We are in Izmir, Turkey and it is a beautiful place. We are attending what ReachGlobal calls Lead Team. It is a meeting of the top leaders of the mission. About 75 people are here. This has been an especially important meeting in light of the tragic failure of our senior leader, who resigned this past August for moral failure. What we have learned is that this was just the tip of the iceberg. Many senior leaders in the national office have been living under a cloud of his inappropriate and hurtful leadership style for years. We were totally unaware of this, and think this failure was at least as bad as the moral one, and certainly hurtful to more people. So, this meeting has been a time of healing, refreshment, reassessment of who we are, and establishing what is centrally important. Our president Kevin Kompelien has been here participating and helping this process, and he is like a breath of fresh air. We are very encouraged by the direction and attitudes of all in attendance. As many of you may know, Edie and I have had a very tough 6 months, and were hoping this trip would be a time of revival, refreshment and renewal for us. It is turning out to be just that. We are so thankful to God for his continuing grace for all of us.
We had been making great connections with other leaders in our regional divisions, and are very optimistic about the future of our partnership with them in training. The camaraderie that we have been seeking for years is developing in various areas, and new opportunities are being explored to train pastors in unexpected places. Again, we can only thank God.
The meetings are long and grueling in one sense with individual small meetings at the mealtimes so the days are long and exhausting, but in a good way. We had a break on Wednesday and travelled about an hour to Ephesus. It was amazing to walk the street that Paul must have walked, and see the ruins of this great city. We sat in the theater where the riot described in Acts 19 took place. One of our leaders gave a wonderful devotion about what we could learn from what the Bible says about this city. One key point that stuck with me was that in I Corinthians 16:8 Paul says, “I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost for a wide door for effective work has been opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” What a contrast that God has opened a wide door for effectiveness but still has allowed there to be much opposition. Can we reconcile that in our minds as we face obstacles in our lives? It is a helpful thing to think about concerning our walk with God and our service to Him.