I'm at Southeastern Bible College (about 280 students) in Birmingham for a few days. I am representing AIM/The World Race at their annual Missions Conference. There are about a dozen ministries represented- people that I would consider "big kids on the block" in the mission world, like Wycliffe Bible Translators and the International Mission Board. Then there are some ministries I've never heard of and some independent missionaries. The World Race has generated a moderate amount of interest. I wish I had better promo materials. All I have is a handful of flyers from the home office and everything else is stuff I put together. Of course, I have some amazing pictures but the videos are all ripped from YouTube and they are pretty low quality.
It's encouraging though to be here with these other ministries and missionaries. (I plan to forward info about several of them to World Race Headquarters for future use...there are some people we will want to connect with in the future). The fellowship has been sweet. I feel like the smart aleck know-it-all-guy because every time someone around me starts talking about where they are serving…I can’t help but interject something because I’ve been there. I don’t mean to be that guy- really, I don’t. But I am. The World Race did that to me. So. There.
The keynote speaker is Dr. Billy Kim from Korea. He has been amazing. A US Army Sergeant sponsored him through college and seminary after the Korean War. He returned to Korea and began ministry in 1960 growing from a handful of people to a church of over 10,000 with missionaries all over the world. He translated for Billy Graham in the early 70’s before over a million people. He is a past president of the Baptist World Alliance. He has been incredibly gracious and inspiring.
Speaking of connecting with ministries in the future. I started emailing people about contacts in Eastern Europe about 2 weeks ago and the responses have been overwhelming in a good way. I will have plenty to do when I'm there and I shouldn't lack for a place to stay...which is really good. I'm looking forward to some work in Ukraine and in Romania in particular.
One of the missionaries here at the conference said this morning that as many as 1/3 of the women/girls in Moldova have been abducted for human trafficking (mostly sex trade). Can you imagine that? I mean, it's a tiny country, but still...1/3? He said unemployment is over 90%. They were probably better off in communism it seems. What a place to do ministry though. It's one of the countries I intend to visit on my trip this spring.
The next few weeks are shaping up to be slightly busy. I’ll be back on the Coast in MS next weekend to speak in a church, and then another church on Wednesday. I’m speaking at MS Gulf Coast Community College BSU on the 13th as well. That following weekend I’m going to Passion in Dallas with the Bayou View college kids. Then back to the lake house for 2 more weeks of playing before spending some time with family and going to Greece!!