First of all, “Merry Christmas!”
What a great trip to Myanmar! This was a trip that included ministry in various churches, visiting new places, making new friends and scouting areas for future ministry.
As a team, we met in Mandalay and drove several hours to the northern city of Lashio where we ministered in a local church for two nights. The response was good and several people responded to God’s call to salvation. During prayer, I met some young men who came to the Lord. “This is the first time he has heard of salvation and he has come to Christ!,” I was told. I shook his hand and welcomed him into the family of God. Another came asking for a prayer of dedication. He also had heard of Jesus’ saving grace and had surrendered to follow Him. I was overjoyed. The gospel works when it is proclaimed. Preach it and people will come to Christ! Say nothing and nothing happens.
We prayed for all the sick in the church and the Holy Spirit continued to touch them powerfully. I was particularly blessed to see how the Lord was moving in His church. Asia must be saved! And it is only possible through the work of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the gospel.
In Lashio, we stayed at the home of a well-known military General. (For security purposes, names and rank will not be mentioned.) He was a gracious host. One afternoon, He took us to visit the village where his wife was from. Since we were ministers, he thought he would also share his spiritual heritage.
In the village was a spring where water came out of the mountain. He then showed us the “spirit house” with the guardians of the spring inside. Two statues (which I refer to as “Ken and Barbie”) stood inside with a bed for each and plastic guns to protect the water source. He agreed that the guardian “spirits” did not make the spring, but insisted that the glorified “doll house” with Ken and Barbie inside was necessary. …We look forward to talking more when we meet again next year.
We had intended to go to north of Lashio toward the Chinese border where I am told no foreigner had been before, but visa restrictions prevented us. (We will be prepared to go there in 2013.) So we planned to return south.
We determined to depart at 5:00am the next day. It was 10°C/50°F when we arose to found breakfast waiting outside. The General was in rare humor and wearing his pajamas. (This was the first time I had eaten breakfast with guns being passed around the breakfast table.)
This day was the beginning of the new year for the Shan tribe. (Myanmar still maintains distinct boundaries of its tribal areas.) We took part in the annual tradition of eating sticky rice together. Shan custom uses sticky rice to symbolize they will “stick together” throughout the year.
Yangon was also productive. We ministered in a church there. I preached a strong message on forgiveness and many received Christ while others repented before God. The following morning, we ministered on the Holy Spirit and it was a powerful time as the Lord ministered to His people.
Praise the Lord for all of the progress. The Lord has wonderful plans for Myanmar. Our small group is already making plans for 2013!
Praise the Lord!
ABOVE: Mandalay Palace decorated for Christmas! …I never thought a Buddhist pagoda could be a Christmas tree. I choose to accept it as a prophetic sign. “…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10–11)