A letter from Marta Carriker in Brazil
Cape Town 2010 Report
“... God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ ...”
Cape Town 2010, the third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, was held October 16–25. Some 4,500 people from 200 different countries were present and 650 extension sites throughout the world participated in the meeting via Internet.
Conference participants were divided into small groups. Five or six of us sat around a table every morning to study the book of Ephesians together. Both Tim and I were table leaders for English-speaking groups. Mine was composed of Bonner and Corrie from the Philippines, Justin from the United States, Keith from Australia and Pasis from Tanzania. Our time together, though much too short, was precious as we heard the experiences of our brothers and sisters from different contexts and prayed for one another. In the small groups we also debated the themes presented to us each day: (1) Making the case for the truth of Christ in a pluralistic world, (2) Building the peace of Christ in our divided and broken world, (3) Bearing witness to the love of Christ with people of other faiths, (4) Discerning priorities for world evangelization, (5) Calling the Church back to humility, integrity and simplicity and (6) Partnering in the Body of Christ. These were core issues identified by the different regions of the world as challenges for the Church in the coming decade.
In the afternoons different meetings focused on strategies to reach different groups, followed by dialogue sessions that addressed further interests, providing resources and networking opportunities. The evenings were a time of celebration of the regions represented and also brought into focus some issues like religious freedom, HIV/Aids, human trafficking, megacities and engaging the next generation. The music, led by a diverse group, was a small sample of heaven with different languages and styles as a source of joy and worship.
Each day we heard the testimonies of brothers and sisters from around the world who have suffered for the gospel — some had lost relatives to persecution, and some had been persecuted themselves, paying a high price to be witnesses to Jesus Christ. We also heard stories of lives that were completely changed and stories about what God is doing through His Church to reach the world. I was impressed to hear from a woman who led more than 50 people to Christ in a Muslim community where she spent two months preaching and teaching. I asked her if they had all met in a group, to which she said that that was not possible; they could only meet one-on-one. I asked her if these people had problems after coming to Christ, to which she responded that they had to remove the sheik to a safe place, and that now this man has become a pastor. This was only one of the amazing stories of what God is doing.
We were also challenged to consider what people groups have not yet been reached and to take their names to our churches so that we can pray and commit to actively engage in telling the story to those who have not yet heard it. Statistics were distributed and the input of the Church worldwide was requested to correct and update this data.
The last evening we closed with possibly the most beautiful service I have been a part of. There was an orchestra and a choir for a Kenyan service of Holy Communion. Sitting with friends we had not seen for a long time, Tim and I felt privileged to share in the same spirit as we sang:
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
It is only by the power of Christ and in the love of His Church that we can be moved to be reconcilers in His name. That is our call and our destiny.
One final note: On the flight home from Cape Town, I could hear a woman behind me from northeastern Brazil talking to the woman next to her. Before we landed, this woman had convinced her traveling companion that she should know more about Jesus, had gotten her email address and had a discipleship program planned. I wish we all could be as motivated to use our time wisely, while we can, to communicate the love of God in Christ to the world!
I am grateful to The Outreach Foundation, the PC(USA) and all who support us for making it possible for us to attend and serve at Cape Town 2010.
The 2010 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 298