EFAC Australia

Julie-Anne Laird offers us her first-timers’ impressions of a global evangelical gathering.

An eighteen-year-old girl got up the front to tell us all that her father had decided to go back to North Korea to tell all his friends and family about Jesus. She hadn’t heard from him for four years. She presumes that he is dead. She has that same burden for her country knowing it could cost her life. There was not a dry eye in the place.
A woman spoke of how her husband, a doctor, had been killed when trying to help the Afghani people with medical aid. Instead of being bitter or angry, she did nothing but praise Jesus.
A guy on my table had been imprisoned for his faith in a country I can’t mention. He had been separated from his family for four years, had lost his home and all his money, and was desperate to be united with his wife and four children. At the end of the week we discovered that while he was in prison all fifteen in the jail cell came to know Jesus through him!
A Muslim guy became a Christian and was a humiliation to his family. He kept on trying to love them and show them what God was like. His father, at this death bed,
said to him ‘I love the God you love, because he is a kind and generous God. But I cannot believe in your religion.’ And then he died.
You could not sit at Lausanne and not change. To see 4000 from all over the world, living for Jesus and worshipping Him together was just amazing. All week I kept on thinking about how if this was what heaven was like, then I cannot wait to get there! But more importantly I long for everyone to be there!
Being at Lausanne was an ­encouragement as well as a ­challenge. I felt more and more dissatisfied with where the Church is at in Australia and the West in general and wondered if fear has totally consumed us when it comes to talking about our faith to those around us. Admittedly it is socially not the right thing to talk about Jesus and people will slowly back away if you’re too enthusiastic (I’ve discovered!) but we do have the freedom to share the gospel. So the question for me was: Why are we so afraid to talk about our faith when we really don’t have anything to lose? Where has our passion and zeal gone for Jesus? Have we lost our first love or are we focused on other things or distracted by life? Have we given over to apathy and don’t have perseverance for the relationships around us? Or are we just so discouraged and have tried and tried to talk about our faith that we end up thinking that God doesn’t really work in people’s lives and have given up praying?
So for me, I came back from Lausanne with a renewed passion for prayer, a renewed passion to talk about my faith with everyone, and a passion to train up evangelists.
If you want an impressive evaluation of Lausanne have a read of Ian Langham’s blog. (http://ianlangham.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/15-things-worth-taking-home/)

Julie-Anne Laird is an evangelist extraordinaire with the Melbourne University Christian Union.