The Night Before

I spent the week preparing for my trip to Myanmar. Everything is now in place. I committed the trip to the Lord and ask to bless bless it. I set my alarm for 2:45 a.m. with the hope that we will be able to leave by 3:30 a.m.

I was encouraged this past couple of days by people around the world who have been praying for this trip. I have believers in India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Canada and the United States praying that I know about. I thank the Lord for these prayers.

Seven Hours in Toronto Airport

I left home at about 3:20 a.m. for the airport. Arrived in plenty of time to relax and catch up on email before boarding the plane. I spent seven hours in the Toronto airport before boarding the plane for Tokyo.

In Narita, Japan

The flight to Narita went well but was quite long. I was able to do some reflecting on Luke 22:44 on the wrestling of Jesus in the Garden.

The big concern for me as I arrived in Japan was getting through customs and to the airport. The Lord blessed in a wonderful way. I got through customs quite easily. When I was leaving the airport an elderly Japanese man approached me to ask if there was anything he could do to help. I told him I was wanting to get to the hotel so he walked me to the exit and showed me exactly where to go. I waited forty minutes for the shuttle bus and was taken directly to the hotel without a problem. This was an answer to prayer.

Arrival in Yangon, Myanmar

I was able to get a good sleep last night although I was up at 1:00 a.m. and 5 a.m. I had breakfast and was on the road at 7:30 am for the airport. After a 7 hour flight from Tokyo I arrived in Yangon and was able to get through immigration without a problem.

I was met by Henry and his wife Nini who helped me get to the hotel. We had supper together and were able to get to know each other better . Henry asked me to speak tomorrow morning at a small group that worships together at the school. I agreed to do this and sought the Lord's direction in what to say. I am feeling quite tired and in need of rest.It has been rainy today but quite humid.

Seminary Worship Service

Henry asked me to speak at a worship service today at the school. This will not need to be translated as these people are part of the school faculty and as a result have good English. The Lord seems to lead me to speak on Revelation 2:1-7 and the loss of first love. As I was going over this the Lord seemed to focus my attention on verse 1 and the fact that he was the One who held the stars in His hand and walked among the lampstands.

The Lord blessed and it appeared that the students and faculty were touched. The Lord challenged them to keep their love for Him as the focus of their ministries.

Berean Evangelical School of Theology

I checked out of the hotel at the airport at 7:45 after breakfast. Henry and Nini came to meet me in the seminary truck. The school was about 40 minutes from the airport. Henry and I had the opportunity to speak about the history of Myanmar and the Buddhist religion in the country.

We arrived at the Berean Evangelical Seminary of Theology and were greeted by Andrew Lian who is a professor with a PhD who serves as the director of the school in charge of teaching, administration and the general oversight of the facility. I also met his wife Tutu. They live on the school campus. He and his wife receive $150 a month for their service at the school.

I spoke to Andrew and Henry about the school. They are located on a 5 acre lot of property about 40 minutes from the Yangon airport in a township called Mingaladon. The seminary started in 1998 and currently has 16 students. These student stay on campus as they study for their Master of Divinity degree. There was an equal number of men and women.

As most of the students cannot afford the tuition the school depends heavily on scholarships. They are currently able to accept 20 students. Henry told me that they have graduated 21 students who have been ministering in various parts of the country.

The school has between 5-6,000 English books. All subjects are taught in English so that the student can use the English books for their work. Very little is available in the Burmese language for these students. I am thankful to the Lord for the privilege of being able to offer these students four books in their own language.

I am still struggling with jet lag. I am going to bed between 8 and 9 and waking up at 1am. I have Monday to relax and prepare for the conference on Tuesday.

A Day of Rest

I had today off. I rested, and took some time to prepare for the first day of the conference. I had breakfast at 6:30 in the morning but did not feel the need to eat anything else all day. Jet lag persists and it is 4:00 on Tuesday as I write this. Overall I did get rest today but need to get on top of the jet lag.

Conference: Day 1

I was picked up at the hotel at about 8:45 am and driven to the church where we had our first day of conference. Henry said that they invited 20 more people so there were about 144 people present. The meeting began with some singing. The hymn tunes were very familiar but were sung in Burmese.

The meetings were held in a large Baptist church. This church has about 300 members but according to Henry is quite liberal theologically. Adorim Judson worked in this city but Henry tells me that for the most part, the people in Yangon were not responsive to his message so he went into the mountainous region and had more success. The denomination he was part of here has become liberal theologically.

I had two sessions in the morning and another two in the afternoon. We started at 9 am and concluded at 2pm. Professor Andrew translated for me. Those who attended seemed to be quite attentive to the message.

I returned to the hotel at about 3 o'clock, washed some clothes, rested and prepared for the second day.

Conference: Day 2

Today was the second day of the conference. I spoke again four times. I am thankful for the air conditioned church where I am speaking as this makes things much easier. Dr. Andrew Lian Pau has been translating for me and has done a good job. It has been more difficult to be translated into Burmese than other languages I have had translated as it seems that it take much longer to communicate in this language. They have to use more words to communicate the same idea.

I believe the Lord has given me grace as I teach on the book of Hosea. The believers have been very patient as we have worked our way through this material.

I felt that the Lord put on my heart to leave Andrew with US$50 for the translation he did for me these days. It is always hard to know what to give but he makes about $5 a day for his work at the seminary. This provides him with three times this daily amount. I trust that even this small amount will be a blessing for him and his family.

Conference Completed

We have completed the Bible Conference. The Lord seemed to bless. It is hard to tell what the impact of this conference has been but I am placing it in the Lord's hands. Henry tells me that the response has been very favorable. He was happy that we focused on teaching the Scripture.

At the end of the day books were handed out to each of the participants. They each received all four of my books that we have translated into Burmese. Henry told me that these believers were very happy to get these books.

I felt the Lord leading me last night to give $20 to each of the cooks as a token of appreciation for what they did. Henry was using the money I had sent to him to pay them but I felt I wanted to offer my own appreciation to them. One of the cooks came to me later to say that no one had ever given her a gift like that before. She went away blessed. What a privilege it is to bless these brothers and sisters.

Servant Attitude

I have noticed how people in Myanmar seem always to be watching out for each other. When I got out of the taxi yesterday a young man came to ask if he could carry my bag for me. Henry tells me that this is a matter of respect and that it is a good idea to allow them to do this for me.

One of the Bible school students waited with a bowl of rice at our table watching to see that everyone had sufficient and as soon as the quantity of rice on the plate diminished, she came over with more.

As we were eating, people at the table watched what was on your plate. If the meat or other extras was low, they would simply put more on your plate without even asking.

They seem to be focused on the needs of others. They seem to have a servant heart. This is something we can learn from them in a culture that is very focused on the individual.

Bills in Good Condition

Rejected Bill

Before leaving for Myanmar I read somewhere that when you paid for things in American dollars the bills needed to be in good condition. I decided that I would pay some of my hotel bill today and went down to the front desk. I handed them two American $100 bills. The lady behind the desk handed one of them back to me and asked for another one. I took out a second $100 bill but she would not accept that one either. I will have to look for some bills in better condition to pay my hotel fees.

Friday at the Seminary

I was able to have some time today with the students. I spoke three times to them today on the call of Moses to ministry. Sometimes I sense the liberty of the Lord to speak and other times I seem to struggle in myself. I trust that what I had to say will be a blessing to them. I will have one more session with them before I return home on Monday. They have asked me to speak at the worship service on Sunday.

Market and Lunch with Henry and Nini

I tried mangosteen today. It reminded me somewhat of orange with a sweet but tangy taste.

As I had today off, I went to the market and had lunch with Henry and Nini. They bought gifts for Diane and my grandchildren. The market is filled with jewelery and precious stones from the countryside. There are also many delicately carved articles made from cedar.

We had lunch on the 20th floor of a building overlooking the city of Yangon. This gave me a good perspective of the city with its colonial English buildings and Buddhist pagodas.

I returned to the hotel at 1 o'clock and had the rest of the day to relax and seek the Lord for Sunday's message.

Final Speaking Event

I spoke at the worship service at the seminary. I felt the presence of the Lord in the meeting. It has been a blessing to be with the students and professors this week.

Most men wear the longyi which is like a dress that goes down to the ankles. Henry tells me that a pair of pants would cost $43 here wile the longyi costs about $5.

At lunch today the menu offered boiled sea turtle, pig intestines and chicken intestines. Henry tells me that the intestines are offered as a delicacy to people worthy of respect.