"I wish I could help," Olive shares to us at the dinner table. "I wish I could just jump in and share in the presentation." She tells us about her feelings while she was listening to one of the presentation at the 2013 Missions Congress in Davao City, Philippines.
Sarah and I are listening to Olive and her husband, Ronilo, share about what God is doing in their lives. They are currently leading a Free Methodist Bible college here in the Philippines, as well as participating in several ministries helping Filipinos who are suffering from the HIV disease and other related maladies. Sarah and I are so amazed with how God is leading them. Many Filipinos are in this state. They are eager to get involved in the Lord's work. It is humbling to see how the Spirit of the Lord is moving in their midst..
I am right now in the Philippines for several reasons. Sarah, Carmen, Jacob, and I are taking a short vacation. Two weeks ago, we went out to Coron, Palawan for a family time of snorkeling and water fun. The children loved it! It was their first time do something like this. A few days back, we were also in Butuan City to visit with my sister and her family. It was a great time for us to reconnect with cousins, uncles, and aunts. Here in Manila, we also visited with several of my brothers and sisters.
Last week, we were at the 2013 Missions Congress of the APFMMA (Asia Pacific Free Methodist Missions Association). At the congress, I presented a workshop on Mobilizing Local Churches for Missions Work. Most of the time, I just listened to FM people share about God's work in Asia. We prayed together. We helped each other rekindle our love for God. In addition to the many Filipino FM pastors and leaders, I met with several Asian FM leaders. Lura said, "Come to Nepal and lead a Bible class to help our young leaders in our Bible school there." Katsumi sat down with me about the plans to bring a mission team to Japan sometime in 2014. Australia. Vietnam. India. Everyone is sharing about the many ways to help each other, to encourage the FM people working in Asia. Just like Olive and Ronilo, everyone wanted to jump in and get involved in the work. Kevin's presentation about the FM work of the "Set Free Movement" was a hit! After his talk and workshop, participants were discussing ways to get their local churches involved in ending modern-day slavery, human trafficking, and other social issues of our time. There is certainly a movement, a growing desire to be available for God's work here in Asia.
"Next year, I will bring my daughter," David (Lou), a Chinese pastor from Taiwan, shares to Sarah and I. "I will ask Pastor Timothy to also bring his teenage daughter. We will bring several young people from our local churches in Taiwan to participate in next year's meeting in Bangkok, Thailand." He is referring to August 2014, next year's Young Leaders' Missions Congress to be sponsored by APFMMA. It will also be a time to celebrate APFMMA's 20 years anniversary.
People are excited. Free Methodists are willing to participate. FM people are open to God's leadership in missions work here in Asia, whether it is participating in the challenges posed by the Set Free Movement or getting involved in the life of our local churches for cross cultural ministry.
I am waiting on the Lord! It has always been my dream that a steady stream of leaders will respond to God's call for cross cultural ministry here in Asia among our Free Methodist congregations and communities. And, I have always believe that this won't happen unless we educate our young people, we rally them to join us. And because of this conviction, I always have this tendency to go around our churches in Taiwan, in the Philippines, in Asia, and tell everyone that they must be involved in cross cultural missions. They should join in the Lord's work. This month, God is telling me to wait. He said: "Let me do my work. Stop talking and wait." And so . . . I wait.