As I write this, three African men finished praying in French. It was beautiful hearing French again, particularly in prayer.
I am already overwhelmed.
I slept a bajillion hours last night, I’m sure, because of all your prayers for me. I feel so much better. I had lunch in a café adjacent to my hotel. At first I was alone, but I decided to choose to meet someone instead, so I extended my hand to Sam from Nigeria who is also here for the conference. We shared about our lives, families and ministries over lunch. He works for Campus Crusade and has a passion for students.
I waited in the plenary hall for my table group, but for a long time, none came. I was so excited when Ebenezer from Nigeria sat down. He’s started an evangelistic ministry, has a wife and two boys, and will be traveling out of the country for another outreach in November.
Malcolm, from South Africa, works for Evangelism Explosion. He shared his story with us about meeting Jesus in the military, then having a passion to evangelize many. He’s bi-vocational. His job enables him to travel and train people in the margins of life. He has a goal to train 10,000 people. He’s halfway there.
Katherine comes from Uganda and works with youth from her church. She loves to serve. She is gentle and sweet and has a heart to trust God. He is doing a new thing in her life.
Madrine is from Zimbabwe. She and her husband take care of orphans, and she wants to write a book. She reminded me about how it took 8 years to develop the orphan home after I told her I’d been discouraged about writing. “Mary,” she said. “God needs to see you’ll be faithful in the hard times to entrust you for the blessings.” Her words resonated with me. This time in my career is my testing ground, my time to be obedient to His call.
I shared a bit of my story of France. Malcolm grew passionate about what God is going to do in my husband’s life, that France was not a defeat but a stepping stone for the next phase of our lives in ministry. I can’t tell you how very much I needed to hear that from him. God must’ve known.
Later I ran into my dear friend Mick Silva’s father! We’d met several years ago at a writers conference, so when we saw each other, it was quite surprising. It truly is a small world after all.
Later, I ran into my friend Guy Richards, and we had a good, yet brief talk.
So far the highlight has been singing Crown Him with Many Crowns with 198 nationalities. Humbling, since that is the first hymn sung at the Edinburgh 1910 World Evangelism Conference. 100 years later we’re still singing that hymn, yet 4000 strong. I felt a part of history.
I continue to be blessed and amazed here. Deeply moved. Truly challenged. Fully engaged. Already moved to tears several times. To experience God’s people and their passionate hearts for Him from all over the world is something I can’t quite describe.
Except to say: Jesus is real. And He is alive in His people.