The birthday celebration carried on all week as his birthday was Wednesday but we didn't celebrate around home till the next Sunday. Sunday we went swimming with a bunch of friends and had cupcakes. The kids all had a blast! We went to a pool that is literally bath water warm so that was really fun. This birthday was so fun because he was so into it. My parents gave him a Lightening McQueen remote control car and he must have told them 10 times while at their house that he "always wanted this!" It was so sweet. Then we gave him a Cubs jersey shirt with his last name and on the back a "5" because it was his fifth birthday. We also gave him baseball pants. To say he was excited would be an understatement. All the rest of the day he kept coming up and telling me how he really liked those clothes. That much excitement sure makes it fun.
This weekend we had the opportunity to go to a missions conference for STEER, Inc.
We look forward to this conference every year and once again it did not disappoint. At the ladies lunch I was able to listen to Marylin Laszlo and then again at a seminar right after that. She was Amazing! I thoroughly enjoyed her and what she had to share. Also at the conference we had the privilege of hearing Woodrow Kroll from Back to the Bible and Steve Douglas, president of Campus Crusade. We heard some of the most amazing stories and some great challenges. Next year we were told K.P. Yohannan from Gospel for Asia will be the main speaker. He wrote the book Revolution in World Missions. We are reading right now and I have been told be ready to have your world rocked.
Steve Douglas talked about how God is stepping it up and big things are happening with the Gospel around the world. He shared about a team of Jesus film people out in the middle of nowhere in a jeep in Africa, I think. They were going along when a man jumped out and started yelling things to them rapidly. He told them they were the ones. He said he had a dream about people who looked exactly like them, in a jeep that looked exactly like that one and God told him they were going to come and tell him the truth. They went to his village and showed the film and the entire village was saved.
He told of a little 8 year-old girl in another country, whose father died a very medically expensive death. Then the crooked uncles basically took everything from the mother and her kids. The mother got very ill and the girl prayed to all her gods but of course nothing happened. She went to the doctors but they would not help her because she had no money. She took the only thing of value that she had, her mother's bracelets and asked an uncle to sell them, he just took them. She then heard about the Jesus film people coming to her town and she knew she had heard the name of Jesus so she went. She watched the film and in her 8 year-old mind thought if that man can heal all those people he can heal my mother. So she put her faith in Him and then went home and told her mother what she had done. Then at 8 years old, she prayed all night for her mom. Her mom had been dying, the next morning she was totally fine. They went to the Jesus film people and asked them to come to their home and show the film. Everyone in the family, including the crooked uncles were saved.
He told stories on a bigger level too but I won't tell them all. Big things are happening and thousands of people are being exposed to the Gospel and being saved. He told us three things I won't explain in detail but they were astounding, ask me if you want to know more. He said at Amsterdam 2000 all the leaders of the major ministries around the world met to discuss the unreached peoples of the world. Within a smaller group several leaders were discussing the specific number of groups left and the number of languages that don't yet have the Bible. They listed the three major barriers to reaching these people and listed them as illiteracy, time in translating and unity. He went on to tell us how all three of these are basically no longer an issue and the gap is narrowing to all people being reached. Every year this group has met working on these problems and Steve Douglas has witnessed this himself as a part of the group. A man has developed a program that can take illiterate people and have them ready to lead others and be pastors in a very short amount of time without ever learning to read. These people have amazing memories and can learn and teach from 40 Bible stories without ever reading them. He said illiteracy is no longer an issue. He said Wycliffe used to need 13 years to take an unknown language and make a Bible for them. Now someone has developed a program that after they know just a little bit of the language, they plug that into this computer program and it translates the rest of the Bible. Wycliffe is saying it takes only 2 years now and dropping. Then he told a story of two very different organizations willing to unify and partner together despite being on very different ends of the spectrum. All of this was very fascinating and way too much to take in. So sorry for dragging on so long but we took in so much and there is so much to share.
Birthday swimming party