Category: Daily Myanmar 2017

Day 15 – Mission Trip Update

Today we rented Judson Hall to bring all our orphanage home directors, neighborhood school director, house church pastors, evangelism director, and other close Burmese friends together to thank them for all they do for us.  It’s something we try to do towards the end of each of our mission trips.  It also gives our team members a last chance to fellowship with all of them.

Each of our orphanages puts on a performance of songs, ethnic dances, and skits, while our team also performs songs.  It’s truly a time of fellowship and worship.

After sharing lunch and taking final photos, the majority of the team went shopping for souvenirs & gifts at the Bogyoke market.  The remaining three members of our team conducted a bible study to our orphanage directors on the subject of faith.

Later that evening we all met for our final dinner together to share stories & memories about our mission trip.

The mission trip truly was a blessing to each team member.

Please pray:

  • For our Burmese co-workers and friends that they will be protected and effective in their respective ministries.
  • The seeds we planted in the minds of unbelievers will grow.
  • For the people and country of Myanmar
  • That the mission trip will have a positive and lasting impact on each mission team member.
  • For safe travels back home to our respective families.

Attached you will find four photos.  One photo is from our group event, one is our team performing, one is some of our team with Burmese friends, and the last is one from our bible study.

This will be the last mission trip update, we head for home tomorrow morning.



Day 14 – Mission Trip Update

Today was our last day of ministry.  Team 1 went to Vivian’s Orphanage, Team 2 went to Kid’s Life Orphanage and the HIV Orphanage.  First, we all went to a very close Burmese friend’s house to have coffee and snacks before leaving for our respective destinations.

Vivian’s orphanage has approximately 23 children.  The orphanage is named after the person that took us to this home for support.  There is one special little boy in this home named Samuel that has fallen in love with our team leader Gary.  As a result, if we have to break into two groups, Gary is the one that takes the team into this orphanage.  This little boy named Samuel  was approximately 1 ½ years old when he was left on the railroad tracks to die since his parents couldn’t afford to feed him.  Luckily someone found him and took him to Vivian’s Orphanage.  We have watched him over the years grow into a fine young man.  The team thoroughly enjoyed engaging with each child and ministering to them.

Kid’s Life Orphanage is one we have been sponsoring from the beginning.  They have 37 children ranging in age 6 to 17.  We have watched a number of children grow up over the years.  This home has a large amount of land where they grow vegetables & fruits, and raise pigs & goats not only for their consumption, but to make some additional income.  This home more that the others we have are further along in generating income to supplement their expenses.  The home director and his wife are strong Christians and it shows in the children they are raising.  They also have a house church in their home for villagers to attend.

The HIV Orphanage is one we do not sponsor, but we try to minister to them whenever we get a chance.  This home is sponsored by Seeds of Hope out of Canada.  Over the past few years the demographics of this home has changed from all HIV infected children to more orphans from the war torn area of the Kachin State.  They have approximately 32 children, 4 have HIV, the remainder are orphans from the Kachin State.  The children from the Kachin State have been severely traumatized by watching their parents and other family members killed.  We were told one of the HIV children died a few weeks ago due to the severity of her illness.  The children in this home were not as exuberant or joyous as those in the homes we sponsor.  The team did a great job ministering to these children despite a great sadness we all felt.

All team members are all in good health.  They all felt that this mission trip had a very positive impact on their lives, and wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Please pray:

  • For the children in the HIV orphanage healing and God’s hands upon each of them.
  • For the children in all of our orphanages and neighborhood school, continued strong Christian care and protection from persecution.
  • For safety and good health for all our team members.

Tomorrow is our last day before we head back home.  We are bringing all of our orphanages directors, house church pastors in the greater Yangon area, and close Burmese friends together for lunch and fellowship.

Since we all got back so late, I couldn’t get photos from the Vivian’s orphanage ministry.  Attached you will find a photo five photos, one with a welcome sign Kid’s Life created for us.  Another photo with the Kid’s Life children, and another photo with the team performing to them.   Two photos from the HIV orphanage, one with a child infected with HIV showing his bag craft he made, and one with the children from the HIV home.



Day 13 – Mission Trip Update

Today the team went to Isaac’s seminary. Rosy who is responsible for working with our five Christian orphanages is Isaac’s sister. His story and his Christian life struggles are captured in a book written by a seminary classmate of Isaac. The book, “My Soul Waits: The Life of Nun Hmung “ by David Elston is must read by for anyone interested in learning more about Christian faith in Myanmar. It is a very short, easy to read book which can be purchased through Amazon for $12.

We spent the morning with Isaac and his seminary students which number 25. We sang some songs, listened to their stories, and provided some words of encouragements. Many students when they graduate from seminary want to be missionaries to other parts of Myanmar. This may provide us fellowship coordinators for our evangelism program in the Mon and Karen States and beyond. We then shared lunch with them before breaking into two groups, one going to Isaac’s orphanage, the other to one of his house churches.

The house church is quite a distance from the seminary and is close to our neighborhood school. It is in a very poor village where most people don’t have jobs. We had to walk to the house church since the van we rode in couldn’t get in because of the very narrow dirt road. The church is a small 12 ft. x 30 ft. building made with sheet metal sidings and roof. We expected 45, but there were approximately 120 waiting for us. Out of the 120 people, only 7 were members of the church, the rest were Buddhists. There were so many people we ran out of supplies and could not move around due to the very crowded conditions. The building during the course of our ministry became uncomfortably hot because of the metal sidings and no air circulation. Even under this condition the audience was attentive and interested in what we were telling them. As we heard more about their village and their circumstances, we feel there is a real opportunity to witness to them in the future.

The orphanage is nearby the seminary and is run by Isaac’s cousin. It was started about 8 years ago. They have 17 children mostly above the age of 10. This is an orphanage that we will probably help support bringing our Christian orphanages to 6. This home brings in children from war torn areas of the country. Consequently, most are unsecure and frightened, so the director let’s them all sleep together as a family on floor mats. This shows the concern of the home director and her husband. The team thoroughly enjoyed ministering to them.

A few members of our team still have some stomach ailments, otherwise everyone is doing well.

Please pray:

  • For the house church we visited today and the surrounding village.
  • For the orphanage children we ministered to today.
  • For continued safety and health of our team.
  • That the last few days of our ministry are fruitful.

Attached you will find five photos. The first is a group photo of the seminary students with our team. The next two photos are from the house church visit, and the last two photos from the orphanage.


Day 12 – Mission Team Update

We divided our team into two groups, one going to Victoria’s orphanage, the other going to the neighborhood school. Since the orphanage is so small with 12 children, located in an upstairs apartment, we only took 5 team members and a translator. The remaining 17 team members went to the neighborhood school.

Victoria’s orphanage is our newest of the five we sponsor. We started sponsoring them about 8 years ago. The director, Soe Waing Naing was one of our translators in the Mon and Karen States this year. He is also going to seminary in South Korea and is home for a month before he has to go back. He has one more year in seminary before he gets his degree. During his seminary study his wife is handling the orphanage. Victoria is named after their daughter. After the orphanage visit they visited Soe’s church he is planning on starting when he gets his degree.

We have been sponsoring the neighborhood school for about 12 years. Education in Myanmar is not free even though the government says it is. The school children have to purchase their uniforms, buy their school supplies and pay a small yearly tuition. Since the average per capita income is less than $2/day, most cannot afford to send their children to school. Because of this, we sent seminary students into a very poor neighborhood in Yangon telling Buddhists parents we would give their children a free education and lunch with the understanding that we will also teach them Christian values and beliefs. We currently have approximately 50 students in a morning and afternoon session ranging in ages 8 to 13. The children are doing well and most know the bible better than our Christian orphanage students. They were attentive and participated in all agenda items enthusiastically. The team was saddened by their stories, but thoroughly enjoyed working with them.

A few team members had upset stomachs today. One team member was bitten by a spider yesterday which got infected. The doctor had to lance the bite, provided some antibiotics and said everything would be fine.

Please pray:

  • For the health and safety of each team member.
  • That the orphanage and school we visited will continue to provide excellent care, and love to their children.
  • That the seeds we have planted from day 1 germinates and grow.

Attached you will find five photos. The first photo is the school performing for the team. The second photo is the team performing for the school. The third and fourth photos are team members face painting and nail painting during a break. The last photo is a chalk board painting story to the children.


Day 11 – Mission Team Update

We divided our team into three groups, each group worshipping with different churches in the Hpa-an area. We left the hotel at 9:00 am in three different directions. One team would be worshipping with a non-denominational church, one with an Assembly of God church, and the third with a traditional non-denominational church.

The first non-denominational church had approximately 40 in attendance. The pastor of this church does not have a seminary degree, but knows the bible well. His testimony reflects the dedication of Christians in this country. About 20 years ago he purchased land to build a church. He started to build a small foundation, but the local government authorities stopped him and would not allow him to continue. It took him 15 years of constant negotiations before they finally allowed him to build a very small building. There were no Christians in the village when he started, but over the next 5 years he built a 40 member congregation that is passionate about their faith.

The Assembly of God church is the same church we held the evangelism training program yesterday. There were 45 in attendance, many from yesterday. As with yesterday, they worshipped with enthusiasm and passion.

The traditional non-denominational church was built about 8 years ago from funds raised by a revival led by a Christian organization. Once the revival was done they never saw them again. Over the following years their attendance began to decline. They need help to re-develop their spiritual base, which we hope to do in the coming months. We expected 100 to attend our worship service but instead were greeted with over 250. The pastor of this church is 86 years old and blind. He greeted us and performed the prayers at the beginning and end of the service. The rest of the service was conducted by the associate pastor. The congregation listened intently to our message, and was very happy to have us worship with them.

All three teams were invited to lunch with their respective church before we left for a very long trip to Yangon. We arrived at our hotel at 9:30 pm.

The team is doing well, in good health and looking forward to our final week of ministry.

Please pray:
· The meetings and training we conducted have a positive impact in the villages we ministered.
· The house church leaders and fellowship coordinators can effectively use the evangelism training materials we provided.
· For continued good health and effectiveness of our team.

Attached you will find three photos. The first is the congregation from the traditional non-denominational church; next is a team member sharing his testimony; and the third is from a congregation lunch.


Day 10 – Mission Team Update

Today was Evangelism Training day for our house church leaders, and fellowship coordinators which numbered 27. There were in attendance another 65 people from churches around the area including a few pastors. It was a full day’s program.

The day started at 8:30 am with a praise and worship time. As I mentioned in one of my previous updates, the passion for worship is genuine and amazing.

After praise and worship, Sherwood conducted a training program on how to evangelize using a few simple techniques. The group was divided into four rotating groups, each discussing a specific evangelism topic. This lasted from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.

Following Sherwood, Dan using the Train & Multiply booklets continued on how to evangelize. These booklets will be used by our house church leaders in their respective villages. We broke for lunch then continued on with the Train & Multiple training until 3:00 pm.

I was concerned since the program was rather long, the attendees would be bored or distracted, and would want to leave early. I was wrong. Everyone was attentive, and thoroughly engaged throughout the program.

Following the training program we prayed over one of our fellowship coordinators. After one of our house church visits a few days ago, he was called into police headquarters, interrogated, and forced to sign an agreement that he would not bring to this particular house church foreign visitors again. He could however still conduct worship services in this house.

We then went outside to the baptismal tank where two young ladies were baptized.

The team is in good spirits, healthy, and looking forward to the last week of our ministry.

Please pray:

  • That all our house churches are protected from persecution from the police, village authorities, and neighbors in their area.
  • That the evangelism training program today will be effective in planting seeds in unbelievers.
  • For safety and good health for our team members.

Attached you will find five photos. The first is from our praise and worship service; the second is during our evangelism fellowship; next is one of our evangelism breakout groups; and the last is saying goodbye to our friends from the evangelism program.


Day 9 – Mission Trip Update

The team has been working hard from the time we got here.  So today we gave them a break and did some sightseeing.

The beauty of the Karen State is absolutely spectacular.  The things you see here you cannot see anywhere else in the world.  The team was astounded by the beauty and the things we did.

We first visited the “Mountain Pagoda”, a small pagoda perched high on a slender boulder hill, nestled between small lakes.

In the afternoon we took a couple of longboats to an island where the Hpa-an caves are located.

Attached you will find five photos of our day.  These photos don’t do justice to beauty we saw.

Please pray:

  • For health, strength, and effectiveness of our team as we continue our ministry.
  • The seeds we planted in the past few days germinate and start to grow.
  • For protection and strength for our Christian friends in the Karen and Mon State.

Tomorrow we have our evangelism training program for our house church leaders and fellowship coordinators.



Day 8 –Mission Trip Update

Today we divided into three teams to minister/evangelize to 6 remote house church villages in the Hpa-an area.  Each team would go to one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  Due to the recent flooding in the area we were concerned about the difficulty of traveling to these villages.

The morning was dry, hot and humid, and we were relieved it was not raining. Team 1 & 3 left the hotel at 8:30 am, team 2 at 9:00 am.  What impressed me about the Hpa-an area, very little traffic and the beautiful scenery.  The mountains interspersed between rice patty fields are spectacular

The team I was on traveled for about an hour in a very small van and in the bed of a small pickup.  The road was narrow with tall, overhanging trees on both sides.  Occasionally we would come to a small town with roadside shops.  About a mile from our destination we turned on a small muddy dirt road.  There were times I thought our vehicles would get stuck, but we made it.  We met inside the small bamboo hut where the house church met.  There were approximately 40 in attendance, 12 being small children.  We sang a few Christian songs, talked to them about Christian beliefs, performed the “Pumpkin Patch” story, and had lunch with them.  The audience was attentive and very interested in what we were teaching them.

After lunch we left to the 2nd house church village which was about 20 minutes away.  Because of the muddy conditions of the road we had to walk the last 200 yards.  This house church was smaller than the one we just came from, so they hung some old plastic tarps to the top of their hut to make a small meeting area.  We were surprised when 90+ people showed up, mostly adults.  We were about 70% through our program when the rain started.  It rained so hard that you couldn’t hear what was being said, and the rain started coming through some of the holes in the old plastic tarps.  As a result we decided to hand out small gifts we had, pray and leave.  Even though it was raining hard, and everyone was soaked, they stayed.  Like the first house church they were attentive and interested in what we were telling them.

It is now up to our fellowship coordinators and the house church leaders to follow-up on those that attended.

Since we got back late, I haven’t had the chance to hear how the other two teams meetings went.  I’m confident that it went at least as well as ours did.

One of our team members was diagnosed as having tonsillitis and was put on antibiotics.  I met with her when I got back and she is feeling much better.

Please pray:

The message we presented touched the hearts of many that attended.
For protection, strength and direction for our fellowship coordinators and house church leaders.
Continued health and effectiveness of our team.

Attached you will find five photos.  Two are from the first house church we visited, two are from the second house church we visited, and the last shows the small pickup truck we used as transportation.

Tomorrow we are giving the team a break and some relaxation.  They will visit some sites in the Hpa-an area.



Day 7 – Mission Trip Update

We started out our day with another bible study with the Leprosy Hospital staff. The team sang a few songs, and Sherwood did the bible study. The Leprosy Hospital staff later told me how meaningful the bible study was to them along with our ministry.

After bible study we went to the Leprosy School. The school teaches/cares for children between the ages of 2 to 8, five days per week. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday the disabled children from the village come, ranging in ages 8 to 14. There are approximately 23 children that attend the school five days per week and 20 disabled children three days per week. All the children come from the leprosy village. It was sad to learn that the parents of many of these children were very poor and could not afford to send them to school, so they either took them to work with them, or placed them along the roadside to beg for money. As a result, in 2012 the Leprosy Hospital decided to start a school to help the parents and children from the leprosy village. They ask all parents to pay what they can afford. The average they receive is 1,500 kyat per month, or a little more than $1. The teachers/caregivers really love the children. You can see it in the way they interact and care for them. It was a very moving experience for the team.

After lunch we checked out of the hotel and toured the Adoniram Judson church. Adoniram Judson was the first American missionary who started his ministry in Myanmar in the early 1800’s. He is credited with the birth of Christianity primarily starting with the Karen people group, one of 140 ethnic groups in the country. The church we visited was the third version completed in 1927, of the original church started in 1827.

From the Adoniram Judson Church we traveled to Hpa-an in the Karen State where we checked into our hotel, had a short team meeting, and finished with a dinner. Our team is ready and excited for our evangelism minister tomorrow.

All team members are rested and back to health.

Please pray:

  • For good weather tomorrow so we can make it into the remote villages of Hpa-an for our ministry.
  • That we can touch the hearts of unbelievers by our actions and our words.
  • For safety and good health of our team.

Attached you will find our photos. The first is Sherwood teaching bible study, next is some of the children at the Leprosy School, third is our team performing for the children at the Leprosy School, and the last is the Adoniriam Judson Church.


Day 6 – Mission Trip Update

We spent the entire day at the Leprosy Hospital Compound.

First thing in the morning we did a bible study with the Leprosy Hospital Staff.  Since the staff are all Christians, they very much appreciated the bible study and the opportunity to fellowship with the team.

Following the bible study, the Leprosy hospital patients that were able to walk or be placed in a wheel chair joined us in a program of songs, bible stories, and games.  There were approximately 35 patients that participated in our program.  Towards the end of the program we had 12 patients that raised their hands wanting to know more about being a Christian.  We then moved to the hospital wards and visited patients that were bedridden and could not attend our program.  It was a very emotional time for our team.  These patients were outcasts from their villages because of leprosy and deformities they had.  Consequently, most had very little hope for the future.

In the afternoon we ministered to the leprosy hospital villages.  These people because their family member has/had leprosy were also outcasts from their village.  With no place to go, the leprosy hospital allowed them to start a small village next to the hospital providing them with land to build their small bamboo huts.  Like the patients in the hospital these people are also persecuted, and consequently don’t have much to look forward to in life either.  They very much appreciated our ministry to them.  It gave them an opportunity to laugh and forget for a moment problems in their life.

Following the leprosy hospital village ministry, youth from our team, and youth from the leprosy village came together and had a friendly game of soccer.  Many people from the village came out to see the game and had a great time.

The team member that didn’t feel well yesterday is doing fine today.

Please Pray:

  • For good health and effectiveness of our team.
  • For the leprosy patients and villagers, that they find happiness and relief in Him.

Attached you will find four photos.  One from our bible study with the hospital staff, one performing for the Leprosy patients, one a leprosy patient we ministered to, and one from our youth soccer match.