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Letters from Lausanne

 

 Many of you prayed for the Lausanne Conference where Christian leaders from all over the world gathered last week in Cape Town, South Africa. With permission I share these stories from one of the delegates.

 

 Many of you prayed for the Lausanne Conference where Christian leaders from all over the world gathered last week in Cape Town, South Africa. With permission I share these stories from one of the delegates.

“Words cannot bring you into what I’ve experienced here in Cape Town, but they are the best vehicle that I have, so I’ll sketch a few enduring and breathtaking images.   

Dressed in a school girl’s uniform, a 15 year old North Korean refugee speaks with poignant composure as she tells of her father’s martyrdom for the gospel, then breaks into tears as she shares her zeal to win her homeland to Christ.  After walking from the platform the standing ovation simply will not stop until she returns to receive a hug from the head of the South Korean delegation.  She is one of several who during our days together will tell the stories of recent martyrs.

 Our hearts are torn as we are taken into the garbage city in Cairo.  There hopelessness and violence reign until one man leads his garbage collector to Christ.  He then goes home with him and the fragrance of Christ breaks through the stench of that place like an explosion of grace.  Soon there are so many new believers that a church is birthed in a nearby cave, which eventually becomes the largest church in Egypt, still meeting in that cave today. 

 A small Indian woman who lost her voice to cancer whispers to us in behalf of the many millions of slaves in her country who are enslaved under the ancient caste system.  She reminds us that we are in South Africa, the land where the church helped bring apartheid to its knees.  And we can no longer claim that we did not know.

 4500 Christian leaders all fall on our knees together before the Lamb in response to a call from a Brit and a Nigerian calling all of us to return to being H.I.S. disciples, marked by Humility, Integrity and Simplicity, repenting for our sins of pride and hypocrisy and self-indulgence.  I cannot continue in the conference until I go spend hours alone with God.

 African women in colorful and elegant robes dance down the aisles carrying baskets of bread from which we will all eat as we end our time gathered from 198 countries around the Lord’s Table.  And I wish my family and friends were here to experience this.  Then it occurs to me that all of us who are in Christ will be together at a gathering not unlike this, someday soon. 

 Now I begin my 32 hour trip home.  I hope that I never recover from this experience.”

 May God burn these words into our hearts.

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Gail Seidel

Gail Seidel served as Mentor Advisor for Spiritual Formation in the Department of Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and as an Adjunct Professor in the D Min in Spiritual Formation in the D Min Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a BA in English from the University of Texas, a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Seminary and a D Min in Spiritual Formation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a contributor to the textbook, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, Kregel Academic. She served as co-director for Christian Women in Partnership Russia with Entrust, an international church leadership-training mission. She and her husband Andy live in Fredericksburg, Texas. They have 2 married children and 6 wonderful grandchildren--Kami, Kourtney, Katie, Mallory, Grayson, and Avery.