We have had a great week at Transform 2013 in Rome. The times of worship have been refreshing and the opportunities to hear the word and listen to other speakers has been encouraging, enlightening and challenging. There are 2 aspects of this gathering that are my favorite: 1) getting to see so many people from across the globe worship together (there are 35 countries represented here, Julie says we have talked with people from at least 15 different countries), 2) the small conversations across a dinner table, in the lobby, over a cone of fresh gelato or just in the hallway.
Tomorrow morning most of the 340 participants will head out to one or two week outreach efforts in countries across the Mediterranean. They will be doing street evangelism events, there is a dance team and a music team, there is a trash team that will pick up trash and share the gospel (they did this on Thursday in Rome and passed out 1300 tracts), there is a prayer team going to Malta to pray 24/7 for the other teams, and there are many more.
Julie and I will head into Rome for a couple of days before we journey back to Houston and then Brownsville to join our own outreach team on mission at the border. Tomorrow we hope to go to the Vatican, see the Pope, give him a tract and then visit the Sistine Chapel where we will make a few suggestions for improvements on the ceiling. 😉
So what have we learned or been impressed by this week? I think that for both of us the overpowering message of the week has been to trust the Lord, to “jump into the deep end” and know that He will be there. There have been many other lessons for the week. One of my favorites is to use the word PRAYER as an acrostic to pray for cities and nations. Have you ever wondered how you could pray for a city or nation that you know little about? Try praying for these things:
P – poor in the city
R – rich in the city to be generous
A – authorities to be just and wise
Y – youth in the city
E – elderly in the city
R – revival in the city
Finally, we have also come up with a plan for Transform 2014. One of the needs we discovered this week is that many of the leaders and others bring small children for the week. A few of the moms have been tasked with coming up with activities for the kids while the conference meetings are taking place. That places a real burden on them and I think we can do some ministry here. Our plan is to bring a team back to Transform 2014, July 21-26, to do a VBS type week with the kids who come with leadership. There are only about 15 or 20, but this would allow those moms to have a week at the conference that they haven’t had in the past. Following the conference, we are working on an arrangement where that VBS group would go to the UK to do a children’s outreach there with one of the groups from OM. I met today with the OM leader in the UK and we are going to begin working out the details of this trip. So, in a nutshell, you would get to spend a week in Rome (or Athens if Transform moves there next year) and then a week in the UK. There would be local sightseeing at the conference sight as well as in London. This trip would be especially designed for those 16-18 year olds and others who would like to come. We are also going to encourage college and above to come with us and go on other Transform outreach trips. We may be leading one or you may just want to choose a trip that meets your own calling and interests.
There are details still to be worked our and costs are up in the air, but I hope we can take at least 10 and maybe as many as 25. For a ballpartk, start looking at needing to have $2500-2600 for the trip. That would be for airfare, lodging, transportation and most meals.
We are excited about the things that God is going to do in the next year. Please join us in prayer as we work toward Transform 2014.