If you live in England you might be asking, ‘What summer?’ For me it was one of the busiest I can remember. Following our wonderful Together on a Mission conference in Brighton, where Mark Driscoll had such phenomenal impact, I left for France for our Rendezvous Bible Week, closely followed by visits to Montana, Idaho and Oregon, where we enjoyed fellowship in several churches, and finally spoke at our Bible Weekend camp Together at the New Forest – a wonderful time at the conclusion of which 300 responded to the invitation to be available for church planting!
At the end of this, Wendy and I enjoyed a magnificent 40th wedding anniversary cruise in the Mediterranean. It was absolutely superb. Starting in Barcelona, a beautiful city in its own right, we sailed for Monte Carlo. The cruise is arranged in such a way that one wakes after sailing through the night approaching a new harbour with the fresh morning sunlight. Each day ended as we once again left harbour and started afresh in a new location.
Our third stopping place was Naples, where we had the joy of renewed fellowship with Giovanni and Franca Traettino. Giovanni heads up a network of churches across Italy. He has been a dear friend for many years and some years ago arranged for my book Restoration in the Church to be translated into Italian and distributed there. It was such a joy to see them and spend the day with them. I look forward to ongoing fellowship as he has invited me to speak into his network in this coming year, if everything works out. He is also in touch with a wider circle of men doing apostolic work in Thailand, Nigeria and several South American nations. It will be interesting to see if God will guide us into increasing fellowship there. It certainly would be a joy to spend time again with them both.
I was particularly impressed with Valetta, the harbour in Malta, by far the most vast and remarkable harbour we entered.
Our journey took us as far as Izmir (the Biblical Smyrna) in Turkey, where we had a wonderful day with some of the Newfrontiers church there. Helmut and Judith arranged for us to be met from the harbour and we attended their morning prayer meeting – only a quarter of an hour away from the harbour. It was wonderful to pray with them and actually lay hands on a guy (from Bulgaria) who was in severe pain and immediately testified that the pain had gone. It was also a special joy to have lunch with a local Turkish convert who told me his remarkable testimony of finding Christ.
On our way back through the Mediterranean towards Rome we stopped at Athens, ascended the Acropolis which is crowned by the ruins of the the Parthenon: a wonderful sight from which we could look over the whole of Athens.
After stopping at Messina in Sicily and passing Stromboli, an active volcano, on our journey we eventually arrived at Rome and flew home.
Now I get ready to speak at the Assemblies of God pastors’ conference in Holland, followed almost immediately by a conference in Cape Town and two in Johannesburg. From there we fly immediately to Sydney for a couple of months, hosted by Peter and Susan Brooks at the Sydney church and gathering leaders from our ‘Pacific Rim’ churches, and also travelling to New Zealand and Japan, ultimately returning to the UK on January 2nd.