It's my favorite time of day -- morning -- when everyone else is asleep and the house is perfectly still and quiet. Just finished reading a rather lengthy email / prayer letter from Bill Lawrence who is a former seminary teacher of mine. I always enjoy his communications. He's in his late 60s (I'm guessing) but still going strong in ministry, traveling quite a bit internationally. His latest email was a combination of his personal thoughts and ramblings while traveling by train from Budapest, Hungary to Constanta, Romania. His email brought back many memories for me as I have traveled some in that region: airplane from Budapest to Bucharest but also train from Prague, Czech Republic to Poland in the early and mid 90s. I remember the crowded trains, the interesting characters going "somewhere," the constant vigilance for pickpockets and loss of your passport, border guards who would mess with you a little bit, wondering if you brought enough food for the journey, etc.
Dr. Lawrence was a student at DTS back in the 1960s and started a church in southern California where he pastored for a number of years before returning back to Dallas as an instructor. He blends the experience of pastoring with the heart of training. I enjoyed his classes, sense of humor, and downright seriousness when the time called for it. He helped me to realize that my tendency toward being a loner would not be to my advantage when developing as a leader. Bill now heads a ministry called Leader Formation International where he teaches and develops leaders. He is frequently in Hungary and Romania meeting with church leaders and Campus Crusade for Christ staff. He's not a retiree hitting the golf course and driving the RV. He's chugging through the Carpathian Mountains, sharing sleeper cars with bilingual Romanians, and giving every day to building the Church and her leaders for the glory of God.
Lord, I pray you would give me as many years of serving you and that you would expand my personal involvement in the lives of others around the world who are "repenters" and have left behind lives of emptiness for the greater adventure of kingdom work, knowing that there was no loss in dying to self and the world because what is gained is eternal life.