41 years ago today began a journey that I thought would last a year, but all these years on, it still continues – God calling an insignificant Englishman (still insignificant) to embark on a trip with Him that has blown me away…
Embracing 111 countries, tens of thousands of people healed, countless people saved, five resurrected from the dead, nearly died 5 times (maybe more! They’re just the ones I know about!), a myriad people gone with me – many of whose lives have also been changed forever – the loss of the fear of what I might have to do, where I might have to go, a passion for Colombia born out of an invitation to go there in the mid-90s that I had no intention of accepting because of fear of what (I thought) that country was like – and God getting me there through a sew-on jacket patch I found in a shop in the USA: ‘Fat people are harder to kidnap'(!), and, God willing, in March, going for the 90th time, 26 years later… And a love for Jesus and for people that I never dreamed of having.
Would I go back and have stayed working in a bank given the choice again, with a good pension, paid-off mortgage by about 50 years old, and years of good, stable income? Never, in a million years.
If I’d known that soon after going to Colombia, I’d injure my right knee, and that 20+ years later I’d still be in pain – with the injury ‘morphing’ as it has into osteoarthritis, would I regret having going there? NO!!! Now, having effectively ‘exorcised’ the possibility of surgical replacement of both knees (a ‘more than 50% chance of dying in surgery due to the threat of personal and family history blood clotting, I am excited entering 2020 knowing that the ONLY way I’ll walk properly again, pain-free, is with a miracle. If God’s purpose is for me to ‘soldier on’ travelling in pain, then so be it!
And 36 years after selling the last house I owned (lol – had a mortgage for!) I enter 2020 with the faith and belief that God is in the process of providing me with a permanent home, in a new location for me (the Welsh borders) and feeling at home here because dad was born about 3 hours south of here and loved his Welsh heritage, and I love my dad’s ‘share’ of my blood-line and his delight at being Welsh. I’m not sure I’ll ever (at my age, now) master much of the Welsh language or even the names of towns and streets, but who knows? God is able to download Welsh to me as easily as it WILL be for him to heal me!
And after the pain of Deep Vein Thrombosis in recent weeks, with my left leg feeling grim and swollen to 10 cms bigger than my right leg, I measured my thighs this morning, and unless I’ve forgotten how to use a tape measure, my left leg is now only 5-6 cms bigger than my right, so ‘Big leg Emma’ (a song by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention about 60 years ago!!) is not so big leg anymore! God’s moving quicker than the doctor thought!!
41 years of utter privilege – yes, at times a mammoth struggle, a lot of ‘stress’ about homes, a lot of worry about what I might have to eat in some of the countries God’s taken me to (including dog, cat, snake, borsch soup – such an onomatopoeic name!! – deep friend intestines, flying ants, crap – oops, sorry, that’s the Romanian word for ‘carp’ and I’m not a fish lover! – but what a journey it is – and it’s nowhere near finished yet even if it’s still with a walking stick, and occasionally a wheelchair!!
Thank you, Jesus, for turning my life inside out and upside down 41 years ago today. Here’s to the next 41… I’ll only be 108 then!!