2010 Myanmar (Burma) Missions Report

by Potters_Freedom

Myanmar (Burma) Missions Report
Foothills Bible Church Team

Our team, Marshall Smithson, John McCarty, Victor Connell and Michael Friesen departed Little Rock on the 15th of January 2010 at 12:40 PM on a Continental Flight to Houston, TX where we boarded a 22 hour flight, via Moscow, to Singapore aboard Singapore Air.  After spending a short period of time in Singapore we boarded a Silk Air flight to Myanmar (Burma) and arrived at 9:40 am, Burma time, where we were met by Henry Lyann and his wife Ni Ni.  Henry had our reservations at the Mi Casa where we spent the night before boarding a government flight to Kalaymyo early the next morning.

Upon arrival in Kalaymyo we were welcomed by the Kalaymyo and Kamawi Bible church members, along with Stephen from the Myanmar for Christ Bible School of Kalaymyo, Sui Sui of the children’s day school and others.  The evening of our arrival, which was Monday, we attended a welcome service at the Emmanuel Theological Seminary and enjoyed the entertainment and all the festivities they provide whenever we come to Kalaymyo.

On Tuesday we went to Steven’s Myanmar for Christ Bible School where we spent the morning getting to know the students and having them share their testimonies and prayer request for their future ministries.  In the afternoon Marshall introduced them to Spurgeon’s catechism and John McCarty taught them about making their calling and election sure.  Vic Connell went to Emmanuel Theological Seminary where he taught on the book of John.  Michael spent part of the day with Steven’s Son Tong Tong and taught some songs to the students at the Bible School.  Wednesday, the following day we switched places.  At Emmanuel Theological Seminary we spend the morning getting to know the students and in the afternoon Marshall introduced the students to Spurgeon’s catechism and John McCarty taught on the Attributes of God.  Of course Vic Connell taught at Steven’s Bible school on the book of John.  That evening we attended the midweek service they had in a church member’s home.  We didn’t preach or teach because we wanted to experience their worship time and community group meeting.  Henry preached, Michael sang and it was a wonderful time of worship and fellowship.

Marshall and John both had the same vision for our ministry and time in Kalaymyo.  We both felt the need to get to know the members of the Bible Churches by spending time fellowshipping with them in their homes and in their churches.  After telling Henry what we wanted, he quickly began to catch the vision we shared.  We visited 47 homes which represented the entire membership of both Bible Churches.  Without a doubt this was the most profitable, enjoyable and meaningful time that we’ve had since we first began ministering in Kalaymyo.  We visited their churches, their homes, ate at their tables, prayed for their sick, and toured their villages, their fishponds, and their farm land.  Most of these families could hardly believe that we wanted to come into their homes.  Several of them said that there had never been white missionaries who wanted to visit with them in their homes.  Others stated that the white missionaries didn’t want to touch them because they thought they were dirty.  Still others said that if the white missionaries touched them they would immediately take out their hand sanitizer which made them feel dirty.  It is difficult to put into words how we felt after being told such things.  One man said that their homes were nothing more than shacks and that we lived in really nice homes so why would we even want to visit theirs.  Our only response was that we didn’t care about their homes but that we did care about and love them.  At the end of our day of visiting we made one more important stop at the Kalaymyo Bible Church orphanage.  The children sang; quoted verses and we ate more fruit.  Needless to say, that at the end of the day, after eating fruit in 45 homes and one orphanage we were about to explode.

The news that we had actually gone into their homes and ate at their tables spread like wildfire throughout the surrounding areas and everyone began asking the Bible Church members what was going on, all of which opened doors, not only for us, but for them to share the gospel that did not exist before.  God had really paved the way for us to forge some real and lasting relationships with the Saints in Kalaymyo.  I’ve never seen the people loosen up or become so affectionate in the past, but it was the following day that really set a precedent for future trips.

Early Friday morning we boarded a rented bus, which had to make two trips to pick up all the church members, including us.  We have seen and observed buses loaded to the max, inside and out several times but never, ever thought we’d be on one, in the middle of and surrounded by so many people.  The bus, although it was top heavy, headed for the Chin River some ten miles up into the Chin Mountains.  After arriving at our destination we spent the entire day on what we here would call a church wide picnic. The river water cascading down out of the Chin Mountains was cold and crystal clear. We had live chickens which were to be our noon meal, along with rice, freshwater crab, and fish which we caught basket fishing.  Since it would take a long time to explain basket fishing just let me say it was our first experience and it was a lot of fun.  We ate, swam, prayed, sang, threw one another in the river….several times….and just had a wonderful time of fellowship together.  We were able to see these lovely and wonderful people as they live and played and were honored to have been a part of their lives, even if it was for such a short time.

We had Saturday morning free, but went to Sui Sui’s children’s home and visited with her, her husband and family.   That afternoon we spent some time enjoying the people, touring the town and visiting friends we had met in past years. That evening Michael and Henry preached at Kalaymyo Bible Church.

Sunday morning Vic Connell when to Pastor Kai’s church and preached on the resurrection out of the book of John.  John and Marshall preached at Kalaymyo Bible Church, while Michael sang a special number with Sarah.   Sunday afternoon after lunch at Meng Meng Nu’s home, we met with the pastor’s of Kalaymyo Bible Church and shared with them that we wished to help purchase the material they needed to build a shed to secure their generator.  We also let them know that we wanted to purchase a keyboard for their worship services.  In addition we said we’d be leaving each pastor a personal gift of $100.00 to help with their families needs.

Sunday evening we went to Kamawi Bible Church where Victor preached on the resurrection out of the book of John and Team Burma sang a special for the congregation.  We belted out “Come Thou Fount” then Michael sang a duet with Sarah.  Following the service we met with the two Pastors’s of Kamawi Bible Church and let them know that we wished to give them $500.00 to help finish the addition they had started on their building.   In addition we gave the pastor’s a personal gift of $100.00 each to help with their personal needs.

For the Kalaymyo Bible Church we provided a thousand dollars so they could purchase rice for the church members during the year and $500.00 was given to the Kamawi Bible church for the same purpose.  $1000.00 was also given to provide rice for the children in the Kalaymyo Bible Church orphanage and a $100.00 personal gift to Ester Nu for all the hard work she does in taking care of so many children.

Monday morning was a sad, but joyful time in that we were making our departure but almost every member of the two bible churches were there to see us off.  We had a great hour or two of fellowship, taking pictures, sharing thoughts about the importance of relationships within the body of Christ.  The Chin people are very affectionate and love to touch and feel the skin and hair of the big white guys.  They told us we were the only white missionaries that didn’t pull away when they touched us.  Until now they were actually afraid to make any personal contact with whites.   Finally it was time to board the plane for our trip back to Yangon and our departure wasn’t without tears.

As we left Kalaymyo, we sensed our mission had been accomplished, although we didn’t know what God had in store for us in Yangon.  Once arriving back at the Mi Casa we rested the remainder of the evening.  Tuesday thru Friday John and Marshall taught at B.E.S.T. and Victor taught at Moses and Michaels.  Michael Friesen alternated between B.E.S.T. and the other schools and orphanages.  Michael was stripped of his man badge when he told us he wanted to call his mother to ask her what to do about head lice.  We were able to procure the meds he needed to deal with the situation and needless to say he was razed by Victor for a number of days, but Michael did manage to earn his man badge back after playing the piano, a Yamaha no less, at the exclusive Traders Restaurant in downtown Yangon.  We believe our time at B.E.S.T. was well spent in that both John and Marshall’s topics meshed very well.  We believe the students profited from what they were taught regarding the character and nature of God.  Betty Thomas’s book on the attributes of God will be a real asset to the school as well as the other books we were able to take them.

Saturday morning we visited Neih Chum and Ruth’s Victory Bible Institute and visited with the students.  Later we toured the future site of B.E.S.T. Seminary, prayed over the land and about the future ministry there.  That evening Henry and Ni Ni took us to an open air restaurant by a beautiful lake which we really enjoyed although rice was beginning to be less than desirable.

Sunday Morning we all went different directions and preached in different churches.  Marshall went to Joseph’s, John went to Henry Mang’s, Victor went to Michael’s and Michael Friesen went to B.E.S.T.  Without a doubt, Michael was a real asset to our team.  He is multi talented and has a wonderful way with people.  We would be proud to have him on any of our teams.

Sunday evening we saw a few sights, ate in a really nice restaurant, which was Henry and Ni Ni’s treat and toured a Pagoda in downtown Yangon.

Monday morning Marshall paid our final bill at the Mi Casa before leaving for the Airport.  We left Henry and Ni Ni a gift of $1000.00 and gave them the rest of the money to be dispersed as already noted in this report.  That afternoon we said our good byes to Henry and Ni Ni and got on the plane for our long, sleepless 48 hour trip back home.

Before beginning this trip our team spent many weeks in prayer about every detail we could think of and asked God to direct our steps.  We truly feel that our God not only blessed beyond anything we could ever ask or think but added to it good measure, pressed down and running over.

This is our report and this is the way it was in Burma, January 2010.

Marshall Smithson, Burma Missions Director for Foothills Bible Church
John McCarty, Pastor and Team Member:  Foothills Bible Church
Victor Connell, Pastor and Team Member:  Enola Baptist Church
Michael Friesen, Musician and Team Member:  Redeemer Community Church

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