WASHINGTON — Ambassadors from the diplomatic community around the world gathered for a special dinner – “An Evening of Friendship and Celebration” sponsored by Christian Ministries to the Nations and hosted by Segbe Cyrille Oguin, ambassador from the African nations of Bennin in Washington Dec 17 according to Baptist Press.
About 63 ambassadors, deputy ambassadors and their wives, including at least five Muslim ambassadors, a Chinese diplomat and his wife, and many other non-Christians attended the dinner.
Christian Ministries to the Nations is the ministry arm of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to the diplomatic community in Washington led by North American missionary Cecil Mahendranath who himself was a former diplomat from Guyana.
Mahendranath said NAMB sponsors events like this every three years both to raise the profile of his ministry and to communicate the Gospel directly to world leaders in the public.
"Diplomats are really accustomed to events like this," he said. Because of the nature of their work, diplomats are more often easier to gain access to diplomats through social gatherings.
"They may never have an opportunity to go to church," he said. "But they will come to an event like this -- and they heard the Gospel from beginning to end."
Mahendranath offers regular Bible studies to reach out to unbelievers with the purpose of sharing Christ and provides discipleship and encouragement to Christians by visiting embassies and international agencies.
A featured speaker was Southern Baptist author Henry Blackaby, who offered a straightforward message on the love of God and His plan for mankind sharing scriptures from John 3:16-17.
"The person who has come to know the profound love of God in his own life is so radically transformed, they are never the same again," Blackaby said. "The heart is changed, and therefore the life is changed. God's purpose is to love every solitary person, and He does."
"What God is looking for is someone whose life has been changed by the love of God in such a way that the love of God can go through them in such a way as to touch others who have not known that love," he continued.
"Many of you have incredible opportunities to let the love of God flow through you," he said. "It's been a tremendous joy for me to listen to so many of you who have encountered that love, and in the amazing mercy of God He has so many of you as ambassadors."
Blackbaby also gave out his widely used disicpleship book, “Experiencing God” to the diplomats who attended the event with his autographs.
Oguin expressed gratitude toward Mahendranath who invited him to host the event. Ever since his family arrived in Washinton, Mahendranath has influenced Oguin’s life by being a faithful friend and pastoral counselor ever since.
The featured speaker for the evening was noted Southern Baptist author Henry Blackaby, who offered a straightforward message on the love of God and His plan for mankind.
"What we did here tonight is to let other people see the love of God through ourselves," he said. "So we can testify to what the Lord Jesus has done through our work, our home and our family."
Gary Frost, who oversees Christian Ministries to the Nations as NAMB's vice president of strategic partnerships, said, "For many of these diplomats, their time is so tied up in the secular activity of America that they're not really exposed to the spiritual activity -- and this is an opportunity to give that exposure," he said. "Sometimes there's almost a fear to share Christ with the men and ladies, but they're hungry for what makes America America -- and that's part of who we are as a people."
For many, the dinner also allows a chance for Christian diplomats to celebrate their common faith in Christ, Frost said, noting, "This gathering allows them to see another side of one another."