From the Field – March 23, 2018 – Visitation to the National Lutheran Church of Myanmar

Written by | March, 2018
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A great time was had by all. This could be a commentary on the recent visitation to the National Lutheran Church of Myanmar by Missionary Ohlmann and myself. The church has one congregation and several preaching stations in the Yangon area.

Seminar – As in previous years we held a three day seminar at the Blind School in Yangon. There were around 70 who came each day. Most were members of the NLCM, although there were visitors. When I presented the biblical and historical study on infant baptism, there was some reaction to Pastor Charles who heads the church. One Baptist pastor whose member attended complained to Pastor Charles about what was taught. Pastor Charles encouraged him to read the paper. One of the visits and services we held later was to an independent Baptist Karen pastor who holds services in his house that I had visited in previous years. His son attended the seminar and heard the paper on infant baptism. May it work on his heart and his father’s. Also at the seminar was a group of older children from an orphanage that Pastor Charles goes to to teach the children. They were very attentive and I commended them and gave them gifts in glad appreciation of their attentive attendance. Pastor Charles’ family and friends did well in coordinating all things for the seminar.
One outsider who attended the seminar was Samuel who came up to me after a presentation on the history of the Lutheran church and asked why the Lutherans were so late in coming to Myanmar and elsewhere. I admitted we were and that we should be sorry for this. The first American foreign missionary was Adoniram Judson(who became a Baptist) who came to Burma(Myanmar). It was fully over thirty years before any American Lutherans sent missionaries overseas.

The NLCM – The church celebrated its 30th anniversary on March 2nd. The year 1988 was not only the year of the church’s beginning but also later that summer the beginning of changes in government and revolutions. The congregation has members who are Chin, Burmese, Karen and Tamil, which indicates how their outreach is not limited. On Sunday communion was held at the church building in regular Lutheran fashion with 45 in attendance.
In the worship service was a young woman who had been in the Sunday school when Charles started his church. Now she is in church with her several children. I had the opportunity to baptize a family the last time I was there and saw them again this year.

House Visitation – There is an old saying that a house going pastor makes a church going people. We try to visit the homes of Pastor Charles’ members and contacts when there. We pay for the transport and this helps his budget. On Sunday afternoon we went to three members homes for devotions and to a Karen independent Baptist’s home for a devotion. There were over 30 there. Then on Monday we visited another four homes. Two homes and a couple contacts we had visited in previous years we could not get to.

The Future – Pastor’s son Sam has finished University training and now has a good job. He is also beginning theological study to eventually help his father and replace him. Printed materials are needed. For instance we have wanted to hand out a Burmese catechism though that has not come about yet. At the time of the annual Burmese water festival Pastor Charles wants to hold a seminar. In a country so dominated by Buddhism it is a great blessing to see our little church move forward. In a country also so previously dominated by the military dictatorship which did not like Christians it is a great blessing to see the new freedoms granted. Our God is in charge. Praise Him.