My heart is full as I sit down with my Macbook in the lobby of the hotel in which we have been staying for the past seven days. It is 5:19 a.m. back home in Tennessee, but it is 4:19 p.m. here in this particular city in Thailand. I hesitate to post the precise city name because I have a duty to my new friends to protect them. You see, my new friends gathered here this week from all over South Asia for a season of rest and revitalization. The team you see in the picture above was tasked with the responsibility of providing programming for the children so that these new friends of mine, brothers and sisters in the ministry of the Gospel, could focus on God and each other.
My heart is full because I had the high honor and privilege of opening the glorious Word of God each day and allowing the Holy Spirit to minister the Gospel among us. Each day a ballroom full of men and women who have said, “Yes!” to the call of God in their life, who work and serve in some of the most spiritually dark places on Earth, listened intently and graciously to the messages God had placed in my heart and in my mouth. I did not feel worthy to stand before them, yet, I was fully aware of the One who called me to this ministry and He certainly is worthy to stand there in me as I stand in Him.
My heart is full because I was able to sit for hours on end and listen to stories of the miraculous works of God. Stories of God saving individuals from lives bound up in the worship of statues and dead men, turning instead to the One who had died yet rose again victoriously. I heard the story of “Amelia” – not her real name – the seven-year old daughter of two of these faithful workers who just two weeks ago had confessed her faith in Jesus Christ. Her father warned her about the fact that now that she had committed her life to Christ, Satan, the enemy, would be attacking. Only one week later, Amelia began to convulse with violent seizures. She was rushed to the hospital where she began a battery of tests to determine the cause. They were concerned that it was a parasite in her brain or, possibly, tuberculosis. While lying in the hospital, Amelia turned to her father and said, “Daddy, this is what you were talking about isn’t it?”
My heart was full five days later when “Amelia” and her family walked victoriously into the ballroom where we were gathered to the thunderous applause of all in attendance. Take that, Satan!
My heart is full because as a Southern Baptist pastor, I hold a leadership position in a local church that supports these workers with Cooperative Program giving and funding from money given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering each year. Some may question what happens when those checks are written, when those apps are initiated, or when those bills hit the offering plate. I feel as though I have hitched a ride atop one of those wire transfers and have followed it all the way to the field. I can say, unequivocally, as for me and my house, we will gladly and generously continue to support this work because I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears what God can do when He gets the right people in the right places. His name goes forth in power and lives are transformed from death unto life.
My heart is full because this team of which I am a member, went above and beyond the call of duty this week. They worked hard and they loved harder. They stepped out of their comfort zone and pretty much slammed the door so hard they shattered. These baby toting, child disciplining, youth engaging pals of mine are my new heroes. Their hard work enabled me to participate in virtually every aspect of this conference and it has radically energized me even as I was coming to try to energize others. God is sneaky like that! We pour ourselves out for Him and He fills us to overflowing.
My social media pages will not be graced by the images of my new friends. No hash tags will be formulated to encapsulate these days. Because the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, I cannot publicly disclose the awesomeness that we have experienced. I must have faith in the applause of heaven that cannot yet be heard. I must be satisfied with the fullness of my heart that will not soon be exhausted.