Friday, June 29, 2007

From Every, Tongue, Tribe and Nation ...

The Conference in Wiedenest has been a great experience of unity within diversity. Today my lunch was with Turkey, U.S.A., Pakistan and the Philippines. Afternoon tea will be with another group and on it goes. The main sessions of Bible Teaching and Mission Focus have been from a diversity of men from around the globe. The best two communicators, in my opinion, have been two brothers from Kenya and Zambia.

The evening sessions have been moving as different men have brought reports from their home countries. Last night we heard from Alfredo Capote and his homeland Cuba. It is a miracle that he got a visa to leave, but he talked of 776 believers in 60 assemblies in Cuba and that in spite of repression. Hans Ramirez reported on Colombia. What a joy to see a Colombian proudly, but nervously, bring a report on the progress of the gospel in Colombia. Sony of the Andaman Islands (India) followed with a report on the devastation of the Tsunami with 40,000 who perished but none of the local believers. Hani from Sudan talked of the inroads of Islam and the civil war in that land. Finally we had a most moving report on Turkey and the reality of the martyrdom of the three men a few weeks ago. But God is at work in the world.

This afternoon we have the closing session and the main speaker will be a local brother from Germany.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wiedenest, Germany

I arrived in Germany on Sunday afternoon at the Cologne Airport to be met by Toby, a German, and three other brothers, one from Malaysia and three from Zambia. These men have become my friends while at the Conference. Coming in to the airport one is impressed by the Rhine River and the two spires of the famous Cologne Cathedral. We waited a while at the airport as one of the Zambian's suitcases didn't arrive. It was then a fast drive on the autobahn to Wiedenest a small town of 3,000 directly east of Cologne - about an hours drive. There are two speeds on the autobahns, fast and very fast. We were doing 160 kms per hour and cars would zoom past us at probably around 200 kms per hour.

Wiedenest is set in a beautiful setting of hills and valleys. It is green and it has rained every day since our arrival. The Germans jokingly talk about two days of summer they got back in April.
It is so tranquil to be out in a more rural setting. Wiedenest is the home of the Brethren Assemblies' Bible Institute. They have a fine facility and it is an ideal setting to host the Brethren International Missions Conference. There are attendees from 78 countries of the world, including places like Cuba, Nepal, Iraq, Russia and Eastern Europe. The Lord is doing a mighty work all around the world. I find it most stimulating to attend such a conference to receive a new or fresh vision from the Lord. I always fear getting into a rut in the work I am doing for the Lord.

The morning sessions have focused on Bible Teaching and then the rest of the day different aspects of mission in relation to the current needs of the world. There has already been participation by men from France, Italy, Germany, Kenya, and the U.K to name a few countries. In the late afternoon there have been workshops to choose from and in the evening reports from different countries of the world.

Yesterday I went to a session for the some 80 participants from Latin America and Spain. There are some 8 representing the work in Colombia - Brian and Sheran Killins, Betsie Killins, Cristina, Carlos, Hanz and Andrea - and then me as a ring in. The Colombians accept me as one of them.

I should be at the morning prayer meeting but my secretary, treasurer, manager and coach informed me that I should do a spot for the blog. So as an obedient husband I am complying!

I have had a few good chats with my fellow New Zealanders; John and Helen Hodgkinson, Phil and Janice Aish and Ron and Eunice Diprose. I have yet to sit down and talk with Rob Purdue.

On Monday Chris from Malaysia and three brothers from Zambia and I went into Cologne on the train. It took about an hour but we were able to see the cathedral , the Rhine River and Roman ruins. The Cathedral, built over several centuries, is so huge and the the architecture spectacular. On Saturday I am probably going with Brian and Sheran Killins by train to Berlin for a day or so before returning to Wiedenest and then back home to Los Angeles.

So I'll try and get a few more details written later. Until then ...