Our time in San Diego at the EFCA One conference went very well. Mike and I led the pre-conference presentation of the Pathways Bible Study Method for lay people. We covered the whole 13-week course in four - 1/2 hours so it was a race, but those attending really seemed to like it. Some said it was exactly what they needed in their ministry. We had a good cross section of pastors, missionaries and laymen who attended, about 18 in all. We hope to follow up with them over the next several months to see how they are using the study and to get feedback from them that will help us improve the course. All in all, we were very pleased with the way the day went and the outcome we received.
We had one other day at the conference before we left for Asia, and I spent the entire day dialoguing with lots of different people about what we do and how they might get involved. I gave about 50 copies of our lay study away so we will see how people respond. In general, we had very good responses and people were receptive to trying it out and even helping us in some way to produce or promote the ministry. My teammates all had similar experiences as well. Brad and Eric gave a commercial at the Expository Preaching pre-conference workshop and reported that Pathways is becoming much better known among pastors in the EFCA, and many people are talking about it. About a dozen or so new pastors signed up to get information about training opportunities in the future. In every way, we thought the conference was a great success for our team.
We got up on Thursday at 4 am to head to the airport and flew to Seattle, Tokyo and finally Bangkok. It was a long tiring trip made a little easier because on two of the legs we got bumped up to business class which was fun. We got to Bangkok Friday night (you lose a day on the trip due to the date line) and went to the hotel where we always stay overnight only to find we had booked the wrong hotel. We got the Thongta Residence rather than the Thongta Resort, both cheap overnight hotels. So late at night we had to get a taxi to take us over to the right hotel, and the driver couldn’t find it right off so we didn’t get to bed until midnight. Thanks to jet lag, we were up bright and early the next morning and went to the airport for breakfast and our flight on to Chiang Mai. A few perks, a few hassles, weird hours, pretty much a normal trip.
We are now in Chiang Mai and have had our first day of training. It went well. The material this time is on the Salvation Story of the Bible and is going to be difficult for the students to fully grasp. It is also my first time to teach it, and already I have lots of ideas about how it needs to be changed. One student said she thought at the beginning that the material was too hard and she could not understand it. But as she listened, she began to understand and finally thought by the end of the day that she would do okay. So for her at least we had success and I think many others felt the same way.
I am teaching alone this time and it was a tiring day. My feet were feeling like they got hammered after standing on the concrete barefoot all day. It is warm here but not unbearably hot like it was a few weeks ago so we are thankful for that. As we began yesterday the men sang some songs while waiting for one student to show up, and I was struck by what a privilege it is to be here with them and to teach them how to study the Word. I really enjoy being with them. I am looking forward to a good day today. Edie and I are both up around 3 am so are well prepared for the day by 8:30. So far, we haven’t made it past 8 pm before we crash, but gradually we will get in sync. Thanks for your prayers!