Well I have returned in one piece from Mauritius and feel restored and refreshed. I needed to be. It was a time of friendship and laughter, rich reading, amazing curry and an encounter with an extraordinary church and new friends. Most of my time was spent with my friends Pip, Rolf ,Lilly and Pia on the north of the island in Belle Mare. The aim was a recharge and it happened- thankfully. Good food, walks along the beach, fishing and trips out to see a few things.
My reading was a real blessing. On New Years eve I plucked a book off the shelf called 'The read of my life' which asks a variety of people for their most important read. One essay by Derek Tidball cited Knowing God by J. I. Packer. Now, I have always called this the most widely bought and least read Christian book of all time and sure enough when I looked on my shelf I owned a second hand copy but had never got around to reading it. So with this prompting, I popped it in the bag for my holiday. What a treasure trove of truth unveilied itself from this pastors heart. Reading this book in my early days of faith would have saved me years of bother and confusion- but perhaps now was the right time. In one chapter, he quotes George Whitfield who once prayed 'Lord help me to begin to begin'. I felt I was once again beginning as I read a couple of chapters slowly each day.
'There is no peace like the peace of those whose minds are possessed with full assurance that they have known God, and God has known them, and that this relationship guarantees them God's favour to them in life, through death and on for ever' J I Packer Knowing God
The real surprise of my time was a visit to my friends Annie's church-CTMI. Here there is a story that goes back a few years. Audrey, a dear friend and encourager with whom I pray has spoken often of her daughters church in Mauritius. I must visit and meet Miki she says almost every time I see her and spend some time when them all- "They preach the cross". But when would I ever fly 12 hours to do that? By grace it happened and I found myself sitting in an evangelistic tent meeting outside Port Louis singing songs in French listening to a sermon by Miki on the wide and a narrow gate that made me go forward at the appeal once again in my heart. The gospel preached with holy fire. I finally understood what Audrey had been on about. I spent three days staying with a wonderful Mauritian pastor Fabien and his family. The first person I met gave me a book written by Miki called 'The power of grace'. You should get hold of it if you can. I know I am rambling but my thoughts are not yet formed. Suffice it say that this is one of my most faith enhancing encounters of recent years. I am considering another visit if the Lord enables it to attend this
I also read the epic novel Shantaram which was truly spellbinding. READ THIS BOOK. I also read Memoirs of an ordinary pastor which I left with Fabien who appropriately also ministers in French and English as Tom Carson did in Canada.
I listened to this talk called Running with the witnesses by Piper recommended by this excellent post. Worth a listen.
I have been blessed indeed and must now get up once again and run.