From the Field – CLC Myanmar – March 8, 2018

Written by | March, 2018
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Missionary Ohlmann and I had the pleasure of working with our brothers and sisters in the Kalay, Myanmar area with teaching, preaching and visits recently. What a joy to have brethren dwell together in unity.Ps. 133:1

Seminars – We held seminars in the new church building in Kalay from Feb. 22-24 with around 90 in attendance each day. Since in the past the Myanmar government has not allowed foreigners(feringhi) to go into Chin state we have helped members of the congregations(56) to come down to Kalay across the state border to attend. Now the government will be allowing foreigners to enter Chin state, giving evidence of the improvement in government relations with Christians. We taught on: the parables, points to consider in what the church is about, why we are not charismatics, being distinctly Lutheran, Lutheran history, biblical and historical support for infant baptism. Each night we gathered for a worship service in which we preached.

Sunday Worship – Over 180 attended the Sunday morning worship. The first three front rows were full of children, perhaps over 40. Due to the attraction of foreigners being present children from other churches also came. One item in our worship services would include some saying what they had learned in the seminars and how much they appreciated these. And of course there was the very lively singing.

Executive Committee – One of the things we do in the visitation is visit with the leaders of the church body. In addition to Pres. Thang and Sec. Kham we met with 15 others. Recently, three of the pastors have gone to be with the Lord. Present at the meeting were five young men who would be replacing these men and also become evangelists. Each pastor serves around 6 congregations with the evanglists assisting. They also have an office of missionary. In our discussions we went over how we could help in training men for the ministry. We discussed the needs of the church body and how we could help. In the meeting we cannot help noting that the five men present as replacements were all young. This is important that young men are willing to face the deprivations and hardships of the ministry. We were introduced to all five and pray that they will remain faithful in their studies and service. Pray for Pastor Thang who some time back suffered a severe motorcycle accident and still has back problems due to this. His father started the church and was killed in India. His young brother was one of the new men as a replacement among the five.

Outreach to Buddhists – One chief concern for us in our assistance is how to help in reaching out to Buddhists. The CLCM originally was a Baptist group that changed to Lutheran when a couple Lutheran pastors came over to Chin state and explained about the Lutherans. Then having become Lutherans they looked for a more conservative Lutheran church to affiliate with and through doctrinal disccusions joined us. Since in Chin state most people are Christian, our concern is to reach out to unbelievers. Work has been done in a couple of villages inviting Buddhists to a Christian home and to seminars. In continuing thisk otureach we help with transportation and materials while their missionaries do the work. We hope to continue this support this year. The results have been meager so far, but we pray the Lord of the harvest to being in more through the Word taught. One of the considerations for having a missionary go out is that he has to get secular work to support himself and family while he does outreach. We think of Paul as he did tentmaking in at least three congregations where he worked. We also considered how many Burmese Bibles to purchase to give to them to hand out as well as other materials. There were 17 Buddhists who attended the 2 day seminar the CLCM held in 2017. Three villages are pinpointed in which to work.

Church Building – The new church building which can easily house well over 200 worshippers was a joint effort. We supplied an amount of money, while the CLCM supplied donated labor and materials and some money. Previously, they used rented quarters. The government had a ruling that Christians could only meet in a building designated as a church. This was overcome with bribes in the past to allow us to meet. Now there is no problem. The church was built so that an upper story could be added. This would allow Pastor Thang’s family to move in there. Another structure on the property was built for housing Pastor Kham’s family. For now we have no plans to build more.

People – Next to God and His Word people is where it is at. It is great to see those who we have seen before and how they continue in the Word. And it is great to meet and know about others. Pastor Kham sponsors a number of orphans in his home through the CLC Kinship program. Since last June he also accepted another group into his home. The upstairs of his house is full of these children. One of them is a 17 year old girl. She had Buddhist parents, but then she converted. They cast her out of their house. Pastor came in contact with her and offered to help her. He now has legal responsibilty for her and she can grow in her new found faith. Praise the Lord.

One of the three CLCM pastors who recently died was younger and had a wife and five children. I met her and gave separately a little something to Pastor Thang to give to her. He told me she received it with tears and later our picture was taken together. Her late husband had farm ground and so now she is in a sharing agreement with those who work the land so that she gets 50% of the income and they the other half. Pray for her and the others of our sister church.