Missions Fest Vancouver '09 took place this last weekend. This is a yearly event held at Canada Place which takes place over 3 days and brings together Christians from all corners of the world for the express purpose of informing each other of what amazing and powerful things God is doing around the world. It is a highlight of our year. We spend all day Saturday there, from 7 am until 10pm listening to speakers, attending workshops and visiting the plethora of booths and chatting with the workers who are living out their faith in very practical ways. I always come away with mixed feelings: encouraged by the knowledge that God is truly at work and somewhat discouraged because I want to do more than what my circumstances allow.
The highlights this year were the plenary sessions and seminars of Mark Buchanan, Joseph D'Souza and Marie Ens. http://www.missionsfestvancouver.ca/plenary.cfm
Mr. D'Souza was a passionate, articulate advocate for the Dahlits (the untoucables) of India. It is his goal to "free" this generation of Dahlit children from this entrenched scourge of slavery that has held them in its grip for 3,000 years. No small task, as this involves educating and employing 40% of a population that has never had access to either of these things until now. And it requires a monumental shift in how India's people view their creation. They are taught that God creates people according to a caste system into which one is born and from which one can never escape. Join me in praying for him, for them and for India.
Marie Ens was nothing short of delightful. At 74 she has returned to Cambodia where she and her husband served for 40 years until his early death. At 65 her missions agency asked her to retire, which she did. But she decided to return to Cambodia on her own because she felt God was not done with her yet. She now oversees an orphanage which cares for and educates the millions of children who are abandoned or rescued from sexual slavery. She is often referred to as the "Mother Teresa of Cambodia." Her energy and enthusiasm were contagious.
And Mark Buchanan painted a very different picture of China than what we viewed during the Olympics in Bejing. Every culture has its dark side, and China is no exception. Because of their "one child" mandate, their country has a huge population of men who will never find a mate. Orphanages are full of abandoned children who receive little or no care. The needs are overwhelming.
I am convicted. I live a life of ease and comfort and like most Americans, I have imagined my "retirement" would fit the common mold of living out my remaining years puttering about. I'm rethinking this view and wondering if God could use me somewhere else. I can hold and comfort and love babies. There are lots and lots of them all around the world desperately needing these very things. Although our resources won't go very far in this country, we could easily live in other countries on the small retirement income we will have. We shall see what transpires. All He asks for is a willing heart!