In the Buddhist culture the annual water festival, Thingyan in Burmese, is a major celebration. It coincides with the New Year on the lunar calendar, which for 2009 was April 13-16. This is a time of cleansing where the people pour water over themselves to remove the bad luck, bad deeds, bad thoughts and anger from the prior year. Besides themselves, people pour water on friends and passers by as well – it is a time enjoyed by all.
The more devout Buddhists take this as a time to go to the monasteries and meditation centers. These people are more focused on washing away their sins and gaining merit from the monks by presenting them with food and gifts. They believe that by doing this that good luck will befall them during the upcoming year.
For Burmese Christians, the water festival is an opportunity to relate the cleansing blood of Christ and the spiritual water that Christ has to offer. Pastor “Benjamin” used this time to conduct a salvation training workshop for the people of Tepyu villages. Many people came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as their Lord and as living water. We thank the Lord for the symbolism that He uses throughout the Bible to be able to relate to all peoples and religions through similar practices – missionary biographies attest to this wonderful, awesome characteristic of our God.
Pastor Benjamin continues to train up more disciples as the need is great, especially in the Irrawaddy Delta which was almost destroyed by cyclone Nargis almost a year ago. Harvesters has been able to assist in the discipleship of the new believers in this area by sending funds to purchase Bibles so that the people can pursue a course of study while waiting for more workers for the harvest field.
The “house” rebuilding continues and Harvesters wants to thank all of those who have contributed through their prayers and finances regarding this project. The estimated completion date is some time in May – please continue to pray for the safety of the pastor and the workers as they continue to complete this “house” which some of the neighbors are being to wonder about.
We also ask that you pray for “Benjamin” and his upcoming trip to his home state of Southern Chin. This is a very remote, mountain area that requires several days of travel on foot. His heart is for his native people and we pray that many will come to know the One who loves them more than all others.
We are excited to see how the Lord is moving in the hearts of the Burmese people and we pray that those who are sharing the love of Christ will be invisible to those who desire to wipe Christianity from this country that has such a thirst.