We have officially landed in Durban, South Africa, completing the first half of our trip in Dubai, U.A.E. It was a long week but we had an incredible time building relationships, ministering in churches, speaking at a conference, growing in passion for the nations, and of course, some sight seeing!
After a 16 hour non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Dubai, we were graciously welcomed by our hosts who took us back to their homes and had meals prepared and beds to sleep in. We are so grateful for the families who hosted us and showed such hospitality and generosity. One of the most wonderful things about Dubai is the diversity and amount of nations represented everywhere you go. We had hosts from Indonesia, Holland, India, Scotland and England. Dubai is a thriving city in the middle east that has seen rapid growth over the last decade. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia and Oman, with Iran just 60 miles north of the Persian Gulf.
Three of the main reasons we went to Dubai were to speak at the Forge conference, minister in local churches, and build relationships with men and women internationally to give us a better understanding and bigger heart for the nations Jesus Himself wants to reach through His church. On Tuesday, Brad preached at the Forge conference on the topic, “The Gospel to a Secular Culture.” He was one of four for the section on Gospel advancement to a particular culture. He explained how the secularist isn’t asking the God questions, so we must equip our people to disclose their faith, dismantle their misconceptions of Christianity, and display the beauty and goodness of Jesus through the Gospel. Andy preached the following day on, “The Next Generation of the Church,” where he explained how his dream for the next generation of the church is to embrace their identity in Christ and live authentically in light of the Gospel. We sat under the preaching and teaching of many others from all over the world! The conference had men and women from Zimbabwe, Pakistan, South Africa, the U.K., Nigeria, Greece, Qatar, Sri Lanka, and many others!
On Thursday we put on our tourist hats and went to the world’s largest mall (with over 1,200 stores!), world’s largest building (Burj Kalifa), and saw the only indoor ski slope in the world! That night, we had the privilege of joining the Well of Life Church leaders meeting. Chris Wienand spoke at it and Tom and James led the musical worship for the evening. Royce arrived later that evening in Dubai, so we are now just looking forward to Scott joining us in Durban!
Because Islam is the official religion of Dubai and Muslims have their services on Friday, everyone takes Friday off. That morning we joined our new friends Dan and Starla who lead City Lights Church in Dubai. They had asked Andy and Brad to spend the morning interviewing and asking questions about our lives, faith, church, and passions. Later that afternoon, we joined Well of Life Church for their gathering and worshiped with tons of people from all over the globe. While it is technically illegal for these churches to gather, the men and women are faithfully proclaiming the Gospel and seeing many come to faith in Jesus!
We miss our wives, kids, and church family a ton! We are excited for our time in Durban and ask for ongoing prayer as we continue ministering, building relationships, and traveling. We will see you soon!