I was excited to see that Ajith Fernando is the main speaker at the Presbyterian's special conference. I am currently preparing a series on the beginning of Acts, for the autumn, and an relying heavily on his excellent commentary on Acts.
Ajith's family are Methodists in Sri Lanka. I visited Sri Lanka on three occasions and almost got to hear him once. I was with a group that were attending a youth fellowship in a particular church. Ajith was going to speak on 'hell'. However, I had arranged that we would meet Stephen Skuce at a particular time at a certain hotel, so we had to leave just before Ajith spoke. In fact it was really rude of us, the moment Ajith stood up we made our noisy exit. We all agreed that we would have loved to hear his talk.
Just another story. The first time I went to Sri Lanka was on a summer placement when I was in Edgehill. Over breakfast on the first morning Skucey said, 'We're going to an evangelism conference today.' That seemed fine to me. Until he then said, 'and you are one of the speakers.' The whole of the Methodist church big-wigs were there; it was tri-lingual (English, Sinhalese and Tamil); the only time I had to prepare was during the praise time; and this is not an area in which I am anything of an expert. Needless to say I stank. It was quite humiliating that all summer people introduced themselves to me saying 'I heard you at Wellawata'. I could have wished they hadn't.
Ajith spoke at Castewellan a few years ago, but I wasn't there. His book 'The Jesus-driven minsitry' comes highly recommened.