The church of Christ in Tachileik Myanmar sends their greetings and their love. As always, they received us warmly and appreciatively for the efforts to help them grow in the Word of God. During our visit this time we taught the book of Ephesians to the members of the church and to the resident students of the Tachileik Bible School. It never ceases to amaze me the earnest love these brethren display and their deep desire to be true to His Word. As is usually the case, we left more encouraged and edified than before we arrived as we have been witness to a congregation of the Lord’s church that continues to grow and thrive in the face of adversity.
The purpose of our trip this time was manifold. During our last visit, I was deeply disturbed over a serious safety hazard. The well that provides water to Daniel’s family is an open well. They had to drop a five-gallon bucket down approximately 10 feet and pull up their water. While we were there, on our last visit, a church member family could not be present for our lessons because they had to bury their child who had fallen into their open well and drowned. This danger is not out of the norm in that area but I had a strong desire to increase the safety of the Christians in that area and their children. I knew that something could be done to prevent a similar tragedy, so with the help of some faithful brethren here we were able to purchase a submersible pump which eliminates the need to scoop and allows Daniel to cap off the well.
The secondary problem that we had to correct was getting power for the pump. The building’s only power source was a solar panel that often did not keep up with the current needs. So we also purchased a new fuel powered generator to supply electricity to the submersible pump as well as to the building.
Now Daniel’s family and the Bible school can have light when it gets dark and electricity to cook. In preparation, Daniel built a concrete cistern on the top of an exterior room. This he now fills and can have a constant supply of running water.
A separate yet equally important reason for this trip was that an evangelistic opportunity had opened up in the nearby town of Yan Shin. There a group had been worshipping God but not according to His Word. We were invited to come and to teach them the truth of God’s Word. When we arrived they had a young man playing guitar and a woman of the congregation leading the singing. There was hand-clapping during the singing and applause to give glory to the one delivering the message instead of the One from Whom the message originated. All of these problems were addressed during our visit. We had been asked to teach on the purpose and the place of the Old and the New Testaments (which we did) but we took the opportunity to also teach on authorized and acceptable New Testament worship.
Preaching in Yan Shin was particularly interesting in that we were being translated into two different languages by two different translators, one into Burmese and one into the local dialect of Lahu. So instead of our lessons taking twice as long to deliver, they were now taking three times as long. I didn’t notice even one person showing signs that they were ready for the lessons to be over so that lunch could begin. In fact, they were very attentive, many of them taking notes and nodding in agreement as they followed along in the scriptures during our lessons.
At the end of the day, they thanked us profusely for showing them their error from the scriptures and they invited us to come back and teach them the next time we are in the country. Daniel will continue to follow up with them and to help them grow in their knowledge of God’s Word.
There was another aspect of this mission trip that proved to be of great profit. I cannot possibly overstate the tremendous benefit it was to me and to the Lord’s church in Tachileik to have Gage Coldwater of the Manna Project join with me on this mission trip. In addition to sharing the preaching and teaching responsibilities, Gage shared much of his vast agriculture knowledge with the brethren in Tachileik. The land in Tachileik is very expensive and Daniel has little more than that on which his house sits. However, construction is relatively inexpensive there, so we drew up some rough sketches demonstrating to Daniel how he might build upward and Gage showed how he could then use multiple levels to grow crops and raise rabbits and fish and other resources in an aquaponic system.
Gage also got the brethren started in growing mushrooms for personal consumption and for sale to the local restaurants. We were very fortunate to find a local mushroom farm where we were able to purchase mushroom spawn to get them started. With just a few supplies purchased locally, we were able to help them begin the process which we hope will eventually lead to the self-sufficiency of Daniel as well as the Tachileik Bible School.
All told this was a very effective mission trip. Throughout the world, there are many good works helping our brethren not only to survive but to thrive and to grow closer to God. Many people pitched in to make this mission effort a great success, some with what many might consider a small amount but which was sacrificial to them (these are the ones storing up their treasures in heaven). And as my grandfather used to say (as I’m sure yours did as well), “many hands make light work."
Lord willing we will return to Myanmar in March of 2019 to continue our work with the brethren there. If it is in your ability to do so, we at Truth for the World as well as the brethren of the Lord’s church in Tachileik would be eternally grateful if you would help us in our efforts to return.