Thursday, February 19, 2009

CMDE conference

I just finished attending the 29th CMDE conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This conference was started to serve the missionaries who are serving overseas in order for them to get CME credits and stay on the field. It was held at Suna Bua Resort and Spa - a very nice place. During the 2 wks I heard many lectures on various medical topics, played tennis and swam almost everyday, went whitewater rafting, ate lots of rice and watermelon, and more. During the conference, different missionaries would share about what they are doing in their part of the world. One missionary has been serving since she was 62 when her husband passed away. At 83 now, she is the only doctor in the state in which she lives. She shared that she had to hike 13 miles over 5 landslides just to get to the place to catch her flight to get to the conference. Quite inspiring. We also had talent/skit night one evening. I think everyone's favorite thing was a guy from Thailand sharing about the Christmas they rented an elephant to help out with their activities. This happened a few years ago and he told the story really well and had us all laughing hysterically. Writing about it won't really do it justice, but I will try. Living in Thailand, they often had elephants going through their yard, so they decided to see if they could rent one for a day. They got it for 1000 Baht (good price) for Christmas day. His wife rode the elephant into town to tell people about their Christmas program they were having that night (nativity story), this attracted lots of folks who wanted to come to the evening service. They were hoping for 50 people, soon found out about 500 were coming due to the elephant ride in town. The elephant was hungry and thirsty, and the food and water costs were not in the 1000 Baht. He had folks go and pick up some fruit - 1000 Baht worth, only to have the elephant eat it in about 5 minutes. 1000 Baht more of food resulted in the same thing, so the elephant trainer suggested the banana trees in the yard - sure. The elephant proceeded to deforest the banana trees, which made room for the bleachers that were needed for all the people. Then the elephant was hungry, and when the hose didn't cut it - he grabbed a hold of the hose which was connected to the pipes, water pump, and house - resulting in destruction of all. The elephant man didn't seem to notice or care that his hose was destroyed and insisted that his elephant need water. The missionary concluded that when you are working with an elephant - nothing else matters. Eventually the program got started and there were about 500 folks there. The missionary rode the elephant in as a wiseman, and the elephant bowed down to baby Jesus (without practicing or rehearsing this). This was quite moving and one of their neighbors who they had been witnessing to, came to the Lord that night. As he said, when you work for God - nothing else matters. I enjoyed the opportunity to talk with other missionaries serving the Lord in various places around the world and hearing how they are serving God. I got the chance to learn more about different mission organizations, which is helpful as I continue to seek His will for my future. I enjoyed the opportunity to get away from PNG, this is the first time I have been out of the country since I got there in Sept 07, and the time I had with the McCoys, Radcliffes, and Becky over these past 2 weeks. It was also a blessing just to worship the Lord together with a large community of believers from all over the world and to remember what God has called me to.