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Monday, January 03, 2005

Everywhere where the Gospel is preached

Note: A small team from our (Huichieh and Elaine) home church in Singapore went to Myanmar for a short trip to help out at a bible school we've been supporting. One of the team members--a 16 year old girl named Charlane--sent us an email after returning to Singapore, and having read what she wrote, we immediately invited here to write up a a short report for us as an inaugural post for a projected series entitled "everywhere where the Gospel is preached" in which we post the experiences of Christians in various parts of the world. Here follows her report (slightly edited):

Nine of us from the Asian Baptist Community Church (ABCC) took a trip down to Myanmar this past December (10-17 Dec 2004). As it was in the month of December, the weather was chilly--much unlike the rest of the year (which is warm). It was seven enriching and humbling days.
For some, the trip brought back many childhood memories, and for others it was an eye opener. One thing to know about Myanmar is that it is like Singapore forty years ago--dusty streets, broken down buildings, cracks along the roads and buses so crammed the people seemed as if they could fall out any minute. I cannot imagine myself living in such an environment having led most of my comfortable life with everything air-conditioned!! People there live on what very little they have.
Our church was there to visit a bible school which we have been supporting in various ways spiritually and financially. Our pastor, Dr Reynolds, has been to Myanmar about seven to eight times to teach the students there. Many of these students have left homes and traveled long distances to learn more about God and to share His gospel. This time, he brought us along to see more of what our church has been doing for fellow believers in Myanmar and to give us a chance to help out.

Apart from Dr. R, the church members who went were also prepared to teach and equip the students with various skills. for example, Mr Lock, a deacon in our church and a retired teacher, taught the students how to prepare lesson plans for their own teaching in the future. Sister Soon Peng, a nurse, taught basic hygiene and medical knowledge. (Our church also supplied them with many medical supplies for future use when the students go on missions in the valleys to share God's word.) As for me, being the youngest member of the group, I helped prepare food for the students with Sister Sylvia. During the time we were there, the students had to start school earlier than usual and so they needed to eat earlier as well. On normal days, they only have two meals: lunch at ten and dinner at six. When we were there, we prepared an additional breakfast for them. (They most likely didn't want us to leave because of breakfast and great tasting lunch!)
Despite their poverty, the people we worked with have a great faith in God to provide them with whatever they need. They are so warm and sincere. God has left a soft spot for the people there in my heart. He has made me want to go back year after year to share whatever blessings God has bestowed upon me with them. I might even overcome the environmental differences to go and live with them to share the gospel if God so wills and calls me to it.

When it was time to leave, I was not at all emotional. But on the early morning when all the other church members have left for some last minute shopping, I stayed behind in the hotel room (Since I've already completed my own shopping) and emotions soon overwhelmed me. I could not stop crying--I love the people there.

Well there is much more that happened in Myanmar that I would really love to share, but I'll leave it up to you to experience it if you ever get a chance to. Take care and thank you for taking time to read this blessing. God Bless.


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