By Kathy DiPietro, ACM Board Member
We are certain God brought us to Myanmar (Burma) for far more than to see the endless pagodas and beautiful landscapes. For even more than the incredible encounters with men and women, in their exquisitely woven longyis and hand embroidered tops. We certainly were here to walk among men, women and children, who live out each day on a mission for Jesus.
Myanmar is a land of incredible natural resources yet because of the complicated past, these resources do not off set the 70% unemployment. As a result we saw beauty and we saw hardship. I believe God wanted us to travel a land entrenched in Buddhism and show us that His light is growing through the people He has called to represent the one true God. His Spirit is covering the country and will reach every crevasse of Myanmar.
Many of you reading this have heard me talk about the three people I met from Myanmar and the one brave woman from Indiana (Joana Jones, director of Asian Children’s Mission) who answered a call from God. I met them at the Philippine CHE (Community Health Evangelism) training three years ago. Well, I cannot even express the joy of traveling, with my husband Gene, Aida, and a few other friends, to this far away country, to meet up with two of them Josiah and Joel (affectionately known as Mr. Pung) and journey with them as our guides and as our light in a country that is seeped in Buddhism and Animism. These men changed my life forever and after this trip, I am convinced that they will continue to show Gene and I ways that our mighty God moves, that will surely leave us standing on Holy ground.
Josiah, Coordinator for Ministry to Orphans
Josiah has many life experiences, as well as being educated in Myanmar. He now leads Hope Children’s Home near Yangon, as well as coordinating resources for Loving Fountain Orphanage Center in Myitkyina. Josiah is also an able translator, and assists with community development efforts. He is married to Phoebe, and they have three sons. They have rescued children who lost their parents in Cyclone Nargis in 2008 and from war-torn northern Burma where they were at risk for being trafficked.
Joel, Community Development Coordinator
Joel, also known affectionately as Mr. Pung, has spent much of the past two years translating and developing practical lessons to support ACM’s Community Development programs. His wife, Nangram, operates an ACM preschool out of their home. They have three sons. Joel received his master’s degree in India.
Thousands of Monks live and study in Mandalay, the center of Mr. Pung’s and his wife Nangram’s ministry outreach. We learned much about the Buddhist’s faith and presenting the gospel in this country.
“Because of the love Christians are showing in that villages it’s changing. “When we were actually there the Buddhist monks invited the team into the Buddhist temple to share the Gospel with them and the entire village.” This is a unique time for Christians. “The Buddhists will not work with the Muslims and the Muslims will not work with the Buddhists, but they will both talk to the Christians. So, it’s allowing the Christians to play the mediators and work in the lives of both the Buddhists and the Muslims at this time.”
There are so many stories to share that I dare not start/continue. Hopefully our next visit to San Diego or elsewhere prompts some sweet get-togethers that will allow pictures and stories that show God’s light in this amazing country of Myanmar!
Feel free to view the sight of Asian Children’s Mission at asianchildrensmisson.org
KATHY AND GENE
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!