‘Latino English’ from a lovely minister by the name of Francisco –
Hi bro. I must and want tell you the one day of mission with you guys was some inspiration for me and my ministry. Also than the way the you make simples prayers for the people teached me a lot. Now I am praying a lot more for sick people and I challenge me even for pray for dead people.
Two nights ago I was with a huge pain when I go pee, never before in my life live that kind of pain, then I remember you guys and that special day and I pray and command health for me, not with weird words or with an hour of preliminar pray, was direct, short and full of faith.
Was two days of pain and then, that night, five minutes later of my pray I was in the bathroom and pee again WITHOUT any pain.
Last night my wife was feeling pain in one of her legs nerve, I pray and inmediatly she was cure.
God bless you and your ministry.
So, no mention of meerkats at the ‘simples’ in the first paragraph! For me, this is BETTER than having prayed for someone myself: to have encouraged someone else to move up a gear, or to a new level, blesses me infinitely more than if I’d ‘done’ it. And Robert, who was with me in Cali, sent me this yesterday: “***** ***** who has been following our trip has now started praying and commanding in Jesus name and seeing people healed, spreading like wild fire” I’ve blanked out his name as I’ve not asked him for permission to use it yet. Rob is seeing people healed back home, and praying for anything that moves, it seems – even more, for anything that doesn’t, or can’t move!!
Would I swap the last few weeks for the misery of a journey – now over, and I can’t wait to go back there (though I’ll try and find any other airline than Air Canada! – glad Avianca, the great Colombian airline, are now part of the ‘right alliance’ foir me, for miles and flyer status!!) – or the ‘apin’ of this weekend, which is, not unnaturally, refreshing all of the past (almost) 4 years of issues with the USA and bringing them back to the surface. I’m so grateful to God that ‘doing his stuff’ is so much better than any cost I might have to pay, and to have the privilege of being at the frontline line of the past weeksof ministry, is purely unquantifiable. Thank you Lord, that you use the plonkers of the world – or as my good mate, Adrian Plass says – ‘All God has to work with is a pool full of pillocks!’ – I’m ever thankful that I’m just a pillock in a pool…..
18 November (2am!)
Super church meeting this evening at ‘House of Prayer King Jesus’ in Santa Monica, the more ‘upside’ part of the city, and where we were last Saturday. It’s such an inviting church, wonderful spirit, and tremendous hospitality: more importantly, people were healed tonight, for me the most notable being a lady whom I’d prayed for a number of times before with a ‘clawed’ middle finger on her hand. Shortened tendons caused the problem, which had stubbornly refused to change during previous vists, over maybe a couple of years. Tonight, with her determination not to give up, and keep getting prayed for, God did what only God can do, and healed her. Others healed included a lady with acute ‘remnant pain’ from cancer 24 and 4 years ago, another lady with an undiagnosed problem under her ribcage, just intense pressure as she described it. She was healed. A lady with a lot of lower back pain was healed. And…
…we met Carlos Calambas (that’s my guess at the spelling, but it did sound like Colombus but with ‘a’s…!). Currently he’s incarcerate in the jail in Jamundi, but might shortly be released, and, to see how THAT goes, they let him out 3 days a week… why’s he there? Well, he just happened to have killed over 500 people in his days as a hit man, but God miraculously intervened in his life, and now he’s a preacher. A good one, too, if tonight was anything to go by. Lovely man, to look at him you’d never believe that he had such a history.
And so, with my bags packed on the bed beside mine, tomorrow it’s the long haul home….to the cold, I’m told! Oh joy….
Erm… tomorrow morning’s meeting at the city hall is cancelled, because the city can’t guarantee our safety…. hmm!
17 November (0100am)
Hmmm…how can I begin in a way that I haven’t begun before, without using bigger adjectives than previously…??! What an amazing evening: a ‘Four Square’ (Cuadrangular) church, on 13th street, in the heart of the city. We were so, so welcomed, by lovely pastors Jefferson & Joanna: I’ve been with a pastor Rooseveltd before, here, so maybe in 50 years time there’ll be a pastor Clinton, Bush, and Obama…! Packed to the doors, almost out onto Pasoancho, the name of the of 13th street, it was electric from the the moment translator, Edwin Vargas,, performed his now-customary rap – a very good rapper he is, too. Another of the brilliant translators here who was once a guest of the US government – Department of Corrections(!), Edwin has been fantastic to get to know this trip. So, so glad we’ve met him.
Glyn spoke well again, too: we were told to be ‘short’ (not difficult in my case, at 5 feet 7 inches!) – as people had to get public transport home. It never seems to affect the length of the worship time though…! It’s been great ‘riding on the back’ of what Glyn has said, seems to have dovetailed nicely (but then it always seems to work well with whoever I’ve brought here!). We did our bit, and finishe by 8.30 pm: then the customary ‘deluge’ for prayer. Slightly different tonight in some respects, with the people we got to minister to…. Normal stuff to begin with, a lovely older lady with chronic face pain, affecting the whole left hand side, eyes, sight, head too. All the pain went. All I can do is report what they tell me, when asked ‘How do you feel now?’… a lady with spine trouble said her pain had gone, anotehr that her gastritis – manifesting itself like (as I once heard someone say) ‘a sack of wet rags at the top of the stomach’ (it was actually said in connection to airline food then!) – better, better, gone….I no longer give up without seeing it go if I can help it!
Then, after many others, a lovely bloke name Leonardo: his wife came to speak for him, as he’d been severely brain damaged, right hand side of his brain, in accident that had also brought on a stroke. No stregth, but movement in his left saide, hardly any language to speak of, and paralysis in his face. It was delightful to watch God begin to unravel his history of medical issues, as his voice began to return almost immediately, and, by the time we left (so much for ‘finish early: most people were still in church at 11pm!), he hugged me, with strength, and shook hands, with him knowing full well his strength was returning….
Edwin, like I’ve said, was a former thug/drug dealer in the States: his brother a former ‘siccario’ – one of the US$10 or so paid ‘hit men on a motorbike’ murderers. Glyn prayed for loads one side of the church, I prayed with Edwin the other: then we got Dario…. a young man of 30 years, asking initially for prayer for healing for injuries received in an ‘accident’. As he warmed to us, he became more open about his accident: 15 months ago, he was shot by the family whose father he’d shot because that guy had shot Dario’s father…. not yer usual ‘counselling’ prayer for healing scenario! He’d also killed a good few others, was now saved, but his life was in mortal danger from what I learned tonight is new gang warfare that is happening here… he’s trying to stay neutral, but neither side will let him without killing him. After being shot, he’d been in a coma for 25 days: in the 15 mnoths, had 30 surgeries, and showed me the skin tight ‘body stocking’ he has to wear to keep his body together. At the ned, both Glyn & I gave him bear hugs, without any discomfort to him: I’d prayed for new organs for him, and for scar tissue to heal. Guess that’ll be over a period of time…. his friend – only friend it seems – Henry, from Dominican Republic, also a hired ‘gun’, got prayer, too. Amazing transformation in both of them. Dario had his gun with him: I asked if he wanted to hand it over – so it’s go with my crack pipe from last week! – but he didn’t feel ready to do that yet.
He has a ‘favela’ – a whole area – that he controls: worked in the past in all the ‘siccario’ main offices, and has promised to take me on a tour of the favela next time I’m here. The adrenaline’s already running for that one…. many cartels, hired killers in that area… I’ve laways wanted to get ‘in’ but until tonight it never seemed possible….
What a night. Salvation, healing, guns, siccarios, preaching, blessing…. how could you NOT love this city?
As regular readers here know (if there are any!), I love to use this ‘vehicle’ to tell the testimonies of what God is doing. These weeks here in Cali, Colombia, have been amazing, and now, for the last remnant of my team, Glyn Moreton and me, we’re down to two full days left, in this city that I love so, so much. I’m never quite sure how it came to mean so much to me: maybe, as I shared with the church last night, that because of its history of intense violence, death, war, and drugs, it is a broken city, and Scripturally, God has a special place in his heart for the broken. To me, the history of this city, and this amazing, wonderful country of Colombia, is perhaps the reason why it ‘seems’ that there is an open heaven over it, and God’s heart, love, and power are poured out here in a very special way.
Since Glyn arrived 10 days ago, he’s shared a lot in churches about brokenness, and God’s heart for broken people: how he puts them together again with overwhelming love and compassion, and then uses – US. I remember hearing the lovely John Wimber preaching many years ago about ‘never trust a leader without a limp’. Unbroken people are both difficult to follow, listen to, and don’t tend to make good leders or role models. My team here, this trip, has been with a collection of guys who all have broken histories, broken hearts, and even working through broken ‘present’ experiences. It’s been a joy to be with them. My broken heart, my history of brokenness and broken heartedness, finds a common denominator in people of like experience. On previous trips, of course, I’ve brought broken people with me: to be honest, I can’t stand being alongside ‘whole, good, complete’ people. More’s the point, they don’t really want to be alongside this broken wreck of a man in case I ‘tarnish’ them. Listening this week to the stories of Simon, Robert, and Glyn: seeing God use them, DESPITE the shipwrecked histories they share, has mae me appreciate even more that people with limps are the only ones I want to be with. I don’t read too many stories of ‘perfect, together’ people being the heroes of Scripture. It seems to me to be a collection of broken and broken-hearted men and women who became OUR heroes, the giants of christian history.
I set my alarm early this morning, as we’d been told (quite late in the day yesterday) that we were going to the prison this morning, picked up by 8am. Iknew it wouldn’t happen, organised so late on, but wanted to be ready just in case I was proved wrong…. I wasn’t proved wrong, so, re-set my alarm, to grab another hours’ sleep, as it had taken me a long time to get to sleep last night. In that hour, I had a vivd dream about my family: I have no intention of boring you with the details here, but those who know me VERY well know my history, know my family…. it was so vivid – and broken – it woke me, and I know God was showing me something I need to pray into. Many moons ago, I heard Gerald Coates say ‘When there are other people who know everything there is to know about you, THEN you’re free’. I know I’m free: I’m (with friends I trust, and sometimes, sadly, with ‘friends’ I misjudge), a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, and my broken life is open to them.
This broken city has a special place in my heart BECAUSE it is broken, and perhaps it takes brokenness to really begin to understand ‘ground level’ love, and scratch the surface of the compassion of God for places, and people….
15 November (late)
Just by way of explanation, the ‘white’ bits on here are where I’ve I’ve copied and pasted from my Facebook post: for some reason, this stupid software seems to want not to let me remove the ‘highlighted’ bits! So…here’s another pasted bit….What a delightful evening….a church, Agua de Vida, Water of Life, in a really ‘risky’ (read ‘dangerous’!) barrio, Napoles… the pastor had suggested to William that we keep it short, and get out early… just NOT possible when everyone wants prayer afterwards! I’ll write more about the evening in my blog, suffice to say God healed some people, which is wonderful: but if I’m honest I really want
Glyn prayed for a brain damaged guy who’d been stabbed in the head… we both prayed for people whose sons had been shot dead… but God turned up, and people in a neighbourhood where foreigners would NEVER go were blessed out of their boots because two gringoes DID go… and I’d go back again tomorrow. Such a lovely church, a lovely spirit, and an amazing presence of Jesus…. which, incidentally, is the (husband) pastor’s name… so Glyn & I prayed for Jesus and his wife tonight (Angela, for any theologians searching Scripture for evidence) … 😉
It was a day of stark contrast – ridiculous to sublime, if I’m honest, as (and don’t laugh, it’s usual for men here to do this!) Glyn and I, having had something cancelled this morning, went over the road to have a manicure and pedicure… I like it for the pampering bit alone, as a single man I don’t get much pampering 🙁 – and it means that for a few weeks at least, my finger nails look so good that I don’t try and reshape them with my teeth :)…. so, to the church mentioned above…
Napoles is high up the side of the Andes, above Cali: my biggest fear wasn’t the danger in being there, it was that William’s feisty little Skoda Fabia (immensely impressed with Skodas!) wouldn’t make the hill in front of us. I’m not sure I’ve been up such a steep hill in my life – maybe just Lynton, in Devon, rivals it… the very thought of walking it, AND having to push the car, was almost more than I could handle!
The church was very, very poor: in the garage of a the pastor’s home: Jesus & Angela are a delightful couple, and when we arrived, it was about to about 5 people – and – literally – a dog, despite all the old jokes! – but as the meeting began, the garage was packed to the gunnels with people, many of whom, doubtless, had come to view the gringoes in their midst. God turned up big time, we DID keep it short, but prayer can’t be rushed, especially for desperate people, and pain went, circulation improved (swelling went down), lives got blessed, people got hugged, kisses reigned supreme, and Jesus’ Name was lifted high in a barrio that must be so hard to cultivate with the gospel… but Jesus and his wife are doing an amazing job, and I so want to go there again next time I’m here….more knees healed tonight – as God’s wonderful sense of humour and irony rolls on in my praying experience! – so, if he healed theirs, he’ll heal mine, of that I hae no doubt. It was hard to leave, as the road was narrow, and people crowded round the car. They are SO blessed to have foreigners vist them, it almost seems unreal….
One of the delights (!) of this country is that first something’s organised, then it’s off, then it’s on again… only time will tell (tomorrow, 8am) if Glyn & I are really going to the maximum security prison to speak…. part of the excitement is not knowing, so at least you don’t worry! Value your prayers ahead of time just in case we do (it’ll be 1pm lunchtime UK time). Last night another pastor told us it was too difficult, too dangerous, to go, so…we’ll wait and see! Meantime, planning for church tonight in the barrio, Napoles: another new barrio to me, and, it looks like on Saturday we’ll be going to see Ana Beiba again. The lawyers working on all the papers for the purchase of the house, and the new house, too….
Glyn and I thought we’d got a free morning this morning, so stayed in bed a little longer (not together, you understand!). As soon as I was up and about, Dr Dunia, the Neurosurgeon rang, to say that one of our organisers should have…er… told us about Club Noel, the kids hospital, where we should have been at 30 minutes ago!
So, quick exit, for what turned into a wonderful hour at the
I don’t know what ‘rosafalia’ (might even have spelt it wrong, so must ask Dunia what it is as it doesn’t ‘google’) – but the transformations in two of the children we prayed for was instant. Another lovely young lady, with a chronic spinal condition, affecting her brain, her mobility, her sight – was running around playing with a small child – who also was totally inert and unresponsive before being prayed for!
The real privilege is seeing the love, peace, joy, strength, faith, and blessing of the Lord transform the parents, and they genuinely leave knowing that the promise of God is for them, and their family.
Glyn celebrated in the street cafe over the road afterwards with a mega-meal! – papa rellena (deep fried mashed potato stuffed with meat, rice, egg, chorizo, and whatever else the cook can find!), two empanadas (pastry stuffed with pretty much the same contents), and a chorizo on a stick…. then he ate half of my papa relleno, as, though I’m roly-poly, I really don’t eat much!
So, waiting to hear, Colombian style, if we have anything planned for us this afternoon: if not, to the market, then picked up for church (in district Valle Lilli) at 6pm….
Wonderful surprising start to the day….
Then we were in a lovely church tonight, in Valle de Lili, Dios con Nosotros (God with Us), right in the south of the city. There are amny times in the past years, as my Spanish has improved, that I know enough – firstly to be able to understand people’s prayer requests and pray for them in Spanish, and secondly – to know when a translator has not quite got something right… 😉 – it can change the whole drift of a sermon when something’s not said right! It was a lovely church, Pastor Raphael Giraldo so, so welcoming. Glyn did well again, spoke well: hopefully I did ok, too. Judging by the number of people who responded, it must’ve been allright, and a number of people publicly testified to being healed, including more knees – thank you God(!!!)….
A ‘fun’ thing yesterday…. I needed to get my glasses repaired, and Glyn took the opportunity of getting his cleaned: except that they wouldn’t clean them, as they were so scratched, they’d have o effectively ‘scrub off’ the prescription to get the glasses clear…. so, he had an eye test. Great fun, when he has no Spanish, and my ‘opthamology vocabulary’ is somewhat limited! We made it through, with a lot of laughs with the Opthamologist, though, and – hopefully – Glyn will be singing the old ‘Who’ song on Saturday, ‘I can see for miles and miles’….
14 November 0030am!
Short, but good time, in a Social Security hospital this morning – prayed for a few people, including a lady with pain from her head all the down to her sacro-iliac (I’m guessing that’s how you spell, and I just want to sound medically-savvy!!): gastritis, too. Seems all were healed, buty her gravel voice remained, probably as a result of her life-long (and probably current) smoking of funny fags! An older man, suffering from what I perceived to be a stroke (it’s a bit hard when your Spanish is as dodgy as mine and there’s no translator!) visibly changed: guess only time will tell how much happened in his head, as he was off to see Dunia, the Neurologist almsot as we’d finished praying…. The reason time was short there is that, for some reason, in constructing the hospital, they put in a well-concealed and totally unnecessary slope in the reception area: if you’ve got duff knees, you’ll know what putting your foot down at normal ‘velocity’ does to the knee when you go down further than you expected…. to be honest, I could have screamed! But… God kept it ok for tonight, for the church meeting. Which was a….
Fantastic night tonight at a small but well-packed church way in the north of the city… Fuego en al Altar (fire on the Altar)…. people saved, a druggie/occult bloke saved and freed, a man with massive body injuries from a car crash 12 years ago (Hector), filled with fire, and walking and moving with consummate ease compared to the way he walked up for healing and then walked around for some ti
A lovely older lady with pain from head to colon(!) – it all went… Glyn had someone with acute stomach stomach pain healed (maybe she was the reason we’ve both had stomach pain today!) – he saw the druggie, too… and a lay right at the end who hugged me and wept as she told me she had full-blown AIDS – my mum would have died at the thought of her tears on my face if she was alive! God really blitzed her. Ended up with five lovely very young kids climbing all over me, two of them healed, and another – a lad – with ADHD, so a wee bit difficult to know if he’s healed immediately!
13 November (even later – 0100am!) – THE BLIND SEE
Cristian was in a meeting we spoke in last week, a Vineyard church: wore glasses, but only for his left eye, as his right eye was totally blind. Doctors & Opthamologists had told him he’d NEVER see, it was an open and shut (oops, sorry for the pun!) diagnosis. Well…. prayed for about 2-3 minutes, with Cristian doing the ‘good Christian’ bit, shutting his eyes for prayer (why DO we do that, especially when praying for a miracle??! – and especially when you’re blind???). I stopped, asked him if he could see: bless him, he kept his good left eye shut, only opening his right….. You know, even when you’re EXPECTING God to do a miracle, there’s THAT moment when the enemy squats on your shoulder and laughs, tells you what an idiot you are… and you dread asking the question….’So, can you see?’. Well, Cristian DID, and even got restored sight in his left ey, giving his glasses to mum and dad….
Here he is, 3 days later, at Healing on the Streets, telling his story, with lovely new friend, Edwin Vargas, translating…. it’s a facebook clip: I hope you can get it. I need to work out how to get it from facebook to you tube!
13 November (very early – 0050 am) – THE DEAF HEAR!
Last Thursday, we were in another Nueva EPS (SocSec) hospital. Normally people are there for appointments, or with people waiting for them. So this lady surprised us when she said she was neither – and then tried to sell us peanuts and cashews that she had in bags to sell to the other patients! Creative job creation, huh?! Then… we discovered that she was pretty near completely deaf. The link below takes you to the You Tube video where hear hearing aids are out, and she hears – and speaks – totally normally….
Simon gone, Robert gone… it’s quieter here without them, though Glyn could hardly ever be described as ‘quiet’…. great to get to share a few days of ministry with him, kicking off tomorrow morning in the Social Security hospital, where last Tuesday so many people got healed: and where the overall director of the Nueva EPS (SocSec) hospitals has said that our presence there, praying for patients, doctors, and staff, has made such a difference. That’s an awesome testimony, and very humbling for ordinary un-famous guys like us, who just find it a privilege to be there. It is always demanding in a hospital, emotionally and psychologically, as you’re meeting people, often with extreme or advanced diseases, terminal conditions: especially as many of the ones we get to se are Dr Dunia’s patients, and she’s a neuro-surgeon…. so, we’re missing our Brit vicar and Aussie radical, but God, do your stuff, please, and transform lives tomorrow. In the evening, we’re in a Cuadrangular Square (Four Square – think Jack Hayford & (I think) Amy Semple-McPherson). In between I have an urgent appointment – to get my glasses repaired!
This morning, Simon was due to preach in a new church ‘in the south’ according to Walter, Glyn and I were possibly preaching elsewhere. The new church turned out to be Pastor Walter’s(!), and ours didn’t materialise… one of the many facts of life you just seem to get used to here, but that drive stark raving mad organisationally if it was in the UK or anywhere in ‘the western world’! I decided that, as it was Si’s last day, and as Robert leaves at the crack of dwn literally tomorrow (415 am to the airport), that it’d be good for them to go without the ‘possibility’ of Walter asking me to preach too, and I sensed it’d be great for Rob to do something and go somewhere without me, as it’d be great for him to se God move, and finally lay to rest his fear of being shot or kidnapped….
They had a great morning – as did Glyn & I chilling out in the apartment! – here’s Simon’s facebook post about the morning: “Wow! What an amazing way to end an amazing week. Thought I was preaching in a new church in the south of the city but ended up preaching at Walter’s church instead – just like Bolney: about 20 people who love Jesus, no band just singing to songs off the laptop, in a small room in Wal
Just time to grab some lunch before I head to the airport in less than an hour!”
And Robert’s: “I can’t say that if going to church was option or staying home I normally jump at the chance at going, but this morning I had the opportunity to stay home or go to church. Paul didn’t come which is my security blanket so it is safe to say fear has left the building. Anyway there was no chance in hell I was going to stay home and miss out on more miracles going on. So anyway, before the miracles I
So, they had a whale of a time: I love it when people who come with me really find their feet, and see God turn up, without me there…. I’ve said before, one of the great joys of my life is facilitating other people to see God do what I talk about all over the world. Seems like it’s worked here!
Celebrated Robert’s last night with a final ‘Lenos y Carbon’ Baby Beef steak, suffering for the Kingdom(!) after having seen the best ever James Bond film, ‘Skyfall’, that I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen all of them!). I’m used to Aussies calling us Brits ‘whingeing Poms’ – have been since I can remember – but Robert turned into a ‘whingeing Aussie’ saying he didn’t like going to the cinema: then, as soon as the film was over, saying it’s best £5/AU$8 he’s ever spent! Fantastic way to round off his 9 days here, and set him up for his 2.5 day journey home!
National holiday here tomorrow, so Glyn and I, like Darby & Joan, might just have to go to the cinema again!
A really terrific morning at the ‘Reconocer’ Drug Rehab unit in Cali. As we arrived at the house, with Pastor William Castano, I realised I’d been there before, but it probably a good 10 years back, maybe even as much as 15: it is a house notable not just for what happens there right now, but for the fact that Biblical truth is fulfilled there! ‘Bringing good out of evil’ and ‘Making all things new’ come immediately to mid, as this house was one of many in Cali that was a base for the Rodriguez brothers, most certainly the second most influential and damaging cocaine cartel bosses in the country. It’s fantastic the way God has taken a house that was once at the hub of the drugs trade and turned it into a house for the rehabilitation of addicts. After we’d all shared a bit, we prayed for most of the residents – Robert prayed for a guy who’d killed three people in a drug dispute, we prayed for various schizophrenic/bipolar people, others for whom their backgrounds almost made their lives inevitable….. forgiveness, freedom from guilt, healing, and so much more occurred. Such a joy to be there, another amazing ministry in this fantastic city.
Tonight, we were in Santa Monica, the opposite end of the scale location wise from Ana Beiba yesterday: a church I like very much, pastored by lovely couple Diego and Candy: even in a more ‘affluent’ area, many of the prayers involved praying for finance, business, unemployment, family issues – as well as many responding for healing. A lady is convinced at least 6 different cancerous tumours left her (she’s scanned on Thursday, with the Oncologist in 3 weeks), two people with acute sinusitis were healed, two more knees healed – and that was just in my little circle of chairs put out for ministry. All the other guys saw healings – Robert a massive improvement in a most acute carpal tunnel case, a lady instantly healed of glaucoma, more knees (! – come on God – mine have been horrible today!!!) healed… Glyn and Simon also had people healed, and then we were royally fed on QBano (like Subway) sandwiches, chips, and coke, afterwards… stuffed to the gills, but just enough room for a Negra Modelo beer back at the ranch….. 🙂
Hmmm…helpfully, the phone line dropped in the apartment last night, and so – no internet! – youtube ‘told’ me that the video would take 1200 minutes to upload…! Fortunately, it is back up this morning, and the Ana Beiba clip is now here:
Hopefully, by Saturday morning, you’ll be able to view Ana Beiba’s video on You Tube, here:
Today, we were due to go to the prison, but the delights of latino organisation at its best(!) meant that it didn’t happen…. 🙁 – probably next week, which means that Robert & Simon won’t be able to go as the leave for home Sunday and Monday….BUT….
….in the afternoon, we went to the home of Ana Beiba Lasso – the home for the Abandoned old people, in Alfonso Aragon, one of the most dangerous barrios of Cali. Many of you know of AnaBeiba because, over the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to raise money for her to be able to buy the house where she gives a wonderful home to more than 60 old people. The rent, which is astronomic, meant that the house could have been paid for after less than a year. She has no assistance from Social Services. Over the past few weeks, people have kindly and generously contributed as they’ve been moved by the video of her and her home (it’s ‘ministry’ name is ‘The Mercy of Jesus’), and the video of her daughter, Diana, talking to me in April when I went back to see Ana. You know, areas of towns and cities like this, just by the nature of where they are and their reputation, stop foreigners going there. Ana’s response, when friend Wilmar’s car, pulled up outside, was astonishing. I don’t think I’ve EVER been hugged so hard, for so long… JUST BY GOING THERE, SHE WAS BLESSED…. she cried, laughed, hugged us all, and wouldn’t let go of me. She had absolutely no clue what I’d come to tell her: that she could buy the house. I had absolutely no clue that we’d be able to do far more with the money than I’d ever have believed.
She had set her sights on the property next door: it’s in terrible conditiion, but it would mean that she can probably doule the number of old folk that she can ‘love back into life’ once it was hers. The money I’d raised, and my friend Simon Allaby has raised some, too, we thought would pay off the existing house so she didn’t have rent anymore, and buy her, perhaps, cooker/stove (she has next to no cooking facilities in a dreadful – by western standards – kitchen), and a washing machine (she wasjes the clothes for almost 70 people by hand in a sink).
Wilmar called the owner of the neighbouring house whilst we were there, and before we told Ana what was up. The price was huge – 55 million pesos (£20,000/US$32000). I told Wilmar to ask if she’d accept 20 million pesos for cash (£7000/US$12,000). YES!!! So…. not olny can Ana pay off the old house: not only can she buy the new house: she can also still redecorate it, and – maybe, God willing in a ‘loaves and fishes’ moment with the money (and perhaps a bit from my credit card…) buy a cooker and a washing machine as well…. God, you’re so, so good. Thank you, all of you, who’ve contributed: you have caused a wonderful, loving woman of God to wail and laugh and cry uncontrollably, for quite some time! Please, if I could ask any of you, if you can afford it, please don’t stop here…. it WILL cost money to do the house up, and it costs a lot in utilities, medication, not to say – food – to look after a growing number of aged, happy, content people.
Tonight, we were back in Agua Blanca – Manuela Beltran barrio, Hefzi-Ba Community Church: a lovely meeting, quiet, gentle, a church I’ve been to a number of times before, but I’d have to say that everything was an anti-climax after Ana Beiba..Tomorrw, 830 am (its 1am now) we’re off to pray for many ‘inmates’ at a drug rehab centre with Pastor William Montano, and at a church of a prophet, Candelaria, in the afternoon….
When I’ve worked out how to put the video of the moments that Ana Beiba learned about your help financially, I’ll post it here, or on the photos page. Meanwhile it IS on facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pbennison1 – so you can (hopefully) view it there….
You know, when Job said ‘like a dream, like a vision in the night, it flies away…’ he was spot on… if between the four of us, we don’t remind each other of the wonderful stories, however wonderful, it is so easy to forget them….
Yesterday, on the street, the first guy I prayed for had such incredible arthritis, like I’ve never seen before: his right hand was completely ‘clawed’ with it, and balled into a fist… managed, with a lot of effort, to gradually prise his fingers open, to hold his hand whilst I prayed for it. Mistake. His hand coiled like a snake, his ‘grip’ in his locked fingers SO strong I couldn’t get mine out! Someone else had to help me….
Finally, got my hand away, and whilst someone else held his wrist, I held just the tips of his fingers…. two minutes later, he was opening and closing his hand like nothing had been wrong at all, no pain, and in complete control…. lovely way for God to start the street prayer, for me – and him (William) at least…!
8 November (later)
Well, a very busy…no, demanding day: busy too, but by early afternoon we were all drained, tired, exhausted, but with what might really still constitute a full day’s ‘work’ ahead of us… we were in the Social Security hospital (Nueva EPS) quite some distance away from our apartment, Dunia (the neurologist) had especially asked us to be there. It was so worth going though, as usual! First person was a man with spinal issues hence the neurologist waiting room!), big pain, left the hospital before he saw the doctor: a lady whom we thought must be ill, as she was sitting in the waiting room (it turned out that she was there to sell nuts to the other people in the waiting room!!) – but…she was deaf. Very soon, she was taking out her hearing aids, putting them in her handbag, hearing perfectly…. she even gave Simon and Glyn some free nuts…. A man with a serious lung condition, wearing a mask, breathing difficutlies – he, too, left the hospital without his mask, before seeing the doctor…. so, so many more…. blinking hard work for me, as I was the translator for the other three…. 🙁 – even so, God still moved big time.
Then, lunch at the home of ‘cranio synustosis’ – fontanelle/suture free baby Jose Luis and his mum and dad – Jose Luis & Aida: translating again, by now I was totally knackered, shot – so tired, with a scrambled brain! Straight from there to ‘Healing on the Streets’ in the main city square. With God’s wonderful humour, and his (apparent) sense of irony, I prayed for 3 people whose knees were healed instantly: all three of the guys with me saw people healed on the street. Many people came and sat down under the tree with the big banner from last year hanging from it. At 530 I was told we were due at the home of a guy in the very south of the city (we were in the north!) – a meeting of 50+ people, but there was no way we could get there in rush hour (about 90 minutes there in a taxi) especially when we had to get back to the apartment to change, by 630 pm to go to a church even further north out of the city…
Great church! Cristo el Vive – good number there. All the guys spoke – well – Si preached especially well, then the call for healing…. 3 more lots of knees, instantly healed! Come on God, give me a break!! Twisted and banged mine badly getting out of a taxi on a knee-high concrete pillar….. but still God moved…. everyone I prayed for – and I think it was pretty much the other guyts stories too – was healed, or in process. Two people with eye issues, lots of kidney and back pain gone…. Robert saw some eyes healed, some sports injuries (which he has a real knack for – perhaps I should pretend my knee is an Aussie-rules football injury?). Simon & I prayed with a lovely lady in extreme pain right near the end, including destroyed knees, and she burst into tears, and knelt down, which she couldn’t have done 5 minutes earlier… Si also prayed for a young boy with a speech impediment, and he spoke clearly imeediately. God’s had lovely day blessing us, and blessing loads of people!
So..all in all a good day…. theoretically we’re in the prison in the morning, but…well, this is Colombia, and I’ve got a sneaking feeling it might not happen…!
8 November (reporting last night…. today’s update to follow after tonight’s meeting)
Last night, we were in a big church in the depths of Agua Blanca, in the east of the city: the toughest, poorest, and often the most dangerous quarter of the city (1/4 the area of Cali, 40% of the population). I’ve been to the church before, but obviously the guys hadn’t, and Walter (unfortunately??) made it known (at 8.15 pm) that we must all be finished speaking at 8.45 pm (we hadn’t any of the four of us started then!), and finish praying by 9pm….as it was too dangerous to stay after that time… needless to say, that set Robert’s mind and bowels in motion! The innate fear that he’s had all week (which I guess, to be honest, I’ve played up to!!!) of being kidnapped and shot poured through him…. he spoke very fast and very short, needless to say! We managed to finish speaking on time, but…. hordes came forward for prayer (a couple of hundred, I’d estimate), so no hope at all of a 9pm getway! Many were healed: in God’s wonderful humour and sense of irony, at least three people had their knees TOTALLY healed as I laid hands on them, and others with significant knee improvement! Plenty of others got healed, too: Robert had the overwhelming joy of praying for a small boy with knock knees and no arches in his feet, of seeing the knees ‘part’ and watching the arches grow…. I know how he felt, as I saw that very thing in Agua Blanca about 3 years back. Many others were healed as Rob prayed, and Simon & Glyn, too…. all in all a wonderful night, to cap yet another wonderful day, and no one was killed or kidnapped, to my knowledge…. if they were, I don’t know who’s in the various occupied beds if it’s not my guys!
7 November (even later)
Oh my… our ‘pick up’ arrive in the end: we were taken to a church in a bario (district) I don’t know, the church is called ‘The Cloud of Power & Glory’…. packed to standing room only for the 4 gringoes, mainly with young guys, 80 or more of them, trainee footballers, and would be-Falcaos(! – guess you’d need to like football to know him!). Glyn spoke excellently, so did Simon, and Robert – Rob preached more this time than just tell testimonies (it doesn’t take long for people who say ‘I can’t preach’ to start preaching!!!), I shared… then the appeal – first for salvation. Wow… at LEAST 75 of them…. gave their lives to Jesus. Simon led them in all the ‘right stuff’ as they turned their lives over to God. Then – healing of broken hearts: Glyn really felt that on his heart to ask them to respond to. About a dozen. Then healing: DOZENS healed, and many testified from the the front, using the microphone to immediate healing. Pain gone, ligaments mended, tendons restored, a lady with uterine cancer healed (so she testified to the pastor’s wife and me), and older man testified publicly that all his pain had gone. Limbs that had been locked were unlocked, guys squatting, bending, mving in parts that my body doesn’t move in… astonishing morning! Great tanslator, too: a rapper / former USA jailbird (drugs – what else??) – brilliant to have translate, and there’s an open invitation to the church, and a new translator to add to the much-needing-population list….
7 November (a bit later!)
Well, this is Colombia… 9.25am and our 8.30 am ‘pick up’ still hasn’t arrived! So, maybe we have the morning off…. after yesterday that wouldn’t be a bad thing… meeting tonight at Pastor Norbey ( a long-time friend)’s church… Casa de Dios (House of God). Yesyerday, whenever I NEEDED my knees to be ok – hospital, preaching, praying… they were. Away from that, it’s been like someone has diven a knife underneath my left kneecap and twisting it!! But I ain’t giving in, I won’t back down… so aware that, back home in the UK, I could probably get my blue sticker for the car with that little picture on…. but – for ME – and this is not judging anyone else – I know that once I head off down that route, I think I kick my healing into touch…. thankfully (or otherwise?) I have a high pain threshhold….and, whilst my knees are, er…. unwell, my empathy for praying for people with great body pain has increased, and so knees are getting healed. More last night, and in the hospital yesterday…. God know just what he’s doing with my knees, so I’m at peace even whilst being in pain!
In Job, there’s a verse – ‘like a dream, like a vision in the night, it flies away, no more to be found’ – we’re all trying to remember more healings from last night, and the morning, so maybe today we can give God some space to remind us!
I wrote a report on Facebook last night about last night’s meeting, purely and simply there, not here, as it was past 1am when we got back to the apaprtment with Glyn Moreton, whose flight from England finally brought him into Cali here at 1130pm. So my apologies if you missed what I put on facebook, but time pressure here, this morning, and the incredibly frustrating foiblibes of Adobe Contribute’s update software, mean that even this report – for now – might have to be a bit truncated. Last night, I couldn’t even face doing battle with it!
One of the joys of my life, as you know if you’re a ‘regular’ here, is for the guys I bring with me to go ‘home’ with their own stories of what God did with them, in them, and through them – whether it’s here in Colombia, or elsewhere. I NEVER want people OMLY to go home telling stories about what they’ve seen God do through this ‘Rodney Trotter’ of Christian ministry, namely me, the Plonker… I’m grateful that, certainly in recent years, men have gone back to their home cities/nations absolutely blown away by what they’ve seen God do THROUGH them….
How to ‘better’ the event of yesterday morning at the Social Security hospital….? Well, God most certainly did! A small church, but growing, meeting in the home of the lovely pastor, Oscar Munoz (pronounced Mun-yoz, but I haven’t time to find the tilde for the ‘o’!!). His church was packed to the gunnells: Christians and Christians-in-waiting: all manner of issues… Simon Allaby spoke very well and quite wonderfully in 30 minutes on God’s overall plan for humanity…. opening the door to the relaying of stories from yesterday in the hospital, and from Roberth Hall, from Melbourne in August, and yesterday. plus yours truly….
Then, ALL HEAVEN BROKE LOOSE….! First up, a giant of a young man – at LEAST 6 feet 6 inches, and a ‘famous’ crack addict here in Cali. Why, in a city of so many? Well, it’s rare for a ‘gringo’ to live on the streets, Michael (that’s the way his name is here, in Colombia – Mihail in Croatia where he comes from): he looked wrecked, physically, obviously in the garb ‘of someone who found his clothes in bins and garbage piles… but he hung on every word spoken last night. And – he was first up the front when the appeal was made.
‘If I’m going to give up crack, then I’d best get rid of this’, he said to me, handing me his crack pipe…. guess I’d better lose it before trying to go through emigration in 12 days’ time! He’s been on TV many times here, as the crack addict/Croat/giant of a man that he is…. but here, humbled and desperate before the God who loves him, desperate to be ‘clean’ and set free…. Mihail GOT set free: his whole visage changed, his eyes – crystal clear pale blue – went from piercing into each of us chatting to him, sussing us out I guess, to flooding with tears as I hugged him, and he hugged me with a grip that was so, so wonderful, for many minutes…. Oscar, the pastor, found some new clothes for him, lewt him use the shower in his house, and I just felt I should leave him (Oscar) some money, to buy clothes and food for Mihail… he took him out straight away, and fed him. Then I asked him to join us in praying for healing for others… he IS totally TRANSFORMED….thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Jesus….
Then miracles just unpacked. Robert said it almost became a ‘race’ to see who could get the most people healed by God!!! Not really, but we were inundated. Simon prayed for a lady instantly healed on arthritis in her knees and elbows, I prayed – with Si, for a young lad named Cristian, totally blind in his right eye, about 18 years old maybe(?), docs and eye specialists telling him he’d never see….. he closed his eyes, as we prayed, and then afterwards, only his right eye… through which he could see perfectly! Wow, wow, wow God…. thank you!!!
Robert prayed for a guys feet: his hands and the guys feet got so hot that the pray-ee was jumping around like he was walking on hot coals: when his feet cooled, he was totally healed. Carpal tunnel – totally healed. The pastor’s wife, Claudia, healed of diverticulits, chronic back pain, and terrible pain in her right arm – healed. A youth pastor, suffering oppression due to his ministry, was completely released…. both Rob & Si ended up praying for people over the phone – healed….
I have to run now, as we’re with 80+ teenage lads, in a tough part of the city, whom a pastor gets together to train them at soccer…. more later!!
Astonishing day at one of the Social Security hospitals today…. so many people healed, or MAJOR things…. one of the great delights of my life is to have the people I bring here go home saying NOT ‘We saw Paul do this or that’ but ‘I saw God do this or that miracle’…. Today was one of those days….
Almost literally blind eyes opened – a lady with severe cataracts and arthritis, was healed of the later, and could see perfectly after we’d prayed for her…. osteoporosis went completely from one lady. Another, with carpal tunnel syndrome, was healed, and swelling visibly disappearing in front of our eyes. Robert, 80’s – parkinson’s in an advanced stage, was there with his grandson. Grandson said that he’d he’d never ever seen his granddad still, shaking violently all the time. He stopped: and then Robert took him for a walk all around the large waiting room ,whislt his grandson did ‘wheelies’ in his grandad’s wheelchair… an older man, chronic knee pain and almost stone-daf – heard whispers, and all his pain went.
So many people to pray for and all were either totally healed, or significant changes occurred and are works in progress…. a nurse, in another consutling room, was a twin: in the womb, her brotjer had sort of laid across her, and she’d been born with a damaged left arm and hand, and was a ‘not yet’ Christian…. first, her hand went cold, then hot, then tingled… and then she gave her life to Jesus. A lady with severe chest and rib pain was healed, another with tinnitus and arthritis, pain free, and with the noise in her ears diminishing second by second…. Julio, with huge hernia problems, had a great tingling in his…er… herniated area(!) and was looking forward to NOT needing surgery next week….
In 2 hours, we saw a good number of people healed….. just what the guys with me wanted…. and what I wanted for them!
Quiet day here for me… Simon & Robert have gone off with Walter and his family to the country club, but I reckoned, as I obviously did something to my left knee in the night (aarrgghh!!) that a day keeping it very still and probably horizontal would do best for it if I’m to do the ‘stuff’ I’ve come here for, which gets back into gear tomorrow with a visit to one of the Social Security hospitals (Nueva EPS) during the day, and churches in the evening. And then…. late…. my mate Glyn arrives from England (he’s probably on the train heading towards Heathrow even as I write…). It’ll feel ‘complete’ here then, though I have to say I miss my regular mate Alan being here….
It was so good last night to pick Robert Hall and Simon Allaby up from the airport – Robert after a near-60 hour journey here from Melbourne, Australia: Simon, a ‘mere’ 24 hours (!!) from England. Two ‘down-sides’… Simon arrived but his luggage didn’t – if it’s ever happened to you, you’ll know that awful ‘gut’ feeling when the baggage belt stops, everyone else has gone, and you KNOW there are no more bags… re-united with it – thankfully – today: and there was a mere 5 hour delay between them arriving, and to be honest, there’s not a lot to do at Cali airport for 5 hours, with someone who speaks no English, and Spanish with a ‘heavy’ Caleno (Cali-an) accent! Finally, we were delivered back to the apartment here at 2am: sleep in those circumstances, despite being exhausted, doesn’t come easy to me, so I guess it was 4qm before sleep arrived, and up at 7.45am to start getting ready to go and preach….
Good, and very familiar, churches, though – which makes it easier. Simon was in dear friends’ Wilmar & Hendrik’s church – it seems that a good time was had by all. Robert came with me to long time friend Walter’s church. Robert shared – very well, I’d hasten to add for someone who’d never done it before! – some tremendous personal and family testimonies from our time together in Melbourne, back in August. The place was ‘bunged’ – a lovely Irish expression for ‘full’ – and loads responded for healing. There were some immediate healings – back pain, shoulder pain, and head pain gone: Rob prayed for a guy with restricted arm movement, and his movement returned. A lady whom Lee (I think) prayed for in April came to show me her feet (it goes with the job!!) – which, in April, were turned in – both of them – at almost 90 degrees. Dead straight, and healed…. Jose Luis – the ‘fontanelle & sutures’ missing little boy, from last November, was there with his mum Aida: 16 months now, grwoing and developing perfectly normally…. psychologists and medics had told his mum and dad that he’d need a mass of special therapy to learn how to walk, talk, and even grow…. they didn’t listen (!), and Jose Luis was running around this morning like any normal – and supernatural! – little boy. We’re having lunch at their home on Thursday: it’s SUCH a privilege to see God at work in such extraordinary ways.
Tomorrow (Monday) is a national holiday here, so, a day at a country club (we’re told, but you never QUITE know here!) beckons… maybe even go and see the new James Bond film ‘Skyfall’ in the evening… well, we all have to suffer sometimes… truth is, the build up to the trip was immensely tough – Simon, 2 weeks ago, had his ministry bank account ‘hacked’ and emptied: his wife had her credit card fraudulently used just in the last few days. And for me, thisleft knee – which was, as usual, miraculously pain-free whilst I preached – almost decided for me that I couldn’t make the trip. BUT…I’m here, I’m moving, and doing my best to keep up with God moving, too….
There can’t be many better ways to start a trip than to have one of the Pastors who met you at the airport tell you of two miracle healings from the last trip that you knew nothing about…. :). Long time great friend Wilmar, and Pastor William Castano, also becoming a really great friend, met me. William told me of Jorge, whom I met, with him, in the street, in April: Jorge was dying with leukaemia: he is totally healed…. Pastor Janet, whose church I remember (but not the name) was also very sick….totally healed. A lovely Pastor named Wilson experienced something of a miracle, too – he only had a few days to live, in April, dying with lung cancer, lived for 6 months – a miracle in the light of prognoses, but 2 weeks ago went to be with Jesus. A lovely way to exit the airport…..
….after a near 30 hour journey to get here! Because of Air Canada’s rescheduling, I had to have an overnight stop in Toronto, which meant a hotel: no problem (apart from cost!) – by the time I arrived at the hotel, it was past midnight, took a couple of hours to get to sleep, then up at 4am to go back to the airport for 5am! I’m sure the hotel was VERY nice…. :(. It’s wonderful to be back here in Cali, pretty high up the list of my favourite cities in the world, which those of you who read here regularly will be bored to read again! It’s a mere 30C HOTTER than England and Northern Ireland – hit about 37-38C today, cooled down now to 24C (well, it IS 10.30 pm!), so the ‘locals’ may well be reaching for their ski jackets soon….
Miracle, too – a pretty busy schedule already arranged – normally, I arrive, and, when the pastors see the whites of my eyes, they get to working on the programme! Miracle 2, too: my dear pastor friend, Walter, arrived pretty much on time for a 7.30 am meeting with Wilmar and William (from last night!) to discuss the schedule…. God’s REALLY working on this trip for Walter to turn up on time (I love you, Walter!!!!). Hospitals, prisons, churches, and doubtless more to come…. on the diary page, under November 2012, stangely enough! Even a day off on Monday 9so soon, I hear you ask??) – it’s a national holiday here, All Saints Day, so we’re being taken to Canas Gordas (Fat Cane!) Country Club, to suffer saunas, turkish baths, jacuzzis, etc…. well, someone has to do it!
So…tomorrow evening, Robert arrives after his 2.5 day trek from Melbourne, Australia: and 3-4 hours later, Simon arrives from England. Glyn, from England, arrives Tuesday night, late… a mass of expectancy here, after a pretty unique beginning to a trip to Cali….
Just a quick test run to see if the software is working! It’s really not behaving itself…. 🙁
Well, a wonderful time of p&q in Ireland ended a week ago: a brilliant spell that enabled my (worst!) knee to recover. Just to report that the rest worked in that respect: it’s as good today as it has been in a couple of years, so I’m praying that, as I set off on the long haul to Cali, Colombia, today, that the three weeks there, of seeing (in faith and expectation!) God do many miraculous things, my knee will return with me in good condition, even healed!
The past week has been a busy one in England, spread literally from one side of the south of England to the other, east to west: incorporating many times with individuals needing prayer, and a lovely meeting at Maranatha Church, Exter, on Sunday. Some good things happened there, and it was great to have my old mate, Chris Spark, from Paignton (he was with me in Cali in April, and is going again next Easter), join me in praying for people.
And so, now, literally on the tail of Hurricane Sandy, which is still impacting the USA and Canada BIG time today, I fly into…..Canada(!!) tonight, with Air Canada having re-scheduled their flights, meaning that I can’t get to Cali in one day… 🙁 – so it’s an overnight in Toronto, then back at Pearson Airport at 5am tomorrow, to fly on to Bogota, and then in the afternoon, on to Cali. I’d value your prayers that the hurricane won’t cause any delays: by the time I land in Toronto, I will only have about 4 hours in hotel as it is! I can honestly say that FEAR isn’t an issue concerning the flight, just that delays are a pain, and it’d be lovely not to have any.
On Saturday, my good friends Simon Allaby (from England) and Robert Hall (from Melbourne, Australia) arrive: that gives me a couple of days to at least get the schedule up and running before they land. Then, next Wednesday, another great friend, Glyn Moreton, from England, arrives. Si and Robert are only there for 8 & 9 days respectively, Glyn stays with me until the end of the trip, on the 18th. I have a sense that the hassles that have preceded this trip indicate that it will be a good one!!! Some of what’s happened is just the ‘stuff of life’, but other things are very clearly the result of activity from the one being in the Universe who doesn’t want this trip to happen – like, last week, Simon having his ‘ministry’ bank account ‘hacked’ and emptied, with the cheeky thief even setting up a standing order to himself to drain his account when anything arrives in it! Needless to say, Si’s got his money back from the bank, but, as it has happened to me twice this year, I know the feeling of ‘violation’, and the mld paranoia that (temporarily) sets in about it happenning again…
I fly at 6pm UK time this evening, for the delights of a 7-8 hour jaunt to Toronto, so, if you pray for me, journeying mercies and protection would be appreciated!
This sparks off a busy 6-7 weeks, as, on returning to Ireland on the 19th, and before I leave on 28th to fly and then drive to Lisieux, France, I have a flying visit to Scotland to pray for a great friend of a great friend, who is a ‘not yet’ Christian, Ian: he’s dying with some awful degenerating disease of his organs, and he’s a mere youth (54) compared to me. Then, as I’ve said, the thrill of a healing conference in a lovely church in Lisieux, Normandy, France. Back to Ireland on 8th, to return to England – this time just to celebrate my 60th birthday(! – it’s just NOT possible I’m nearly 60!!) with my beloved Rhino buddies….
Next year is already panning out, with England, Rhinos, Australia, Colombia, and in all probability, Mexico, in the first 4 months of 2013….
I’ll do my best to keep updated here with all the wonders that occur in Cali over the next 3 weeks! After the miracles of Australia, watch this space!
It’s ALWAYS such an encouragement to hear what God’s done in people’s lives, through you…. I love to hear testimonies of healings, fulfilled prophecies, etc., but so often we do the ‘Brit thing’ and keep quiet, stiff upper-lip and all that…
Received this today, from Kurt Lundmark, from Stockholm, Sweden: I preched just once, I believe, in Agape Church, Stockholm, over 5 years ago. Here’s what Kurt said:
Good to hear that you are a mentor for people. I appreciate that I got to meet you Agape Church in Stockholm a few years ago. Got several important confirmation from you what the Lord spoke to me before. Grateful that you want me to be with and pray for people after the meeting. Have my own ministry now and travel to other countries for campaigns that you prophesied over me. I sat in the back of the church last meeting and lightning from heaven struck in through me when you prophesied. Thank you Kurt. Lundmark, SWEDEN
So, so encouraging: often, I’ve found that when I pray for someone, the healing isn’t necessarily instant: it can be the next day, the next week… same thing with prophecies. They’re not going to be fulfilled instantly, certainly not in the case of the one God gave me for Kurt, but what a blessing it is to know that what was shared really WAS from God…
A few minutes ago, I read a ‘post’ on Facebook from a Pastor in New Zealand, which rang wonderful bells of agreement in me, as for years, I taught about this on YWAM schools, and to anyone else who’d listen. Rather than explain it all again, Ill cut and paste here (it’ll be near the bottom of the post) what Gaye Stradwick, the Pastor, said, and my response to it. It is my conviction that what I grew up ‘understanding’ of the verse you’ll see, and know, was wrong. The liberty in TRULY understanding it, is amazing…
For much of my ‘ministry’ life, I’ve aimed at, preached on, and taught about – goals, dreams, & visions. One of the many things that I’d always felt had been misunderstood – certainly in the way I’d heard our future preached about – was having to make sure we got it ‘absolutely right’ – even a minor deviation could be terminal. I’d been taught, and ‘believed’ that Psalm 37:4 meant that if we love God he puts his desire in our hearts’. Wrong. Delight in God – and he asks ‘What do you want to do?’ – because, if we love God, we’ll do what he wants, and he doesn’t mind where.Augustine of Hippo (there, you didn’t think I’d know that, did you? I didn’t… 🙁 – my friend David Sladden told me! Thank you David!) said ‘Love God, and do what you like’. Jackie Pullinger-To also taught that serving God ANYWHERE equipped you for serving God anywhere else.
One of my lifelong passions has been to take other people to places where God is working miraculously. It might not be THEIR final destination for ministry, but, man alive, will it equip them for somewhere else! So, to Colombia, in just a few weeks, I’m taking Simon Allaby (who has been before, loved it, and saw miracles), Robert Hall, who has seen God do some stuff in his home city, Melbourne, and has moved into a whole new place of expectation (that’s going to move a few more paradigms in Cali, Robert!), and Glyn Moreton, first timer, only finally came on-board last night for the trip, who is going to revolutionise where he’s in ministry!
So, it was refreshing to read, just now, this paragraph from Gaye Stradwick…. my heart, thought, sentiments… Thank you, Gaye!
Jesus did a lot of things on earth, but he only did those things he saw the Father doing. In other words, he knew he was totally in union with the Father, and so it was natural to him to do his will. He was not constantly striving, trying to find out what God’s will might be. If we can get this, it will free us from the idea that God is somewhere else, trying to direct us in the various decisions we have to make in life. What is God’s will? What do YOU want to do? That’s probably it! Everything flows out of being in union, and it’s natural….
Genuine reason for no posts here, honestly! Both my home PC and laptop have experienced a number of problems, so a friend of mine is re-formatting both for me, which means, of course, starting from scratch with everything….
Also, if any of you are thinking of having a website, let me suggest that you AVOID, like the plague, anything to do with Adobe Fireworks, Dreamweaver, and the software I have to use, which itself costs an arm and a leg, Contribute…. they are all DIRE, and I’m so looking forward to getting my new, simplified, modern, fresh new website soon….
The past couple of weeks have been at home, trying to get my left knee in some sort of shape for Colombia, which is now only 2 weeks away 🙂 – I’d really value your prayers about this! It’s been pretty sore, especially since the bolt on my loo seat sheared – the other went a couple of years ago! – and the seat disappeared out from – er – under me, and shot me to the floor…. if it han’t done so much damage to my knee (it could have been infinitely worse, as I missed the corner of the shower tray by inches!), it’d be really funny. Glad no one was there with a camera 🙂
I asked my mate James, in Melbourne, Australia, if I could post his recent emails to me, and I wanted to put them here to encourage you. If you’re NOT healed instantly, it might be for a good reason: it certainly was for James. He’s also a cycling-mad fit, runner, too (just like you Paul, I hear you say… :)!) You might remember from posts back in August, that he was hit broadside, on a motorbike, by a car. It shattered his tibia: a real measure of immediate healing was evidenced, but not complete. Here’s what James wrote to me:
So it was 9 screws not 8. The plate is there however.
So why didn’t God heal me instantly?
Spiritual stuff: (and really the important stuff) –
I’ve offloaded the spirit of death, life is a gift not a burden or a test;
I’ve had my faith, which is of greater worth than gold, built up higher than ever;
I’ve lost reliance on my works for His approval;
I’ve learned to rest in Christ, and understand what it means
I know where I am right now, this minute is where God has me for his glory and for my good;
I’ve even had messages for other brothers which I haven’t for a few years.
So the stuff God did which I credit to him healing me physically:
-out the day after surgery;
-all wounds fully healed after 2 weeks (when checked);
-no morphine or painkillers required (full packet of endone still here);
-only medication used was because I was told I had to;
-lots of crashes on my crutches but no damage done;
-no pain more than an occasional ache;
-always 1 week ahead with range of movement;
-more than full range of movement at 6weeks (and only because that was when I was ‘allowed’ to do it) check out any tibial fracture site and this is the BIG issue.
-surgeon said I was a very fast healer;
-surgeon said the range of movement (over 140degrees) was brilliant (his words);
-surgeon said it was healling brilliantly;
-perfect knee alignment;
-perfect knee stability;
-fibro cartilage expected to smooth the plateau (I expect God to put original stuff there);
-only ever used paracetamol to ease discomfort of the leg brace;
and my favourite activity is also my prescribed rehab….cycling 🙂
When an English surgeon (!) repeatedly uses the word ‘brilliant/ly’ I’m figuring he is quietly amazed. Really love the metal to be gone. Having 2 months off work has been good too. I’ve been reading Merlin Carrothers, ‘Power in praise which I think you would like but would be telling you how to suck eggs, he wrote his books back in the 70’s and there is no promise of do this and this will happen etc. I’m looking forward to seeing you again in February, I’ve booked Robert to go visit a medically dead guy on life support once he gets back from Colombia too 🙂
I’m supposed to be speaking at church on sunday, so I’ll be sure to be saying the law is dead, your efforts to win favour are useless, its all about Jesus. The only message I got for me was still “rest in Jesus”
Still now the Xrays have got published on facebook, miraculous instant healing would be good…..
At least I have some ability to understand what you’ve gone through with your knees….
You can add that I have deep joy rather than deep despair, so the troubles and pain that happen may cover it for a moment, but it is still there. This is the biggest gift. I do not worry, rather I look forward to whatever it may be that God has, this I think is a big part of resting in Jesus.
And I tell you what, looking after 4 small kids during school holidays with a wife who got the flu and could do nothing for 2 weeks, when you can’t drive, and you are on crutches, would have used to make me very pissed off.
Even changing a turd in the middle of the night.
And you can add that the physio was very impressed too at today’s visit.
of course I’m so much better looking (James is the identical twin brother of Robert, whose family I went to pray for in August – and I’d commented that, on the back of this amazing story, he’d got better looking than his brother…!), that is why when I walk past a mirror I say ” Gee I’m a good looking bloke!”
That’s quite a testimony – so, a story of partial physical healing, that might have knocked some people over as they weren’t healed totally, and then the amazing unpacking of what God REALLY wanted to do in James. Maybe now that the story is ‘out’, and the strength of standing firm, allowing God to work grace into his life, into his family, and into his future, in a way he’d not experienced before, full physical healing will come, and that plate WILL come out, along with the screws, without the need for further surgery….
It was a lovely weekend with Lee, and his lovely wife, Katie: she’s a General Practitioner Doctor, and Lee, of course, is a Neo-Natologist, so a pretty dumb pair, you understand 🙂 – joke, of course! Both as sharp as knives, but they seemed to relax, Katie had time to read, which in their busy medical and Christian lives, she doesn’t have time for: she also cooked a stunning roast beef lunch on Sunday :).
It was a real milestone for me, too, as I realised they are the first ‘house guests’ I’ve had, not only in Ireland, but in 12 years of living on my own! I hope I didn’t blunder too much…. a visit to the Giant’s Causeway, the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery for the tour, and a ‘via’ to Stormont Castle capped a lovely weekend. The house seems quite empty without them!
‘Those who have an experience of God are never at the mercy of those who just have an opinion’. That brilliant quote from R T Kendall is one I’ve posted before on Facebook, and reposted it yesterday. Why? Because I’m realising the older I get, the more I travel, and the more people I meet, that so many only have a very limited experience of God, lots just a head knowledge, worse still, just an opinion. It’s a terrible indictment on the historic church that we’ve been led into an understanding of God, but without the privilege of living with the reality and experience of his presence.
It’s come home to me a lot over the last few years, as people constantly ask me questions like: ‘Why do you see so many amazing things that God’s doing?’ or ‘Why doesn’t he do it here?’ A while back, now, I asked God to give me at least one answer I could give to the second of those questions: his response shocked me, when he said ‘I want you to repent!’. At that point, I thought I was fairly up-to-date on my repentance issues (I try and keep a short account, but I have so many repentable issues it’s hard to keep up!). So I asked the Lord what he meant, specifically. It was to repent of the unbelief that I’d inherited because of what was omitted from what I was NEVER taught in church when I was young. Thinking that wasn’t my fault, God reassured me that he knew that, but that, deep in my psyche, I’d inherited generations of unbelief, and that the raw power of the Holy Spirit, and real truth of EVERY promise of God, which is ‘yes and amen’ because of Jesus, was a BELIEF, but not REALITY. Paul said to Timothy ‘I know what I have believed’ (BUT he didn’t leave it there) – ‘and I am CONVINCED that He is able…’. Hands up, how many of you have the chorus in your head now, and are singing it silently…??!! Belief is not enough: conviction – experience – is what makes God turn up. Smith Wigglesworth once said: ‘If God’s not moving in a meeting, I’ll move Him’! – meaning, it was time for the people to be given a good kicking, spiritually!
There are so many ‘fair-weather’ churchians around: all the time things are good, they’re ok. And all the time we’re ‘nice’ to each other, it’s ok. That’s why God can’t move. There’s a great article in the UK’s ‘Christianity’ magazine (October edition), by Greg Downes: ‘Are we nicer than God?’. If we’ve GENUINELY had an experience of God, nice-ness – when it means not offending the pharisaical spirited people in church. can’t exist… I’ve encountered, over recent years, a whole bunch of people who are ‘nice’ – but woe betide you if you say anything confrontational to them. I’m SO, SO grateful for having guys around me (the Rhinos, and a small number of others) who say VERY hard things to me, sometimes, when I need spiritually beating up: I’m grateful that their love OF me extends to them saying very hard things TO me…. ever since I got saved, through a wonderful (then) evangelist – still a friend 40 years later – by the name of Clive Calver. I haven’t seen Clive for years, but because of his love FOR me in my formative years as a new Christian, he earned the right to beat me up: and even though our paths don’t cross much these days (he’s lived in the USA for about 18 years, and you know my issues with THAT country!), if he phoned me to tell me something ‘hard’, I’d hear him. In fact, back in 1971, he said something to me that must have been one of the hardest things any man could say to his friend… sadly, then, I didn’t listen, went ahead with my plan, and it was a disaster. Now, I listen when those who REALLY love me speak hard things to me…
I’ve had experience, recently, of people I have been totally committed to, for years, saying and doing things that really needed addressing. In trying to gently address them, anger and temper flared up, and sadly, people I’d once walked with, spent countless hours, days, mnoths, with – having attacked back. I think Jesus called them ‘pharisees’ – and said some pretty hefty things to them in his time on earth, like ‘hypocrites, blind guides, whitwashed tombs, brood of snakes’ and that they would go to hell… man live: I so want my experience of God to be REAL, to be real with other people, and have them be real with me, however hard I find it to take. Are we nicer than God? God is ALWAYS love, mercy, grace, joy, forgiveness…you know the attributes as well as me. But he’s also anger, wrath, and to be feared. I remember preparing about 15 hours of teaching, some years ago, on the Fear of the Lord (I’d been asked, and didn’t want to do it, but God told me I had to!) – I learned more than I could EVER have taught. A church I know – or once knew – has, as its principal mission statement, ‘God is always in a good mood’. Getting back to what R T Kendall said… something like that is borne – not out an EXPERIENCE of God, but a totally false opinion or idea about God. God is God: mood is human. If God’s in a good mood, then we’ve made him human, and lost our fear of the Lord, a very, very dangerous place to be. I think, as God looks at Aleppo, Damascus, Syria in general, Afghanistan, and the highly charged middle-east, and other war zones, on cultures that can consign old people to the streets (see the other blog entry for today!), he’s not laughing…
Sorry to ‘preach’…. it’s just burning in me right now!
THE FOUNDATION & HOME FOR THE ABANDONED ELDERLY
Last November, I visited (reported here) ‘The Home for the Abandoned Elderly’, in one of Cali, Colombia’s, worst districts, Alfonso Aragon. It is a house and ministry dedicated to rescuing the very people mentioned in its name: elderly folk, who, perhaps because their families can’t afford to care for them anymore, or they can’t pay hospital bills, are put out on the streets. Needless to saysuch aged, infirm elderly people won’t survive long.
This ministry is astonishing: you might recall that when I went there, with a few friends on my ‘team’, Ana Beiba Lasso, who began it and runs it, was herself dying with a massive brain tumour. She’d been given less than 3 months to live, and was more afraid of what would happen to the (then) 35 people in her care, than she was of dying. As I prayed for her, with her on her knees, clutching my legs, weeping, she felt the tumour go… perhaps more, in that moment more than any other, a bond was forged with her and her ministry that has kept growing, not just in me, but in my good friend Simon Allaby, who went with me that day. I was back there 6 months later – April – and Ana Beiba is alive and well, thank you Lord! – and had, then, 65 people living in the same house.
I felt – and Simon’s joined me in this – that I should try and raise the money for her to buy the house (just £7000/US$11000) rather than have to pray, every month, for £1400 rent – just 5 months rent would buy it, but it was a total impossibility for her to even contemplate. There is NO social service assistance for that sort of work in Colombia: these people really ARE abandoned. Last week, I sent out an email, to see if I could generate sufficient support to be able to take at least the £7000 with me – and Simon – when we go in 4 weeks’ time. I’m thrilled to say we’re about 75% of the way there. If you’re reading this, and want to help, can you call me or email me, please? If you pay tax, I can reclaim that through a donation made to me, through Stewardship (www.stewardship.org.uk – my account, in my name, is 20028331): if you could let me know if you do that, I’d appreciate it, and how much, as there is no way of knowing, from Stewardship, that it is a specified gift. Bless you!
Another lovely testimony received today from Australia: might not sound much if you’re a ‘medication-free’ person (thank God for it, really), but this lady is clearly happy, as she posted on facebook:
Sixth day – no medication needed, thank you Lord! Thank you for your prayer Paul. — with Paul Bennison.
So here are just some of the testimonies from Australia:
Robert – ALL allergies gone (including dairy, lactose intolerance, and more): psoas muscle healed (I don’t know where it is either!!): major league headaches MOSTLY gone: hamstring healed (he’s a runner… each to his own, eh??!!). Robert’s business, which we prayed for, has also begin to ‘move’….
Shey: EPILEPSY gone, headaches gone, allergies gone
Lucas (one of the autistic sons, aged 6): ‘rages’ have stopped
Wesley (eldest autistic son, aged 10): shoulder injury healed, no longer shy/insecure (which dad says can be QUITE annoying!!), no more ‘feral’ breath
Callum (youngest son, not autistic but with his own ‘challenges’, aged 5): daytime incontinence stopped
Peter: migraines (frequent, massive) – stopped
Janeece – hand healed, off medication (all levels normal) by order of her doctor (who now wants me to see all her other patients!)
Keith, 81 years old, shaken uncontrollably for at least 16 years (like parkinsons/dystonia), walked with sticks: no longer needs sticks, shaking completely stopped (in fact, within 5 minutes of prayer, he drank his own cup of tea!)
Drazan Simic: elbow trauma from work accident – gone
Lucio: major ankle/knee/hip/shoulder damage – all healed instantly
James: damaged thumb healed, broken leg wonderfully restored, still a little pain
Karsten (1 year old): exzema gone, skin cleared up about 80%, no scabs or bleeding
Michelle: lifelong acne, 99% healed, just one pimple to go last I heard!
Barney: pain gone completely from totally fused ankles, walked on side of foot, ankles completely locked. Walked out totally normally
‘Rin’s mum’: leg completely straightened, no pain. Rin & her husband, Shey’s brother, want a family: so work for hubby was important. Just landed a super job, which in the current economic climate (I’m told) is very rare… just the family bit to see fulfiment of now!
Elizabeth: no back pain anymore, good sleep pattern emerged
Pete: no longer under bone cancer diagnosis/prognosis – none in his bones. Pete had countless tumours and ‘hotspots’ (they were increasing almost daily) – and, in ealy August, a ‘less than 3 months’ prognosis. The previous scan was terrible – ‘expolded’ was the word used. Heard THIS morning, the recent scan was good, no new hotspots, one major tumour gone, and this is WITHOUT any treatment (there is no more that they can give him, anyway). Robert’s comment: ‘So he’s sure God is doing something’….
John: another acne sufferer, skin completely cleared, returned (as the enemy often does, to side-swipe us), and now ‘almost’ completely clear again.
John (a different one!): running again, after long time, alittle soreness rather than pain/immobility in back
Robert – dad to the 4 (mostly) autistic boys: his hands get hot now when he prays for his boys, so much they complain he’s burning them! He’s says they’re fun to practice on!!
Karen: suffering acute long term burnout (yes, it IS a medical condition) and chronic fatigue syndrome, making steps of recovery where nothing had happened in a year-18 months before.
This is from Craig, in a church I preached in: ” It was a privilege to be able to hear you speak and hear some of your amazing stories. And I can tell you, you certainly have made a lasting impression on Scott. His faith has very much been inspired by yours.
There were many, many more, in churches….these are just a few – a wide range, too – of those ‘officially’ reported back to me….
And from Mexborough, from last weekend:
Ann: stroke some time back, no power in hand and arm, though some left arm movement, and no ability to move left leg…. in tears prior to prayer, as she was afraid of ‘failure’ again – a familiar story. Prayed for her, holding her left hand, which proceeded to grip mine very hard, and she began to swing her left leg…. her delight and amazement was all the better for her, as she said, in her lovely Yorkshire accent, ‘Hey, I can clout my husband around his ear again!’. When he was told, independently of her, by the Pastor, of her ‘grip’, his comment was ‘Oh no, that’s the ‘and she clouts me with!’
At risk of repeating myself, the time away with the Rhinos (Eric Delve, John Pressdee, Russ Parker, Michael Mitton, Steve Hepden, Nick Battle, and sometimes Phil Baggaley) was seminal in terms of my last few months… I don’t plan to go into detail here, but – once upon a time, I was brought up in a Christian culture where many ‘doctrines of the day’ were peddled (still are, along with newer, more inaccurate ones today), including “The safest place to be is in the centre of God’s will”. What utter rubbish that teaching is! The BEST place to be is in the centre of God’s will, it most certainly ISN’T the safest!
Many, many good things have happened in the last year, three years, five years, and more. My Rhino accountability group have stood with me, helped me, prayed for and prophesied over me, picked me up off of the floor spiritually, as the enemy piles on his attacks. BUT… you know something? I genuinely mean this, too: I WOULDN’T EXCHANGE WHAT GOD HAS DONE, IN ME, THROUGH ME, (occassionally in spite of me!), anf FOR ME, for a peaceful life, free from onslaught and pressure. It’s worth it, every cost, sacrifice, hurt, physical pain, emotional battering – it’s WORTH IT. Someone said recently, in an email to me, that these past 10+ years, have been, for me, a little like Paul’s description of his testimony in 2 Corinthians 11:25: others said it’s a ‘Job’ story…
BUT…even last weekend, in Mexborough, a town devastated by the end of the mining industry in South Yorkshire many years ago, a town depressed, with whole streets of closed shops, THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD was there! My dear, long-time friends Nick & Erica Lugg, took on New Oxford Road Church 2.5 years ago, lost a few people as often happens when a new leadership is installed, and have already had huge influence in the community, and are seeing growth in the church. A good number of people were healed, including the beginning of massive transformation for one wheelchair-bound lady… hearing beginning to return to a young man deaf since birth, and so much more. If anyone had told me, 20 years ago, as a ‘born-again’ south east of Englander, that I’d love Yorkshire, I’d have laughed. I love Yorkshire.
As it’s 3 am I really should be in bed, but I now have a list of healings from Australia (not all, there were many more!) and I’ll post them on here tomorrow….
Just had two wonderful days with my ‘accountability’ group, the Rhinos: in the light of so many things that have happened in the last few months, those two days were like a touch of heaven. Just to give you an idea of how our little ‘Sevensome’ functions… we get together, share a lot of laughter, an ‘occasional’ glass of wine(!), just a bunch of grown men who’ll never get old having fun: then we all individually share what’s been happening in our lives, hearts, minds… since we last convened, often – when you’re on the frontline it can be turbulent, troubling, tiring, and so much more – then we pray for each other, prophesy… often loud, always passionate – and it is SO astonishingly uplifting that it’s not possible to come away the same. After my last few months, I feel totally re-envigorated…
I’m now in south Yorkshire, at the church of my wonderful long-time friends Nick & Erica: looking forward to God doing some lovely things over the weekend. I’m waiting for my friend in Australia to re-send me the list of people healed before I try listing it here!
No apology for the big gap between posts. Here’s why…
One of my desires for this blog has been to use it as vehicle for all the good things God is doing. I hope, in some small measure, I’ve achieved that. I want to still do it, and, to prove it, I’m having a new website built that will have a different fresh new light feel to it….
But, the reason for the delay this time goes way, way back, if you’ve followed my roller-coaster existence of the past few years. You’ll know that in May, 2009, for no ‘given’ reason, I was refused permission to land in the USA, where I’d go to when I needed a time of ‘rest and relaxation’ after a trip. You’ll know a little of the nightmares and traumas along the way, with the (what’s the nicest word I could use here about US Immigration?) – ‘foibles’ of said service. A position had been created for with a church – Foreign Mission Director – and all seemed hunky-dory with the application. Then came, in August 2011, perhaps one of the worst experiences of my life: the visit to the US Embassy in London, for ‘interview’. For that, read ‘interrogation, for US Embassy London, read ‘Guantanamo without the water-boarding’! Through that… questions all answered seemingly satisfactorily.
Then 12 months with hearing nothing, with the Virginia Senator in on the case too: then, 3 days into my Australia trip, I heard that the ‘kind souls'(!) in the Embassy inLondon had ‘revoked’ my application. A mere 3.5 years after it began. Sort of a strange word to use, revoke: perhaps it shows the misuse of English by those acros the pond, as you can only ‘revoke’ something that has already been given….
I was in Oz for a purpose: to pray for a specific family, but it turned into much, much more, perhaps because I’d asked God to give me grace to ‘put aside’ the whole horrific scandal and brutality of US immigration. I won’t put here, in this blog, the wonderful stories I’ve heard back from Oz, and continue to hear, 4 weeks on. I didn’t blog THEN, because, if I’m honest, my human reaction to the news from the US Embassy would not have been printable, and I might have written things that might have offended you, with words that might have done the same! God DID give me grace, whilst I was there in Melbourne, and, I’m grateful to say, has given me grace to deal with the intransigence and obstacles that seem to have been put in my way by others in the States, as I’ve tried to ‘close down my life’ quickly there.
What I CAN say, positively here, about this whole saga, is that I’ve learned a lot: I am extremely grateful to God that he’s ‘protected’ from committing even more to some people there, and, in my enforced absence from the States, have seen God open wonderful doors to places I might not have gone to – like France and Australia, for instance – and that here, in Northern Ireland, I’ve really found ‘home’ in a way I’ve not known it for – to be totally honest – a large part of my life!
What the enemy means for bad, God means for good…. and, over the next few days, now I’ve got past my ‘anger’ and initial feelings about the USA, I’ll post some of the stories from Australia…
It’s good to be back home, and, even though the journey was good, it’s still pretty exhausting travelling the best part of 36 hours. Glad I got back in time today, though, to meet up for lunch with Simon Guillebaud and Mark Marx, two extremely radical men, ahead of Simon & Lizzie’s moving back to Burundi next Wedensday. Fantastic, inspirational time.
Australia, I miss you! It really was a quite wonderful trip, and not one you’d normally associate with a ‘western world’ healing trip… so many amazing, wonderful interventions by God for healings, miracles…not too much time to spare right now, I won’t start to list them, maybe a post tomorrow! Just a taster…
” Shey has been healed of epilepsy. she can’t take the prescribed topiramate because it gives her a migraine, it used to be if she didn’t she would have a 2 day migraine. We are very thankful and so is the government for not having to subsidise it anymore 🙂 ”
Some wonderful stories still to be told… I want time to sit here and type them out!
I wrote on Facebook this morning that life at the moment is like being in an incoming newsroom, and reporting ‘breaking news’! It’s been an astonishing few days here in and around Melbourne, Australia… so many healings, miracles, and healings and miracles in process.
Where to start? James, brother of Robert whom I’m staying with: smashed tibial plateau when his motorbike was hit by a car last week. James had been told – steel plate, screws, hip graft needed, 4-5 hour surgery Thursday. Surgery kept being put off, finally 2 hours under the knife (they won’t tell James what they did) Sunday morning, he was home Sunday 2.30pm. Prayed for him again last night: most pain BECAUSE of the surgery, and constriction to circulation because of the brace, foot/ankle badly swollen, surgery wound painful. This morning: foot normal, total movement in it, ankle not swollen, leg 10 times better…
Prayed for his 1 year old son (birthday Sunday just past), born with a horrible skin condition – this morning, skin is fine. Also born with a misplaced kidney/ureter – only a scan will confirm that one, but if God’s done one thing… why not the other?
Damon, second son of the family here, cried this morning when Robert (dad) told him I was leaving (he’s 8 years old). Robert thought they’d be sorta pleased to have their own bedrooms back – but, Damon doesn’t want me to leave because ‘he’s going to heal my autism’… out of the mouths of children comes faith… he’s already shown signs of healing, now for the acceleration, not just in him, but the others kids in this lovely family with autism/aspergers/learning disorders…
Sunday night’s youth pastor, Aaron: vomited EVERY morning when he woke, major league stomach disorder, and – I’ll probably mis-spell this (nothing new THERE in my blog, then!!) – gulyian barr’s syndrome, chronic pain in his legs… no vomiting, no leg pain… Keiran, a young man from that church, needing serious shoulder surgery – his words, not mine – ‘my shoulder is stronger than ever’. Jason, also with crap shoulders, did a handstand, a little pain, but mostly likely due to not having used it and then standing upside down… 🙂
Could go on and on from Sunday’s meetings, but last night, on the way to a church about 90 minutes away from here, prayed for Robert’s 95 year old granny and some other relatives… one of them was wonderfully touched by God… the church, great attendance for a Monday night meeting – loads of people prayed for, and – marvellous! – 2 lovely Irish guys healed, and a Scot, from Troon: my Scottish ‘home’…! Loads more….
Poppy, the little girl born 3 weeks ago to Scott and Natasha (she’s the pastor’s sister) with spina bifida, bowel outside her body… yesterday the physiotherapist saw her, and was astonished at the movement in her legs – she’d had none due to her spinal trauma – Scott and Natasha over the moon… there’ll be further healing of that awful bowel condition imminently!
I don’t know if you’re on facebook, but there are loads more stories there from the people who’ve ‘experienced’ them personally: I’m a bit limited here as the software for editing this page consumes the data allowance on the interent dongle… my page on facebook is, surprisingly, Paul Bennison…. 😉
Value prayer for safe travel home, no delays as I’m transitting straight through Heathrow after the long-haul flights back to Belfast, so would prefer not to have to try and run with my luggage from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1! However, I should have been able to sleep on the plane…. 🙂
Flipping heck… where do I start! Totally non stop time over the last few days, and wondering how long the internet dongle will hold out while on this ridiculous blog editing software!
Two churches today…. might not sound a lot, but both meetings were in excess of 4 hours with ministry, and the interim time filled in with praying for people in one of the pastor’s families, and the wider family that I’m staying with.
The church this morning, Cornerstone I think it’s called, is relatively new – planted less than 6 months ago: major league signs and wonders here, with one young man, Daniel (30), 15 years+ in a wheelchair, following a massive car accident: both legs wrecked, not walked, but feeling intitially tingling in his legs… told him I’d be back, with Rob, the dad here, and then asked him what was going on… tingling still, so suggested he might like to try getting up.. which he did, unaided, and then walked 30 feet away from his chair, and back: then to the loo….second time out the chair he moved like a rocket: the people who know him are utterly gobsmacked. Lots of other healings…. asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, depression healed… internal ailments, stomach issues… then to the stor’s home, where a sister-in-law was wonderfully transformed after years of severe bi-polar destruction in her young family’s life… the pastorI KNOW is healed of long term back pain, tinitus… the dad of severely blocked throat arteries (50 & 70%)…
Tonight’s meeting was a blinder! Broken bones healed, cancer healed, wrecked shoulders healed, rotator cuffs, stomach issues, dpression, major league bone issues in one very tall young man, Louis – knees, ankle, jaw, shoulder all healed. Got the people in the the church to stand if they wanted God to use them in healing, so long as they were prepared to face the cost of it: probably 70% stood: about 85% responded for prayer for healing, and so I got the people who’d stood, and had already been healed, praying for others… many, many healed, loads of miracles, and some amazing stories over and above what I’ve already written.
Friday, prayed for one of the (not yet Christian) grandparents of the family here: 15 years at least with ‘parkinson’s’ shakes – stopped instantly: held his cup of tea and just looked shell-shocked. Still still today! No, that’s not a typo! Another, with a damaged hand from shutting it in a car door – healed: another with damaged knee and hip – swelling went down, leg straightened, healed… another (they’re all VERY sporty here!) ran the fastest 16km she’d ever run (she’d been fatigued…) – here’s her text message to Rob: It’s a tiny speck in the grand schme hings, but I just ran 16km in 1hr 20 mins and it felt amazing. I can honestly say I’ve never ran that pace for that distance in my life. Paul is amazing (blushing here…) and thank you for bringing him to us, as he has definitely touched our lives… her mum’s knee was the one healed: none of them are Christians… another, with chronic back pain and a limp to go with it, totally healed… could go on and on, but after 12 hours non stop meetings and poraying today, and non stop praying for people Friday and yesterday, and tomorrow, too, as its past 1am here, I’m going to sleep!
Been praying for the boys in the family here – autism/spergers/learning difficulties – and there are some lovely little signs that God’s on the move – like the youngest waking in the night to go to the loo rather than soak the bed, one of them making – unaided – his own sandwiches and not leaving chaos behind…. plenty more time to pray for them…. and the family as a whole. Rob, dad, has a steel plate/screws in his shoulder, and a ‘famous’ (!) scar… wants both to go: today the scar had shrunk… 🙂
Seems like I might just be coming back here….
8 August (Oz time!)
It’s always nice when you know that you’ve made a good impression on people… the folk I was with yesterday – prayed for a good few of the family – well, I have more of their family to pray with now, Wally’s mum and dad: mum has a ‘big’ appointment with a doctor Friday and would rather not go to it… 🙂 so I’m seeing her and dad on Thursday… Scott, Poppy’s dad, rang to just keep saying thank you, and that faith was raised yesterday… I can’t raise faith, only God can do that: so this could be a miracle family! I’m also speaking at a new-to-be-arranged healing meeting at the church the opposite side of the city to where I am, where Wally is on the staff, on Monday evening. God… I need you….and people need you: a new level of faith is awakening, maybe: God, come and add to that faith, and to my pathetic offering of preaching/story telling, and God DO THE SIGNS FOLLOWING that only you can do…. Real sense of expectation in ALL of this, and for Monday, too…
This evening, I was with a lovely bloke I met 2 years ago, Pete: he’s 25, and 5 years ago was diagnosed with hodgkins lymphoma… seemed under control, then broke out again (after much chemo etc) early this year, and was told, recently, he’s got 3-6 months tops to live… I HATE Satan, I hate cancer, I hate what he’s doing – and trying to do – to people… spent the evening with him and his dad, mum, brother, and a (Scottish – still with the accent after 40 years! – yeah!!) friend.. prayed for all of them, and have absolutely no sense in my spirit that this IS, in fact, Pete’s end… God, touch him, blitz the lymphoma, decimate the tumours and hotspots, give him LIFE…. death, get your hands off of him. Prayed with ALL the assembled meal table family members! Another miracle family…. so, so glad I’m here….
Oh…and as a nice little bonus… I heard today that I’m upgraded ALL THE WAY HOME on the best business-class airline in the skies, Singapore Airlines – and to add icing to the cake, I’m upstairs on the A380 from Singapore to London… always wanted to be upstairs on one of thise awesome planes! Full size, flat beds, 12″ screens, chef in the galley, china plates, silver cutlery, and – champagne… thank you, Lord! To sleep, knowing miracles have happened, will be such a blessing….
Risking consuming all the dongle’s data limit(!), just wanted to say about yesterday – and ask for your prayers to confirm what I really sense God wants to do – that it was a wonderful day… meeting a number of people I’ve not known before, hooking up with a pastor from the other side of Melbourne, Wally (great bloke!), and going to pray for his niece, sister, & brother in law…. niece Poppy was born 2 weeks ago, spina bifida, bowel outside her body. She’s beautiful: mum and dad have a wonderful spirit concerning their situation, and I just so appreciated being with them, and having the privilege of praying for their daughter….a major league miracle is needed here, as you can imagine: but God’s good with miracles, and prayed with mum, dad, and one lot of grandparents, and Wally, all for healing themselves, in the coffee shop of the Melbourne hospital we were in…. Poppy will be scaned again within 3 weeks, so I’m praying for a stunner when that happens…
Sort of reassuring, but scary, too, was to discover yesterday that one of my Rhino buddies, who was on holiday in France, discovered that he’d had his bank accounts hacked into, £6000 either removed – or- get this one – set up in LOANS in his name by the hackers… you know, folks, if we mean business with God, the enemy onslaught is not just stepping up, it’s becoming a full frontal assault…. I’m not a born worrier, I don’t think – I believe that I was delivered from that many years ago! – but friends, keep an eye on what’s going on as you’re a target too, if you really want to see God’s kingdom come….
And someone I know well posted this on facebook yesterday… it’s long, but it’s powerful… I just wanted to share it with you. It’s from Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln on Having a Forgiving Spirit.
“I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. For too long, every ounce of forgiveness I owned was locked away, hidden from view, waiting for me to bestow its precious presence upon some worthy person. Alas, I found most people to be singularly unworthy of my valuable forgiveness, and since they never asked for any, I kept it all for myself. Now, the forgiveness that I hoarded has sprouted inside my heart like a crippled seed yielding bitter fruit. No more. At this moment, my life has taken on new hope and assurance. Of all the world’s population, I am one of the few possessors of the secret to dissipating anger and resentment. I now understand that forgiveness has value only when it is given away. By the simple act of granting forgiveness, I release the demons of the past about which I can do nothing, and I create in myself a new heart, a new beginning. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.
“I will forgive even those who do not ask for forgiveness. Many are the times when I have seethed in anger at a word or deed thrown into my life by an unthinking or uncaring person. I have wasted valuable hours imagining revenge or confusion. Now I see the truth revealed about this psychological rock inside my shoe. The rage I nurture is often one-sided, for my offender seldom gives thought to his offense. I will now and forevermore silently offer my forgiveness even to those who do not see that they need it. By the act of forgiving, I am no longer consumed by unproductive thoughts. I give up my bitterness. I am content in my soul and effective again with my fellow man.
“I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive those who criticize me unjustly. Knowing that slavery in any form is wrong, I also know that the person who lives a life according to the opinion of others is a slave. I am not a slave. I have chosen my counsel.
“I know the difference between right and wrong. I know what is best for the future of my family, and neither misguided opinion nor unjust criticism will alter my course. Those who are critical of my goals and dreams simply do not understand the higher purpose to which I have been called. Therefore, their scorn does not affect my attitude or action. I forgive their lack of vision, and I forge ahead. I now know that criticism is part of the price paid for leaping past mediocrity.
“I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself. For many years, my greatest enemy has been myself. Every mistake, every miscalculation, every stumble I made has been replayed again and again in my mind. Every broken promise, every day wasted, every goal not reached has compounded the disgust I feel for the lack of achievement in my life.
“My dismay has developed a paralyzing grip. When I disappoint myself, I respond with inaction and become more disappointed. I realize today that it is impossible to fight an enemy living in my head. By forgiving myself, I erase the doubts, fears, and frustration that have kept my past in the present. From this day forward, my history will cease to control my destiny.
“I have forgiven myself.
“My life has just begun.
“I will forgive even those who do not ask for forgiveness.
“I will forgive those who criticize me unjustly.
“I will forgive myself.
“I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.”
— Abraham Lincoln
Hello from Melbourne (well, Doreen to be exact!), Australia… not sure how much data editing the blog here uses up, as I’m on a ‘dongle’ (hasn’t vocabulary changed in the past 20 years!!)…so best be quick in case I use it all up…
Long, long journey, as you’d expect to the other side of the world, but so worth it so far…really not so much about ‘meetings’ this trip as people… and some lovely things happening… the mum/grandma of the family I’m with healed of long time back pain and sleeplessness over the weekend… pain gone from damaged ligaments for another family member…. just quick tasters for this week. Lovely meeting with a group of very hungry-for-more-of-God Anglicans yesterday, Plenty Life Church…. a 90 minute meeting became 3.5 hours…. today, off to hospital to pray for a 2 week old baby born with spina bifida (I was healed of that many years ago), tomorrow with a young man, Pete, who is very sick with cancer…
It’s great to have a trip that isn’t packed to the gunnells with meetings, as people are more important! It’s also meant, of course, that I’ve been able to keep up with the Olympics – but it’s interesting watching it with an ‘Aussie-slant’ – you’d never know Team GB had done so well if you just watch TV and don’t keep an eye on the Beeb website!
I’ll try and get on here again in a day or so….
Well my bags are packed and I’m ready to go, standing here outside the door… I’m leaving, on a jet plane…. I do know that I’ll be back again though! (I hope!)… For those of you wondering what that little bit was about, it’s an old pop song from Peter, Paul, and Mary… London tonight, Singapore tomorrow, arriving in Melbourne Australia Tuesday at 7.15 pm Tuesday…. ooohh, written down, that looks awful – pretty near 48 hours… think of all the Olympics I’ll be missing!
Would really value your prayers, as I’ve asked a few times, for this trip: it began – nad still remains primarily – specific, to pray for a family with autistic children, and that expanded to pray for a young man dying with lymphoma. I’ve heard today that there are a number of meetings organised now, which is great: but I really have my principal burden for these folk who, two years ago in a rushed meeting at the their church (I was en route to the the airport to fly back to the UK), asked me to pray for their kids, and this trip is the end product of THEIR faith: they were prepared to fly their family to wherever I was in the world, to pray for them…. that’s a pretty huge undertaking with children, especially if they are special needs kids. I’ve felt, in planning this trip, it’s (to quote Jesus) ‘your faith has made you well’ trip…
That doesn’t mean I don’t put myself under pressure: I do, and I’m carrying a huge sense of responsibility (perhaps unnecessarily), as I can’t do anything: it’s ALL God… but I spent time with my friends here this past week, whose son,has moved by faith, prayer, and a lot of work, from acute untreatable autism, to – next year – grammar school: and heard from other friends over in England that they’ve had their first ‘autism-free’ day at the beach with their son… It’s good to build faith with ‘living testimonies’, and makes the next 48 hours more ‘do-able’….
I have to say that I’m glad I’m going to a family that seems to like sport! Having felt so proud to be British again this week, with the Olympics opening ceremony in the very borough of London where I was born, I think I’d have missed the next two weeks of excitement if I was somewhere ‘tv free’…!
Please pray for travelling protection: I’ve been so aware of ‘onslaught’ these past few months, and, with this trip being – for the family, and for me, pretty significant, I don’t think the enemy’s going to be too far away or leave me in peace! I’m not afraid: just needing to know people’s prayers are there, and praying for God to do what only God can do….
It’s been fantastic to have a few days at home again, after a tremendous weekend in England – two lovely meetings in Chatham and Gillingham, loads and loads of people to pray for as usual, and was a good 90 minutes to 2 hours at the end of each meeting doing just that!
The next 2-3 days were spent seeing people I needed to catch up with – so a lot of dashing here, there, and everywhere…. it’s been so vital to have this time at home, as next weekend I head off for Australia, specifically to pray for a family I’ve mentioned before, and now, too, a young friend of theirs who has cancer. It seems that there’ll be some meetings there, too, butI have a very real sense of purpose for this trip, it being to see God move in this family’s situation, and, as Jesus would say to them, I believe, ‘Your faith has made you well….’
It’s been fantastic, too, in the past couple of weeks, to have two furrther opportunities to go to France: for those who regularly read here, you’ll know it’sa country close to my heart, where I’d had no opportunity to be involved in ministry for many years. Now, this year, with all the changes God has worked in and over my life and planning, three places… thank you, Lord! There’s every possibility, too, of a fourth opportunity there, in Arras, to go along with Brem-sur-Mer in May, and then Lisieux and Paris in December.
I sometimes have a smile at my life and the way God works things: I guess, really, Paris in the springtime would be the ideal – I go in December(!), and Australia in December should be the ideal, but I go in July, in the middle of their winter! Perhaps maybe it proves that I don’t just go for the sun….!
I’m in the process of re-writing everything for my website, as a great friend, Jesse Williams, is completely re-vamping it for me, hence my tardiness at writing here for the past week or more! It’s an interesting and exciting process to see something completely different being designed, afer 7 years of this same design: 7 years in computer-world is about the same as 7 years in a dog’s life: old, and out of date!
In a couple of hours, I head off to the airport, yet again(!) – just the shor hop to England this time, to preach over the weekend. On Sunday, I’m with long-time friends Bernie & Chris Pinner, in their church – St Marys Island Church, Chatham, Kent: a new church to me, and it’s always good to make new acquaintances and friends. The link there through Bernie and Chris came, initially I think, through the Detling Bible Week. In the evening on Sunday, I’m at St Mark’s, Gillingham, Kent, a church led by more ‘old’ friends, Peter & Michele Guinness. A little daunted by this one (as I often am!) as I know Peter to be a very gifted Bible teacher and speaker, and a theologian (just like me!) 🙂 ), and Michele, of course, is a brilliant speaker, writer, performer… oh, well, Paul, just be yourself, that’s all you can do!
I’m staying over a couple of extra days, to catch up with Lee, in Maidstone (went to Cali, Colombia with me in April), maybe Mark (full time Pastor of Loose Baptist Church), lunch with head-honcho Rhino Eric Delve (always look forward to every minute with Eric – such a great mentor and friend for almost 40 years). Overnight Sunday with great friends Clive & Melanie Williams, down to West Sussex, to catch up with Simon & Sarah (Si was in Cali with me in November) to see if we can set up a Trust for that wonderful lady in Cali, Anabeiva, who runs the ‘Home for the Abandoned Elderly’ – all of us who’ve been there have been deeply impacted and affected by her, her faith, and this amazing ministry. She has no churches supporting her, social services just leave people on the streets: her rent is £1400 (US$2200) a month, her bills – for food, clothes, medication, etc., for the 65 people she had when we were there in April, is the same – £1400: yet she can BUY the house for 20 million pesos (about £8,000/US$13,000) – effectively 5-6 months rent will buy it. So Simon and I have ‘got the bit between the teeth’ on this one, and would dearly love to raise sufficient to buy the house, and help each month.
Tuesday morning will be with Simon, then I plan to nip down to Worthing to visit my dear mate, Martin, who recently was diagnosed with cancer, and is currently suffering the effects of cheemotherapy…. then back to Surrey, to fly back to Ireland on the 7am flight on Wednesday…. so a hectic few days, praying my knees cope with it ok! I forgot to mention that last week, whilst sitting at the boarding gate in Heathrow airport, waiting to fly back to Ireland, and having had the effective treatment for my knees in Mexico (albeit painful and a wholly weird sensation!), an old man (I guess I might be one of those now, but he WAS old…) came and sat next to me, my legs were straight out in front of me, and he very kindly dropped his very heavy backpack from his shoulder – straight onto my left knee… not been QUITE so good since then! – BUT – God IS healing them….along with a bit of medical help (some people seem to think that, if you pray foir healing, you shouldn’t need medical help…. I won’t answer that one publicly!!!).
The last day in Mexico was terrific – a great time with the Mundo de Fe church, Azcapotzalco, so good to be with them, and I really felt that God gave me a word for them, which is always encouraging. As always, quite a few people to pray for afterwards, no news yet of what happened, as, of course, I had to leave 830 am Monday for the aiirport, to begin the long haul home.
Sadly, England lost, but as Italy have beaten Germany since, it makes the defeat a little easier to bear…!
These days, I SO look forward to getting home: but by the time I got here, what with airport check in times (3 hours before the flight), flight changes (Toronto and London) and flight delays, I was abut 38 hours to get here! I’m so grateful that my knees stood up to the job in hand: travelling is demanding at the best of times, and so it seems that Jois’ treatment last Thursday is beginning to take effect. I’m praying that! I do wonder, though, why it is that when I get on the flight from London to Belfast (or vice versa), by the time the wheels are off the ground I’m asleep – a 55 minute flight. Yet on the night flight from Toronto to London (7+ hours), I didn’t (and never do, on long haul flights) sleep a wink…. 🙁 Hmm…
So, catch up days now, before heading over to England again to preach next weekend: then a bit more of a ‘breather’ before the loooong trip to Melbourne, Australia, on 30 July… at least, I suppose, I’ll have slept on the Belfast to London flight the night before!!!
Not much to report here today, as Benny graciously made me miss Friday evening’s meeting so that my knees could have the 2-3 days recovery time prescribed by his brother, the doctor! They DO feel much better, I’m thrilled to say, still a bit stiff – Jois, the doctor, told me that they’d swell after the treatment for a few days, so, hopefully, all fit and well to preach tomorrow, my last day here. It hasn’t been wasted time, as I’ve sat and talked and prayed with people, and also had a chance to catch up on a lot of stuff on my computer.
Can’t say I’m looking forward to Monday and Tuesday a whole lot, as it’s basically all travelling! Though my flight isn’t out of here, to Toronto, until 1.30pm, the 3 hour mandatory time prior to the flight at the airport means leaving the house about 9 am, with Mexico City’s Monday morning rush hour traffic, arriving in London at 8.30 am Tuesday, then on to Belfast at 1.30, arriving at 2.40 pm…so a lot of time cramped in what Adrian Plass once described as ‘sardine class’ on aeroplanes! (But then he IS 6 feet 7 inches tall, and I’m not QUITE that high… Perhaps The Lord, and Air Canada, will smile on me, and bump me up a class… 🙂
Tomorrow afternoon, my time, of course, it is a period of both relaxation and stress, as England take on Italy in the quarter finals of Euro 2012…. fortunately leaves enough time for the meeting, prayer, and then to get to a big screen!
What a great meeting last night! ‘Luz a las Naciones’, in the ‘colonia’ of Aragon, Mexico City, a super church pastored by a wonderful couple, Daniel & Paty Ortiz, was a blast… a church where there is a lot of freedom, but very real passion for the Word and for the world. I so appreciate pastors like Daniel, who is a good friend of my freind Benny Osorio, who took Benny’s word about me, and gave me complete freedom. Sunday was terrific, last night went to another level, with everyone in the church wanting prayer for fresh anointing, and more of Jesus’ power in their lives. I have said before, that this is a very different sort of trip in terms of ministry/preaching to, say, Colombia, in April: and last night God graciously poured out His power, even more graciously gave me quite a few prophetic words for people, and some received healing, too.
Benny & I had gone to the meeting at 8pm, already tired, and sort of hoping it might be a shortish meeting. We finally left the building at 11pm: and Daniel & Paty insisted (oh, how we tried to refuse!! not!) that we go to a great taco restaurant, where we sat and chatted like we’d known each other for years. I’m thrilled that my Spanish seems to be coming on in leaps and bounds this trip, so God IS doing miracles! Home rather late though, and afer some quite hot chilis and salsa… hmm!!
This evening, Jois, my doctor friend (nickname for JOel LuIS) set-to on my knees. I’d had a feeling it was going to be…er… ‘interesting’! Whew, Jois thought I’d faint, but I didn’t, thankfully, though I did sweat a good bit! The treatment he gave me people like Tiger Woods and other top sportspeople have had – ‘platelet rich plasma’ – involves taking blood from one part of your body, sticking it into a centrifuge to separate the plasma and the platelets, and then sticking it into the damaged joints… sounds simple? Well, I don’t EVER seem to have any blood in my arms, here most people have blood taken from, so Jois took it from the big vein on the back of my hand… then, the platelet bit of the centirfuge’d blood is injected, with a pain killer (I have NO idea what it’d be like if that wasn’t there – it was bad enough WITH it, mixed with some other medical named stuff, and steroid (so, sadly, as I’ve had steroid jabs in both my knees tonight, I won’t be able to take my place in the 100 metre final with Usain Bolt at the Olympics next month….:( ) – both sides of both knees, having drained the knees of excess fluid first. Actually, Jois was brilliant at that, all of it in fact, as that process alone is a most strange sensation: he got 18cc’s off of my left knee, which might explain why it was so tight! Since being filled up with that nice little cocktail, I’ve laid down, and Jois wants me to pretty still for up to 24 hours, so I’m praying that I’ll be ok to preach tomorrow night, as tonight was a night off…
If you pray for me, please pray that God will add his power to Jois’ medical skills, and that from here on in, my knees will be greatly improved! What the treatment does – I looked it up on Google AFTER the event, not before(!), is create new tissue, cartilege, etc., and help with the regeneration of what has degenerated.
Hopefully, in the next few days, too, I’ll be emailing out my newsletter, which a lovely mate of mine, Nick Harding, has done for me, so you’ll see it’s miles better than my poor attempts at layout in the past…
20 June (later)
Sooooo, the hospital authorities changed their mind once we’d got there… but, in keeping with hospitals in other Latino countries, there was a huge gathering outside the doors of the place, either sick and unable to get treatment, or with desperate relatives inside. So, Mimi – the ‘mum’ of the family, Jose Luis from the church I’m working alongside here, and I, got to grips with the pressing throng…
We prayed for a number, so it wasn’t a wasted time: some prayer was for relatives or friends inside, and Mimi gace them the church details so they could let us know what happens. We also prayed for a few outside, and a lady – whose husband was inside the hospital – herself with diabetes, husband with it too, niece with leukaemia, son in prison, looked justifiably very ‘down’. A few minutes later, after we’d prayed for her and her family, she gave her life to Jesus, and was smiling from ear to ear… at least three others gave their lives to Jesus, too…
Who needs to go INTO a hospital, when you can do just as much outside…?
One of the great delights of what God has called me to do is praying for people who are sick, as those of you who regularly read here will know! In the western world, and many other parts of the world, too, it is not possible to get into hospitals to pray for people. That’s why Colombia has been so special: here, in Mexico, it isn’t easy to despite being Latino. Yesterday, Benny, who is Pastor of the main church that I come to here (not a mega-church: they’re really not my ‘scene’ and in truth, don’t need someone like me, whose heart is for the poorer places, came and told me, very excitedly, that today, at 4pm (ish?? – well it IS Latino!!) were going to a hospital to pray… this adds a lovely new dimension to my already big love for Mexico, so I’m a happy bunny this morning!
This evening, I’m back at a church I was at on the 17th: the trip to Puebla has been postponed, which, on the one hand I’m sad about, but on the other, means we can go to hospital, and back to Daniel Ortiz’s church ‘Luz a las Naciones’ – Light to the Nations.
Of course, it’s good to be going on the emotional ‘high’ of England having beaten Ukraine in Euro 2012 yesterday (!! YEAHHH!!!), and facing only Italy, who haven’t been very good, in the quarter finals, instead of Spain (who haven’t been very good either, come to that!).
The Sunday meeting at Daniel’s church was tremendous: such a wonderul atmosphere, the Presence of the Lord was there, and God touched and healed a good number of people. So I’m looking forward to tonight. I’ve probably said this before, and have talked to many preachers about it: sometimes, when you preach, you just feel ‘Hmm, that was ok, pretty average really’. Other times, you sense ‘That wasn’t half bad!’, other times, you really feel that ‘Wow, God did something today!’ and feel ‘good’ about what you’ve said.
Happily, I’ve felt the latter about all the meetings here(!!), ESPECIALLY Sunday morning, so, please Lord, anoint my words tonight! It’s interesting, too, how God often takes me down different paths to the one I might originally have thought of, or even – to some degree – changes the direction of my ‘ministry’ altogether. In many places, I preach with a view to seeing God do signs and wonders and healings. Here, this week, I’ve really found that God has been wanting to encourage, bless, and challenge people, as well as heal them, and it’s been marvellous to see the response. I find it a bit ‘knee-knocking’ but, it’s good…
Many years ago, I’d write my sermons out long-hand (remember writing??!!) and effectively read them. I STILL have to have my notes, 20-30 years on: but God seems to have taken me to that ‘insecure fringe’ where notes are merely pointers, and often, what I’m saying is nowhere IN my notes…. I’m thrilled, too, that my memory of where Scripture verses are located is improving, rather than disappearing with my ever-increasing age!
Here, of course, in the lovely family of which I’m very much a part, the youngest son, Joel Isais, is a doctor: and tomorrow, I get a ‘procedure’ done on both my knees courtesy of him (he’s nicknamed ‘Jois’ (JOel ISais), that is proven to be effective, especially in sportsmen and women who’ve damaged joints, but that is not available in the UK… so, Thursday is a day of BIIIIG needles/syringes: and then (and this is TOUGH!!!), I have to rest both knees for 24 hours. Professionally, it’s a very expensive procedure, but – bless him – Jois has reduced the cost to next to nothing because I’m family… who knows, maybe I’ll run off the plane in Belfast next Tuesday….
So now, I’m glad I’ve got some films on my computer, plus some that I purchased in the market, Tepito (too dangerous for gringoes, I used to be told, but I love it, and just the sort of place we’d go to in Colombia!), as rest is compulsory!
Friday, and Sunday, I’m back in Mundo de Fe church, Azcapotzalco – Benny’s church, maybe another one Saturday (good job I’m USED to Latino lifestyle!). I’d have to say, after a week here now, that Mexico City runs Cali pretty close as my favourite place….even though I don’t get to see the ‘posh’ bits, and, having been coming here for …this is my 17th year… I don’t ‘do’ the tourist bit anymore, unless I have others with me, who want to see the pyramids etc.!
It seemed a long drive yesterday to Oaxtepec (pronounced (Wush-tep-ec), as boy oh boy, did it rain…. but it was a great few hours with dear friends Alvarro & Vicky Dader’s church – Baptist Church to the Nations – who were away together on a retreat. Such a lovely couple, and a lovely family: great church folk, too. Spoke to all of their young people, many ended in tears (I think it was God touching them, rather than boredom!), and then got them to pray for each other – as opposed to me doing it – if they were sick… even out in the rain (gentle, thankfully!) you could sense the presence of God. There were healings… thank you Lord!
Benny’s older brother, Enrique, and his family – Alejandra, Valentino, Fiorella – live in Cuernavaca, which was en route home, so we arrived ‘for a few minutes visit'(!!) at past 9pm, left there at 1145pm, and were back in Mexico City about 1am! But it was great to see them, and lovely to be able to pray for Ale, who’s been suffering a lot of undiagnosed pain in her right hip… thank you Lord for healing her.
Waiting now for my lift, with Benny, to the church of Daniel Ortiz, Luz a las Naciones (Light to the Nations) – seems it’s a ‘to the Nations’ weekend! Looking forward to God doing the stuff (a lovely ‘John Wimber-ism) as only He can this morning. Found sleep a wee bit elusive last night after 3 good nights here, thankfully there’s only the one meeting today – as far as I know! If you always follow the blog, you’ll know that in Latin America, you can never QUITE be sure…. 🙂
Thank you for praying… for the trip, and my knees! They’re bearing up quite well..!! Bless you!
What a great day yesterday! England beating Sweden in a cracking game at the Euro 2012 Football tournament – and playing very well, too, apart from 15 minutes of lunacy at the start of the second half! During the match, Benny, who leads the church in the Apazotcalzo ‘colonia’ in Mexico City, said ‘Did I tell you that you’re preaching tonight at my church?’… Nooo…. but, it was a lovely meeting, for a Friday night well-attended, and a great way to ‘kick-off’ the ministry time here in Mexico. Prayed for a handful of people, all very seriously sick though, and (my sesnse and Benny’s) it seemed that God was really at work… look forward to seeing the same folk next week to see what has happened!
I DO love this place: and especially the church here. I’ve had a wonderfully close relationship with them for 16 years now: the relationship SO close that (and I think I mentioned this in another blog!) I had the privilege of marrying Benny & Paty here in Mexico City in 2001, just before Christmas. It’s funny, but when I first met the pastor here, Benny’s late dad, Enrique (what a lovely man and wonderful friend, now enjoying dancing with Jesus), I really thought he didn’t like me! Very quickly, I realised that he’d got an incredibly ‘well-tuned’ western-style humour, so, so dry, and with the lovely ‘sarcastic’ edge that is more attributed to Brits! Enrique and Mimi were such great friends, Mimi still is of course: and she has a testimony many of us would aspire to. She’s 60, has absolutely nothing physically or medically wrong with her, and has no pain anywhere in her body! YES, PLEASE, LORD!!
A 2 hour drive (that is, if the unbelieveable traffic here in Mexico allows!) to Oaxtepec, where another couple I’ve known for years, have their church away on a retreat. Alvarro & Vicky Dader lead a small, new church, such a wonderful, friendly, humble couple, and it’ll be a delight to share with them this afternoon. Tomorrow, in the morning, I’m in the church of a pastor I’ve not seen for years, Daniel Ortiz, his church is ‘Luz a las Naciones’ (Light to the Nations), so a great weekend to start… and England play Ukraine live on TV on Monday!!
Slight correction to the Oz story… three out of four suffer from autism, the fourth is ‘academically challenged’ – it’s a real privilege to have the opportunity of praying for them, and, even though I can’t heal a piece of paper, without sellotape, God can, of course…. Just wanted to ensure that I’d put the record straight, and got the facts right!
14 June (later)
Meant to add, below, that it was great weekend of meetings last weekend – City Church, Plymouth, Sunday morning, and Maranatha Church, Pinhoe, Exeter, in the evening…. both churches have become very good friends, I’ve been going to Plymouth for about 20 years now! It’s an amazing church, not in number, but in outreach, especially with Street Pastors, Healing Rooms, and Healing on the Streets… an example to many churches about changing the community. Maranatha was planted by long-time friend Andrew Pearkes, who has a wonderful healing ministry, travels a lot – so we have much in common! Sunday night was great because Chris Spark, who was in Colombia with me in April, came and talked about his experience there – his words, not mine – I saw God do more in 2 weeks there than in 32 years of being a Christian…. that warms the cockles of me old heart! Makes taking people on trips SO worthwhile….
Well, the long haul to get to Mexico City, and the seven hour time change, is well worth it! So good to be here with my long-time friends, the Osorio family (16 years now! – and nearly 11 years since the privilege of conducting, and speaking at, the wedding of Benny & Paty in December 2001)…. Benny is really now the apostolic figure in Mexico for the church network ‘Mundo de Fe’, and there are a good number of meetings organised for the next 11 days here… It’s such an astonishing city, 32 million+ people, 7500 feet above sealevel (2500 mts), traffic like you’ll never believe, pollution on a grand scale – and yet I love it, dearly, as a city, and what God’s doing in this fantastic country. Big time for the nation, too, as their national government, and city elections for Mexico City, take place on July 1. Meetings many days, so please, Lord, come in power!
Yesterday was a long, long day: but I’m so grateful to God for his protection (in all ways, but especially on my knees!) was evident, and even more grateful for a really good night of sleep, despite the heat and humidity, and the fact that I was SO way beyond the point of tiredness after a near-21 hour journey.
It’s now that I’m so conscious of the importance of the ‘down’ time between trips that God has been impressing on me… those rest periods, as I get older, are critical! So, woke up this morning (maybe I could write a song beginning with those words…??!) feeling very fresh, alive, and ready for the time ahead here. I’m grateful to be in a home where people know me and love me, and I get ‘space’ to myself when I need it, too…..
Very excited as well, as today, I booked my flight to Australia for the end of July: quite a specific trip this one, though I’m hoping some meetings will happen, too. When I was there, two years ago, I prayed – fleetingly (as the meeting was whilst I was en route to Melbourne airport, so time limitations on praying were essential!) – for a fmaily with four (I think) children with autism: some months later, the dad wrote to me and wanted to bring the family to wherever I was in the world to pray for them more… that’s an amazing declaration of faith – not in me, but on their part as a family. Far easier for me to go to them, it seemed, and this is it… so please, be praying for the next 6 weeks, for this family, that God will do the miracle I’ve seen him do in other places with the same condition…. the family are even making a car available for me, which is so wonderful! Question to myself: how do always end up in Oz in their winter…??!! It’s just an amazing country, though….
It was three years ago on 26 May that my life was pitched into disruption when refused permission to land in the USA, on my way for ome much needed rest after a busy few weeks of ministry… in truth, it both feels a lot longer than that (seems like forever since I last set foot in the USA)and it also doesn’t seem possible that it’s been 3 years – quite a dichotomy! 6-7 months after being returned, my wonderful Rhino buddies gave me some very ‘strong’ advice that I had to find somewhere to rest (going to many people’s homes for a night or two, for 7 months is NOT something I’d advise! – nice as it is to see friends, and grateful as I was – and am, when need arises – to stay with people, it’s not the way your body rests…
Having FOUND that place to rest, I realised after a period of time, that I hadn’t really ‘rested’ for years! And this year, in particular, God has been really teaching me about the vital nature of rest – not only physically, but resting in HIM, too. Isaiah said ‘In repentence and rest is your salvation: in quietness and trust is your strength’ – it’s amazing how much of the Bible is right, huh???!!! I’ve learned to take rest seriously now: my body reaches the grand old age of 60 in December – perhaps I should have a Diamond Jubilee weekend, too??! – though my mind and my spirit feel much younger! Probably my humour, and musical tatses, too..!
What’s new for me is finding ‘home’: guess I – and most of us – have a definition of home as the place we go back to when work/holiday/business is over. It isn’t JUST that, and it’s been a revelation to me to find ‘home’ in what I believe is a Biblical sense, in this little house here. When I used to be away, going home was something I did in order to unload one suitcase (or two, in my case, I don’t travel light!) and do the laundry: then re-pack for the next trip. The ‘new’ bit for me is that, whilst I look forward immensely to being away on a trip, the getting ready to go away is vastly different…. I count days now thinking ‘I’ve only got 2 more days at home’…. and so it is, today, thinking – tomorrow, about 6pm, I’m off again… and I enjoy making every moment of ‘home’ count.
So… tomorrow, to England: Saturday the long drive west, but with the joy and delight of seeing long time friends Julian, Olwyn, Kitt, Sue, Roy, Angie, Colin, Heather and many more, in their lovely church in Plymouth, where I’m speaking Sunday morning: then on to Exeter, to see many more friends at Maranatha Churh – Andrew, Keith, Dave, Sue, and more – plus, my great mate Chris (and his lovely wife Abi) who was in Cali with me in April, will be there…. so it’s good to look forward to!
24 hours spent, 100 miles further west, with my sister, Vivien: brother in law, Derek: and nephew Stewart: then the long haul back to near Heathrow, en route to Mexico…. so, so looking forward to being there, especially after having to cancel at VERY short notice in March, when I badly twisted my already badly damaged knee.
It seems from facebook messages that they’re looking forward to my being there as much as I’m looking forward to being there! A busy schedule, in the world’s biggest city – Mexico City (estimated 32 million people!), and in Puebla (a tiny city by comparison – a mere 6 million! – that’s about Manchester, Birmingham, and Sheffield combined!), to be with the lovely German and Isabelle, in their church, and in Leon – new to me, not been there before, so that’s always nice.
These days of being able to rest has re-charged me: I’ve actually SLEPT a good deal (those of you who know me well know that sleep and I are not always in agreement with each other! – but last Friday, my dear friend Mark Marx prayed for me, very specifically, for sleep – and – wow, it’s nice, isn’t it!!!???!! Knees have beneitted from less activity, too: and in Mexico, my doctor friend is lining up a ‘procedure’ which could/should make a world of difference to them again…
So, here I go again! Tomorrow, away for 18 or so days… c’mon Plymouth and Exeter!! God..please, in your grace and power, show yourself strong in those meetings… and then, in the warmth and delight of Mexico – do what you can do best, Lord!!!
I just read a friend’s (John Scott) post on facebook, and pinched it for my page…
” The miraculous is not proof of deity,it is proof of the manifest favour of deity in our lives (John 3:1-2) “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher come from God, because no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him”. It’s a great blessing when the truth of this starts to sink in… as I’ve looked back over the past weeks, it is with an increasing sense of awe at what God is doing here in the UK, and in Europe. Many of us, who have been around church for generations (my dad and mum were saved at a Billy Graham crusade in Haringey, North London, in 1954, and so my church life began then – a mere 3 meetings on a Sunday alone!), grew up WITHOUT the teaching, and subsequent realisation of such truths as this one, and others, like ‘You will lay your hands on those who are sick, and they will get well’, ‘You will do what I have been doing, and greater things…’ – I could go on and on!
Jesus said that as the Father sent him, so he sends US… what an amazing, amazing truth! I know so, so many people from my 50+ years around church (although I got saved ‘properly’, in my own right, at 18, so 40+ years if you want to be pedantic!) who have fallen away from, walked away from, or consciously rejected the incredible love of God, simply because they’ve never been shown it… Bill Johnson (Bethel Church, Redding, California) says that ‘Without power, the Bible is NOT good news’…. no wonder people fall away…
I’m so grateful for God’s favour. It’s entirely undeserved, and given in unlimited measure.
A couple of comments from last weekend: Jean Phillippe Roullier, the amazing translator last Saturday night in France, wrote to me: ‘It was no small challenge to translate Mr 100 metres himself, the Usain Bolt of preachers alive on this planet, but the Lord gave me grace!”…and “What a powerful evening in the power of the Holy Spirit!”…. oh God, please let me go back to France soon….
It’s been wonderful to have a few days unwinding, after the busy-ness of the past months: especially as there’s an abundance of cricket on TV!
23 May (later)
As I look back over the past couple of months, my travels embrace Colombia, Northern Ireland, England, and France. Once upon a time, I’d have been writing here purely about the amazing things God is doing in Colombia: that’s still the case, He’s mightily at work there, and it’s still a country – for me and those who go with me, at least – under an open heaven…. BUT… there have been some wonderful miracles in the other countries – EUROPE – YEAH!! – in recent weeks, and, maybe, just maybe, as economically and socially Europe gets darker and more troubled, the light and power of God’s love for this amazing part of the western world, is getting more and more into focus.
For me, the thrill of being a very, very small part of something that God’s doing here, is a thrill I could never have described, and would probably never have dreamed of when my ‘America Saga’ began 3 years ago…. the price is increased onslaught from the powers of darkness, but who’s worried about that? What was it Smith Wigglesworth said, when woken in the night, to see Satan sitting on his bed? ‘Oh, it’s only you!’, and promptly went back to sleep….
It was thrilling, last Saturday evening, in Brem-sur-Mer, France, to see so many people stand in response to the challenge to be crazier for God, to take more risks, and to get out of their comfort zones: I’d made a huge effort to discourage people by warning them that there’s a price to pay, at the same time as praying that there’d be a big response. There was. In FRANCE!! Thank you, Lord! Bring it on…
My apologies for absence here again… justified this time, as I’ve been in France, staying on a campsite, and it seems that access to the net was limited across the site, guess it was bandwidth issues, and I was sharing the mobile home with three guys with iphones and ipads, all of which consume the giant’s portion of bandwidth anyway! I was able to update Facebook, but little else, including not able to download emails… 🙁 – so there were a fair few (hundred!) of them when I got home yesterday afternoon.
It was a great weekend at the conference ‘Louange Cote Ouest’ – West Coast Worship. France is a spiritually tough area, and the Vendee – the region I was in – is especially dry. Long-time ex-Worthing friends Colin & Sue have lived there 7 years, and run this conference for ther last 5 of those years: and it IS changing the atmosphere there, and people have begun to work together, Protestants AND Catholics – there are a good number of lovely Charismatic Catholics there, including the awesome young man who translated for me when I spoke to the main meeting Saturday night.
I did a couple of afternoon seminars on healing: it was wonderful to see faith rise in people, and, even though (theoretically!) the seminars weren’t there for ministry time at the end, I had lots of people to pray for… there were some lovely healings, including the total transformation, physically and spiritually of a lady named Yvette, the wonderful healing of the translator, Jean-Phillippe – healed of long-term sinus trouble, bronchitis, and knee pain, and his 10 year old son healed too. An Englishman, John, who lives there (22 years in fact) is well on the way to being healed of a horrbile disease – there it is simply known as ‘restless leg syndrome’: he likened it to having ‘coca cola in your veins’ for 55 years, totally unable to control his leg movements, which had almost driven him to distraction, especially at night (his legs were still during the day, and much less severe at night…. a lady, Odile, with terrible thrombosis problems with her legs, difficulty walking, immense pain, was dancing at the front Saturday night… msny spoke of pain going, a lady with her arm in a cast, unable to move her ‘protruding’ fingers, had full movement in them (as much as the cast allowed!), and was looking forward to going to the hospital today to tell them to take the cast off, as she’s healed… many people underwent some deep ‘spiritual’ surgery too, with some deliverance and finding a wonderful new freedom in God.
So, back in Ireland: knees sezied up after 6 days of intense activity when I got back yesterday, but what’s lovely is that I don’t feel the pain when I preach, and then, when I stop, the ‘recovery time’ is so much quicker now… with Jean-Phillippe having had HIS knee healed, it’s just like God reminds me that mine are in PROCESS of being healed…. happy to wait, and pray for people with knee problems in the meantime! A bit of a breather now before Mexico….
What a great weekend in Worcester! A good number of people sacrificed their Saturday afternoon to come to a seminar, on healing: it was a real privilege to be able to0 share with them, and it is fantastic to see how many people are hungry not just for their healing, but for the gift of healings. The evening meeting was terrific, too: some significant blessings coming people’s way: one guy, Steve, suffering terrible leg pain since his battle with cancer, not only stood and worshipped, but next morning ran down stairs for the first time years! And no painkillers, either, where he’d have normally been on at least 8 a day… more testimonies to follow!
Sunday’s meeting was also excellent. It’s a great church, hungry for more of God’s presence, with a wonderful mission heart, too. Cafe Church had been so good on Thursday evening, in one of the Costa Coffee shops: one guy, Ricky, in process of being healed from psoriasis, but, more importantly, no longer hounded by the stigma that often goes with skin diseases. Got people praying for each other, and look forward to hearing the stories as the emerge.
So back to Ireland for a few days on Monday… pretty good recovery time for the old knees, though I was a tad concerned Monday night when it seemed that, in protecting, I might have torn a thigh muscle… lots of prayer for myself (which I’m not very good at!) whilst laying on the floor unable to move… today, all seems fine, knees sore of course, but prepared to head off to France carrying me tomorrow… and so to the west coast of one of the loveliest nations on earth. So looking forward to ‘West Coast Worship’ in a spiritually tough area…
Really good day today, speaking most of the day to all the different year groups (11-16 years) at the River School in Worcester. It was primarily a day when they had come up with questions about healing – many of them very, very well thought out, plus a few wonderfully hilarious ones (‘Have you ever seen someone’s head grow?’)!! It’s brilliant to be able to go into a school and talk about the amazing things God’s doing with pretty much the same freedom as in a lot of churches. If these young people grow up believing in a God who heals from that sort of age, then we’ve got a very healthy future as ‘church’. It’s the second time I’ve been there, and the Head Teacher seems to want me back regularly, which is very nice!
Busy day tomorrow, with a healing seminar occupying the afternoon, and then a healing meeting in the evening, both at St Paul’s Assemblies of God Church here in Worcester.
A lovely day Monday, visiting people in their homes who’d not been able to make it to meetings either becuase of really ill health or other reasons. A lovely guy named Dave, immediate relief from pain – a big, American-football player, badly injured, played through pain (like most men who won’t go to doctors, me included!) assuming it’d go away…a lovely lady with a horror story from an Eastern European marriage, not a believer, but desperate for prayer… and Tony & Linda, with physical pain, and a longing to see God do more… lovely times. I’d love to go back to Hinckley again if they’ll have me: it’s always such a privilege to be invited back, and like initial invitations, it’s not something I treat lightly or as a given, it’s a very real privilege.
And so it’s on to Worcester – a third time in 11 months, so a real blessing! A very busy few days coming up, Cafe Church in Costa Coffee tonight, River School all day tomorrow, a healing ‘seminar’ Saturday, a ‘healing’ meeting Saturday evening (I sometimes struggle with calling them that, as I don’t ever feel I have the right to tell God to turn up(!) but… in his grace and mercy, he always seems to. City Church in Worcester is lovely: and I’m also at St Paul’s Assemblies of God Church for the Saturday meetings, so it’ll be good to be with them, and their pastor, Tim Crow.
And what can I say about Rhinos….? Before I was invited to join and as it’s such an open honesty group invitations are few and far between, and 8 really is about the maximum number you’d want – the guys always talked about a time together when they’d prayed for one of the others, and the Jesus turned up in the room in ‘almost’ physical presence, so tangible that no one could move, speak, or hardly breathe… I always wondered if it was my presence in the group that had stopped such visitations of the King of Kings, through the presence of his Holy Spirit…. BUT… yesterday, without anyone saying anything, the Presence of Jesus of filled the room. It was absolutely astonishing: Eric saw him go to each of us, kiss us, affirm us, seal his approval on us – which stuns me, because I always feel so unworthy. And yet I felt him touch me, as did we all. We just sat in total silence for more than 45 minutes, unable to move, and just immersed in the tangible presence of Jesus. If you only knew how much I needed that after the events of the couple of weeks between Cali and Hinckley, you’d know how special it was to me. It was amazing. And now Rhinos is over for another 4 months: but to leave here with affirmation from men who know me inside out, fresh anointing, and the Kiss of Jesus, should hopefully keep me going – and all the other guys – until September…..
Lovely day yesterday in Hinckley, Leicestershire: so good to catch up with old friends Paul & Joy Gilliver, and their family. A good 8 years since wel last met… Paul’s a deacon at Hinckley Baptist Church, hence my visit here. Yesterday was a church breakfast (good food, not good for diets!), a good number there, and it was great, as always, to be able to pray for quite a number of people.
God instantly healed Matt, the Youth Leader, from a long-term back (sacro-ileac) problem: much pain, couldn’t sit even on a sofa/couch, had to lay on the floor. The back issue caused his right leg to be at least 3/4 inch shorter than the left: and, hey presto! – God did what only God can do, and his legs are now the same length. and his back felt totally fifferent. A lovely Vicar, from another church, was just totally blitzed from head to toe: looking forward to hearing his story in ther coming days.
Two services today at the Baptist Church: c’mon God, let’s see your Power and Glory fall! I’m wearing a tie for this one, so I think God HAS to turn up now…!!!!
Well, seeing as how I left this morning with the laptop on and the above 3 paragrahps ‘posting’… I’ve discovered at the opposite end of the day (actually it’s 0050 the NEXTday now!) that it didn’t post… 🙁
So…two amazing meetings today in Hinckley Baptist Church!! Loads of people responding for prayer for healing – and some wonderful healings. Two older men – Ron, who’d arrived just in time for prayer ministry from his own church, the Methodist, hadn’t been able to walk unaided for some time: his family had to hold him wherever he walked…. he skipped – literally – out of the church, then he and his daughter in law testified tonight… Brian, unable to walk with two sticks (canes) due to a stroke, walked out of the church with relative Nathan carrying his sticks. Matt had testified to his healing last night, and prayed with me for most of the folk who responded: blown away as God healed a good number, including a young lady, Issy, who walked with splayed feet, couldn’t put her feet together and had been teased a great deal by her peers: her left leg was shorter than her right by a good 1/2 inch, and as we prayed the stigma and effects of taunting and teasing off of her, her back realigned and her leg ‘grew’…. many others, but I need to sleep!
Tonight, Barbara, with a mis-placed vertebra, twisted collar &neck bones, groin pain, knee pain… healed: no pain! Harry, chronic back and spinal pain for years, ‘famous’ for his walking sticks – intense heat in his back, and pain gone, walked out stick-free… oh, my, must try and remember more for tomorrow’s blog! Night-night!
These few days, since getting home from Cali, have been very, very important. As I approach my 60th birthday (not for a few months yet!), I do realise that ‘down’ time is becoming more and more essential after long and demanding trips like that was. If I’m to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the last 26 years – and I hope and pray that I can! – I’ve learned to slacken off on diary bookings, where once I’d have packed the schedule tight.
Having said that, I seem to have not taken any notice of my own advice over the next 3 weeks! Less than a week after getting back from South America, I head to Hinckley in Leicestershire for a busy weekend of meetings: and the following Thursday to Sunday is another solid itinerary. In between, though, is some of the days I look forward to most, away with my ‘Rhinos’ group. 3 days (maximum) at home after Worcester (the second weekend) and I head off to France, to long-time friends Colin & Sue Enticknap, who live not far from La Rochelle: they have a conference 18-20 May, which I’m involved in, but I reckoned that ‘suffering for the Kingdom’ on the west coast of France in late May was a good move!
Arriving home after Colombia was a blessing: it had been a long, long trip and by the time I was home, it was 48 hours, including 11 hours in Bogota airport…. frustrating, as, in the middle of the airport is a big glass cabinet with a model of what the new airport WILL be like, all being well, and it looks as though it’ll be good! Problem was, I was in the OLD airport, which isn’t the best. for many hours… I’m very grateful to God that my knees held out for the last busy week in Cali, and the journey home, though by the time I finally ‘stopped’ (without luggage – that was still in Canada!) my knees finally objected and went on strike. But again, I’m grateful to God that the recovery time they need seems to be getting shorter, and though they’re still sore, looking back to a few months ago, I’d have been rendered virtually immobile for a number of days.
But, you know what? I wouldn’t swap having my knees restored if it meant losing what I – and Graham, Lee, and Alan – saw God do whilst we were away. I KNOW that I’m being healed, just having to live through the faith walk that will get me there. It really was an amazing trip. Chris has already had the opportunity of speaking in two churches in his town, and just telling of what God did in Cali has seen people healed, set free, recommitting their lives to the Lord. He has another meeting tonight, Lee is speaking in his church on Sunday, and I’ve got two weekends in different churches to share ‘the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy’…. (Rev 19:10).
Lee took countless pictures, and shot loads of video: it’s wonderful to see some of the pictures already up on his facebook page, on flickr, and as he works through the rest, and the videos, it’ll be wonderful to re-live it again. It’s a real privilege, too, when, after 16 years, and 43 visits to Colombia, the pastors who work so hard to organise meetings etc., still so positively want me, and those I take with me, back again. I find that very humbling, and such a blessing.
A couple of evenings ago, I heard from one of the leaders of a church that I spoke in just ahead of going to Colombia: it seems that there were three incredible, significant healings (I’d say in at least a couple of the cases that they were miracles). For the first time, I think, in all my years of preaching, I told the story of my having been born celiac (that’s a gluten allergy, incurable, but manageable with the right diet). We lived in the east end of London, and from my recollection, part of the reason my family moved south to the coast, was because of my terrible health (I was about half the weight I should have been at age 6 – boy, how times change!!!!). Mum had to make a lot of my food, as back in the ’50’s there wasn’t food available for celiacs like there is now, in supermarkets. When I was 13, I went to a friend’s house, one that perhaps my mum hadn’t ‘warned’ his mum about my dietary needs, and I ate stuff that should have made me desperately ill…. I didn’t tell mum, as I was ok, and went to his house as often as I could!
I look back now and realise that, in an era when healing was NEVER talked about in the church (unless you were Smith Wigglesworth in the decades before!), that I was healed. I’ve never had an allergic reaction to anything since…. Quite WHY I’ve never told the story, I’m not sure: but that particular evening, I did: and I heard two nights ago that a lady, celiac all her life, was healed. A man deaf in one ear hears perfectly now. A young lad, maybe late teens/early 20’s, needing hip replacement surgery, has had no pain at all since that evening. Thank you, Lord!!! What a blessing to hear, and again, very humbling.
Maybe I need to tell that story more often: and perhaps the one about the hole in my spine that I was born with! By 18, years of back pain got to the point of having been diagnosed with a ‘small spina-bifida of the neural arch’ (apparently very close to full-blown spina bifida). In those days, our youth group was just getting into the things of the Holy Spirit, and lifelong friend Clive Calver got a friend of his (a ‘back specialist’ – I thought he meant an orthapaedic bloke at first!) to come to our group. His name was (probably still is!) George Tarleton. It was the first time any of us had seen ‘leg growing’ – which of course is generally backs getting into line, and not physical leg growth, though that does happen too! – and when I was next x-rayed the hole had gone, and no back pain, other than normal aches and pains, since….
It was, as I’ve said, only in the last few years that I realise that those two massively significant events were preparation for what God had many years into the future for me. My back was healed at 18: I really got the ‘passion’ to see God heal through an Ian Andrews conference when I was 31: and I was 34 before setting out on this journey that has totally astonished me. Whatever you’re believing for, ‘Never, never, NEVER give up’….according to Winston Churchill.
And so, having done wonderfully exciting things like laundry, cleaning, catching up with mail, trying to sort out a currently disobedient computer, it’s back to packing again, to leave home early Friday morning. I’m so looking forward to this trip: I’m with looooong-time friends Paul & Gilliver, in Hinckley, it’s been some years since we last met, and first time for me at their church. Then the Rhinos, and then back to Worcester, a church I was with a couple of times of last year and other long time friends Graham and Ann Coyle, and their Christian school on Friday. I’m with another church in Worcester for a healing seminar Saturday afternoon, and then a healing meeting, Saturday evening…. so, Lord, please… in your grace, mercy, love, and power – turn up big-time!
It’s probably a bit too early to try and reflect on this trip, it takes time for the impact of it to sink in. Alan and I were chatting last night about how good the 11 days have been since he arrived: I’ve heard from Chris (‘my life will never be the same again’) and Lee (‘Can’t wait to come back and want Katie to come too’), so it’s always wonderful when the guys I’ve introduced to this amazing country, its open heaven, and its fantastic people, love it as much as I do, and want to be here again….
Having come here now for 16 years, and 43 visits, it’s always a question of mine to the pastors I work closest with, ‘Do you want me and my team-mates back? Do you think another trip is what you’d want?’… perhaps that’s my own insecurity asking the questions: since, yesterday morning, Walter’s introduction of me, before preaching, was absolutely wonderful, and almost had me in tears. Hendrik, too, has affirmed my coming here on an ongoing basis, saying that he and many other pastors see my deep love for Colombia and are richly blessed by it… blows me away….
So, on this trip, the fat lady’s almost singing, which means this opera’s almost over. I’m so grateful to God for the salvations (the best miracle ever), and there have been many: the miracles (every day, countless), the healings (countless, too), the new relationships forged, and the open invitation to come back to the country probably closest to my heart (perhaps Mexico is equal #1!!). Mexioc, God willing, is next on the agenda, after a busy May in England and France…
I’m also so grateful to God for the fact that my knees seem in better shape now than at the start of the trip, and, though they were ‘sore’ (a bit of an understatement!!) last night, this morning they’re pretty good. I’ve certainly ‘hammere’ them on this trip, 3 weeks of pretty constant activity, endless hours standing, preaching, praying… Lee’s medical assistance with my left knee was also much appreciated, draining that 30mls of fluid of it 10 days ago, and sticking a shot of cortisone in! All the guys have prayed for the old knees, and Willmar, my wonderful pastor friend from here… thank you, Lord, for not only keeping me going, but improving my knees against all the odds, and my physical abuse of them!
All that remains now is to catch up with a few people this afternoon, try and get a good night’s sleep tonight. breakfast with Walter en route to the airport tomorrow, and then look forward to lovely Northern Ireland on Thursday morning…
And… perhaps… a miraculous upgrade tomorrow night on good old Air Canada, from Bogota to Toronto (my flight leaves Bogota at 1150pm!), or, better still, an upgrade Toronto to London, much the longer of the two flights! Or a miracle in that I might actually SLEEP on a long haul flight, which always seems to evade me! (I have no trouble sleeping London-Belfast, all of 45 minutes!!).
Thank you for your prayers, your encouragement through Facebook, and your support. I couldn’t do any of this without you… probably a longer summary of the tip once I’m back home!
22 April (late)
Super meeting in Los Lagos (The Lakes), Agua Blanca, tonight. The Lakes, to be honest, are pretty stagnant, increibly smelly giant cesspit affairs, so just in case you thought ‘Lake Garda’ or ‘Geneva’ or ‘Windermere’ and that we were having an idyllic evening in the warmth, think again! Los Lagos also happens to be another of ‘high security risk for gringoes’ place, right next to Mojica (I can never see the ‘join’ between these barrios!). We got to the church much too early really – 540pm for a 6pm start, when normally we’d be ‘delivered’ to a church pretty much as the music bit is ending. We were in a church ‘Oasis of Restoration’. It was packed to the gunnells, probably because word got out that there were gringoes about! 99% of non-Colombians, at least, wouldn’t go there, and probably 75% of Colombians!
Alan’s been brilliant on this trip: he spoke for a while tonight – having preached for 35 minutes this morning – was very funny, and challenging. I said a bit, too – guess you probably assumed that – and then did what we’ve done the past few meetings (5 in 24 hours!) and got the people to pray for each other. What’s the point in PREACHING that people can do this stuff if you then go and do it for them?? There were many who acknowledged that they’d been healed, which is fantastic, and we still ended up praying for a good number individually, including the pastor, Wilson.
A long drawn out series of goodbye hugs always follows, and we got back here at about 930pm, looking forward to our chips and dips over the road at the French Bar, Absenta, only for it to be shut…. no other food today, so far, so Alan delighted in having yet more toast, and I finished last night’s – awful by now – pizza…. the wonderful glamour of international ministry, huh??!
It’s a weird feeling seeing Alan’s suitcase on his spare bed, and setting my alarm for 330am to be up to see him off. Yeah, I know I’m only here another day, but his friendship is fantastic, we get on so well, and it’ll be lonely tomorrow without him…
Whew… talk about a crazy day! Not yet 4pm, already 4 meetings preached at and prayed for – and another to come in an hour or so’s time. Last night Walter told us the meeting I was SUPPOSED to preach at in Yumbo was off, as the pastor was expecting me LAST weekend…. Walter told him that Pedro (the pastor concerned) had asked for me on my last Sunday here, which is, of course, today… but then long-time friend Norbey Arias asked for me for both their morning meetings… at 7 and 9am! 7am is quite an ungodly hour for a meeting, I reckon!
Alan was booked in to a meeting nearer the city centre, so came and shared foir a few minutes at the first one, then hoofed it to his church. I spoke at both meetings, then did a runner to Walter’s church for 1115am! Three meetings in 5 hours is not to be hugely recommended(!) but God’s good, and people got healed at all of them, and at Alan’s too.
We both got back here after 2pm, and crashed out….maybe food would be a good idea, but there’s not enough time before being picked up at 5pm, and driven about an hour to the far side of Agua Blanca. As I’ve no idea what state we’ll be in when we get back, or what time it’ll be, I’m writing here now….! Add to that Alan’s unearthly departure time for home tomorrow, and he should sleep well on the plane!
Might be back here later… if I can keep my eyes open!
After the’is it on, is it off, is it on or off again’ of yesterday, we had a meeting tonight at a church whose name I love ‘Cielos Abiertos’ (Open Heavens), been there before a few times, and it was good to go back. Alan spoke excellently about faith, and ‘doing it’ not just listening to it: easy to follow, and even before I’d finished, one young man, clearly suffering the ‘aftermath’ of chemotherapy, was forward. Alan, Walter, and his wife Lupe, took him to one siade to pray for him: he said he felt like his ‘body was on fire’ after prayer, and people in the church believe he has been healed. I’d be the last to ever undermine faith (I hope) by saying ‘time will tell’ but I’m always much more at ease once a doctor, or better still a scan, has said that cancer is gone…
Many others responded after I’d spoken about Caleb, one of my heroes (85 years old, still dreaming, still strong, still on fire, and a ‘man of a different spirit’ – Number 14:24). Alan and I really wanted to get them to pray for each other after what we’d both shared: normally people just stand like statues when you ask that, especially here – they want us to do it for them. Tonight was different – they did, and bodies were hitting the floor as I prayed corporately from the front: a number of people testified to being healed afterwards.
It’s astonishing how meetings like that drain you, but we had Walter & Lupe, along with long-time translator friend Fernando, back to the apartment for pizza, so bang went the chance of an early night….
….which would have been nice, as the first meeting tomorrow is at 7am! I’m preaching three services in the morning – 7, 9, and 11, 2 at Norbey Arias’s church, ‘Casa de Dios’ (House of God), then at Walter & Lupe’s church. Alan’s coming to Norbey’s, then heading off to preach at a church we’ve been to before, a few times, though the name totally escapes me tonight! At this church, 3-4 years ago, Alan and I prayed for a lovely young lady named Veronica (Vero), who’d totally wrecked a leg in a motor back accident, a common occurrence here, and motor bikes are around in 10’s of thousands, often under-powered, weave in and out, and often anything up to 5 people on one bike…. Vero’s leg was such a mess: she was told she’d maybe not walk again, certainly cosmetically, as a young lady, her leg would have been a pretty horrible appendage. We were there last April: walked n during the incredibly loud worship, with – I’m totally convinced – the bass guitarist playing Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’ (not that I KNOW that song, you understand….;) ) – and Vero, dancing beautifully at the front, and leading the worship…. the only ‘residue’ of her shattered leg being a small scar on her knee, which she knows is God’s way of reminding her that he did a miracle for her…
More of that tomorrow, please Lord!!! It’s 0010am here now, the alarm is set for 6am, so I’m thinking my bed looks appealing right now…. Sad to think tomorrow’s Alan’s last day, even though, of course,it’s my last day Tuesday. I like to be here when my ‘team’ arrives, and leave after they’ve gone, which I’ve achieved this time! Then, the looooong haul home….
P.S. I completely forgot to mention a fifth meeting between Alan and me tomorrow afternoon, at 6pm, on the ‘far side’ of Agua Blanca… we’d really value your prayers, after a short night tonight, a hectically busy day (and doubtless late finish) tomorrow, and Alan has to be at the airport BY 4am Monday morning, to fly at 730am…. exhausting comes to mind…??!
Weeeeellll…… what I wrote yesterday was tested again today! – about organisation/administration/time-keeping. Alan & I were on our way to the prison in Jamundi, by now the fear (for what they were) had gone, prepared as best as we could be. Pastor William who’d organised the visit contacted the prison Chaplain to let him know we were on our way (to Jamundi) only to be told by the Chaplain that oh, he’d arranged it for the wrong prison: Puerta Tejada instead, he (the Chaplain) wouldn’t be there, and it was far too dangerous for us to go without him…
I KNOW Puerta Tejada: preached there a couple of times. Even the pastor of the church there, who is Colombian, won’t live there. He lives in Cali. It IS a dangerouse place. Alan & I were prepared to risk it, but William, with a genuine and valid sense of responsibility for us, wouldn’t go. Ho hum. At least were willing, and on the way….
Instead, we were taken to a big hospital in the south, prayed for three people, including two pastors, who were noticeably better, and a third, who looked much better AND got saved (he was in the bed nest to one of the pastors). So not a totally fruitless afternoon!
Whilst we were leaving the hospital, Walter called to say that the pastor of the church we were due to be at this evening had cancelled, as most of his people were away (at a conference, I think)! So…. deliver US of our Britishness, Lord… thankfully, he does!
What happens (or not, that is the question) next… who knows??!! I do love Colombia….. theoretically, 2 days remain before Alan leaves, and theoretically we have four meetings….
19 April (late)
Strange sort of day here, following the storm. My friends Hendrik & Teija, and Willmar & Marlene’s church received quite a bit of both wind and flood damage: of course, here, mostly churches wouldn’t be able to afford insurance, so I doubt that they, or any other churches damaged, can look to that source for help…:(
Meetings postponed, mainly because of the above, but we went to someone’s home this afternoon to pray for a lady, and found about another 10 lying in wait for us! What could have been a flying visit turned out to be more like a 2 hour meeting, and we even prayed by proxy for absent family members!
I posted on facebook earlier that many years ago, when I first started travelling, I prayed that God would ‘deliver me of my Englishness’! – I think he took me at my word, prayed initially in Africa, but a prayer and answer that has stood me in good stead on just about every continent and in countless countries! I gre up in a family of ‘on time, prompt people’ – if we were going to be late for church, for instance, my dad would prefer not to go. So, some countries’ time keeping has made sure that prayer has always stayed in focus….
Originally, I thought we were going to the maximum security prison Tuesday: that didn’t happen, and it became Friday. That was cancelled, and it possibly became this afternoon, which didn’t happen either. Then, it became – perhaps – tomorrow afternoon, and that’s how it stands at the moment!! So at 130 pm, Colombia time (730pm UK), Alan and I are due to go into the prison in Jamundi, south of the city… it’s been a few years since I last had access to a prison here, so the butterflies are trying to escape. But seeing as how God seemed to love prisons, if the Bible is to be believe (!) – Joseph, Daniel, Peter, Paul to name but a sample…. it is an exciting prospect, especially as on one occasion here, 220 out of 350 men gave their lives to Jesus, and many were healed….
There’s a meeting in the evening, but I’ve learned, and hopefully grown into, such a laid-back attitude to what does and doesn’t happen here, who knows? I’m glad Alan Goat (if you’re wondering, read further down!!) will have a chance this time to go with me, and hopefully one or two others, including a translator (last time, I had to muddle through in very limited Spanglish – I’ve got a feeling God stepped in and I spoke Spanish I didn’t know then, so, please Lord, again tomorrow??!).
I’m told that our adio interview came across well, us ‘international missionaries – Benninson and Goat’. Celebrities in every way except by name!!
Well, yesterday’s storm and its aftermath has been pretty traumatic for the city, the whole quarter known as Agua Blanca was – and still is as far as I know – without power. Doubtless thousands of homes there have been destroyed. Alan and Willmar were in Alfonso Aragon, AnaBeiva’s foundation for the elderly, deep in the heart of AguaB when it struck: normally, a 3-0-40 minute drive from here. In the flimsy way buildings are constructed here, it is a wee bit worrying, expecially in a poor area like that.
Alan loved AnaBeiva’s foundation: sadly, she had what should have been very minor surgery last week for the removal of a non-malignant cyst, but it’s gone badly wrong, and she is in bed, in agony, and without any post-op care (can’t afford it 🙁 ). Alan still got to meet her, pray for her, she wanted him to lay his hands on her op wound, which, bless him, he did: believing for her total recovery before we leave. Then he began praying for the old folk, individually, and it seemed everyone he prayed for, there was an enormous crack of thunder or bolt of lightning, and they all thought it was the demons leaving them!!! Who knows, it might have ben, but I doubt it! Willmar and alan’s journey home took well over 2 hours, the traffic chaotic as all the traffic lights had gone out: no one seemed to want to relinquish an inch of space to let other cars move, so Al walked the last 20 minutes home!
Meantime, I’d had a phone call cancelling the meeting last night: no power in Agua Blanca, so it wasn’t possible to meet: I have to say I don’t have any fear of going anywhere in AgB, but it probably wouldn’t have been sensible to go there as two gringoes in pitch darkness! I always tell people who come here that you’re totally safe unless you do something foolish: I reckon THAT might have been foolish!
Then… we discovered that, because of the issues the storm produced, our visit to the hospital was cancelled today. We DO (I think!!) still have a meeting tonight, and last night’s has been re-scheduled for tomorrow night. It turns out, too, that it is not possible to go to the prison tomorrow, but could we go this afternoon…. pushing it a bit, with a meeting some distance away at 6pm, so we had to say ‘no’ until my next visit here in November. We have a hectic round of meetings over the weekend, so maybe it’s good to have a slower day today.
Bless you for your prayers for my knee: it’s much, much beter than I thought it would be after going almost head over heels yesterday in the lounge lake… thank God for that!! It’s not swollen – sore – but ok. Praying for full healing by the time I leave here, for both of them… 🙂
18 April (5pm)
Astonishingly hectic day so far, Alan and I ended up having to go to different places this morning. Let’s just put it down to…an admin error! We both went to Club Noel early this morning, and had a great time praying with parents and kids: usual story, there of course, is that we’ll know somewhen doen the line just what’s happened. All I can say is that the faith level (not just of Al and me) was high, the presence of God tangible. Prayed with two more children with exactly what Jose Luis was healed from in November, cranio synostosis. So, so many sick kids….
We were due then to go to a hospital in the south, but Dr Dunia called us back to the kids hospital saying that people had come from a long way away for us to pray for them. So Alan went back, and I went on. I had a sneaky feeling my day was going to be hi-jacked by lots of other things I hadn’t been told about! It was. By now I was at Pastor Cielo’s church, and it was lovely there because I got to see a wonderful friend Carlos, and a lovely young woman named Maria Fernanda. Some of you might recall me telling the story from some years back, of praying for a wonderful man named Lisandro, to be raised from the dead, in the University Hospital. When we went to Lisandro, he’d just been stripped naked and was laying on the floor in a public waiting area….
That day, for 2 hours or more, I was with Carlos, Lisandro’s brother in law, praying for him. Never, before that day, had I experienced such high faith levels: which were crushed, when someone came to get me to go and preach at a meeting. I learned a vital lesson that day: NEVER let a meeting get in the way of what God’s doing. I can’t say that things would have been different if I hadn’t gone, but I have, even now, a very real sense, that it might have been oh so different. Firstly, I couldn’t concentrate on the meeting, I just wanted to get back to the hospital. When we did go back, Lisandro had already been moved to the Funeral Home: embalmed in a sealed coffin…. and by now, with many people from the church and his family there. My faith nose-dived…
I really felt that day that God told me to ‘do a Wigglesworth’ – get Lisandro out of the coffin. I’d love to tell you I was obedient, but I can’t, as I wasn’t….. I got the coffin open, that’s the most I could manage: the embalming fluid was pretty intense! Lisandro stayed dead. I told God I was a total washout, failure, waste of time, and that I could never pray for the dead to be raised again: which I so very often feel, but God wouldn’t listen to me – thankfully!
BUT – Carlos, and Lisandro’s widow, Stelli, became wonderful friends, and remain so. There’s a picture of both on my facebook page. Also today, I met Maria Fernanda, at the same church: 4 years ago, I prayed for for her, she had all sorts of major internal issues, and was due next day for surgery which would involve the removal of her uterus… as young wife, she was devastated. Saw her today… no surgery, no problems, and a 3 year old son named Sam…..
First hospital for me today(!) – I thought there WAS only one to go to – was a lovely pastor named German, with an enlarged heart, awaiting a transplant. Wonderful time with him, and feel really sure that he’s well in process of being healed: watch this space, after his next examination by the doctors, and scans…
Then to hospital 2 – a lovely lady Theresa, due for surgery tomorrow to remove huge tumours in her stomach and bladder…. again, super-high faith levels, looking forward to hearing she doesn’t need surgery.
Then to a house, to pray for a pastor, Alvarro: I’ve known him some years, now paralysed from the neck down, but with wondrful faith in God, along with is wife. He smiled a great deal as – I was going to say chatted, but he doesn’t speak – I talked to him. Sensed a real move of God in that room.
Prayed with Douglas, a very un-Colombian name! – as he’d lost his sense of smell some years ago… meantime, Alan was at Anabeiva’s old people’s home, where I knew he’d not be able to resist praying for the old folk. I didn’t make it back in time to go with him.
And then, the biggest, loudest, most incredible Andean storm I’ve EVER experienced. Never seen rain like it, you couldn’t see an inch out of the windows. Interestingly, I realised that, in the living room, I was standing in a lake (seriously!) – never noticed before an inch or so gap at the bottom of the balcony door… looked for towels, mops, anything….
….then slipped over in the lake, smashing my back against a door frame, and aaaarrrrgggghhh, twisting my knee. My knees have been the best they’ve been for a long time these past couple of days, too: I get so flipping angry at the enemy when he thinks he can stop me again. I’m NOT going to be stopped! Just to interest to the proceedings, the electrics went out a few times during the storm, and though they’re back on now, the cuts obviously did something to the air conditioner, as it won’t go off…. I feel like I’m in a fridge!
Alan’s now stuck in traffic: the traffic lights all went out, and the roads are chaos, deep in water, and no one willing to give ‘ground’ to other drivers to start the traffic moving again. Meeting tonight… yes…maybe…who knows?!
17 April (11pm)
Just back from a meeting, a new church to me (La Vinia – The Vineyard), pastored by a wonderful man named Oscar Muñoz (pronounced, of course, Mun-yoz). This afternoon, after meeting Willmar Gomez over lunch, he picked his girls up from school, met Oscar, who invited us tonight… we learned later that Oscar is part of the network of William Castaño, with whom we’d also had lunch. Coincidence? Nah, don’t think so! Great connection for the future, Oscar and I think!
It is a lively church, Oscar has a wild sense of humour, and – unusually – clear blue eyes. Alan spoke very well, I followed, and all in all, there was a lot of laughter. Many responded for healing: one lady, quite elderly, had come in in a wheelchair, a very traumatic fall had done extensive damage to her hip. She walked out, albeit slowly, saying she was free from pain. Another lady, with severe arm pain, told Alan that she felt it was being pulled out of her arm. One young lad got saved. A man with chronic pain in many joints from a huge excess of uric acid (the cause of gout, amongst other things), said his pain had gone. A man Alfredo, with kidney stones, awaiting surgery, was freed from pain, and muscle pain in his legs. Prayed for his grand-daughter sitting on his lap, with (I think – could have done with Lee!) toxo-plasmosis – it’s interesting when you get people say things like to you and you’ve never heard of it! – her face changed visibly as I prayed: another one of those, though, where only a next hospital visit and tests will confirm.
Others were healed, too: everyone wanted Al and me to pray for them, so we did, and it was a great evening. Oscar seemed over the moon with it, and it really seems a good connection for next time.
I saw Willmar telling Alfredo our names: turns out he has a programme on Christian radio – tomorrow – and sat and interviewed us both afterwards. Well, I think it was us he was talking about – ! – the ‘international missionaries from the United Kingdom, Paul Benninson and Alan Goat!!!! Tell me that THAT name isn’t going to stick….!! We talked to him for a good 15 minutes about why we come to Cali, what we do, where we go, about Anabeiva’s place (we’re there tomorrow) and the hospitals and prisons. Who knows where it will lead? Not fame, I hope (really – don’t EVER want that), but maybe more opportunities to get into churches, especially in the poorer parts of the city.
Earlyish start to a very busy day tomorrow, and, doubtless, a late finish. So I guess it’s time for bed, Zebedee….
17 April (3pm)
Great time lunchtime today with Pastor William Castano (should be a tilde over the ‘n’!) and Willmar Gomez. William was a great connection last time, but very late in the November trip, and then couldn’t be involved with my little team anymore on that trip as he was dealing with a crisis in a church he’s involved with – where the worship leader attempted to kill both his sons (succeedd with one and not the other) and failed in his own suicide: tragic. ‘Living’ son is receovering well, and dad is taking a little longer, unsurprisingly, to recover emotionally. Can’t recall a situation like that in the UK, but maybe I’m just out of the loop!
William is another ‘mover and shaker’ here in the city: in minutes, we’d got two new (to me) church speaking engagements (one tonight, one Sunday afternoon – busy day Sunday, 3 and maybe more meetings!), and, better still, though a bit scary, an opportunity to speak in the maximum security prison on Friday. I loved going into prisons here before, so it should be fantastic: many have been saved in prisons here in the past, and lots healed, so more of that please, Lord! I have to confess that the butterflies will be there Friday morning, but I’m determined that they’ll be flying in MY formation, not theirs!
Now waiting to be taken to pray for some paralysed and terminally sick, in their own home, then prepare for tonight’s new church! Alan and I were already planning (since, until an hour ago, there was no meeting tonight) to go and freeze in the cinema again, but at least we won’t suffer rogor mortis tonight now!
I’ll try and post here agin later on, but tomorrow’s hectic now, with Club Noel kids hospital in the morning, straight after that to somewhere waaaay south to pray for another terminally sick person, and a very sick pastor, a return visit to Anabeiva’s old people’s home in the afternoon, and a meeting in the evening. I feel exhausted already, just thinking about it. Just being in traffic here is exhausting!
16 April (later)
After the incredible last few days of hospitals and church meetings – 4 very wonderful, but draining meetings Friday-Sunday – it was good to have today free. We had lunch with one of the pastors, a final ‘condemned-man-going-home’ steak, for Lee! – and now it’s just Alan and me. We miss Chris and Lee immensely, but I’m so glad Alan’s around for all but one day of my time here. Incredible thunderstorms this afternoon – Andes storms have to be seen and heard to be believed – and lashing rain, meant that we had some quality rest time after Lee’s dparture early this afternoon, though the storms delayed his flight by at least 2 hours.
We ventured out finally after the torrents, and went to see ‘Safe House’ with Denzel Washington: great film, but the air-conditioning was so cold in the cinema we almost left!
It was lovely to see comments on Facebook from the Pastor at last night’s church – really lovely to read what she had to say. Along with all the wonderful stuff God’s doing, it’s still so good to build new friendships and relationships, and to know that pastors here appreciate us being here.
Tomorrow morning, we’re off to pray for people, along with Walter and another pastor, Cielo: lunch with a really ‘key’ pastor here in the city, then off praying for more people in their homes and hospital. I guess, being Tuesday, there might be a meeting too, but we’ll doubtless find out about that tomorrow!
The last couple of days, Alan & I have had not-quite-upset guts, but bordering…. would value your prayers that nothing develops now it’s just him and me left!
Wow, what an evening! The church – Centro Cristiana Restauracion de Vida – Shammah (it’ll just be Shammah if I mention it again!!) – was truly amazing. The pastor and his wife are real live wires – the husnaband was dressed in military fatigues, as the church is on a spiritual warfare theme. I thought was a rebel guerilla when I first saw him! About 130-150 people there, I guess. Lee again spoke very well – and later had two more stunningly accurate words of knowledge (no, not ‘someone with a bad back’!). It was a tremendous environment to preach into, like this morning’s meeting, and a first for me in the town of Candelaria, about an hour north of Cali.
Preached basically from Colossians 1:15-20 – Lee had his words of knowledge, and only the two people they referred to came forward. I thought we were in for an early return home, even though I’d made a general healing appeal! Thrn, as per normal, the tidal wave of people came rushing towards us – pretty much the whole congregation, Lee reckoned. Initially, the two ladies who’d responded to Lee words got set free. Then there were some lovely testimonies of pretty ‘normal’ things (though no healing is ‘normal’ when you’re the one who’s been in pain, or sick, for years): back pains went, shoulder pain (but no arepas tonight!), sinus/nasal/respiratory issues, a man knew he’d been healed of long-term asthma, and then the ‘bigger’ stuff began…
Omar, a man in his late thirties/early forties, suffering from dystonia, was next. Thankfully, Dunia and Lee (as doctors) enlightened me as to what this is! It’s to do with short-circuiting in the body of motor-function, and he had been shaking uncontrollably from head to foot for some weeks. Just felt I should say to him that he’d wake up without the shakes, assuming that meant he’d be healed in his sleep. God didn’t need that much time! He came back to me minutes later as still and peaceful as anyone, totally healed, and then testified publicly. That ALWAYS raises faith!
A lovely lady named Imelda, in chronic pain from head to knees for many years, all down her right side, was healed instantly. Two small girls, one named Katerine, were healed. Many others experienced relief, release, and healing.
Then, as I thought we were coming to the end of the queue, I saw a lady, looking unbelieveably awful, being almost carried down the centre aisle of the church. The pastor told me that Julia (pronounced You-lia of course, here!) had cancer pretty much everywhere: had suffered enormously from the effects of chemotherapy, and though I never asked her if she had been given her doctors ‘death sentence’, it probably was only weeks until she died. She had no voice. Prayed for her, and watched as her visage changed, life came into her eyes, touched her throat for a second and just said ‘voice, return’ and she started speaking instantly. She obviously had a mastectomy, and as new strength started to pour into her, she raised her left arm, but had to hold it up with her right. Then she fell to her knees from her sitting position, Dunia, Lee, and I prayed some more, then I asked her if she could walk. She got straight up, and began to walk, holding onto Lee and Dunia’s arms, but not being pulled by them (I SOOOO hate that when people are pulled or pushed…). She stood right in front of the platform and said she wanted to worship! Dunia and I and a few others sang with her (good job Colombians sing pretty often off-key, as I think I do these days!). As she sang, she raised both arms, unaided, and then almost danced with the pastor…. absolutely amazing, thank you, Jesus. She was still dancing when we left…
So, Lee’s last couple of days here have been humdingers! It’ll be sad to see him go tomorrow, but I’m sure I’ll find it in me to bless him on his way home to Katie! He’s been such a great bloke to have around, a wonderful mixture od supernatural and medical, and – even better for me – marvellous with computers and phones! As with Chris, I’d take him anywhere, anytime. Thanks, mate, you’re a star, and I hope for you and Chris this has been a life-changing experience.
And now, it’s 230 am, and so to bed…
15 April (3pm)
Yet another ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ of the city – Agua Blanca to be precise – in a taxi, resulting from the fact that between Fernando Sanchez (1) and me (2) we had three text messages, with the address of the church: no church name, just 3 addresses – all different! We’d been up about 6am to be…er…collected at 730 am to speak in a church new to me, at 8am, in Agua Blanca, with, I’d been told, a ‘key’ pastor in that quarter of city… it was at 755am we got the message that Fernando was on his way to us, having changed all his plans for the morning in order to be with us. He arrived at 830, with a 25-30 minute drive ahead of us – IF we;d had the right address! So, at 915, we arrived, with pastor in full preaching flow, looking daggers at us… :(. It wouldn’t have been so bad, had it not been in such a dangerous part of the city! We drove up and down the streets of Mojica (last year, I preached there in a gazebo in a public park, discivering that the pastor had arranged for numerous police to guard every road to the park, with their pump action shotguns primed…), finally arriving the other side of the road that separates Mojica from El Poblado, where our church was. Last year, my friend Hendrik was held up by five armed gunmen and robbed here… info like that sort of makes you pray harder! and it’s certainly a risk for gringoes to be there!Walter was stopped in the road in his car by a 10 year old – Walter stopped as he thought the boy might be in touble – and was asked for his wallet and phone: he laughed, said ‘you’re only a kid!’, and was then looking down the barrel of the lad’s gun…! Never a dull moment in Cali. It’s the next bario to where Mark, Scott, and me saw 2 men shot dead on the pavement last November….
He carried on, having briefly been told Fernando what had happened: he seemed to forgive us then, and was very warm to us, asking me for prayer for his right eye, as he is going blind. Don’t know what happened as he had to leave to preach in another church, leaving me to preach the 10 am service! Could have had an extra 1.5 hour in bed…. Lee and Alan both spoke again, both very well, and then I got to preach. Sometimes, as a preacher, you know you’ve been pretty mediocre, or average, sometimes it might be a little better than ‘ok’, other times, you really feel that it’s been good. Fortunately, this morning was one of those times!
The response at the end was phenomenal, probably 85% of the 150 or so people there coming forward, with many reports of immediate healing. I know for myself that two people were healed of chronic shoulder pain, in seconds – one dear old man testified publicly to his healing from an infirmity of many years: one lady, with damaged muscles in her forearm and wrist – it was somewhat emaciated – received immediate healing, much to her delight – the muscle just grew, and the arm straightened! A young lady, Diana, was healed, one young woman set free from very obvious tormenting spirits…
We all saw a good number of people healed, and it seems the awkward situation surrounding our extremely late arrival had been retrieved.
Alan and Lee seem to have recieved a ‘gift’ of getting people’s shoulders healed (and bear in mind Alan’s shoulder has been very painful for a long time!), and then getting gifts of large quantities of ‘arepas’ – a type of cornbread that looks like a large crumpet without the holes. Trouble is, arepas is like blotting paper in that it dries up all your saliva! When we finally reached the apartment, with just a 2-3 hours before being picked up for the next church, Alan and Lee tucked into them: I preferred to keep my mouth mildly damp! So, I’m writing this in a time frame where I’d rather be asleep, but wanted to keep you updated!
In about an hour now, we head for a place named Candelaria: just praying that don’t arrive a couple hours late, and end up having a very late night after an early start. You might not think it’s early, but if ever you’ve preached, and then prayed for people for a good 90 minutes, in intense humid heat, you do get pretty exhausted!
Just to fill in a few more healings from the last couple of meetings – Chris had a few people relieved from stomach conditions on Friday, in Simon Bolivar, Alan’s reminded me: spinal and back issues were healed last night, someone with a long-term virus (years) was healed, hip apin gone in a number of cases, children with abdominal pain healed (Lee’s been having a field day with the kids – well, he IS he neonatologist! It’s sad that he’s going tomorrow back to England, but I’m sure Katie will be very happy! He’s been so good to have here, both he and Chris have been great, and Alan’s just slotted in with them like he’s been here all the time. Lee is amazing as a doctor, believing both in the supernatural power of God and, of course, his immense medical skill. His words of knowledge have been great, and so accurate. I’ll miss him….
15 April (midnight)
What a wonderful day, apart from the fact that we’ve ‘lost’ Chris, who is heading home tonight, after a bizarre situation with his flight from Cali to Bogota. It seems it rained unbelieveably hard in Bogota this afternoon, and word was that ‘Bogota is closed’ – we assume they just meant the airport, as it’s a little difficult to ‘close’ a city of 9 million people! Without landing, he was returned to Cali: then back to Bogota, where by now he’d missed his flight to Madrid. Fortunately for his Maths students he’s on a flight tonight,and should be home in time for school on Monday… probably a tad more tired and stressed than he would have been!
Spent the afternoon at the home of lady named Amparo: ostensibly to pray for her, as she’d suffered frequent and voluminous nosebleeds for 6 years. When we arrived, with Walter, his wife Lupe (Loo-pay) was there, along with Dunia, the doctor. We prayed for the lady, when suddenly Dunia asked us to pray for her. After all she does for us, it was a rare opportunity to bless her, and then ended up praying with Lupe and Walter, too. All three of us had words from God for them, and we all felt that, truth be told, it was a singularly significant time.
After all I write about Walter’s time keeping (I do love him!), he was desperately trying to get US out of the door, as we were by now very late to get to the church for this evening’s meeting (pure role-reversal!!), ‘Hogar de Oracion Rey Jesus’ (Home of prayer, King Jesus), in Chipichape. Alan and Lee both spoke well, so it was easy to follow them. Lee had two very specific and unusual words of knowledge (both responded to, and both successful, if that’s the right word!), I had a couple, and then we prayed for the tsunami of people.
A man named (I think) Harold (once you’ve asked 3 times, it seems a bit rude to keep asking!), who had incredible pain following a blundered dntal procedure 8 days ago, trapping a major nerve, so he couldn;’t open his mouth, or eat, or sleep. Withing 5 mniutes, he was healed… thank you Lord! A lady named Gloria, with acute high blood pressure (wouldn’t really know the answer to that one until it’s checked again) also had two totally ‘shot’ knees. She could hardly walk, hadn’t been able to squat or kneel for 8 years – did both in a few minutes! Wonderful!! A lady with a middle finger that ‘locked’ folded over, was delighted when it straightened… more knees (er… Lord…??) healed, lower back pain and sacro-iliac joint pain healed, a lady who said she ‘knew’ her prolapsed bladder had healed… and so much more.
0020 now, up at 6am ish for a church, new to me, in Agua Blanca at 8am, then to a place called Candelaria, north of the city, to preach at 5pm. So, as it’s late, and I’m totally exhausted, I think sleep is called for, as tomorrow will be every bit and more exhausting than this evening.
14 April (later!)
Oooohhhh… Chris goes in 30 minutes…. we’ll ALL miss him…. but more healings to report, in which he was involved, of course:
Marco Anotonio – ( yes, really! – there are Julius Ceasars and Jesus’ here, amongst many others!) – healed of renal failure, carotid stenosis, and lumbar pain….
Nelly (another one) – type 1 diabetes, polyneuropathy, dizziness..
Mercedes Sangueno – chronic left knee pain, polyneuropathy, walked unaided for first time in years….
Thinking back to last night’s meeting, the more I think of it, the more I’m convinced these are –
a) the sort of places Jesus would go if he was walking about today
b) the sort of places I want to be in – it is hard to explain just HOW much people in these churches are blown away just because foreigners will go to be with them: they think they’re the one’s being blessed, but we came away last night even more blessed than we could ever have been a blessing
I’ve met many foreign preachers here over the 16/17 years of coming to Colombia: last year I met one, an American, with whom the conversation probably summed up what I’ve been trying to say: (no names mentioned, of course!) –
“Ma name’s *********, ah come from ******, ah’ve preached in all the biggest churches in Bo-go-ta (gets it wrong… it’s Bog-ottah!), all the biggest churches in Cally (Cali, of course, pronounced Car-lee – doubtless he’d have been one of those who, despite having been here a few times would spell Colombia ColUmbia, which really winds up Colombians – jerks their chain, US friends!), ah’ve preached in all the biggest churches in ColUmbia, ah’ve been on telly-vision many tahmes (times, of course)”…. I hope he wasn’t trying to impress me, let alone impress God. My reply was….
“Really? I’ve preached in all the smallest churches in Cali, Buenaventura (foireigners wouldn’t want to go there), Agua Blanca… I go to all the places who’d never get a visit, who so desperately appreciate it, and who can’t afford to give you anything for going…”
I find it so, so sad, that since Colombia became somewhat safer 7-8 years ago, the inundation of preachers from ‘the west’ has increased, and ‘westernised’ so many churches here. Please hear me, I’m not knocking, or criticising other people’s ministries, really I’m not, but I do wonder sometimes about motives… Hernan and Aida just could not believe last night that we went back, four of us, to speak to – maybe – 15-18 people: it blew them away even more than going the first time. Why would I want to be anywhere else?
Anywhere else in the world, perhaps, today would have been a bit of a disappointment, as a good bit of what we thought late last night was going to happen didn’t…. ah, Colombia, Colombia! This morning, we learned that the trip to the hospital was cancelled, as were visits to pray for two desperately sick people. Ours not to reason why…. perhaps it was just ‘be kind to Alan’ day, as his 6 hour time change yesterday took effect! The praying for the two people MIGHT happen tomorrow…. hope they’re not TOO terminally ill to make the 24 hour delay fatal…
So, it was souvenir and coffee shopping day for Chris and Lee, plus lunch (to mourn Chris’s imminent departure tomorrow morning of course!) at the wonderful Simon Parilla steak restaurant. If only steak was this good and this cheap back in the UK….
Wonderful meeting tonight, though: at the ‘John 3:3’ Assemblies of God church. It is interesting (!) going there, in the bario/district of Simon Bolivar, as it is one of the most renowned dangerous districts in the ‘central’ city area. Here live the highest percentage of ‘siccarios’ – the young hired motor-bike killers, who will perform a ‘hit’ for as little as US$3.
It was made all the more ‘interesting’ as Walter, who knows where the church is, didn’t come. At first we thought we were going to be just 4 gringoes in a taxi, but great friend Diego, who was translating, picked us up. Then we got lost in the middle of the bario. In Cali, there are certain areas where you just do not stop at red traffic lights, for instance. This is one of those areas! So to have to stop and ask the way, with one Colombian and 4 white blokes in the car, is not the best idea. Kidnapping is still is national sport in Colombia: so there was, I have to admit, a certain amount of additional prayer going on from the four of us. It’s a ‘watches and rings off’ area!
But the church, tiny in number, is wonderful. I was there with my last band of brothers in November, and though the crowd was sparse, the atmosphere, the presence of God, his prophetic voice, and his healing power, were all well in evidence.
We left at about 1015 pm, spending perhaps a little TOO much time chatting to the pastor and his wife, Hernan and Aida Rodriguez, on the street OUTSIDE the church en route to the car.
Having said that, we’re home, safe, watches and rings back on, and now all the others are asleep, leaving me in splendid isolation typing here!
It’s a bit sad as Chris leaves in the morning, 930 am, to begin his long and weary route home, but his lucky Maths students need him Monday morning, and his lovely wife Abi is doubtless looking forward to his return. He’s been fantastic here, an utter joy have with me, and our friendship has deepened so much. Thanks, mate, you’re a star, a blessing, great fun, and a wonderful man of God.
For all you superstitious people reading this (! none, I hope!), have a great day…!! Friday 13th… good day for me, especially, as Alan arrived safely, on time, and through customs, immigration, and baggage quickly last night in Cali. He’s such a great mate to have here, and seems to have fitted in like he’s been here all the time!
I put a post on facebook earlier, saying that I have no idea (until I get a new website) how many people read the blog here: sometimes, it’s easy-ish to post it, other times, it’s a real effort, as it’s late, middle of the night, and apart from a very small handful of people, I don’t know who looks here… IF you do, can you let know please? It can be such hassle with the software, sometimes even with the internet connection: if it’s only a about 10 people, I might as well just write them a ciircular email… !!!
Today, for some reason, the visit to Santillana Hospital has been cancelled: full week of hospital visits next week, I imagine though, so a nice easy morning for Alan to settle in. The time change means he woke at 5am(! 🙁 ) – Chris is only now getting used to the 6 hour difference, and he leaves tomorrow 🙁 again! Going to miss him, he’s been brilliant here, such a great guy, I wish so much that he could stay, but his Maths students in South Devon will doubtless be thrilled to see him, jet-lagged again! – on Monday morning!
We have a meeting tonight in the bario (district)Simon Bolivar: Bolivar was Colombia’s liberator from the tyrannical Spanish (much like the tyrannical Brits in that era, but a little more vicious, it’d seem!). It’s one of the most dangerous districts, as it has a high ‘concentration’ of siccarios living there – they’re the guys who, if you want someone killed, you pay them perhaps $50 and they’ll happily do it for you…. I’m making a list of names, even as I write!!! (Not!!). The church is lovely, though, pastored by a lady, Aida, who, along with her son, was wonderfully healed in November when I was here with Mark, Simon, and Scott, so it should be good.
Tomorrow morning, off to pray for two terminally sick people, one a long-time pastor friend of mine, so please pray that God will do a miracle, like he did for the lovely Anabeiva, about whom I’ve written a lot, but could never really write enough….
It’s been… er…. fun(?) this trip, as Walter hasn’t really told us more than a day or so ahead what we’re doing the next day, but I imagine we’ve got a busy weekend…! Thank God he answered my prayer, 25 years ago in Africa, when I asked him to help me cope with other cultures’ attitudes towards time, organisation, and diaries!! I think I’d be in straight-jacket now and totally dulally if he hadn’t answered… trouble is, Walter’s SO lovely that, if you start to get cross with him in his absence, as soon as you see him again, you know just why you love him so much!
Hearing stories back from church Wednesday night that people were massively blessed, some healed… many challenged to become Caleb’s with a vision that will never die, however old you are (I LOVE Caleb, love preaching about him!). Looking forward to catching up with Dr Dunia too, doubtless we’ll hear more from her from the hospitals.
What an outstanding trip this has been…. 🙂 and I’m only just half way through it… !!! 🙂
12 April (3pm)
What a morning…. Social Security Hospital, Maracaibo: walking easier too, thanks to Lee’s ministrations and extractions to and from my knee! It seemed ‘quiet’ in the hospital this morning, compared to normal, but then…the glory of God came…
Arles, an older man, stroke 5 years ago, paralysed down his left hand side, was, within minutes, raising his left arm high above his head, clenching his fists, moving his leg, and walking totally normally… Nelly, filled with pain, was pain free in minutes: Jorge and his wife (name forgotten, sorry – so hard to remember them all!) both healed of a great deal of body pain, and also released from some emotional pain from the disappearance of their son, Yoider (no, not Yoder!!), 8 months ago…. a lady of 84, who took a real shine to us all, told Lee he needed help with his hair (it’s gelled and spiked!), told Chris he needed more help (he’s thinning a good bit, like me! – and fortunately seemed to like my ever descreasing ‘island’ of hair at the front of my head!) was healed, uproarious laughter from her, and all those in the waiting area… you know God’s around when joy breaks loose in a brain injury/spine injury/and so much more waiting room!
A lady named Dulfari (new name to me, too!) was in pain head to ankles… healed (yours again, Sean McCoy, you know who you are! Claim it mate!!). Everyone prayed for was healed, with the one exception of a little boy, Juan Pablo, downs syndrome and with a stoma/colostomy bag… impossible to know if he’s healed until the bag’s taken away, and, as we prayed for his mum, Friman, just felt that she’d know the day when she could take him to the hospital to liberate him from it. Guess the downs will take time to show, once the chromosome is back in place.
Storming Norman! – sorry, morning (if you don’t remember Storming Norma, tough!).
We’re all knack…er, tired, after all the praying of the last few days, so it’s a relieif to have the afternoon free before going to pick Alan up t the airport! Later on, time to crack open a beer or two, methinks… to empty them over the 12 the floor balcony of our flat, of course…..
And I apologise for constant mis-spellings here: often it’s late, often I’m so fired up my fingers (two finger typist here) have no idea where the keys are, and my lovely blog inspector, Barbara, often reminds me of my smelling pistakes…. keep doing it Barbara, one day I might actually be able to type!
12 April (00830am)
So sorry the report from yesterday didn’t get ‘published’ earlier, but the delightful (!!) software I use to update it crashed when I’d written most of it, and I thought I’d lost the report… took until this morning (sleep in between of course!) to get the software back into line.
Learned from Walter last night that we MIGHT, just MIGHT be going into one of the big prsions on Tuesday – fantastic! Also, whilst Lee & Chris go to hospital tomorrow, I’ll be going with Alan to pray for two people in last night’s church who are unbelieveably sick, including one on the verge of desth, I’m told… value your prayers for these days ahead of time!
Left knee so much easier this morning… what a relief! Thank you, Lee – it’s the first time he’s ever done such a procedure, and he did it like an old hand…. 30mls is huge amount of fluid to have trapped, so it’s such a blessing!
12 April (0030am)
A tremendous day – packed, busy, draining, emotional, exhausting – but just a wonderful time.
This morning, it was, as always a privilege to visit ‘Club Noel’, the children’s hospital here in Cali. Dunia always comes straight out of her office to introduce us to the waiting masses of parents and (mostly) desperately sick or incurable children. Just having her ‘affirmation’ means that there’s no problem in getting a reaction from people, and, as I sat with one mum and child, with Chris & Lee kneeling in fornt of them, a long queue built up behind them.
Having Lee, in his ministry mode but with his immense medical knowledge, is such a blessing. I always try and act ‘informed’ and look intelligent when people tell me what’s wrong with them or their child: Lee just says ‘Oh that’s so and so…’ – it makes it much easier to pray knowing than pray blind…. I hate it when people come for prayer in meetings and you ask what’s wrong, and they say ‘God will tell you’: no he won’t, as YOU can tell me, and this isn’t spiritual horoscopes or tarot. Informed praying is so much easier. I’ve learned a lot of medical stuff from praying for people with Lee.
I lost track of how many we prayed for this morning: well in excess of 20, I reckon. It’s hard know immediately with children, especially with things like hydrocephalus, TB, AIDS, etc…. time will tell, and Dunia most certainly will. We prayed for a good few parents, too, and a couple at least were immediately healed. Tomorrow, it’s back to the Social Security hospital from Monday, Nueva EPS, in Maracaibo (sounds like a place from a Bob Hope/Bing Crosby ‘road’ movie, eh?).
All afternoon, we were at the ‘Foundation and Home for the Abandoned Elderly’: a place that moved me to tears when we (Mark, Simon, Scott, and me) went there in November. It was a tense journey, as we’d learned on the phone that the wonderful lady – Anabeiva – whose ministry this is – was in hospital…. last time, I’d prayed for her as she’d got a 3 months to ‘cancer death sentence’ hanging over her (you might remember she fell to her knees then clutching my legs, weeping – not for her cancer, but for her ‘residents’ – then 35 of them – and what would happen to them if she died). As we prayed, she told me she felt the huge tumour in head go. So knowing she was in hospital was awful…. When we arrived, her daughter Diana was there, and she told me mum only went in this morning to have a small benign cyst removed from her breast, and would be home tomorrow. Thank you, Jesus!!!
We talked with Diana, and another amazing lady who’s joined Anabeiva – I think her name must be spelt like ‘Asaleh’ – more than 4 times asking is a bit awkward! They still have NO Social Security support, nor church support, no foundations help them – and NOW – they have 65 residents, same size house (two storey), all still spotlessly dresed, pristine clean: a real testimony to the love and dedication of the team. Just inside the ‘cage’ – all houses are protected by steel cages, and this ‘bario’ (district) – Alfonso Aragon – is one of the most dangerous in the city – were 6-7 boxes of ‘donated’ vegetables – all totally rotten, stinking, and far more trouble to dispose of than they might have been blessing if they’d been ok. It makes me so angry, and made me recall 22 years ago, taking in AID for Romania, opening bin bags and being covered with fleas, or finding babygro’s in them, dirty, with the soiled nappy still inside. WHATEVER possesses people to DO that?
We prayed for as many residents as we could find, plus Diana and Asaleh. And then…trumpet blast (not actually…) an ambulance drew up, and Anabeiva was home. As they wheeled her in the gurney, she saw me, grabbed me, hugged me like it was going out of fashion, and we both just held each other and wept and wept, thanking God for his power. Simon and I would like to start, if we can (two poor geezers trying to do for someone else what we’re NOT good at doing for ourselves!) a small trust to help them regularly. EVERYTHING is prayed in there: there biggest need right now is to stump up $10,000 to buy the house outright (well, it IS in a bad area…). Their monthly food, utilities, and running cost is about 8 million pesos – is also a burden, but Anabeiva lives like George Muller, so it somehow gets met..
This evening, we were in the church ‘Diso Esta Presente’ – God is presnt here; nightmare rush hour journey to get there, local footbal team ‘America’ wer playing at home… 15 minutes to get home – 90 to get there! Super meeting thouse, at least 65% of the people responded out of about 300.. Lee and Chris both spoke excellently, then they had to put up with me sounding off in a sermon about Caleb – a man of a different spirit. People healed, people set free, re-commitments, even deliverance…. wonderful!
Then late last night, with my knees compalining a bit because of being stood on for far too long today, Lee drained a bucketload of fluid off my left one, which has made so much difference. Right one tonight! And TONIGHT – ALAN ARRIVES – YEAH!!!
Today, hospital Nueva EPS (Social Secuirty) in the bario named Maracaibo this morning: we were there on Monday, so more of the same please, Lord….
On Lee’s facebook page ‘Cali 2012’, he’s said, ‘I’m aware that I’m using the word amazing a lot…’ – I love it when people come here with me, having listened to my stories, and then not just believing them, but SEEING them for themselves and being involved in them.
I’m also aware that, everytime I ‘report’ from Colombia it’s with comments like ‘better this time than ever’ and so on… today was really quite astonishing, and this trip is yet another of ‘those’ trips…. better in so many ways.
At another ‘Nueva EPS’ hospital today, (Social Security), we were with amazing friend Willmar Gomez, so we could have two pairs praying (me translating for Lee and praying in my own right too!). So many miracles… one lady, Luz Marina, in chronic pain, head/shoulders/back/legs… her eyes were 90% shut, and swollen with pain, and her sight severely limited: her pain went totally, her eyes opened, she laughed…. soooo wonderful. We saw so many head, back, and shoulder pains healed: more knees ;-), blood circulation, vascular/pulmonary conditions, and much much more. People were getting healed in the queue outside, in the lines at the reception desk, and just turning round and going home, without waiting for their appointments…
Once again, the hospital’s assistant director came and stole half my ‘team’ to go elsewhere in the hospital to pray for people (we heard from Dr Dunia today that yesterday’s hospital director has opened the door wide to us at ANY time – more favour!! – thank you, Lord!) – it’s an unbelieveable privilege to have such opportunities, and I really thank God for them.
One lovely lady, I think her name was Carmen, had pain in much of her body, loads of internal ‘issues’, not the least of which was tumours in her right breast. I was merrily praying away in Spanish before realising I’d forgotten the word for breast (it doesn’t often come into conversation, and certainly doesn’t feature much in my life!!!)…. ‘In the name of Jesus, I commnad these tumours in this…..’ and all I could think of was ‘tetas’ in Spanish (I won’t trouble you with the translation if you can’t work out what that word means!!), when suddenly I remembered ‘pechuga’, as you buy pechuga de pollo in chicken restaurants….finished praying…. relieved…. until, over lunch with Hendrik, I relayed my dilemma to him and my relief at its solution, when he calmly said ‘the word is senos – pechuga is only for chickens’!!!! I half wonder now if she’d have preferred me to pray for her ‘tetas’…. good news is, that whatever I prayed, she knew she was healed….
We prayed for about 40-45 people in2 hours, we reckoned: then making our way to have lunch with Hendrik, as he leaves for Bolivia on Thursday, as we exited the hospital, people stopped us – three, to be precise, all with totally wrecked knees, all healed on the pavement outside…. cool, or what? Great God, eh??
Down to the ‘centro’ this afternoon to introduce Lee and Chris to ‘fruit juice genius’ Manuel, at his stall – they were hooked, Manuel hugged me like a long-lost friend, made even MORE juice than usual for us (it only costs 1900 pesos – about 65 pence/$1 anyway, for a couple of large palstic cup fulls) – three cups is almost more than man can bear…. so delicious you HAVE to drink it though. Chris and Lee tried ‘borojo con (with) chontaduro’ – untranslatable, as they’re local fruits: just to mention it as chontaduro is a known aphrodisiac…. fortunately, they’ll be with their wives soon!
Tonight, a new church to me, with a tremendous worship band, real rockers, a fantastic young man, Samuel, leading them, aged 18, but so, so talented, gifted, and humble. .. he sang a good few lines in English for our benefit, bless him, including ‘Miracle Maker’ (Hacedor de Miraglos), a Delirious song, and ‘Here I am to Worship’ (Tim Hughes)…. Chris and I spoke, Lee saw a good few healed, I prayed for three, only 2 for healing, both healed, and Chris prayed for and prophesied over the whole band – a stroke of genius on his part, as it meant we didn’t have to pray over very loud music as he’d pre-occupied them all….!!!
Tomorrow, the kids hospital, Club Noel, in the afternoon, the ‘home for the abandoned elderly’ (don’t leave me there, guys!!), and the church ‘Dios esta presente’ (God is preenta here) in the eveninig….
What a marvellous morning…. in this city, of course, as there are 3.5 million people, there are numerous hospitals. Some expensive, others the other end of the scale. Over the years, it’s been wonderful to find favour in many of them, who are over the moon that I, and those with me, go in to pray for people. This morning we were in one of the Nueva EPS (Social Security) hospitals where, last time we visited in November, Jose & Aida & Jose Luis Jr, were outside to meet us to thank us for the healing of their little son…. in the hospital, we found favour with the overall assistant for all the Nueva EPS hospitals, whose doors are open to us whenever and for how long we want, perhaps because much of what we do is as ‘discreet’ as possible, i.e. not pulling people out of beds, or out their chairs, just getting alongside them, praying quietly, and seeing God do what only God can do….
I can’t tell you the privilege it is to pray with people, waiting for appointments, ioften in intense pain, fear-filled, awaiting their appointment with a doctor – and seeing their faces change totally as the pain leaves them, mobility returns, fear is dispelled. It happened many times this morning: one of the first ladies we prayed for (and with God having a good laugh, I’m sure, and the patient, at my attempts to translate for Chris and Lee! but we got by!!! so maybe I under-rate myself!) was crippled with pain, herniated discs in her spine, her face creased, lined, and drawn with pain…. very quickly smiling, moving easily, and laughing with us.
Another lady, Rose-Alba, quite aged, told me ALL her pain had gone, and she was effectively crippled from her shoulders to her ankles (that on’e for you, Sean – claim it mate!!), and had been so for more than 30 years. It’s amazing, too, that people are almost begging us to pray for them, once they see us pray for the first one, and to just to slide from one seat to the next, put an arm round them, and watch their life change.
We prayed for about 12-15 people, all majorly touched, this morning, in about 2.5 hours in the hospital, and now Lee and Chris are off with pastor friend Willmar to someone’s home, to pray for healing for her, and she’s dying with cancer. I stayed home, partly because for some reason, my left knee decided to create havoc, but that’s not surprising, as yesterday, on arriving at the church ‘El Abrigo International’ I steppend on a rock as I got out of the taxi, twisted my leg, somehow managed to stay standing up, and to be honest, was amazed that my knee held out for the service, and the visit to Jose Luis’ home….especially as their home just happened to be up (and down, of course, which is worse!) six flights of stairs!
Evening free tonight, as is normal on a Monday in most churches, but it’s good as it’s impossible to communicate, until someone’s done it, just how much praying for 2-3 hours in hospital drains you. Of course, tonight, we’ll use it praying and fasting – or, alternatively, going to the cinema to watch ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Fury of the Titans’. You choose….
Tomorrow, another hospital in the morning, meeting with pastors in the afternoon, and a meeting (somewhere!) in the evening – pretty much the ‘routine’ for the rest of the week now. Except that – my mate Alan arrives Thursday, and it’ll be so good to see him.
8 April (late!)
Fantastic day….. Lee went off to Pastor Walter’s church after an hour or so of being all together at Willmar’s church. Lee’s not done a great amount of group puyblic speaking, but he’s been great here, and, from reports from him – and the church folk! – he did great this morning, with a good number responding for prayer for healing and a deeper commitment to God.
It’s always great to be at ‘El Abrigo’ church as they’re such dear friends, and they have a fantastic band! It set the scene for Chris to sing – brilliantly – a couple of songs, and God had given him some things to share on what ‘Easter’ gives us. He was great: a nice platform to carry on from, for me, and a talked a bit about how, even when the going is tough, and it seems dark, to keep going brings its reward: using the account of the women going to the grave on that first Easter Sunday (though of course, unlinke us, they didn’t know the end of the story!), to prepare Jesus’ body for its final burial…. they went, not in hope or faith, but pure unadulterated love and duty… and of course, were rewarde the best news anyone could EVER have recieved.
We prayed for loads of people after the service: Chris has found here (as many do) that the prophetic gift that he had has grown out of all recognition, praying and prophesying over people, seeing healings, accurate words of knowledge, and faith imparted to people.
I was totally blown away by one of the first people I prayed for: a young lady (early 20’s?) whom I prayed for (apparently!) in November, when she had a very little time to live (lymphoma, 90% of her body, tumours everywhere). She’s totally healed… that same power, that raised Jesus from the dead…. how TRUE that verse is… is in her – in me – in you…. another lady, I think her name is Rose-Marie, told me she’d had total healing in her left knee after many years of chronic pain and immobility. I rejoiced with her, thank God for it, told him I didn’t deserve for him to do that for her – or the cancer sufferer – but even so…would have remember my left knee at some stage soon (and the right one!!). Others told me of instant pain relief, joint pain ease, healing of haemorrhoids (is that how you spell it?), bronchial issues clearing… and more!
On the way into the church, I’d got out of a taxi, and stepped straight onto a large rock, left leg first, and totally twisted knee and ankle, not quire sure how I didn’t go flat on my face. Stumbled and staggered across the road to the church, which, those ho’ve been there, will know that the auditorium is upstairs, and up, and up…. three totally different, and increasingly ‘interesting’ dodgy kee owners nightmare!
BUT… God’s good: I didn’t even feel it whilst I preached, or prayed for people (which must have been a solid hour or more). Have to be honest here and say that I ‘felt’ my knees on the way DOWN the stairs, though…
And then – highlight of all – lunch with Jose Luis, Aida, and Jose Luis Jr…. Jr was 4 months when I last saw him: 9 months now – and perfect, no deformity, no brain damage, you can feel his fontanelle, and he’s an absolute darling…. dad and mum are deliriously happy, saved, baptise: Junior has been dedicated. Dad said their lives have been totally turned around…. they honoured us so much with a beautiful lunch, dessert… birthday cake for someone else there, and, of course, the video of their story. Involving Dunia, the brain surgeon, and Lee, our own home-made neonatologist!
We got pics of the xrays, scans – showing no fonatanelle, and no…er… other bits (it’ll be on the video! I’m not a neuro surgeon!!) neeed for the head to grow. A previous specialist had told them Jose Luis Jr would be brain damaged, and retarded for the rest of his life: Aida said it felt like her life had come to an end, her son just 4 months with such a ‘sentance’. Lee and Dunia gave the xrays and scans a thorough going over, and then the video, and loads of pictures. We were with them some hours, living in the utter joy of an impossible miracle with them….
I don’t know how to report this stuff sometimes: it seems just words, but my heart just wants to yell ‘Thank you Jesus’ and then thank him that he allows me, the Rodney Trotter of the ministry world (the plonker), to be in these positions….
Torrow, we beging the round of hospitals – Social Security Hospital in the morning, then, about an hours drive to pray for Pastor Willmar’s relative imminently close to death with cancer… isn’t it wonderful that God’s love and power are new every morning, as, even though today has been awesome, I can’t do what I’m needed to do tomorrow – unless his love and power turn up to do it for me.
No meeting tomorrow night (yet!!!!), then hospital, lunch with a key pastor (met him once before – William – and he can open up the ‘big’ city hospital here, Universityhospital, to us, and the biggest prison….and then a meeting Tuesday evening! Thank God for a day off yesterday – this week is ‘bunged’, to use a nice Irish expression….
A lovely, unexpected day today, and a rarity for me in Cali! A day off: not only that, taken to a lovely country club, where we spent the day (selct answer from list)! –
- In the gymnasium
- Preparing new sermons
- Hunting for guerillas
- Eating, and some hours in the jacuzzi
Bet you can’t guess…. perhaps if I say that I fully understand now how and why hydrotherapy can ease joint pain, it might just help?
The jacuzzi was wonderful: and it gave us time to spend chatting with pastors, getting to know them better, and just relaxing after the thrill of last night.
Lee’s been frantically preparing tonight as he’s preaching tomorrow, in Walter’s church – I think he feels tonight it’s more like the ‘deep end’ of a swimming pool than a jacuzzi! I’m preaching with Chris at Hendrik’s church, Chris will sing a bit, as we celebrate the greatest day – the resurrection of amazing Jesus from the dead….
And then – we have lunch with Jose Luis, Aida, and Jose Luis Jr – the miracle fontanelle baby and his mum and dad… video camera ready….
Lee is a bit of computer genius, so, while I’m waiting to get a whole new website, maybe he can tell me how to post it here! Lee has wonderfully offered to do my new website for me: I can’t wait, as, whilst this one has been ok, it’s now cery outdated, and extremely limited in what I, as a total and utter computer dork, can do with it….
Watch this space for tomorrow’s reports…. more to come, I know that!
7 April (1am)
Wow….. special….Easter – what an evening!!! My concerns about being double booked were quickly resolved, and we ended up going to the church ‘Jesus es Rey’, in a very tough part of the city, pastored by friends Julian and Josefa Restrepo. We arrived to discover that Walter – our organiser! – wasn’t going to come, which was interesting ashe was bringing a guitar for Chris…. Fernando, who was to translate, was booked at the very last minute – much as I’d like to try and get away with preaching in Spanish, it’d be an embarrassing nightmare – arrived just in time for the ‘preach’. The church was pretty packed, maybe 400 or so there.
I felt I should make it very specifically evangelistic, but of course I can never leave healing out(!) – and anyway, Easter is for salvation AND healing. I thought for the first few moments after the appeal for salvation (and that is, for me at least, a REAL faith-stretching few moments) that no one was going to respond… then the floodgates opened, and – conservatively, from the three of us – a good 120 responded, and mad a commitment, or re-commitment, to Jesus…. Wonderful!!! Salvation is STILL and always will be the greatest miracle.
A further 40-50, maybe more, respondd for healing: Lee had some instant healings/miracles, from eye issues to stuff he’d know about, as a neonatologist – especially a lady with a prolapsed bladder, who could feel it and was pained by it every time she jumped. It was healed….
Chris had someone with very bad eyesight immediately heale, and someone with acute migraines, and more….
I had a lad with broken ankle healed, someone with scoliosis healed, a guy with two permanently bent little fingers healed – they straightened! – and more…
Then, unsurprisingly, our plan to come home and sleep was changed – by a the prospect of a late-night steak barbecue: hmm… tough choice! But when God’s moved in an amazing way, the adrenaline is pounding, so the barbecue won easily…