Myanmar 2017: Part 2 – Rakhine State
God is doing amazing things in the hearts and homes of people we meet day to day, we need to be the watering cans to make those seeds grow.
Just before driving into Rakhine state… We stopped and met a young pastor named Dingwi and the small group of believers in a village of 400. They have been oppressed physically, spiritually and many Christians there are persecuted or sick. We spoke words of encouragement is over them and prayed for them that they would be healed, empowered to reach their village. They were very appreciative of our time and the growing relationship with our partners on the ground.
The next town we visited was in Rakhine state. We met with a small group of believers who were passionate about Jesus. This is a young church, Isaiah encouraged them that they are part of a growing larger body of churches that have strong faith in Christ. They are a young tree that will grow in mercy, compassion and will grow strong and then bear fruit by reaching out to their neighbours.
So… My Myanmar language skills are lacking… But I’m pretty sure that Hans just married a couple! We were welcomed into a home for lunch. The family was very excited to serve us some very fresh deer meat. It was amazing to see so many young Christian men and women so passionate in worship and prayer in this village. God is moving these young people in an incredible way. Amazing! They love Jesus and want to share his love and gospel with those around them. And then Hans laid hands on and blessed a couple in their relationship. Apparently, that counted as their wedding ceremony! Good thing Hans is ordained! You never know what is going to happen when you are travelling with the Sinclair-Peters and Isaiah.
Rakhine state is the place with so much violence and crisis these days among particular people groups and faiths, but these Christians are bold.
The next town (mai kru way) we visited we stopped for a second lunch. We sang together with a guitar we brought along and attracted a small crowd who listened to us. Isaiah took that opportunity to share the gospel and two women responded with decisions to follow Christ. Incredible. Perhaps just as incredible is that Rakhine state is the place with so much violence and crisis these days among particular people groups and faiths, but these Christians are bold. They are singing loudly, praying, and preaching the gospel while neighbours and monks walk by. They are not ashamed of the gospel despite the dramatic sacrifice it might cost them. In part, this is because of the nature of the gospel but it is also in part due to the model of godly leadership that pastor Isaiah and pastor Mo Ow embody in their ministry. So many of these villages have one or two Christian families that are being equipped to share their faith and It is amazing to see what happens as we travel to visit, encourage, and pray for them. Wednesday morning, we left our hotel really early and continued heading West towards the water. This is much further than the Sinclair-Peters and the Penners have ever had the opportunity of going into Rakhine state before. We were able to give our eyeglasses to a number of people in town. This is a town of about 6000 homes and just a few Christians. We helped a few Buddhist monks receive glasses as well as the mayor’s family. The mayor was very happy that we came to bless the people in his village. The team was so happy and thankful that God opened the door for relationships in this village. About 20 minutes after leaving, we stopped on the side of the road in the pitch black, got a guitar out, and sang worship songs to God and prayed.
So… Today is Thursday! We visited a Chin village where there were 80 people from 10 villages came to a church service. Some people walked 2-3 hours because they heard there was a special speaker. Half of the people were not believers but after Isaiah shared his testimony and preached the gospel, everyone responded. The local pastor was so happy. There will be many, many baptisms in the next couple of weeks! Praise God!!!
Andrew, Kevin, & Hans in Myanmar