Well, it's 11:30pm on Wed. evening, May 17, the close of Day 1 at the GCOWE '95. Registration went so smoothly and quickly, it was hardly believable! (For those who attended Lausanne II in Manila, forget the long lines! These volunteers an AD2000 & Beyond staff people had this registration thing down to a science --- 5 minutes tops! No wait! And there are over 4000 of us here!)
The meeting opened today with group worship in the Torch Center, a building built (or more accurately, a campus!) by the Koreans with the hope of spurring along world missions mobilization! The Torch Center is a kind of US Center for World Mission a la Seoul.... bigger, more beautiful, and more spacious. Nearly 4000 people fit in the main auditorium!
The Koreans gave the GCOWE delegates a very warm welcome in the form of a "Cultural Pageant" (presented by the AD2000 & Beyond Movement's Korean Women's Track. The Opening Greeting by Mrs. [Dr.] Hung-Ja Lee (Vice Pres. of the Korean Preparation Committee and Chairperson of the Korean Women's Track Committee) said through an interpreter, "There has never been, in the history of the Christian Church, a time when more than two hundred nations were represented at one place as here today. We represent practically every nation, people, culture, and language."
Following this opening greeting, the Koreans presented a special interpretive performance entitled, "Go!", complete with full orchestral accompaniment and expressive Korean traditional dance. The memorable performance included scenes from the Gospel of Luke -- crucifixion, suffering, resurrection, appearance to the 12, and sending out the disciples for missions to the nations. A heart applause rounded out this segment of the envent.
Next came specials in song, featuring Korean traditional music from the Kayagum (a traditional Korean music instrument) and later more instrumental presentations by the "Piri" (another Korean folk instrument). The "Worship Taekwondo" was one of the most unique expressions of worship ever! The marshall arts drills were set to Christian music, and the presenters gave all the glory for their skills to the Lord.
The multi-media slide program was probably the only major disappointment. Technical difficulties marred the completion of what must have been literally hundreds and maybe thousands of slides from all over the world, presented by dissolving projectors from the balcony onto the giant screen in front. And when they did get everything working again, the combined women's choir was already in position to sing... so the group never got to see the slides.
Thomas Wang then presented the first plenary address. His message was entitled "A Small Cloud -- A Great Rain" and was taken from I Kings 18, where Elijah just won't give up praying for rain... and from the tiniest rain cloud (in the "sharpen of a man's hand", God brings a great thundering rain to bless the ground." Wang considered the fullness in the torch center as the beginning of the sounds of thundering rain! (The full message of his text can be found on this conference, brigada-pubs-gcowenews, under filename Wang0517.txt.)
During the evening session, Louis Bush spoke on the Unfinished Task -- "It Can be Done, It Ought to be Done, It Must be Done." For each of his 3 major topics (see title), he brought case studies from the audience to illiterates his point. (The full message of his text) can be found on this conference, brigada-pubs-gcowenews, under filename Bush0517.txt.)
Sessions ended 30 minutes early, at 8:30am. However, loading up buses took an addition 3 hours!!! So we didn't make it back to the hotal room until very late. Tomorrow's =very= long day consists of total plenary sessions. Yikes. If we don't like sitting still, it'll be a challenge!