Even though we were present for the entire meeting, almost all of our time was spent working the IMB booth in the exhibit area and were basically clueless what was going on next door in the convention sessions. Our only way of keeping up was to go back to our hotel room and read what others were writing!
My impressions? I can't comment much on what took place on the convention floor, but can affirm that Southern Baptists have a big heart for world missions. My wife and I greeted and talked to dozens of people who stopped by the IMB booth. We met many fascinating people who were genuinely interested in what God is doing in the world today and shared how they have been involved or plan to be involved in missions. Both of us were greatly encouraged in the high level level of missions interest held by so many.
It was great seeing again many former missionary friends from Ecuador: Stuart and C.L. Pickle, Randel and Sheila Trull, Gary and Terry Odom, Norma Whitten, Cary and Ann Hanks, along with Alan and Mary Murphy whom we were appointed with back in 1986. My wife was very pleased to finally meet Rebekah Naylor whom was influential in her own missionary calling back in the early '70s.
It was also fun to meet many of the bloggers whom we have been reading over the past couple of years: Wes Kenney, Bart Barber, Bob Cleveland, Tim Guthrie, Tim Rogers, and Les Puryear. We enjoyed lunch one day with Micah and Tracey Fries sharing with them our "Guayas for Christ" project hoping they will adopt one of the counties of our province as one of their ongoing missions projects. There were others present whom we would have liked to have met, but did not cross paths with during the week.
Of course, for me personally, the highlight of the convention was the IMB report shared on Wednesday night. As many who were there have affirmed, there seems to be an overall spirit of genuine repentance and wanting to get back to what was heard many times as a "Great Commission Resurgence". My own conversations during the week with many people seemed to confirm this. The "rank and file" are tired of battling each other and are ready to wage war against the real enemy of the souls of men.