Saturday, May 19, 2012

Workshop for Church Leaders

This morning we departed early, traveling in Sokhom's private car and a rented 18 passenger van. After three hours on the road including a ferry crossing of the Mekong, we arrived early for the 8:30 starting time. Sokhom walked us across the highway to his elementary school where his cousin has served as principal until her retirement last month. The school buildings have changed very little since he attended there in the early 70's! We toured the classrooms and visited with the new principal before finding his aunt in the corner of the schoolyard at her snackbar..We sampled her wares...bean-filled treats fried in lard. The children were pleased to see visitors on their campus. The first two classes jumped to attention and recited a greeting to us waiting for their teacher to dismiss them to reseat themselves. The other classes continued with business as usual when we entered their domains.From the school yard we returned to the brush arbor meeting area where 82 church leader rs registered for the full day seminar. Joe lead the group into small group discussions to search out the answers to several pertinant questions all Christians should ponder. The cooperative learning techniques were unfamiliar to the group, but they relished the oportunities to learn from each other as they delved into the Word with other leaders they may not have ever met. Questions such as Who is God? How do you know that what you know about God is true? and What does God know about you? filled the morning with active study and lively discussions. I was pleased to see the group composition was quite diverse with as many women as men and almost as many under 45 as over. Everyone participated in the small groups and a different spokesperson reported out from each of the six groups after each question. Each time Joe wrapped up his findings to bring consenses to the group. Just before the mid-morning break, Garrett shared a visual with the large group about how God's love is shared one person to another by beginning with a single piece of paper in one person's hand. By tearing and sharing, God's Word spread to nearly every hand in the room in a matter of minutes. If everyone who knows and loves the Lord simply shares His love with one other person each day, Christianity will multiply in large quantities. I couldn't help but notice the children playing around the meeting area. One little four-year-old girl whose parents took the day off from their teaching positions to attend, delighted me with her antics. At break she was given a fruit cut open by her mother. She quickly enjoyed its sweet taste and longed for more. Having seen her daddy use a long pole with a tiny hook attached to the far end to dislodge the fruit from the top branches of a tree, she set to work to help herself. (I was perched in just the right angle to watch her determined pursuit.) When the pole proved too long for her to manage, she reverted to a shorter pole and settled for the lower fruits, but she managed to maneuver the process to her advantage. Seeing her reap the benefits of her labor another preschool girl, taller and wiser?, joined her team. They returned to the slab with an armload of the fruits and delved into the rich fruits within...extracting the tasty and discarding the rinds. I couldn't help but to see the parable of these girls as it related to the lesson of today. Each time we taste of the fruits of the scripture, we develop an appetite for more study and more knowledge. We do whatever it takes to make or find the time to get more study. When our friends see the rich blessings we reap, they follow our footsteps and become students of the Word. The day was a total success as the participants boarded motorcycles, bicycles, cars and taxis to return to their respective villages to prepare fpr the day of worship tomorrow! Just as we wrapped up and headed toward the car, the afternoon rains hit. The air was refreshed and the ground renewed by the 15 minute shower. We jumped in the car and headed back to the Institue for dinner pausing only a brief few minutes to wait our turn to board the ferry across the Mekong.All along the super highway, we passed interesting sights and fascinating people. The rice fields are lush in multpile shades of green. Some were being plowed and planted today as we passed by. Some by hand-held gas plows and others by -- teams yoked together or singularly. Ttucks loaded to the brim and over with mangoes...bicycles hauling as many as four live pigs upside down and tied together to minimize the with families including helmitted toddlers standing sandwiched between father and laden with fresh coconuts sporting a straw to enjoy the fresh sweet milk within, stacks of watermelons, bananas and numerous other fresh vegetables and fruits inticing us to sample them each and every one. We were especially fascinated with what we were later told was the fruit of the lotus pods that are flat on top resembling slightly the inner section of a sunflower. Our soup last night was made from waterlily roots, and today's salad had a variety of fresh greens including the stem of the waterlily and straw grasses that grow at the water's edge. But I will save the delicables of the tables for a later post when more time presents itself...(Tonight's feast was fried eel and stirfried squid and zucchini along with sticky rice and our favorite dessert of fresh mangoes!

No comments:

Post a Comment