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TAYLORS, S.C. (BP)--While visiting California in early March, I was thanked by one of the pastors for visiting what he called the "left coast." There are many who joke about Californiaís edgy style and different way of dealing with life.
Perhaps these barbs and jokes have some basis in reality, but I found the churches, people and leaders of California to be a refreshing and exciting group. On both days, I met with area pastors, sharing with them and praying with them as we learned together. The California Southern Baptist Convention is led by Dr. Fermin Whittaker, whose love for the people, churches and pastors is evident and well received. He is one of Godís choice servants and I urge each of you to pray for him regularly. He is truly a great leader in one of the most ethnically diverse states in our nation.
While there, I was also privileged to speak at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. What a great experience that was. That wonderful institution is ably led by Dr. Jeff Iorg. Honestly, I had not had much time with Jeff in conversation prior to that day. However, I can assure you that that institution is in great hands. His commitment to quality theological education as well as the accomplishment of the Great Commission in the West is without reservation, as well as contagious.
The trip to California was a great encouragement to me. God is placing some of His very finest servants in places of great challenge. Please pray for the churches, pastors and leaders of our western states, particularly California. As the most populous state in the United States, there are opportunities there found nowhere else.
Frank Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C. Visit his website at www.sbc.net/PresidentsPage.