I am beginning this blog on Friday morning July 23rd at 10:30am. It is 10:30pm on Thursday night in Gainesville, Florida. Back on Monday, Jennifer and I boarded a flight from Orlando, Fl to Dallas, Tx. From there we flew to Los Angeles, CA. At 11:50pm we took off to go over the Pacific Ocean to fly to Hong Kong where we would pick up another flight into Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Four (4) count em four flights-a total of 31 hours to get here. We lost time on the calendar too. We left on Monday afternoon and arrived on WEDNESDAY at about 12:30pm! These last 2 days have been incredible. We have met many students who attend Nilai College/ University. Here students can do a 2 year degree and receive a diploma (sort of like our AA degree) and then go on to the University. Nilai does offer the University level of training and many choose to stay here to study. Our friends here have been great hosts. Jennifer and I are staying in what is known as a student house. This is in a Malaysian neighborhood. This morning Jennifer said, “Dad listen, there is someone singing.” The houses are connected and windows normally are open so you can hear. I couldn’t make out a word of the song.
Both Wednesday and Thursday nights we went to Bible studies for the College students. We met students from all over this part of the world. India, Pakistan, Africa (Kenya, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, I can’t think of all of them!) Indonesia and many more! This is a huge university town. Incredible opportunities here. We are meeting students and sharing meals with them.
Our friends are about to pick us up to take us to the site of the college retreat/conference. Guess what they are calling it? The Connexion Conference! Small world! It begins tonight. Remember Jennifer and I. I’ll continue to give you an update as we move along.
Friday, July 23rd, 2010
Wow! What a day. We started the conference tonight at Cheras Baptist Church in Kuala Lumpur. There were approximately 150 students from 5 different Connexion Locations. The work that our friends here are involved in is targeting 4 different locations in the KL region and one about 4 hours away. Each of these regions is a hotbed of University activity. The universities here are more spread out. All of the students are not on just one or two campuses like in Gainesville. Each of the Connexion locations may minister to 4 or 5 universities or colleges. This is truly a place where the world comes to study. It reminds me so much of Gainesville in that the international community is at your doorstep.
The Connexion conference is the the annual gathering of all of the connexion locations of Malaysia. Our friends–I’ll call them John and Linda are the chief strategists over the connexion team. This invitation was a great honor for me. Tonight I preached on the subject “Man’s search for the Missing Puzzle Piece.” This is the lesson that we get from Solomon in Ecclesiastes. Solomon tried it all and said it was all “vanity” and the “chasing of the wind!” Not until he found his answer in a relationship with God was he happy. Following the meeting one young man came up to me named Robert and told me that he was from China. He told me that the message encouraged him to know that he was sent to KL by God so that he could find out about Christ and give his life to Christ! He evidently had been a believer for only two weeks.
Saturday, July 24th, 2010
This morning the meeting started at 10am. Well really, it started about 10:45am. But who is worried? We are in Malaysia. They really start the meeting when everyone gets there. These students had to sacrifice to get here. Some actually came from 4 hours away for the meeting. KL is huge and most drove about one hour to the meeting. I preached this morning on the “Uniqueness of Christ and the Resurrection.” This was an apologeticalmessage meant to give them some evidences for the Christian faith. It was somewhat like the “Do you have questions?” series that we did on Sunday nights recently at church. Following morning worship there were seminars offered to the students on all kinds of topics. Some topics included: Relationships, Evangelism, Living with a Missional mindset, Facebookand the Gospel, and Worship. Tonight in the final message I shared withthem from Mark 1:16 ff entitled: “Why would I ever want to follow this Jesus?” I shared with them the challenge to take the gospel to the world and become fishers of men.
I can’t get over the folks we have met here. I talked at length with a fellow from Damascus-that’s right Damascus, Syria. He is not a believer but has found needed fellowship and love at the Connexion house ministry and just came. I preached the gospel to him! He was extremely kind and open.
There are some stories that I can’t write about but will just have to tell you. My heart is broken for these students. So many of them from countries that we would not easily be able to enter and yet they are here in Malaysia. What an opportunity. I’m praying about how we can come back with some of our students next summer for this annual conference to help them. There is a group here from Summit church (Pastor J. D. Greer) from the Raleigh Durham area. I talked about the Florida Gators last night and a college student from UNC Chapel Hill named Matt came up to me and said that his dad went to GHS and grew up in Gainesville. He said that their family was committed to the Tar Heels (they all have graduated or attended there) but they are Gator fans as well.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
This morning I preached at Nilai International Christian Fellowship. This is a church plant on the campus of Nilai College and University. They are doing a series on Relationships and asked me to preach on the subject, “What a lady looks for in a Godly Man.” I gave them four qualities to look for in a man. Spiritual Leadership, Moral Purity, Integrity, and Initiative. Afterward the Pastor of the church asked for students that wanted to be prayed for to come to the front. My friend John , the pastor of the church and his wife, and I prayed for the students. Several young men came to me wanting to commit to being faithful young men. It was very encouraging. The fellowship is so important to these believers. We stayed around and fellowshipped after the service. The Pastor’s daughter gave announcements and asked that the entire church come forward for a picture. I will get that picture. I found out later that they do this every Sunday.
This afternoon Jennifer and I went withJohn to play Ultimate Frisbee withthe students. I played with students from Cameroon, Syria, Kenya, Nigeria, China, and Malaysia. It was a total blast! I scored twice. Not bad for my first time ever playing. Then, these guys turned it on! They are all outstanding soccer players. As we fellowshipped the young man from Syria wanted to know about American Football. Now that was a shocker. This guy doesn’t know one thing about the Gators or Coach Meyer, Donovan, or Tim Tebow. But he was open to talk to me about my culture. God is working in this young man’s life. Tonight, dinner with a Chinese Malaysian Banker (we’ll call him Chuck) who is a national partner in the work here. Exciting days!
Tonight, I learned of an amazing story. One of our leaders on the Connexion team was hosting 11 college students in his home so that they could come to the Connexion conference. Only two were believers. On Saturday night, following the conference, one of the non believers said to the team leader, “Hey, I’m going in here to take a shower. When I get out I want you to convert me!” Our Connexion leader led him to know Jesus!
Monday, July 26th, 2010
Today, our friends John and Linda took us to the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. This is a huge site for Hindu Worship. There is a statue that towers over the entrance of the caves. When we arrived, people were already climbing the steps to go into the cave to worship. In addition to worshipers, there were plenty of tourists. People were lighting incense and going up to certain temples to pray. It was extremely sad to me. The lostnessof these people is overwhelming. My friend John and I along with Linda and Jennifer said a prayer that asked Jesus Christ to break the bondage of sin over the people of Malaysia.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Today, we travel from our friends here in Kuala Lumpur to HongKong. By the time our friends in the states awaken on Tuesday morning, we will have taken off. The flight is three and one-half hours long. Our prayer is that we will sense an even greater mandate to reach the Asian people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We know of the Lord’s love for these people-it is our burden and love that must increase. I will update soon.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Our plane was a little delayed getting into Hong Kong. Imagine being in a new place on the other side of the world and you look up and there is a familiar face! Jonathan was there to meet us last night when we arrived. We exchanged some US dollars for Hong Kong dollars and loaded up in a taxi. Jonathan took us to the guest house that the IMB operates here. It was very nice. It is on the 19th floor of a high rise apartment building. We slept great.
Today we met them for breakfast at McDonalds-quite the experience. This McDonalds is located at Victoria Harbor. From there we went to the IMB office here in Hong Kong. Jen and I looked around in a huge mall while Jonathan and Shelley took their girls to the school that they are considering.
This is an awesome place. There are seven (7) million people who live here. Everyone takes the subway. Picture thousands and thousands of people just always moving-going from place to place. There is a great need for the gospel here. Our friends Jonathan and Shelly are in very strategic work here. What an awesome privilege to know them. Tomorrow we board our plane for Home!!!