Summer 2018 Mission Trip to Myanmar Thursday, July 12 – Saturday, July 28.
After packing our bags and checking out of our hotel we departed to the leprosy school located in the leprosy hospital compound. The children that attend this school are preschool children and mentally handicapped older children. The school was created to not only help educate the children, but to provide free daycare so the parents can find employment. Normally the mentally handicapped children come in the afternoon, but arrived mid morning to attend our program.
When we first arrived, the preschool children were just coming in. You could tell by their expressions and body language they were frightened to see all of us. As a result, they were very timid and shy around us at the beginning. As they got to know us, they warmed up, started laughing and began sitting on the laps of some of the team members. It helped when one of our team members, Ruffie started to play his musical instruments. When the mentally handicapped children arrived there were a total of 35 children present. Both groups of children were taught Christian beliefs even though most of the children’s families were Buddhists. The team loved working with the children and was emotionally moved by the experience of ministering to them. There was one mentally handicapped child around the age of 12 that captivate us. I’m not sure of his handicap, but it may be autism. Anyway, he was never taught a language or how to read, but if you showed him a word or sentence he could read it. One of our team members had a shirt that had the word, “Journey” printed on it. He pointed to the shirt and said, “Journey”. Another team member pointed to another word and he it read it as well. We were all amazed. One of his teacher asked that we pray for the child since his parents are having a difficult time controlling him and trying to find employment at the same time. As a result, they are ready to give him up which would be very sad. During our ministry 4 Norwegian teenagers stopped by to see what we were doing. They heard about our ministry from the leprosy hospital staff. They are part of a larger group helping to build a second floor to a building on the leprosy hospital. We asked if they wanted to join us, which they did happily.
We were beginning to hand out small gifts and snacks to the students, when it began to rain very hard. Our plan was to finish at the school, take a short lunch break, and then tour Mawlamyine before driving to Hpa an in the Karen state which was 2 hours away. Because of the heavy rain and the unknown conditions where we were going to be driving in, we decided to forego the Mawlamyine tour and go directly to Hpa an. We encountered some rain along the way, but made the drive without any problems. After checking into the hotel the team had dinner, a short meeting and called it a day.
This is only the second time I have been in the Karen state. Previously the military junta who controlled the country would not let foreigners into the Karen State. To me the Karen State is absolutely beautiful, with mountains sprouting out of flat rice fields. These mountains are entirely covered with lush green trees. I have never seen anything like this anywhere in the world.
Tomorrow two team members will conduct an all day evangelism training program for our Eastern Fellowship Director, 6 Fellowship Coordinators and 10 House Church Leaders. The rest of the team will divide into two teams each going to a small remote village to conduct an evangelism program
- For protection, healing, and direction for the patients/villagers/students of the leprosy hospital/village/school. That they can find generous Christian donors so they can continue to their valuable and much needed ministry.
- That the evangelism training goes well and is effective.
- That our two teams ministering to the villages are successful.
- For continued protection and health of our team.
Attached you will find 5 photos. First, is the team with some of the preschoolers, second is a team member with a student, third is another team member with a student, fourth is one of the students, and the last one is a view by our Hpa an hotel which does not do justice to the beauty around us.