Since I have been back people have asked me how our trip to Myanmar was. I had posted photos and updated on Facebook so friends and family knew that we were safe and what we were up to, but when I started to tell them about the trip, I usually paused and thought about how to explain it. I don’t know that I fully understand how the trip was, how it affected me or the others, it was something different to each of us and it is really neat to listen to our other group members tell about their highs and lows, we were all in the same place, but we all experienced things so very differently. I am still processing the experience!
it was physically and emotionally trying at times, it was eye-opening, exhausting…it was in a word AMAZING.
So here is my attempt at how to explain my Myanmar experience…it was physically and emotionally trying at times, it was eye-opening, exhausting, there were highs and lows, it was rewarding, it was a test of patience and of letting go, it was trusting people we had only just come to know, it was very much missing the comforts of home, it was in a word AMAZING.
I know that a big part of our trip was going to Lighthouse Farm and there were some very amazing things that happened there, but I am going to focus on what affected me the most. There were two women that stood out for me, they have both dedicated their lives to bringing love to children and while they were both mothers their focus was on loving and blessing children who were not their own. Esther is the wife of Pastor Moe Aung. Pastor Moe Aung is an incredible man, he and Esther run a hostel out of their home. I was very fortunate to get to spend time with him on our trip, but Pastor Moe Aung is away, a lot and his beautiful wife Esther stays at home and takes care of the many, many children. I can’t recall the number of children that they have living with them, but I can tell you, it was more than 15, plus they have their own children! How does a couple deal with so many children? They do not have a lot of money, their home is modest, but I was surprised to see that the children each had their own bunkbed, many people sleep on mats on the floor, they do not have the money or ability to go to a grocery store and get food like we do. They do not have much, they have a few toys, some big stuffed animals and some bikes. But these kids are so happy, they smile and play and are curious. Kathryn was telling them about Jesus knowing the names of all of the stars and when she asked these kids questions they were eager to answer. Esther and Pastor Moe Aung teach them about Jesus and you can sure tell. These kids were so well behaved, the older children taking care of the younger children. There were no tantrums or fighting (at least not while we were there). I am so thankful to have met Pastor Moe Aung, but am more thankful to have met his beautiful, loving wife.
Acha, this woman is truly amazing. Acha is married and has two children, her youngest is under a year old. Her and her family live in the slums. After school has ended, Acha drives her motorcycle deep into the slums and visits about 7 houses each day (except on the weekends I think!). Each of these 7 houses are filled with children who she loves and blesses and teaches them about Jesus. What was most amazing to me was, before she had the motorcycle, Acha used to walk to each of the houses. Now while we were there we only visited two places and we took cabs, I can tell you that these places are not close to her house. The dedication that Acha has and the love and desire to teach these children about Jesus not only takes courage in a Country where Buddhism is the main religion, but it a deep love for God to be a mom to two young kids all day and then go out in the afternoon and love on kids who are not hers. Acha has a vision of running summer camps for the kids, she also wants to raise up other leaders to help her as she is running very thin. She needs helpers, money and prayers for the great vision that she has. I know next year, there will be more than 7 houses to visit, in 5 years I cannot imagine how many people she will touch with her love and her lessons and how much further into the slums she will go to reach more children.
These women are mothers and mentors to children who most people would just pass by. They are Jesus warriors and they were an are an example for me, I cannot imagine the stresses that they have in their lives, not know if there will be enough food for all of the kids, not being able to spend as much time with children that they want to spend with them, knowing that some children have illnesses that they are not able to get help for. And even with all of life’s worries, they love and smile and do the best that they can to let these children know that they are loved. What a blessing, what an eye-opening experience.
Dave, Louise, Tom, Lisa, Cayla, Janelle, Andrew, Paul, Kathryn