Congratulations Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs with a superb opening of a great General Assembly – the 19th. We are meeting in Daejeon in South Korea, a really beautiful city a couple of hours drive away from Seoul.
Along this river the city has organized a terrific recreation and sports facility, more than 15 km with walking tracks and bicycle roads in beautiful natural surroundings. The Mayor of the city came to our opening dinner and I complimented him on fabulous sports facilities open for anyone.
This is the last Assembly for General Secretary Kohei Yamada san, a great friends and a great leader of the YMCA. I have had the pleasure to work closely with Kohei and his wife Marlene over many years and Kohei has contributed so much to the YMCAs in Japan, in the Asia and Pacific region as well as in the World Movement of YMCAs. Thank you to a great friend and a great leader of YMCA!
Nam, Boo Won is the present National General Secretary of YMCA Korea, and during the opening ExCom and APAY Council meeting, he was unanimously appointed as the next General Secretary of APAY. Congratulations Nam, you will be a fine follower of Kohei Yamada and I wish you the rich blessings of our Lord as you start your new journey and take on higher responsibility from November 1 this year.
Dr Park and his wife are wonderful friends from many years back, last year they took Ingunn and me for an exciting visit to the beautiful island of Jeju. You can go back to my blogposts from that time and see how well we were treated. Dr Park has produced another book on Alternative Tourism, which he handed out as a gift to the 400 participants at the General Assembly.
Kohei Yamada san and Marlene, his wife, were deservedly thanked and praised for their great services to APAY over 7 years. They will be moving from Hong Kong back to Japan in the near future. Here with APAY Board Members and other dignitaries from APAY.
The stage is beautifully prepared for the opening worship and an exciting keynote speech by Dr Chang from Seoul on the theme for the Assembly. He started out from Noah and the Arch and concluded that we are not alone on this planet, God’s new covenant under the symbol of the rainbow is valid for all creation and is universally inclusive.
Here Professor Chang during his keynote speech.
I have a lot of respect for Mr Jau, or Joshua, he has been a resourceful and elegant leader of APAY the last 4 years as President and played a significant role as a member of the World Alliance Executive Committee. He leads with efficiency and wisdom, and always with a very charming touch of humor, which makes everything so much easier. A world class YMCA leader!
Peter is always doing an excellent job representing us wherever he goes, and he is truly loved and appreciated by all. The only problem for him is that the result of his good work is that he is overwhelmed by invitations from all corners of the world! Well done, Peter!
WE WALKED FOR 12 KM
In between meetings and speeches, we have found time for a good long walk along the river, ending up at a very nice coffee shop where ice coffee became the natural choice. We both enjoy to spend time together like this, and we also get a lot of business done at the same time.
Kohei Yamada and his crew have really focussed on young People, Change Agents and Youth Representatives, and the result was shown in massive performances of the young people and a very youthful atmosphere during the Assembly. Most of the meetings are facilitated by young people.
Here we had a planning meeting for the emergency work in Nepal following the earthquake together with Mukti, the NGS from Nepal to the far left here. Mongolia friends joined us for the photo!
Dr David Suh and his wife. David was the former President of the World Alliance and is an inspired and important theologian in Korea and he inspires us all. I am very grateful to be able to spend time with the leaders that came before us and served us so well.
Some fantastic break dance from the dance troupe of Daegu YMCA, a neighbor city.
And here friends from Yokohama YMCA at the end of the opening dinner. More exciting experiences tomorrow!