I have been to a number of large gatherings of followers of Jesus-some for youth, some for regional missions, and others that are evangelistic crusades, but I have to say that nearly 5000 representatives from 198 countries, all in one room and all singing praises to Jesus is pretty powerful. It gives a small picture of the thousands of thousands standing before the throne singing “salvation belongs to our God and to the Lamb.” The amazing work of the Holy Spirit is evident in the maturity and dedication of these leaders from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Each morning we sit at a table (about 800 tables) with people from several nations. Mine had Ukraine, Philippines, India, South Korea, and Vietnam. They all have as difficult time understanding me as I do them (speaking in English).
I traveled with about 40 leaders to Cape of Good Hope. The tour was sponsored by MANI (Movement for African National Initiatives). Their mission is mobilizing the African Church for the Great Commission. This group included leaders of COMIBAN, Mission Exchange and Global CrossLink, a number of mission agencies and ministries, and then of course the African leadership of MANI. Steven K. invited me. He is a partner with Bethany in Kenya (as well as with Bethany Church). I met Desta, the current leader of missions for an Ethiopian church and Howard B., the former leader of SIM in the region. These are dear friends and partners of Bethany in eastern Africa. It is really a privilege to get to know these men and women more closely and to partner with them.
Lastly, we have been hearing much of ethnographic trends that really affect how we do what we do. The changes in the last twenty years are really almost unbelievable. There are 200 million people who are in other countries (not their own), not as immigrants to new countries, but just on “assignment” to other countries. They are students, businessmen, and in some cases refugees. Most plan on returning to their native countries. They represent a tremendous mission field right now. More than half of the world’s populations live in cities. There are 400 cities of one million or more. Forty of them are mega-cities of ten million or more. And, five million a month move in to cities-most into shanty towns and in great poverty (this is 2 people every second). China is losing population leadership and will fall behind India soon as their average age rises due to the one child policy. They are heading for an economic demand of care for the elderly. There continues to be an amazing witness into the Muslim world via radio broadcast, the internet, Jesus revealing Himself to them in dreams and visions, and bold witness of Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) is increasing. Walls that have been constructed to keep a Christian witness out are increasingly difficult to enforce. Just this week the Global Link system was jammed for a few days as one of the closed nations tried to block the internet broadcast of the Cape Town Congress. Technical staff was able to resolve the problem.
I encourage you to take advantage of the videos available on the Lausanne website. This is an amazing opportunity to see and hear what God is doing around the world. It also brings a very inspiring and challenging message.
Please continue to pray for the STEM team in Biloxi, MS, particularly for their safety, health and of course that they will be in the right place at the right time for those divine appointments God always has for us. Pray for safety as they drive home over the week-end.
We now have five more Haiti teams on the calendar; please pray that God will send the right people for each one:
- #721 Dec 27, 2010 to Jan 03, 2011
- #722 Jan 06-13, 2011
- #723 Feb 25 – Mar 04, 2011
- #713 Mar 05-12, 2011 – Oak Hill Christian College
The BCOM team for Central Asia is making last minute preparations for their outreach, partnering with the Global Interns there. Please pray for them on every level. Some are still lacking funds.