Sunday was a wonderful day! The singing was superb. Will Ed Warren's class and Larry Henderson's lesson were excellent. Jim Wilson and Roy Dunavin's report was encouraging and insightful. Over $100,000 was given or pledged to help fund our missions outreach in 2000.

The "whip cream and cherry" topping was our first fellowship meal in the Family Life Center. Though not completed, we were permitted to use the floor area. The visiting was wonderful! Many talked about the obvious needs our new facilities would meet.

One of our special guests was Stephan Phoumasone. Stephan speaks eight languages. His wife, Anne, a citizen of France, was arrested with Jerry and Meg Canfield in Laos. Together, Stephan and Anne decided that he would enroll in the Sunset School of Preaching. He would prepare to teach and preach in Southeast Asia. We support Stephan as he studies at Sunset.

A class requirement for Stephan is preparation of a relevant lesson for West-Ark. Given opportunity, he will share that lesson with us next year. He asked me, "What can I share that will be relevant to West Ark?" We discussed a basic difference between a lesson that provides information and a lesson the increases understanding of information.

I suggested that he share with us the reasons for his decision. It had to be a difficult decision that required him to (a) live in a foreign culture; (b) do in-depth study in a foreign language; (c) live away from his wife; and (d) commit himself (and his wife) to a dangerous, difficult work. Why would established, successful adults do that?

His eyes and his mouth smiled as ideas flooded into his awareness. Then he shared with me a difference he saw in Southeast Asia. "There it is difficult and dangerous. Here it is so convenient. But Christians here do not understand what they have." He was in no way critical or judgmental. He is much too appreciative. That difference bewildered him. How could Christians here have such great opportunity and not realize what they had?

We do not realize what we have. We do not understand how desperately we need it. As (a) society promotes self-centered existence, (b) culture embraces values that attack moral responsibility, and (c) marriage and family relationships crumble, we are mystified. We thought it was enough to have correct information, to declare correct information, and to defend correct information. It is not. If you doubt the inadequacy of correct information, look at what is happening in our families and the families of our Christian friends.

In this society, Christ will change lives when Christians demonstrate the relevance of God. If God is not making an obvious difference in our lives and families, why should others think God will make a difference in their lives and families?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 21 November 1999

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