This morning Darren, Ben and Collin each spoke on the different issues related to Canon. Darren covered the Old Testament, Ben covered the 1st century writer's self-understanding of what they were writing and Collin covered the NT and early Christianity. About 50 people came, including our new friends from UCCD. After lunch we took time for a Q & A, which revealed some of the issues and criticism facing the people here.
At night we had dinner with the Trey and Jesse Hulsey and Dave and Elizabeth Printy. We had a wonderful time. Small world - Trey's sister who was with us went to college with someone Darren coached in high school in Illinois.
We have gotten to know Trey over the last few days. He is a great missionary. To live in UAE you certainly do not need to know Arabic. But Trey has decided to learn it and in doing so has opened up so many doors to friendships with people in the region. In contrast, missionaries and Christian leaders who do not know Arabic do not nearly have as much impact on local people.
Dave and Elizabeth had very successful careers in the US. As they hit the age people around them were retiring, they decided to come to UAE. Dave was an administrator for hospitals and health care systems, working with Harvard Business Review, serving on the RNC national committee and helping some Christian universities. Elizabeth was a prominent opera singer and had just started teaching at Harvard when they had a dramatic shift in their life and moved to UAE so Dave could oversee the hospital here in Al Alin. Talk about a clear calling!
The hospital here sees 18,000 people a month, almost all of whom are Muslim. Before the hospital started in the 70's, over 50% of pregnancies ended in the death of the child. One of the first births was a baby that grew into a man who is now the President of UAE. Because of this the hospital has a favored status. They were just given millions of dollars to build a new hospital! The hospital does not only care for physical needs, but believe God has called them to care for every patient's spiritual needs as well. Every patient is told that they are being cared for because the people who serve them are Christians, that they love them and that God loves them. It is an entry point into more significant conversations.
Tomorrow we are going to visit Oman and have lunch with a friend of Trey. It will be the first time some of us have been in the house of an Arab Muslim. At night we will be teaching. Thanks for praying.