CHIANGMAI, THAILAND JULY 9-13, 2012
IN WHAT PROVED to be a small foretaste of heaven, more than 240 mission personnel, guests and friends of WOI from 18 countries, gathered in ChiangMai, Thailand in July for the second of our 2012 celebrations.
We gathered to celebrate God’s faithfulness and goodness to us over the past 80 years, since our seed-of-faith establishment in 1932 that has now evolved into a mission organisation in more than 60 countries on five continents. The multi-cultural, multi-lingual atmosphere evoked feelings of Revelation’s description of ‘a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne…’
Among the delegates were 25 ‘soldiers of the faith’ who have laboured tirelessly on the mission field – some of whom continue to do so – for between 20 and 52 years – in the service of WOI and Christ’s Great Commission. After their public acknowledgement, it was a powerful and moving moment when a group from the younger generation prayed with each one, honouring them for their faithfulness. In turn the elders prayed over the younger generation, imparting to them from deep wells.
Several strong themes threaded through the sessions, which stretched over four days: the importance of raising up a new generation including a cross-cultural workforce; having faith that God can exceed past methods and moves; and of significant harvest, breakthrough and provision to come for the work of the kingdom.
A five-member music team from Singapore volunteered to spend the conference with us, leading us into the presence of the Lord every morning and evening. The presence of God was so real and precious throughout the four nights and three days together as the Holy Spirit ministered to people both personally and corporately, bringing much needed refreshment.
Participants had a great time listening to first-hand ministry updates from workers on the frontlines. The reports were real and sobering as well as awe inspiring and encouraging, providing evidence of God’s hand at work in many difficult situations.
In addition, the plenary sessions, electives, practical interactive sessions, topical breakout groups and evening ministry sessions were all incredibly powerful and very well received. One visiting pastor said, “I didn’t know I would be so blessed and inspired by attending a mission conference.” Prophet and Pastor Alex Larsen once again blessed us by personally prophesying over every person and team. Delegates were encouraged and impacted by what they received from the Lord.
On the final night of the celebration, following the cutting of the anniversary cake and the explosion of multiple balloons and party poppers, there were several joyful ethnic dance and music performances, joined in heartily by participants, who were all dressed in their respective cultural costumes. The dancing was interrupted only by hotel staff dishing out ice-cream and cake.
With over 240 participants from 18 countries gathering together to celebrate God’s faithfulness, it was also an opportune time for networking, having great conversations and making new friends.
‘Inspired’, ‘encouraged’, ‘challenged’, ‘totally exciting’, ‘best conference ever’. These comments are typical of the feedback we have received. Here is what some of our missionaries and visitors had to say:
“This is the most exciting conference I have ever been to.” (Jason)
“As newcomers to WOI we felt the warmth and welcome of our new family.” (HK and Victoria)
“The conference was like an oasis for us. We feel so refreshed.” (Chaiyot and Gail)
“What an exciting moment this was in the mission’s history.” (Eliza)
“I was so encouraged to see so many young people attending.” (Joy)
“We left the conference with fresh faith for the harvest ahead.” (Jo and Jenny)
“This celebration showed me the value that WOI gives to those serving God.” (Doi)
“I loved the great times we had in the presence of God each day.” (Lang)
“This conference was a defining moment in our lives and ministry.” (Chris)
“The field reports were like listening to the book of Acts being read out.” (Hwee Keng)
“Coming a long distance to such a conference was one of the best decisions we have ever made.” (Dilys)