AUSTRIA--David "These leaders sing so well!"
It is Wednesday evening and I have just finished my “work day” (I’m still working during American working hours, so until midnight or 1 am here). It has been a joy to get to know some of these missionaries better and be encouraged by their faith, love, and zeal for the Lord. Some of you asked for more info about who they are. Gathered here are about 40 country or region directors within SIM, an organization that has 2,000 or so full-time missionaries. Everyone here has almost 20+ years of experience and while I’m not the youngest one here, the youngest is 38. So there is maturity, wisdom, patience, leadership, and a host of other skills and gifts floating around here. The goal of the week is leadership development – leaders leading leaders to make all of them better at leading others to Jesus. I have been surprised that many of them have been influenced by some of the same resources and groups I have such as the book the Trellis and the Vine, How People Change, The Gospel Coalition, Sovereign Grace Music, etc. We have had deep theological and pastoral discussions over our meals. I was able to meet Chris and Beverly Crowder who serve in East Africa. They were the first missionary leadership to invite a World Music Mission team to serve with them back in 2010.
I have been leading about 2/3 or more of historic hymns (picture of my set list with the check marks of requested tunes). This is because they are so well sung! The harmonies tend to be ingrained into our memories (and they are simpler). I have been thanked a lot for leading and I keep reminding people that I’m not doing much, just giving the ship a little nudge and watching it take off! I was asked to share more songs that I have written, so this morning I sang a song called “This Heartbreak Can be Healed” and it was very well received. I have received the most kind comments from people who are thankful to have a time of singing, scripture, and prayer that helps them express their love for the Lord and grow in unity together. We have been reading scripture both prepared and spontaneously prompted, taking time between songs every now and then to pray together, and I have been sharing devotional thoughts. I told someone today that developing leaders should get a chance to lead worship in settings like this because it is so encouraging as a leader. One of the staff members is a young songwriter/musician, Dany, from Sicily, Italy. Yesterday and today we wrote a song together on the Lord’s Supper, which we may sing for the group.
I have not been sleeping well or regularly, and at this half-way point I’m not going to try and get fully acclimated to the time difference. Friday is the day I reserved for my own tourist activities, and my plans have come together. I am picking up a rental car tomorrow and then early Friday morning am driving to Kaprun where I have a motorcycle and gear rental waiting for me. This is in the heart of a very scenic area and I will visit Grossglockner High Alpine Road (https://www.grossglockner.at/gg/en/thehighalpineroad/thehighalpineroad). I will then travel to Salzburg Friday night and leave Saturday morning.