“…and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Our daily life is focused on sharing the Word of the Lord, yet living in Myanmar, this is not always an easy task. The ministry is constantly being watched by government officials as are all the other churches and ministries in Yangon. The literature ministry was started for this reason, so that a simple tract could be put into the hands of non-believers to share the Gospel and another could be put into the hands of believers to help them to grow in the Word and to be encouraged – this is our Jerusalem.
Each year the ministry holds conferences for youth and this year has been no different – it is so encouraging to work with the young people knowing that the future of Christianity is in their hands. This year, as last year, we held the camp during water festival, a time that is really important to the Buddhists, and a time when young people really need to understand what traditions are cultural and what ones are Buddhist in origin. We called the camp a salvation camp and it was held in the Village of Tepyu – this is our Judea. There was a lot of interest in learning more about Jesus from this camp.
After the camp was finished a trip to Southern Chin State was planned – this is my homeland and where my heart is. I am from the Dai tribe which numbers about 7,000 people in 156 villages. The trip is very long – 4 days each way, much of it on foot. This year I went to do a pastors’ conference as a follow-up to the training that 10 pastors from Southern Chin State received last year when a group from North Carolina came and did Evangelism training. These men thirst for the Word and have very little access to materials where they are located high in the mountains. These pastors have the same heart for the people that I do, and they long to reach out to the remote villages. When I am back among the Dai, I almost feel as though I am in a different world. The people are very tribal, mostly illiterate, and need the Gospel shared verbally to them. It is so encouraging when you look on their faces and see them suddenly light up as the message is received – it is a feeling like no other when I know that the Word is reaching the heart of the Dai people in their heart language.
The pastors were very encouraged by the conference and more determined than ever to reach out to the tribe with renewed zeal. Each evening we have home cell group and prayer meetings that really blessed the people. Life is very difficult for these people and conditions are often harsh, but when we can give them hope in Jesus Christ they have something strong to stand on to make it through the tough times. Those that know the Lord have a different countenance – there is a sparkle in their eyes and a bounce in their step. Their struggles remain the same, but their outlook on life is different – they know they will never face anything without the Lord and that they will also never face anything as difficult as what the Lord faced.
For our ministry, reaching out to those in Southern Chin State has been a blessing. We do not have the same persecution that we do in Yangon, and we are truly making disciples that are reproducing themselves. We need more ministry tools for them and some time to teach them to read, but with the dedicated pastors that we have, they are continuing to grow, to memorize and to live Christian lives. When I lived there, I was saved by an evangelist who came, but outsiders are no longer permitted into the region, so the Lord has given us the duty to share with our brothers and sisters in Southern Chin State. He has opened the doors of ministry for the Burmese people to share with one another – this is our mission field.
It is obvious that my heart is in Southern Chin State, but I have 19 dedicated pastors working with me who are reaching out into other remote areas of Myanmar including Kachin State where early evangelism of the country took place under Adoniram Judson (the name sake of my son), Shan State, North Dagon, Irrawaddy Division and numerous villages within the Yangon Division. Many of these pastors also house orphans in their home. When we first partnered with Harvesters we had 10 orphans we were caring for – today, two years later, we have 83 children in 5 different homes. The Lord has blessed us with these young people to bring them up in the way of the Lord and to be able to develop them into workers for Him. Although we are a very small ministry, we take every opportunity and open door as a divine appointment from our Lord to share His word with the lost people of Myanmar that they may not spend eternity in Hell. Our God is gracious and merciful and has permitted us to be His hands and feet among the Buddhist people of Myanmar. Please continue to lift up the task before us in your prayers and if possible with your finances.