Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation concluded at Cape Town, South Africa, on 25th October, 2010. It was a historic meeting of 4,000 evangelical leaders to discuss issues critical to the evangelization of the world. As one of the writers for the Congress’ news sheet Cape Town Today and the commemorative magazine Cape Town 2010, Michelle MY Chan recalls some “behind-the-scenes” moments.
|Cape Town 2010 Closing Ceremony
(Photo by Michelle MY Chan)
Upon arrival at the beautiful city of Cape Town, I settled in quickly and got ready for the Communications Team’s Orientation on the 14th Of October, 2010. There were more than 90 volunteers in this group, and we fanned out in smaller teams including broadcast, publications, social media, credentialed press and data miners.
Gathered at the hall of the Dutch Reformed Church in Kloof Street, these communications volunteers from all corners of the world met for the first time. Each was wondering what the next 12 days of the Congress would entail – collectively and individually.
As the welcome speeches were made, we were introduced to the Lausanne CT 2010 Leadership, team managers and members, as well a big picture overview of what laid ahead of us.
The onsite publications team was responsible for churning out two publications – the daily Cape Town Today, which each delegate received every morning; and a commemorative Cape Town 2010 magazine as a take-home memento at the end of the Congress.
Getting the Job Done
My task was to interview speakers, attend the plenaries and multiplexes (major elective seminars) and write stories – basically, a reporter’s job. I have a fellow writer, Susan Brill from the United States, and between the both of us, had to ferret out individuals for interviews and meet deadlines. Sounds easy? Well, considering that there were 4,000 people and no announcement facilities (the Cape Town Today is the only announcement organ), just finding that someone in the crowd is akin to… a needle in a haystack.
Nevertheless, Susan and I somehow met the deadlines. I am not sure how she did it, but I was pacing the hallway praying that God would lead me to the right individuals for the interviews. And almost each time, I would meet the person I needed to.
There was one particular day that was extremely exhausting and rewarding. I had woken up at 6 am and interviewed five theologians who poured out their hearts, visions and concerns for the global church. When I finally finished talking to Paul Eshleman, Patrick Fung, Chris Wright, John Piper and David Ruiz past 11pm, my brain was fried but my joy was full.
Since both publications were translated into seven other languages, the deadlines were tight. The onsite publications team operated out of Room 16, an office space carved out in a far corner of the International Convention Center, nestled amongst other Congress working divisions.
After the main English copy was written and edited, the translators would work on them immediately. By the time it arrived at the designers’, it was laid out line-by-line by volunteers who sometimes did not particularly understand the languages they were working on. It was by the grace and provision of God that those volunteers were added to our team. The sheer bulk and burden of the work was alleviated.
|Cape Town 2010 Onsite Publications Team
(Photo by Heidi Lenssen)
The best part of the Congress for me would undoubtedly be working with my team in Room 16. We were from the United States, Kenya, France, India, Canada and Malaysia; and a wonderful bond and camaraderie formed between us. Despite being put into the pressure cooker, we had fun, enjoyed each other and there was always a happy working atmosphere.
As our task concluded in Cape Town, we left with an amazing sense of awe and accomplishment at what God has done and will continue to do after this Congress. Words do not do justice to the relationships, synergy, ideas, paradigms and influence that had begun.
One striking moment was the Communion at the closing of the Congress. After 10 days of deliberations, wrestling and fleshing out issues and challenges with potential to divide the global church, the Communion was a very tangible moment where everyone put aside their differences and went up to the table. In fact, it was a profound display of Truth and Reconciliation – major themes of the Congress. And therein – frozen-framed in time – this writer saw that the only way reconciliation and unity can come to the Church is through its Head – Jesus Christ.
Michelle MY Chan