In December of 2011 GLBM’s Financial Secretary Matt Mayer accompanied me on a trip to the Burmese city of Yangon where Thaung Lian, a Tiddim Chin preacher who started and pastors the Bethany Baptist Church, organized a large youth conference. We rented the largest old Anglican church in the city and young people filled the sanctuary from all over the area. The nation of Myanmar was beginning to emerge from its fifty yearlong military dictatorship. Two years earlier, during my first visit to old Burma, explosions rocked the city and soldiers bearing rifles stood guard on every corner. Now two years later there remained an oppression that could be sensed like heaviness in the air, a nervousness in the streets where thousands of people scurried to and fro like ants disturbed from their resident hill.
However, as the old Anglican church filled to “standing room only,” singing and preaching resounded throughout the hall with doors and windows wide open, filling even the street outside where a mob of pedestrians, taxi drivers, and vendors paused to hear the Gospel, many hearing it for the first time in their lives. Young people formed a choir and stood atop the elevated platform, singing songs passed down for years in “underground church” services. Brightly-dressed girls performed their tribal dance, a synthesis of motions like geese flying in an arrowhead formation.
Young men carrying boxes of Scriptures filled the aisles and began to distribute Burmese Judson Bibles to everyone in attendance. Matt and I stood watching as each person received their copy of God’s Word, turning it over and over in their hands, examining it with the euphoria of a child who has just discovered his dream-come-true under a Christmas tree. There were shouts of joy and tears of jubilation as they thumbed through the pages of their first “Thama Chanza” (“Holy Bible” in Burmese).
I stood before the great crowd, attempting to keep my own escalating emotions under control, and raised my English Bible above my head. Lifting my voice I shouted, “Is Myanmar (or Burma) in the Bible?” Every eye focused on me as I asked them to find in their new Bibles Proverbs 20:15 which states, “There is gold, and a multitude of rubies; but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.” As each person found and read those verses in their own national language, smiles began to form and their dark eyes shined with the evidence of a new hope. They understood that, even though they may not possess the riches of the Golden Land, they themselves, armed with the sword of the Spirit in their hands and the living Savior in their hearts, can with power speak for Him and win Myanmar for Christ. Many then believing, turned to Christ as their Savior, and hundreds of young people, meeting at the altar to pray together, gave their lives to serve Him.
Please pray for the salvation of souls in Myanmar and the entire Golden Land. And pray for GLBM! We need you to partner with us.