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Tuesday, February 09, 2010


When we were in college, people described the experience of URBANA, the triennial student missions conference in the US, as "trying to get a sip from a fire hydrant."  So much amazing and relevant experience and information flowing past, a torrential outpouring of resource, that left one encouraged, overwhelmed, stunned, challenged, changed.  Twenty-five years later, this week at CMDA feels similar.  Though it is a tiny event compared to URBANA, we see the same element of passion for the nations, the same atmosphere of worship and zeal, the same congregating of admirable saints, and the same wealth of relevant experience and information all around us.  Our days begin before dawn so we can by in the car on the way by 7.  The morning worship includes teaching from veteran missionary and pastor and professor Robertson McQuilken.  Then there are four different simultaneous options for lectures and workshops, a total of 28 to 30 per day.  We go from hour to hour engaging with statistics about HIV and breast-feeding from studies just being published, brought by one of the most global-thinking competent lecturers I've ever heard.  Then on to a panel of experienced missionaries presenting their thoughts and experience about spirituality and healing.  Next a cardiologist presenting cases, or a radiologist teaching us how to differentiate benign and malignant tumors of the liver.  Or an update on changes in immunization policy.  At breaks and meals we meet new and old friends.  Among all the 6 billion people in the world, these few hundred are probably the most like us, and the sense of connection and understanding comes as a relief.  We stand in awe of the programs others have managed to wrest out of chaos, we listen with great thankfulness to professors who have given up two weeks of their year to come and teach us.  Then another 45 minute drive back to Kijabe where Ashley and the kids have prepared a dinner, we sit around a long table for 11 as the sun sets and the Kijabe winds whip down the mountain, rattling the window panes.

Reality inserts itself in real-time, occasionally, messages from Bundi, emails, calls, which have to be quickly discussed and juggled during the fraction of time left in the day.  Or yesterday, as I walked out of a lecture and saw an sms from Caleb, temp 101, feeling sick, admitted to the school infirmary.  A bit ironic to be talking about sick kids while my own lies alone, so I find an earlier ride back and sit with him for an hour or so.  Sad to see him there, but at least thankful that this time I CAN SEE him.  Praying his bug is much quicker to leave than Luke's week-long bout.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

I am so glad you were able to have this great experience.