This is mission conference week. One of my favorite weeks of the year. We have missionaries from; India, Costa Rica, Mexico, Sweden, France, and Wales. Today we took them fishing on the lake near the Branson Landing. Some of our group caught some small fish. Others (like me) caught nothing. We did however have a great time getting to know our missionaries.
Richie from Wales told me how he was 24 years old when he really heard the gospel and got saved. It took 24 years and he lived in the United States. He described how he felt like life was going no where, with no purpose and was not sure what was wrong. He and his wife went to church and they were so impressed with the hospitality of the other young couples. They soon became regular attenders and even got involved by going on visitation. One night he was visiting with his pastor, Dennis Jennings (now Pastor of Cherry St. Baptist in Springfield) and listened to him share the gospel with the person they were visiting. They left and Richie told Dennis that he did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and was saved that night.
Paul Dedeyan from France described how as a Frenchman in the US Air Force he ended up in Texas. His friends asked him if was interested in going on a blind date. Being from France, he was not familiar with that term. He thought that meant going out with a blind girl. He said that he agreed and was told he would have to go meet her parents first. When he went to her house and met her parents she came out and he was thinking that she got around so well for a blind girl. She really wasn't blind. She later became his wife.
Sam Thomas from India told us tonight that he and his evangelistic team went to a new area to hold an open air meeting. They got all set up and since rainy season begins in June and it was only April they did not worry about rain. Just before their meeting as everyone was assembled, without a cloud in the sky it rained and did so for an hour and a half. By the time the rain quit every one had gone. Disappointed they went home that night. The next day they learned that they were in the area where there were some militant religious groups that had planned an attack on them during the meeting. The rain stopped not only their meeting but also this attack. God's protection is real and so necessary.
We exchanged funny stories about cross cultural moments and had a great time at the Schaffitzels for Tony's amazing ribs and Gaye's spectacular home made rolls. It was a good time. I look forward to more stories as the conference continues.
Cindy and I sat and watched the news today. The stock market has dropped and money has evaporated like the wind. Cindy mentioned how glad she was that we choose to give to missions even sacrificing investment opportunities to do so. She pointed out that money in the stock market had gone away but our investment in missions is something that endures throughout eternity.