Tuesday, February 09, 2010

India: Bible Conference Beginning

This morning the annual Bible Conference for the Immanuel's School of the Bible in India began, but without it's founder Pastor Charles Schmitt. He is currently in the air on his way, having been delayed two days because of the DC snowstorm (my scheduled flight was a few hours before the snow began to fall, so I was able to step in and get things started).
Standing in for Pastor Charles, I followed Pastor Daniel and we brought the conference's first messages. I focused on Proverbs 3 and the value of seeking wisdom. It was a moving sight as I looked out over more than 350 hungry past and current students, intently listening and eagerly taking notes as I taught.

As I spoke, I encouraged and challenged the students and pastors to seek wisdom above everything else. I challenged them to surround themselves with a group of mentors who will give Godly counsel as they seek to make wise decisions, no matter what their experience.

The vision that Pastor Charles had over 12 years ago has been fulfilled each year for 11 years now, as Biblically trained students are commissioned to go to the remote parts of India and start churches and ministries. They return to Kazipet and the Ecclesia campus each year for a week of teaching (mostly led by Pastor Charles), and evening crusade meetings where the Gospel is preached and thousands of people attend.

Not only did I stand in for Pastor Charles in the Bible Conference, but I was also called upon to give a blessing to the newly married daughter and son-in-law of Pastor Joy-David Kalyanapu, the brother of Pastor Daniel. The couple will be living in Maryland, just 20 miles from my home. (And she cooks authentic Indian food...it will be a great friendship for my wife Elaine and I!)

This afternoon we continue with the Bible Conference, and then tomorrow I will pass the baton to Pastor Charles, as he will have arrived in the small hours of the morning. Continue to lift up Pastor Charles and myself, as well as the rest of the team from India. The week has started strong, and will continue to build! 
Question: When have you been called upon to step in for another person and fill a gap?

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