Friday, October 26, 2007

David Brainerd C&C Retreat Nov 2nd and 3rd

David Brainerd was a preacher/missionary and a passionate follower of Jesus who gave his whole life in service to God. He lived to the age of 29, having committed his life to Christ and having sacrificed all for His Name. Our prayer as we host this two day retreat is that a generation of young adults will be raised to give their all to Christ, counting the cost and impacting our culture in a radical way.

That is why Grace Bible Church is holding the David Brainerd C&C Retreat November 2nd and 3rd. Friday night at 7:30 I will be speaking on the subject God IS Great (a response to the bestseller god is not great by Hitchens) and then on Saturday Pastor Carl Muller from Trinity Baptist Church will be speaking from Romans - Not Ashamed: Why the Whole Truth Matters.

If you know any young adults who would like to attend or are a young adult, married or single, please feel free to email Janice VanEck at . The cost is only $25.00 for the two days, meals included. The location is Grace Bible Church, 334 Preston Parkway.

We are thankful that we have around 90 registered so it should be an encouraging time of worship and fellowship.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Mongolian Poet

As mentioned in one of my previous blogs, at the end of the second week of teaching, a man stepped forward and in great Mongolian poetry told the tales of the last two weeks. I couldn't believe it! Poets pop up all over the world. Anyway, here he is - the Mongolian poet.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Class Moments from Mongolia

Teaching in the country of Mongolia.

Mac Coffee time! A mixture of coffee, sugar, powdered milk and water - after a while it is very addictive!

I am talking with Pastor Chinzorig Jigjidsuren of Immanuel Church. He is one of the two pastors who spoke English and he also translated for me when I preached at his church. Very kind man with a zeal and passion for the gospel to be shared in Mongolia.

Teaching Hermeneutics the second week.

A picture of my translator (who did a very excellent job!! If I lifted my Bible up, he would lift his Bible - very enthusiastic and kind man!)

Here is the class of men and women standing on the church steps. This was taken just before the took their Hermeneutics test which explains their HAPPY faces!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mongolia 2007 Pictures

These past few days I have tried unsuccessfuly to put a video montage on my blog so I will begin to post some pictures and continue to work on the video.

Here is a picture of the church I attended the first Sunday morning I was in Mongolia. The little "barrel" with the cross you see at the front of the stage is their "offering plate". While they sing, the people will walk up to the front and give their gifts.

Chinggis Khan - a good view of the city!

A picture outside my apartment window

Another picture looking out of my window off the balcony. These apartment buildings are middle class dwellings in the city. Sometimes whole families or various families woulc occupy one apartment, each taking a room.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Back Home

Well, last night at 8:55 the plane landed in Toronto and after passing through customs and waiting for my luggage I once again saw my family at around 10:20 p.m. The plane trip back to Toronto was packed, much more so than on the way down. I sat beside a young teenage girl and her mother , both of whom slept for most of the trip. While I was happy for them I wished I could figure out that sleeping thing on a plane - I probably maxed an hour, maybe.

So today has been pretty much wake up, have a breakfast, go for a walk and then sleep - and sleep. Our ETB (Estimated Time for Bed) is going to be extremely early tonight. I can't wait.

It has been great to see the family and I learned while I was away there was a tremendous amount of work done around the house. Our hallway and living room were painted, trim completed in the bathroom, wood split and stacked and the roof shingled! Imagine that, all done without my expertise and gifted hands that make work projects look easy. Thank you to all who helped my family finish everything - you were all busy!!

Thank you again for all your prayers. I hope to give a report with pictures this coming Sunday evening at our church and also post some of my pictures on my blog after my report. God has been extremely gracious in all aspects and we give Him all praise and glory for His kind gifts.

Well, I think it is a quick supper and then something that never happens in airports: our ETB has been moved up a few hours!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Landed in Seoul

I am once again in South Korea Incheon Airport and it is around 6:30 p.m. (thirteen hours ahead of Cambridge ON time). The plane from UB was delayed because of weather (it snowed earlier in the day and there was quite a bit of wind) so we did not take off until around 2:45 in the morning. The flight only takes 3 hours but because of the time change, we landed around 6:30 in the morning. Just a note on the time change thing - Mongolia decides on a yearly basis whether or not to follow the change in time. Some years it does and some years it doesn't. This year apparently they did not so that is the reason for the hour difference.

After the plane landed, I was able to email my family and then I found a "couch" and slept for about 2 and a half hours.

The rest of the day has been somewhat of a blur and I am thankful that in about 2 hours I will be boarding the flight from Korea. My wife tells me the weather has been hot the past little while so it will look kinda funny walking into Toronto Airport with my winter jacket strapped over my carry-on. Probably my bahama shorts would have been a better option - or maybe not, come to think about it.

Anyway I am praying for the church services today as various people serve and as Paul Martin preaches in both the morning and evening. I pray that God's Word may prosper in the hearts of His people and they will meet with their Redeemer, enjoying His presence as they worship Him.

Psalm 89.1-2: I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known throughout all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that your established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Last Day of Classes

Well, today was the last day of teaching Hermeneutics. This morning we looked at the prophetic books followed by wisdom literature. After we broke for lunch, which consisted of a big bowl of soup and a large plate of rice, potatoes and meat (fat included), we discussed interpreting the book of Revelation. I closed in a word of prayer, asking God to bless the men and women, their churches and the spread of the gospel in Mongolia. We then went outside and had a group picture, capturing all their happy faces at one time. I passed out the test at about 2:35 and they took their time answering the multiple choice questions (I was able to mark them when I got back to the apartment and they all did very well).

Then they all sat close to the front and Sundui, one of the organizers, thanked them all for coming. They then presented me with a very kind gift of a “ram” enclosed in a picture frame. This gift was hand made by a Christian in one of the local churches. I thanked them for the kind gift and told them we would hang this up at our church in Canada so we would be reminded to pray for them and the churches in Mongolia.

Then two things happened which are very memorable to me. First, one of the men stood up and gave a funny poem he had written about the week. I couldn’t believe it! If you are familiar with the Carey Family Conference held in August, you will know that there are two men in particular who WOW the people with their poetic finesse and musical ability – the first being my dad and the second being Paul Martin. And so I come to Mongolia and what happens? At the end of the conference, a man stands up and in the Mongolian language, delivers a poem about our two weeks together. I could not understand a word but it was a great time seeing the men and women laugh. One woman had tears running down her cheeks. We had worked hard for two weeks and it was a real blessing to see the joy on their faces.

The second memorable event was after the laughter (a little poetry of my own), they asked me to sit on a chair and they all gathered around me and prayed. Again, I did not understand a word but it was a real time of unity and blessing as they prayed for me out loud and I quietly prayed for them once again. I had been told before they wanted to pray that God would bless the ministry in Canada and that I would have a safe journey back. We then said good-bye to one another and the only words I spoke to them so they could understand was a prayer once again: God bless and keep you.

At 5:00 tonight the team from the organization that planned the conference took me out to supper at, get this, a Korean restaurant that was Korean – I know, it sounds too simple to be true. It was a very filling meal as I had beef, rice and French Fries (I don’t know if French Fries are considered Korean but will let this pass so as not to make it too confusing) followed by a very spicy bowl of soup. They asked if I wanted more and I had to say that I was still full from lunch and I could not eat anything else. We had a good time talking as I heard some of their testimonies of how the Lord worked in their lives. And then one of the men, who had grown up in the country and had ridden a horse since he was 6, asked me if I had ever ridden a horse. Well … this gave me the opportunity to tell him my famous story about the last time I hopped on a horse and almost smashed my face in the side of a mailbox as it turned into the driveway. The moment was somewhat lost as a mailbox sticking out of the ground is really an unknown object in Mongolia but after it was explained the story was somewhat of a success. I was then told that when you ride a horse in outer Mongolia it is very relaxing as there are no mailboxes. I thanked them for the encouragement and assured them it was probably much safer in Mongolia and I would probably enjoy the ride.

The Lord has been very gracious these past two weeks and I thank Him for the opportunity to serve the “infant” church here. All of them were very thankful for the teaching of the Word. One of the leaders of the team that I went out to supper with this evening expressed his thankfulness because he said the church really needs this teaching in Mongolia. I responded that as I have spoken and watched the pastors, I can see that the Lord has begun a good work and we trust that He will bring it to a completion in the years ahead.

So thank you for your prayers over this past week. God has been gracious, as He always is, and has done much in my life and the lives of the men and women in the class. I now look forward to returning to my family and church and seeing them all once again. I leave tomorrow night, Lord willing, at 12:00 landing in Korea at 4:00 a.m. and then fly out of Seoul at 9:35 p.m. and land on Toronto tarmac at 9:35 p.m. I will have spend 13 hours on a plane and not gained a minute!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Surfaced Once Again

I feel like I have been in hiding for the last few days as I have been unable to get to a computer. A $22.00/night hotel in UB has a 3 piece bath (the toilet seat is not attached, the shower doors barely shut), a sitting room (classy green leather chairs and couch) and two single beds (pillow cases were not included so you do two things: first, you turn your brain off not letting your mind wander about who was here before and second, you grab a towel and use it as a pillow case). The hotel lobby is a large room with the service desk near the far end close to the corner. My room was almost directly beside the desk so you could hear all the phone calls, the shoes “clipping” on the wooden floor and the TV that roared 25 feet away from the desk until 2:00 Tuesday night and 12:00 Wednesday night.

However, here is how the Lord works. There is a “house” that is on the premises of the church, half the house being used for cooking and the other half for living space – at least I think as I have not had a “house” tour yet. On Wednesday the door to the living space was open (mysteriously, as it was usually shut) and I had a quick peak inside. I noticed the pastors had their beds on the floor all in one room and all of a sudden, my $22.00/night room is a quality 4 star resort. How is that for perspective! God certainly works in mysterious ways to show us our many blessings (and our often grumbling hearts).

The last few days of teaching have gone very well as we have been able to cover many areas of Scriptural interpretation and sermon preparation. Today we covered parables, the kingdom of God and the interpretation and preaching of the Psalms. As an example, we talked about how to interpret “imprecatory” (to pray for “curses” on the enemy) Psalms and how they apply to today. Then we talked about how the Psalms are not just God’s Word to us but God’s Word to us so we can speak about God and to God. We had some interesting conversations and discussion time.

The pastors are really soaking in the teaching as we have worked through how to prepare a sermon beginning (exegesis) to end (sermon and application) following rules of interpretation (hermeneutics). We prepared a sermon from Mark 1.40-45 on the compassion of Jesus to the Leper and then we prepared an Old Testament narrative sermon on the faithfulness and uncompromising message of Micaiah in 1 Kings 22. My goal was not only teach Hermeneutics but to show them how the Word of God lives and how the preached Word is powerful. So we went through sermons so they could experience the joy and challenge of the preached Word. I was told that many pastors base their sermons on what has taken place throughout their week or on topics they think their congregation needs to hear. I encouraged them that the amazing thing about the Word of God is that when we preach through a book of the Bible, God has organized Scripture in such a way that we will cover areas for our people that we would never even have thought to cover. God has not only given us His Word, His Word is effective for all of life.

Tomorrow will be my last day of teaching. We will look at Epistles and Wisdom literature in the morning and the book of Revelation in the afternoon. After the classes the Genesis Team is going to take me out for supper which is very kind of them. While it seems I have only contributed a drop in the “spiritual” bucket, I am thankful that I am heading home to see my family once again.

Well, thank you for all your prayer for me and my family. At the beginning of the week I asked if you would pray for the course in Hermeneutics and I am so thankful that God has heard your prayers. I had a pastor come to me today and just express his appreciation in what he is learning and how it is challenging his thinking. So God has been gracious to hear your prayers for the Mongolian people. I sometimes think of what would happen in both the nations of Canada and Mongolia if pastors took the LIVING WORD to the people and preached the text and the truth without compromise and with great compassion. Do we believe God could move a nation? As we ended our class today, we once again said: We just have to say it – our God, He is a good God! He is able to take His Word and transform nations.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Jean Claude Vs Hermeneutics

The elevator broke down today and as I have been in and out of the apartment 3-4 times, I figure I have climbed a total of 36 floors. I am hoping it will be fixed by at least Saturday so I don’t have to drag my big suitcase down the steps. Not that I am complaining because Mongolian food sits heavy in the stomach so walking a few extra flights is definitely what is needed!

As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, driving in UB is absolutely horrendous and to continue this theme, I will give you what might be labeled as a “serious example of road rage”. I was taking my walk along a main street and I turned around and saw a white car parked in the third lane closest to the middle of the road with a bus stopped only about a foot behind. The man, who was probably in his 50’s, got out of his car and went up to the bus and broke the driver’s side mirror. This not only upset the driver but the guy who collects the money for the driver as they both got out and just started thumping the man from the white car. Actually they started to kick the car and then they went after the man. A short elderly man appeared from the white car and got out to try to stop the fighting but he was unsuccessful. These two young men continued to lay a sound beating on the man, kicking and punching. The older driver landed a number of good punches as well and would not give up even when the driver walked away. All of this took around 5-7 minutes so the traffic was being held up behind them. It was quite a sight to see and I hope a good lesson for me. When I get back to Canada and somebody honks because I cut in front of them, I will be able to say, “Is that all you can give me? Just don’t touch the mirror” and let it all go. Amazing the things you learn in Mongolia!

Today I began to teach Hermeneutics to the students. I have titled this day: Hermeneutics vs Jean Claude Van Dam (or however you spell his name) and if you were to score the bout, it would be Jean 1 – Herme 0. I’ll explain: at lunch I was talking with some of the men and I told them that some appeared tired. He explained that he stayed up until 2:00 a.m. and watched Jean Claude punch other guys out (actually in telling this story, I am seeing a theme in my rather violent day). Well, I thought to myself, can Hermeneutics even stand a chance against Jean Claude and his moves? Apparently not! I had a few extra breaks in the afternoon as I knew this would probably be one of the heaviest days of class. We looked at what Hermeneutics means, how God communicated to His people throughout history and the importance and qualities of the Word of God. So tomorrow when we meet again, we will begin with the practice of Hermeneutics. I just hope Jean Claude has a night off of defending the universe and mangling faces.

I may not be able to blog for the next two days. Andrew has to go out to a conference until Thursday and that means I will be in a hotel for the next two nights. The hotel costs a whopping $22.00 a night so I am thinking that high speed internet is not an option.

Please pray for these men. One of the men came up to me after and thanked me for teaching because the material is very helpful to him. As I was talking with Andrew and Liz tonight at supper, they mentioned how many of these pastors may be very young in the faith and called to lead churches. That is why a course like Hermeneutics is so important to them as they are learning God’s Word. So please pray for the pastors as they learn the principles of interpretation over the next few days.

Thanks for your Comments

Thank you for your comments. I am sorry I cannot respond as I am on a dial up network and have limited time - but they are encouraging!