Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An open air market in Kuala Lumpur displays exotic fruit, including rambutan and durian, the "King of Fruits."
What happens when chocolate and caffeine become objects of worship? "Theobroma Chocolate Lounge" is created, a temple dedicated to the marriage of chocolate and coffee. A delicious, unholy union.
Our Asia visit comes to a close in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We are here to meet with Dr. Kay Peng Khoo, a longtime Regent University Board of Trustees member, whose recent lead gift helped launch our chapel construction.

Karen and I spent part of the day visiting the famed 'Petronas Towers', massive twin towers wrapped in tubular metal and rising some 90 stories, the spire making them the world's tallest buildings when completed in the 1990s (The photo is taken from an observation deck on the 86th floor. Dubai is the locus of today's tallest structure). The towers reflect Malaysia's aim to be a "modern industrialized country by 2020," though our cab driver grumbled that the government had made a "ridiculous decision" to codify the native Malay language and so "young people today speak little English. We cannot compete with other countries. They want to make us the next France." An article in the local paper featured a prominent educator who worries that "young Malaysians growing up in rural areas will be severely English deficient."

"Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia's Chicago or Los Angeles," commented Dr. Khoo when we met later in the day. "Malaysia is far more developed than people know. Industry is thriving, and our natural resources are expansive. We have a unique system of government; we elect a 'King,' but the system works fairly well."

In our 40 hours in Malaysia, we were struck by the fine roads, modern buildings and multilingual residents. Dr. Khoo and his colleagues Dr. Wong Hong Meng (governing council for Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship) and Mr. James Wong from Malayan United Industries, agreed that Regent University could also recruit some high level students from Malaysia: "Regent is well known in Christian circles as an excellent university," says Dr. Khoo. "We will help you recruit the next generation of Asian leaders!"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A few final photos from our trip.

                             A seaside mosque rises on the oceanfront in Makassar, Indonesia.

Bolts of colorful fabric and 'batiks' (the Indonesian version of the Cuban 'guayabera') line shelves in a gift shop.

            On a bustling avenue, a 'daeng' pedals the famous 'becak,' the pedicab in Makassar.

As the pilot turned the plane in a gentle arc toward the northwest, we look back on the island of Sulawesi and recall the many remarkable moments we experienced this week: Worshipping with thousands of our Asian brothers and sisters at the E-21 Conference;  meeting with top church and educational leaders in Jakarta; a Saturday morning fellowship time with the remarkable team at CBN Jakarta; four Sunday church services that were not constrained by any schedule, but directed by ministry; a transformational Indonesian church that meets five days a week for prayer from 11:30 to 1pm (about 150 attend regularly including the senior pastor); a girl no more than six hawking newspapers on a busy street; a half dozen children trying to flag down a motor scooter for a ride into the city; glittering skyscrapers casting their shadows over a grassy field with a shanty and a herd of goats in downtown Jakarta; the hope and promise in the faces of Indonesian high schoolers longing for the 'privilege' of attending a school like Regent University; the prayers we prayed with Indonesian leaders for The Lord to open many doors for Regent University to impact Indonesia for Christ.

We leave with a clear sense that we have laid the groundwork for establishing an ongoing partner for Regent University. In Indonesia, we have a nation with a growing Christian population, an ethos that places great emphasis on education, and fine students who will add much to the 'global context' we promise in our mission, but more importantly, these students will deepen our own understanding of the Holy Spirit's work in the world and the transforming power of 'every tribe and tongue' focused in unity on the source of all truth. God bless Asia, and continue to help us find ways to connect with your people here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Karen and I were so blessed to visit the CBN Jakarta offices. Their leadership came in on a Saturday to give us a sense of the work they are doing here in Indonesia.

We learned that their prayer counselors receive thousands of calls every month from viewers suffering with the same issues that Christians everywhere share in common: family strife, economic difficulties and spiritual despair.

But CBN is providing hope and light in this growing nation, as they connect with church ministries and the community to minister to Indonesia. 

Mark McClendon (Director of CBN Jakarta) is on the far right, and his wife Ira is standing next to my wife Karen. There was a beautiful spirit here.
                   A lovely courtyard at SPH, one of the top Christian K-12 schools in Indonesia.