Every 3 years, Cru hosts a conference for over 500 missionaries serving in 10 nations throughout central Asia and the Middle East. They gather to fellowship, to network with each other, to be refreshed, and to hear from strategic leaders.
Late in January, on the heels of leading worship for a conference in Spain for Cru’s short-term missionaries, our team went on to lead worship for these precious servants. For the sake of security, we weren’t allowed to photograph anything else or have any sort of social media presence. I can show you the stage (shown above); that’s about it. For most of the attendees, this is the largest gathering of believers they have ever seen or been part of, since there is virtually no Christianity in the countries where they serve.
The vast majority of attendees are serving in their home countries, so we learned and led some of their worship songs in their languages, along with songs that had been translated from English. Musicians and singers from several countries joined with us in the band, and it was an amazing privilege to lead worship together and hear people singing in 10 languages.
The lighting and audio production company that had been hired by the conference is owned and operated by a Christian, but not all the technical crew were Christians. (They were not radical Islamists either, but just not Christ-followers.) Our sound engineer was a guy named Halil, and we worked long, late hours with him throughout the conference, communicating by way of hand signals and a translator, since he spoke no English.
After the conference was over, some of the staff who served in Halil’s home country and who spoke his native language met with him, and spoke with him at some length. Upon returning home, we got this text message from an American Cru staff member who worked with us there:
“The sound guy Halil was so impacted by our manner of asking about turning things up and down and our attitudes toward each other that when the brothers shared with him yesterday, he prayed to receive Christ!”
As Jesus said in John 13:35, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Of course, it was the staff there who shared the Gospel with him, and it is the power and goodness of God that drew him to faith. But I’m both amazed and humbled that how we treated each other was part of what he said had persuaded him.
Because of your giving and prayers, you were there with us in spirit. But I truly wish you could’ve been there in person to see what we got to see – a tiny preview of every tribe, tongue and nation worshipping Jesus together.
…and join us in thanking the Lord for all He did – our worship teams served the two conferences mentioned here, and also one in Thailand. All experienced great success in serving our hosts. And, all of our equipment and people got overseas and back without major incident or loss!