Sorry that I’ve been out of touch for some time. It has been due to my laptop dying in London in September, as I was on my way home from Nigeria. I’m back up to speed now, and as I write this I’m on my way home from Cambodia, so I have two trips to tell you about.
My trip to Nigeria was probably the most fruitful time of ministry that I’ve ever enjoyed overseas. My contact there aranged two-day pastors’ conferences in four different cities. I spoke to well over 2,000 pastors during that time, and they were extremely receptive. After each teaching session, someone would lead them in prayer over the major points of the message so that it would be burned into their hearts.
The best of the conferences was held in the city of Kaduna in northern Nigeria. Muslims are trying to impose Islamic law in most of Nigeria’s northern states, and when they succeed, evangelism is effectively halted, indigenous tribal people suddenly are Muslim, and wealthy people are never convicted of their crimes. Tension is running high in Kaduna, and last September 1,000 people lost their lives as Christians defended themselves against Muslim mobs who were burning down their homes. One pastor at our conference showed me deep scars on the top of his bald head. He had been dragged from his home by Muslim men and beaten with pipes until they assumed he was dead. But the Lord spared him and he is still joyously pastoring his church. Persecution has brought a lot of unity to the body of Christ in Kaduna, and over 1,000 pastors registered for our conference, even some from liberal Protestant churches whose salvation is questioned by the others!
An added blessing to this trip was that I met pastors who listened to our daily shortwave radio braodcast, and some of them traveled long distances to attend our conferences, one even coming from the neighboring country of Niger. I was also blessed to distribute hundreds of our books, and hundreds more will soon be distributed as soon as they arrive in Lagos.
My trip to Buddhist Cambodia was my fifth in four years. This time I was the faculty coordinator for a pastors’ conference held in the captial, Phnom Penh, that was sponsored by Global Connections International. 350 pastors from the four major evangelical groups were hand-picked for our conference, and so I was blessed to minister to Cambodia’s finest. The Cambodian church is growing very rapidly in the wake of the genocide of the killing fields, but it is very young, and the foundation is still being laid. I spent my seven sessions teaching through the Sermon on the Mount, and it seemed to go very well. It was interesting that we had three former army generals at the conference who previously fought each other in different armies. Now they are brothers in Christ.
Along with our pastors’ conference, Global Connections coordinated a medical outreach with about 35 American doctors and nurses, and also served the poor through rice distribution in villages that have experienced drought or flooding. Jim Groen, president of GCI, and several other team members, also met with the two heads of Cambodia’s coalition government, King Shionuk and Prime Minister Hun Sen. Through the past efforts of Jim Groen, the church has great favor with the government.
Thanks for your prayers. As I write this, I’ve been sitting in either an airport or jet for the past 32 hours, and I still have 7 hours to go before I land in Pittsburgh. Fortunately I have four seats to myself on this flight, and I was able to sleep for three hours earlier. I’m certainly looking forward to teaching at a leadership school in Nicaragua in late November, as it will only take eight hours to get there!
Well, I need to work on a sermon. Tomorrow is Sunday!
Blessings to you!