Mission Conference, day 2

I was a bit tired this morning after my late night, and I must admit that I missed one of the presentations. It is a shame because I heard it was rather provocative. I did hear a paper on the history of missions from the Reformation to the 20th century, but I’m afraid it was rather familiar ground for me. A pastor from Latvia did devotions, and though his English is not good, his talk was delightful. Very Zinzendorfian. He and I have spent a lot of time together discussing the history of the Moravians in Latvia.

My lunch table included the head of the Cuban province, Angelica (my former student from Peru), the indefatigable Thomas Baucom, Dena Fortuzi, and Vjoltka (not quite spelled right) of Albania. Angelica said that I pronounced my one remembered phrase from Spanish class well. A donde vas, Thomas? The best part of the conference has been the mingling at meal times. During the sessions I am sitting with Julius from Uganda and Joan from Jamaica with Bob Hopcroft from England behind me. Bob told me stories of his time in Labrador, some of them harrowing.

Much time was spent in small groups today. I went to a workshop with Peter Vogt on the Moravian Treasures curriculum that he edited. It was a very good discussion with some helpful feedback on revisions. Not surprisingly the most animated discussion was how Moravians do or don’t do lovefeasts in various provinces. There were so many people to talk to at dinner, it was hard to eat. After dinner I was interviewed by a German journalist named Egon Koch for a story he is writing on the Moravians in South Africa.

I did take time to check in with my class in Bethlehem. They watched a pre-recorded presentation I left for them and made comments online. I really enjoyed reading their reaction to the class material. What they all seemed to like best was the guided meditation I recorded for them. I have to admit that I missed my students. That may be why I keep hanging around with students at the conference instead of the church officials. I’m not really good at this networking thing!

After dinner we had a singstunde prepared by Nola Reed Knouse of the Moravian Music Foundation. It was a multi-lingual hymn sign with as many as six languages sung simultaneously. At times the room was really rocking.

After the singstunde I spent some time with a young man who is just beginning his studies at the Uni of the West Indies and is thinking of seminary. Very smart and personable young man named Dominic. This trip was not for seminary recruiting, but I don’t think I’ve ever talked to so many people wanting to study at MTS! I also shared a beer with Justin Rabbach, the new Director of the Board of World Mission. I think he is the perfect person for that job. Smart as a whip, clever as a cobra, and a likeable as a panda.

And then a much earlier bedtime, but since I couldn’t sleep I watched an episode of Stranger Things. Sometimes I think that should be the title of autobiography.

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