By Dr. Dwain Illman
The 14 member FAME medical mission team has arrived in Burma!
Many shared that their inspiration for serving in this faraway land is from Scripture. Altough te references varied, the common theme for service is found in I Peter 4:10 — Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
One very practical matter on this mission trip is money. Credit cards are almost never used because of international financial restrictions. We had to bring baskets of cash. Yesterday I had to convert to local currency called Kyat. $1 is over 1000 kyats!. Their biggest note I could get was a 5000 kyat bill. I exchanged $2300 to buy medicine and got a shopping bag full of local currency!
On Friday, Josiah, Marilyn and I went to an area of wholesale shops to buy the meds.. It was massive congestion! Small trucks and cars were everywhere! Men were carrying 6X3X2’ packs on their backs. People were hustling through the various shops. The medicine store we were looking for was on the third floor of a building packed full of small shops with minimal walls. We went through my shopping list and tried to find matches. Mostly we were successful.
Our team drove to the Green Elephant for lunch – at 2:30. We sat out under huge trees and shared from large plates. The food, the company and the setting made everything good!
Most of us then went to Shwedagon Pagoda – one of largest in the world. There are literally tons of gold in this 2 block square memorial to Buddha. The pagoda was started hundreds of years ago and has continued to expand. Construction and repair was being done at the complex, but hundreds of people were there to pray. Many were offering gifts of flowers and fruit while others gave water offerings to gain forgiveness and purify their souls.
Please continue to follow along on our medical mission to marvelous Myanmar! Pray for us, and those we came to serve.