On March 11 our team returned from Myanmar (Burma) where they conducted a training conference for pastors and distributed the money you raised for malaria medication to people that needed it most. Our Minister of Missions, Eddy Hallock, wrote the following report:
After a long trip of forty hours, we arrived in Myanmar in the city of Mandalay. This predominantly Buddhist nation was first introduced to the Gospel by Baptist missionary Adoniram Judson in the nineteenth century. He translated the Bible into the Burmese language and consequently many have believed in Christ as Savior and Lord.
Our group of four pastors went to lead a “continuing education renewal” conference for Burmese pastors. Through Worship in Action, Tallowood made it possible for over fifty pastors to travel to Mandalay from their towns in the countryside. Of the fifty-plus pastors that attended, more than thirty of them rode a boat for two days and three nights to arrive in time for the seminars. Most of the pastors were Baptists, but they invited their friends, so we had pastors from other denominations including Methodist, Brethren Church, Church of Christ, and Assembly of God. The fellowship among them was wonderful.
During the day we taught Pastoral Care/Discipleship, Evangelism, Homiletics, and Church Administration. The Burmese people are reserved and much slower to ask questions, but they eventually warmed up and seemed to enjoy the week very much. On Friday night there was a fellowship time and they shared some glowing testimonies of what the week meant to them.
As I talked and listened to the pastors and leaders in Burma, we came to the conclusion that the best way to use the funds you provided for malaria medication was for three different groups to divide the blessing. A boarding school started by Pastor Thong (the pastor of Tallowood’s Burmese congregation) made up of orphans and non-Christian families received 1.1 millian chats, equal to $1000 (US). Last year they only had the equivalent of $100 (US) to pay for medication. The seminary students in Mandalay are also very poor and cannot pay for treatment. They also received 1 million chats. Finally, two associations received the balance of the funds to help pastors and their families when in physical distress.
At our hotel we were able to make friends with some of the young people that work there. Apparently they were not used to being treated with courtesy and they seemed to really like our team since we talked with them, taught them English and asked questions. As a result of establishing a friendship with them I began talking about the possibility of studying and comparing Christianity and Buddhism. By the end of the week we were able to give out four Bibles to various staff members.
We visited some of the pagodas in the city where the people go to pray in front of a statue of Buddha. The pagodas are everywhere, as are Buddhist monks, who go out twice a day to beg for food. Some ethnic groups in this country, primarily in the north and northwest have been greatly touched by t he Gospel. Ethnic minorities like the Chin, Karin, and others are almost totally Christian. However, the ethnic Burmese majority is Buddhist, so the challenge is before the Christian community to reach out, be friends, share the Gospel, and offer eternal life through Christ.
Thank you for making it possible for many pastors from Myanmar to attend the conference, and for your generous gifts that will provide life-saving medication to many families.