Well, I must finally start … 2018. I needed to find a day to begin and Resurrection Sunday/April Fool’s Day provided a definite marker. Between grief and travel recovery (I actually slept two full nights on the 31st and 1st), I told Bonnie I’m beginning a new day, week, month and … year!
Last month blazed with a two-week, five-country, six-city presence and proclamation.
I count all Dallas Seminary opportunities a stewardship and ended my recent chapel talk there with a 1972 photo of two heroes of the Faith together, Billy Graham and John Richard. They both flew to heaven in February, much like they did on an Indian Airlines flight in 1965. Ongoing classroom involvement at DTS has been a wonderful outlet for me to personally proclaim God’s Word.
In Singapore, I roomed with a believer who had just lost his beloved Hindu mother. We grieved differently—with and without hope. He has hope for himself, but not for his mom; unlike myself with hope for both me and my dad. I so overlook biblical riches.
Two cities in India hosted the final services for my dad. The Lord empowered me for His glory, my father’s honor, the strengthening of believers, and Gospel advance through testimonies to an extraordinary life. I got to preach at a church in Chennai from which I have childhood memories of my father as a lay-leader and where I was spiritually shaped. That experience strangely strengthened my resolve to do all I can until I no longer can to serve Christ—like my dad.
I took an overnight flight to Hong Kong for pastoral calls—a couple fighting her cancer; a man fighting Parkinson’s; a man fighting his wife; a couple fighting his health challenge—caring for friends in life’s fights.
Finally I wrapped up with 40 hours in the Philippines with key encouragers, the head of the Philippines Council of Evangelical Churches (who has suggested a GProCongress Philippines), and a wedding, before a 36-hour journey home.
In the multiplying of proclaimers of God’s Word, RREACH accomplished the second GPA Zambia, since the first one in 2013 was mostly a failure. Also, GPA El Salvador graduated 19, who met at a beautiful place within 300 feet of a gang murder. God protects.
And God provides … through you … for me to carry on in proclamation and leadership into the rest of 2018. Our Lord has created time before and I am counting on him to do so again, or at least to compress 12 months into nine. Maybe I will get to share how next January. I intend to start the next year on time, the Lord willing. Thank you.
News from the GProCongress frontline: “Just heard that 30 pastors just received visas in Kenya, with more to come. Twenty-two pastors from Benin received visas in Senegal, even though they were to go to Nigeria! Wonderful miracles are happening, praise God together.” However, we’re also hearing from pastoral trainers in countries where visas are being denied.
Your prayers are vital, please keep on. Many pastoral trainers long to attend the GProCongress yet face visa, financial, health, transportation and other challenges. Pray that the Lord will provide and protect in such a way that their faith will be strengthened and His name lifted up among any non-believing family members, friends, acquaintances—even in their nation. Additional needs in the area of Congress recruitment include participation from countries not yet represented and strong delegations from strategic countries, including a good response to an initiative in honor of the late Rev. Enoch Sirikul.
Dr. Richard and the Congress program team plan to meet next week. Ask God to give them wisdom and creativity in planning, and attention to detail, encouragement and patience in plan implementation. Dr. Richard requests special prayer for three main program elements—the opening and closing events and the mid-Congress Communion service. Also lift up the panel discussion addressing how to connect and enhance the worlds of formal and non-formal pastoral training. The Lord willing, Dr. Richard is to participate in this panel.
Thank you for your prayer during the difficult time of Rev. Enoch Sirikul’s abrupt home-going and resulting challenges to GProCongress preparation. The Lord Jesus is inspiring Thai Christian leaders to carry forward Rev. Sirikul’s ministry in this land where less than 1 percent of the population identifies as Christian. He is also inspiring broader interest in the GProCongress. As you remember Rev. Sirikul’s family and all grieving his earthly loss, intercede for God to work mightily through those he trained. Specifically ask for His wisdom, guidance, protection and provision as Dr. Richard and the GProCongress team adjust and proceed with even more heartfelt urgency.
Pray for the GProCongress registration team as registration activity has increased heavily. Pray for this trend to continue, technology systems to operate smoothly and visa challenges to be overcome. Also praise God for providing tremendous favor with the Thai government in regard to visas.
Many pastoral trainers have acted in faith, obedience and hope as they paid Congress registration fees. They still need funding to travel to Bangkok. Please ask God to provide abundantly, so that now and in the years to come more may trust and rejoice in His name. Please ask Him for abundant spiritual provision for GProCongress presenters and coaches, also.
In a few days, the Lord willing, Dr. Richard is to record some online curriculum sessions regarding the Holy Spirit. Pray for wisdom, strength and clarity, for God’s glory. Thank you!