Hello from Amsterdam, Netherlands, where I am catching up on email and headed home to Atlanta in just a few hours!
The second day of our 2010 SERVE Conference in Novosibirsk proved to be quite interesting. We were not really sure what to expect as far as how many people would attend or how engaged they would be. Remember that this day was for invited only guests representing the highest level of organizational leader we have yet to reach in Novosibirsk. As we had filled our conference hall to capacity the day before with young, energetic, passionate leaders we really wondered if that bunch could be topped by this older more established group.
About 1/3 as many people came the second day. Those that came ranged in age from mid 20’s to mid 50’s. Some were engaged from the very beginning and some never seemed engaged the whole day. A few even left. The focus though was on those that stayed. By the end of the day 23 men and women had sat through the whole conference and seemed quite glad that they did. The training they received challenged them and prompted some very pointed public questions and we have to believe some very honest personal reflection. We were blessed to actually meet Kirill, a Russian business man of Asian descent, who is a member of one of the best churches we know of in Novosibirsk. He was totally into what we were speaking about and looks forward to bringing more people next year to this gathering. We all agree that there needs to be a next year as this effort has built momentum that needs to be developed and leveraged as much as possible for the advancement of God’s purposes in Siberia.
Our CFA team was comprised of team leader Wayne Hassler (Cedar Hill, TX), who was on the team my brother led last year, his daughter Tiffany Hassler (Plano, TX), Brandon Mulkey (Lubbock, TX), Scott Pleasants (Ft. Worth, TX), and Mark Drake (Atlanta, GA). This was one of the best prepared and warm hearted group of guests I think we’ve ever had visit us. From the postponement due to the volcano a few weeks back to the changes in structure and roles to the actual getting there and getting the job done, they went the second mile in every way the whole time. They even let me leave Novosibirsk before them so I could make it home in time for Benjamin and Nate’s baseball game tonight in Atlanta. In everything asked of them this team surpassed my expectations. Sounds like something Chick fil A people would do, don’t you think? Sounds like something Christians should do, don’t you think?
So thank you for your prayers and interest in this very important and beneficial part of YouthReach International’s ministry in Novosibirsk, Russia. Much good is being done and much more still needs to be done.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend and me a quick flight to Atlanta,