Thursday, August 02, 2007

6 Days of 13 Hours In Conference A Day

We landed in Phnom Penh, unsure of the hotel we were to head to. At the check point, we were both tense when the immigration officer asked us where we were staying and we answered Lucky Star Hotel and he wrote it down calmly. Immediate relief came, cause the officer's reaction tells us that there is such a hotel and we now are pretty sure what to say to the taxi driver. You see , we were told to go to the hotel ourselves. The first mention of the hotel was received when I was driving and subsequently when I asked for details from the organiser, I did not get any confirmations at all prior to our flight.

When we arrived at the hotel, we met the conference participants as they were heading out for their dinner. We learned from them that they had a full day of meeting starting from 7 am and after dinner, it will carry on till 10.30pm. Wow, talk about a full day. You can never plan a meeting of that length each day over 6 days in Malaysia.

On Saturday, the last day of the conference as I started teaching, I wondered how I would fare in trying to hold the attention of the group for such long hours. The other days, they had 4 speakers daily but I will be the only speaker for that entire day, though it was shortened due to intervention from the authorities. I finally completed eight sessions on that day and they were asking for more. Not that I was outstanding in my delivery, but rather it was the hunger in their hearts to learn and be better equipped that drew the best out of me. In fact, the time went by so fast, and I was surprised I still had energy after the sessions. The day earlier, I thought that I would collapse after completing the day.

Attending the conference were about 130 pastors and leaders. Their intense desire to be equipped for impact challenged me. A number of them had been jailed for their faith. Some were senior ministers but they all listened with such intent that it engages the speaker to pour into their hearts. I was so blessed and pray that such a passion to learn will burn in my heart and in the heart of my church.

Sadly, too often, our ears grow dull and our minds wander to a thousand places during a conference or even in a single service. Our know it all attitude kicks in and we tend to judge, criticize and rip to pieces the message or teaching delivered. There is a place for discernment and evaluation, but there is a more important need for us to have open hearts and minds to learn from the speaker and hear the still small voice of God.