Myanmar 2018 Part 3: Lighthouse Farm
On day 3 we left for Lighthouse Farm in Bago State, located in central Myanmar. As we jumped in the van, our team talked about everything we were excited about and a few things we were apprehensive about heading into an intense area. Lighthouse farm is an intense place for a lot of reasons. It’s remote. The hike in is tough, steep hills, carrying our packs, 40 degree heat, different bugs, no access to healthcare (aside from our two fantastic nurses!), and no cell service. It’s off the grid. Different food, different “bathrooms”, sleeping under mosquito nets in a large open air room, bucket showering, hard farm work, different bacteria, it’s rough camping in an unfamiliar place with challenging terrain… this place is so unlike anything most of us have ever experienced before.
this place is so unlike anything most of us have ever experienced before.
It’s also intense because the area is almost exclusively Buddhist and/or animist. 99% of people out here have not only never heard the name of Jesus before but have never met a Christian before, let alone ever been to a church. Some religious groups in the area are adamantly opposed to Christians even being present in these communities whatsoever because of the threat of losing control. Some of these people in control have a simple message to the community we are trying to come alongside, “you’re either with us or against us.” That puts not only us, but the community in a difficult situation by our even being there.
We had no idea whether we would be welcomed or confronted. We had heard that the ministry here is incredibly challenging… any time there is some sort of breakthrough, it feels like one step forward and ten steps back because of all the opposition.
Some of us felt like we didn’t even know what we had to offer. What were we doing here? Did we have anything real to offer? Were we in over our heads? Would the environment be physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally overwhelming for us?
And yet… we had been called here. Not just our team, but our church. Not just our church, but MB Mission and the Myanmar team that works tirelessly for the gospel. We knew God had sent us here and he would make a way for us despite the opposition, despite the challenges. We knew we needed to encourage the staff that works the farm, people like Danai (you’ll hear more about him later), and tries to reach the nearby villages with Good News of God’s love. We knew that there was a new school that Cedar Park Church had partnered in building over the last several months and that we could now see it and visit it. We knew that just us being here was an encouragement to the Myanmar church planting leadership team and a big boost for their efforts in this area. And we felt the prayers of our brothers and sisters back home, buoying us up and propelling us forward.
So we drove. Then we hiked. Then we sweated. Then we hiked some more. And despite the months of meetings, orientations, planning, prayer, and preparation… we couldn’t have prepared for what happened next during our time at the farm…
Dave, Louise, Tom, Lisa, Cayla, Janelle, Andrew, Paul, Kathryn