A little quotation that Rich came back with from his time in Australia:
"Westerners have WATCHES - Non-Westerners have TIME."
I had to laugh at that - it's pretty accurate :)
A lot of conflict that happens relationally on the mission-field has to do with the cultural differences between the so-called "hot-climate-people" and "cold-climate-people".
So there was some teaching during the conference last week to bring greater understanding.
It is encouraging to see that in all the different islands, the YWAM-leaders are locals or from another island! They are doing a good job under many times very difficult circumstances.
Rich LOVES the relational side of these conferences and can relate very well to what people are experiencing and be a great encouragement to them. He also spent a lot of time translating for those from New Caledonia and it was nice for them to have a french-speaking leader there for them!
What he doesn't like so much, is the meeting side of things - hours upon hours upon hours.
During the whole week, he only took a couple of walks and got outdoors a couple of times, the rest were meetings... Oh well, I guess you've got to make the time count - it's quite a sacrifice for everybody to even make it there in the first place.
One sad story from YWAM in Papua New Guinea:
Our workers there serve in the midst of great challenges - continual danger from tribal wars - it's very primitive there.
The (former) leader, his 7-month pregnant wife and their little son had just left YWAM recently to go to Bible School. On their way there, while they stayed with family, the hut they stayed in burned down one night while they were sleeping - and all 4 of them died.