October 12, 2013
The three days of teaching for us at the South East Asia Bible College went by quickly. It didn't take long to bond with the 50+ women there. They are so warm and welcoming and attentive. As mentioned before, the women have never had a conference for just them. The men have often had conferences and they have been able to join in on some of those. But this one was just for them. The second afternoon the leadership of the college asked if the men could join in after lunch. He said that from what he picked up from going by the room and from what he heard from the ladies, the teaching was very good and would be appropriate for the guys. We said "no, it is only for ladies."
We went to the president's house for dinner tonight, after the conference was over. We asked him for any suggestions on what we could have done differently or if he had any other comments. The only thing he brought up again was that he thinks the guys should be included. He said, "When you come back next year, I would like the guys to have some teaching." Next year? We'll have to see about that.
It's interesting to see the freedom of religion here. Our hotel is right downtown Yangon. We walked over to the pagoda in the center of town, across the street from City Hall. On the other corner is a big mosque. Two blocks down is a Catholic Church and the other corner is a Baptist Church. Then we walked a few more blocks and saw a Hindu temple. We understand that it is not like this in other parts of the country.
I blogged yesterday about Christianity coming to Burma 200 years ago. But that post seems to be missing. Some read it but I don't see it any more. The photos I posted may have covered it up.
Bibles and Christian literature are needed here.
It was interesting to watch and listen to the translation of the speakers. Pastor Khual, who I met while doing my doctorate work, did a great job. He was very animated and engaging. It takes a lot more Burmese words to say something than it does in English. At one point, one of the ladies said, "he had almost nothing." It must have taken Khual 30 seconds to translate those four words. This made it difficult to gauge how long it would take for each session. But it all worked out well.
This morning on the way to the conference (30 minutes by taxi) we stopped at the slums where Khual services. Some years ago he asked one of the men there about starting a Bible study and a ministry to the children. There are 300 families living in shacks close together right of the road. I have photos but couldn't get them downloaded. I will try again. 7 people living in small rooms. No electricity, not running water. They save rain water in big barrels. Lots of standing water was a breeding ground for mosquitos. I have had a couple bites this week. Sharon is the only one taking malaria pills. I just don't bother. Hopefully I won't regret that.
A man offered his home every Sunday morning (one room) for Pastor Khual to come and teach the children and others. This man was a Buddhist but has since become a follower of Jesus. The kids sang songs for us, acting out the words. It was precious. They have so little but gave us so much.
Tomorrow Ann and Carolyn start teaching at a conference for other missionaries working here. I can't imagine. I am tired from this past week. I am flying out Monday morning for Bangkok. Sharon flies out just after midnight Sunday night for home.
Ten days in Cambodia, a week in Myanmar, and now a week in Thailand. Three Asian countries who have much in common and many differences. I really liked Cambodia. But I have come to really love the kindness of the Burmese people. They are warm, service oriented and kind. Very generous people. I would like to see the northern part of the country some day. At the conference there were women from 24 different tribes. Many of them are from up north.
thanks for following us with your prayers,