Sunday, June 19: I’ve been in a large conference for pastoral trainers in Bangkok for the past 3 days. It has been nonstop morning to night and I have not had the energy to write anything until today. What a blessing to be here with 3,000 or so men and women from over 100 different countries. It has been amazing to worship with believers and workers from so many different cultures. It has been a foretaste of heaven when people from every tongue and nation will give praise to Jesus.
I have had brief encounters with many people from dozens of different countries and many extended conversations as well. I have been praying that I would meet and connect with the people that God sovereignly designs for me to meet. At times, it has been amazing, like when I sat with two men, one of which lives 10 miles from me in Colorado and does pastoral training. His colleague went to college with a man from my home church from whom I rented an apartment when I went to college. All these encounters while I am here on the other side of the world with 3000 others in the room. Another man I met in line for lunch lives 60 miles from where I lived in Iowa and said, “I came here to learn about pastoral training, I would like to get involved.” I invited him to sit with us to eat and he is interested in joining our training in Iowa in August. I could mention many other such encounters. I have also met several people I knew who I did not know would be here. It was a joy to reconnect with leaders from LRI, the organization that helped us get our start in training, and discuss with them common challenges and our efforts to improve.
One man I have seen every day is from a large country in S. Asia that is often in the news and is not one that I would have thought we would ever visit. He leads a seminary there and is very interested in seeing how to use our training in the school and to reach out to students who cannot attend. We may end up visiting this country, which is perhaps a bit more dicey as far as security than any we have visited before.
I will leave on Thursday for our usual visit to a S. Asia country where I will survey on new city for future training, and conduct a training in the capital. There Edie will join me, and then we will travel south to where we trained before to encourage the brothers and sisters there. One of the men there is training in many different places and he will join us for training in northern Sri Lanka. I have had “chance” encounters with several from that country who are interested in helping us connect with new pastors in the South. We are still working on our schedule although I now know I will be preaching in a Baptist church there on Sunday and a meeting with pastors on Saturday. I am not sure what Monday will bring, hopefully we will connect with the large seminary in the capital.
I am making progress with jet lag and thank you all who remember to pray for Edie and me as we travel.