Our first-ever Himalayan Leaders Conference is finished, and the hundreds of leaders who attended are now making their way back home. They arrived and are leaving via planes, trains, motorcycles, buses and taxis. Some came from three days away, as far as Thimpu, Bhutan.
It was a special pleasure to be joined by Savorn Ou, director of Asia's Hope, Cambodia. He spoke on "Renewing Our Vision." Pastors Jay O'Brien (Scarlet City Church, Columbus, Ohio) and Brad Isch (Narrow Road Church, Columbus, Ohio) also shared encouraging and inspiring words with the Himalayan leaders in attendance.
We invited and expected around 250 delegates: around 450 arrived. No one was turned away, everyone was hosted and fed. Our main auditorium was packed; we had to open two overflow rooms — at one point, there were more people watching via closed-caption TV outside the auditorium than in the seats we had originally expected to be filled.
The logistics of this sort of endeavor escape me, but our staff and a small army of volunteers made it work, seemingly without stress.
We were led in worship by an excellent gospel ensemble, the Hallelujah Choir from the neighboring state of Sikkim, and by our own Asia's Hope kids. And we were honored by the presence of many notable pastors, church planters and movement leaders.
I believe that, for a number of reasons I could share with you in person, this is a crucial time for our movement. Many changes are underway in India, and the relationships we have invested in will prove invaluable as we face rapidly a changing political and social climate.
I was encouraged both by the number of young, dynamic leaders in attendance and the mature — even elderly — leaders who are still working hard every day.
Despite many challenges the future is extraordinarily bright for the Himalayan region and the nation of India. I look forward to seeing the kids in our care grow in confidence and experience and take leadership positions in their society.
There are many more things I could share about our time at the Himalayan Leaders Conference, but those will have to wait for a face-to-face opportunity. Thank you for your prayers and support.