I never know what to expect going to a completely new country. I always have pre conceived thoughts and ideas, but what is it really going to be like? Is Myanmar going to be like Nepal or India? Some things don’t disappoint like new bugs, birds, and the little friends that craw around your room helping out with the mosquitoes.
What I didn’t expect in this remote place, in the valley at the foot of the mountains, of a country that has been closed to Westerners until recently, was a long rich history of the Gospel. You can see it’s presence everywhere. New churches being built and businesses unashamed to promote who they worship.
As we arrive the air is cooler than the previous mornings and the pastors have settled in and are waiting for us to get started. As we watch you can tell that some of these guys have known each other for some time and others are getting to know each other for the first time. At our dinner last night with some of the local pastors we learned that the Chin people have only had a written language for the last 50 years. Some of the pastors at our conference would have known a time when there were no written words, so no Bible. That is truly remarkable.
Jeff leads off today and begins the day teaching about marriage. Head, Heart, Hand: the pastors dive in and begin to explore the passages for the day and by the time lunch comes around you wonder where the three hours have gone and you wish you could have a couple more. During lunch we talked to the host pastors 17 year old daughter. She speaks very good English and as been studying since kindergarten. When we asked about school, she said she had finished and wanted to go to University to study science. I asked “to do research or to be a scientist?” Nope, “Medicine.” Actually she wants to be a Surgeon. We asked her if she wanted to ever visit America, “yeah of course” Where we asked “Hollywood!”
After lunch its my turn. And today we are looking at 2Timothy 2:1-3
It’s all about discipleship. The first half of my session is inviting the “6 friends” and making observations. Then after the break we discover the truth to obey.
“Go Make disciples who will make disciples.” Then we spend a long while on the application.
Discipleship is another tough subject be cause they struggle with church culture. Not all but most church members believe that because the pastor gets paid, they should do everything, from sweeping the floors to evangelism. Discipleship is the pastor’s job. The culture among the pastors that do some discipleship is the young guys are never ready. So we encouraged them that discipleship is hard everywhere, not just in Myanmar. But also came to our application step. We are to go and find our own “Timothy”. But something just wasn’t clicking. So I just picked up the stool on the stage and said that “I was a carpenter, and I made the best stools around. Before long everyone wanted one of my perfect stool. I wasn’t able to produce enough on my own so I had to train an apprentice, once he was trained then we both each trained someone else. As things grew people from the next village wanted our stools. So the apprentice took the man he trained and moved to the next village, and trained more stool makers, and so on and so on…. Something clicked, in the previous two days the, after lunch day is starting to get hot, slot was pretty tough. Lots of sleep little eyeballs. Not this afternoon. They were all wide awake and they got it. The importance of making disciples clicked. For me the big reminder is for a group of people that have only received a written language during the living generation. Teaching with stories is a must. And something I have to continue to work on. Now speaking of sleepy eyeballs, you will just have to forgive the spelling and grammar errors. I am just too tired to double check. Keep praying, our team and the Chin people of Myanmar need it.