I have just returned from a memorable visit to Yalta in the Crimea, famously used by Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt for their historic 2nd world war meeting.
Together with a UK team headed up by David Devenish, I had the privilege of addressing pastors from churches who had gathered from such places as the Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and even Russian-speakers from Israel. It was an extraordinary time. God’s presence was very real and I found it very thrilling to teach these hungry, godly men and women. I gave three talks from Paul’s letters to Timothy, which seemed greatly appreciated. It was also thrilling to see a real breakout of powerful healings while we were together.
Perhaps what will be one of the most memorable aspects of this visit was the sudden shock that my wife, Wendy, was in serious pain as a result of which she was rushed into hospital and at about 2.30am on 24th April she had her appendix removed. As you can imagine, this was a very unexpected turn of events. Wendy had not been conscious of having appendix trouble prior to the sudden crisis but doctors had no doubt that there was need for immediate surgery.
Wendy and I have been overwhelmed by the expressions of love that have poured in to us. We are so grateful for the prayers of many, and although the hospital was somewhat different to hospitals that you would find in the West, the surgery was very efficient and our travel insurance made it possible for Wendy and me to stay on in a nearby hotel as the team returned to the UK.
Though the weather was disappointing, we were very near to the sea and there was a very pleasant, flat promenade where Wendy could venture forth for short walks prior to our return journey.
While she was resting, I also stepped out along the prom, enjoying the benefits of my iPod and drinking in more John Piper ministry. I had been so stirred and blessed by hearing him at the recent New Word Alive, so felt a real appetite to feast on more of his phenomenal teaching, so spent a few hours walking up and down the prom with John Piper! It was a very great blessing.
I have been encouraged by e-mails expressing a very warm response to my own contribution to New Word Alive and look forward to the probability of speaking there again next year.
News from the USA
Meanwhile, news from my son Joel, who is currently attending a conference in New York hosted by Tim Keller, tells me he has enjoyed excellent fellowship with Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll and that CJ Mahaney, who spoke at the first session, was the best he’d ever heard him – which is saying a great deal! I look forward to seeing him on his return, but that will have to await my return from Bordeaux, where I am travelling tomorrow to address the elders and wives of the Newfrontiers churches in France, together with a team of UK guys who will also be present.
I must confess that, having just enjoyed an excellent time with the Russian-speaking leaders, I look forward to this opportunity also. At least I can understand the occasional French word!
Maggie Parker’s healing
I mentioned in my post dated 17th April about Maggie’s healing when I was in Cardiff. Here is an excerpt from her e-mail dated 21 April.
‘It has been a very strange fortnight to say the least. I have never had so many opportunities to witness handed to me on a plate. I have many Christian and non-Christian friends all over the world. I am just overwhelmed by the joy He has given to so many people: the hairdresser, an exercise class I attend, the road tax man. The list goes on and on. I haven’t heard from the Council, or the DVLC or the Dept. of Works and Pensions whom I have told I do not want their money anymore! All the letters contain a short testimony to the effect that I am a practicing Christian and believe that Jesus died for me to forgive my sins, is risen and that He is still healing today – wow! I would love to have seen their faces on opening such a letter.
‘People are not looking quite so small now as I am adjusting to seeing the world from standing upright. I have been up an escalator and of course walked where I have not been able to before. My friend in North Wales already has my favourite walks earmarked and of course this includes the miners’ track of Snowdon. My muscles and ligaments are complaining because I do not seem to be able to gauge a “slow build up of exercise”! I’ll get to a more sensible stage I expect.’