Being thankful for Turkey has a whole new meaning for me this year. That’s because last week I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a Global Consultation in Istanbul, Turkey. There were missionaries, national church planters and ministry partners from around the globe sharing what God is doing in their part of the vineyard. I had the privilege, along with the South African pastor who accompanied me, to share what God is doing in South Africa as well as learn from others as they contextualized their missions experiences. Actually, just preparing for that speaking time and seeing on paper chronologically all that God has done here these past 30 years was remarkable. It is a humbling thing and it is with great thanksgiving that we get to do this. Thank you for your partnership in the Great Commission.
However, the biggest impact made on me personally was being in a city of 15 million people, where 98% are Muslim, where the Mosque is the center of life, and the Islamic call to prayer rings loud and often. My heart was distressed and my burden became even greater. I’ll never forget looking out the window from the Hagia Sophia, realizing the history behind where I was standing… taking in all the sights of a dark lost world and hearing the deafening sound of a call to pray. Formally a cathedral in the early 500s, it was converted to a Mosque in the 1400s and in the mid 1900s it became a museum. For me, that day, it was my prayer room to the only true God. (And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ… John 17:3)
South Africa Regional Conference (SARC) – We are also thankful for the blessing of our SARC conference last month (we promised you more feedback and here it is!) where we came together with our friends and co-laborers. Thank you for praying – it was a great week and God was at work bringing hope and encouragement to our ABWE Teams in South Africa.
Bruce and Bev McDonald, fellow ABWE missionaries, came and challenged the RSA teams with the need to care for their own souls as servants of God if they have any hope of caring for the souls of those to whom they minister. We had 60 in attendance and it was the first regional conference Nancy and I have led as Regional Administrator. While we certainly had lots of help, it still felt like a big undertaking and we praise God that it went so well. Thanks for your prayers!
Happy Thanksgiving – Being away from America means that Thanksgiving Day could easily come and go, and we might even miss it. That probably sounds strange to all those in America where life is planned well in advance around the holiday (or at least the shopping extravaganza of Black Friday!). And we do miss it a bunch. Being with family, eating all the good food, the parade on TV, and of course, football – it’s an amazing day. This year, we have set aside an evening for a full Thanksgiving meal with Dave Drullinger and our new pastor at Mountain View and his family. Lönngren’s wife, Anna, is from Texas and she’s whipping up a meal that we will all share in. We are so grateful for those He has given us to share life with, and to Him we give thanks.
God’s best to you and enjoy this wonderful time of the year! Please pray for us and know that we will be praying and giving thanks for all of you on Thanksgiving Day!