Oct. 30th – Nov. 5th. While we ate breakfast each morning at the hotel, lunch was always served at the training center. We purposely kept the evenings open after Wednesday so we could spend the time talking over the last four weeks, praying together, and letting the Lord speak to us. It was Thursday evening when Tim and I were walking the streets in search of a place to eat dinner, we felt the Lord clearly saying that He wants to significantly increase our passion for the unreached people groups of the world (see Mt. 24:14, understanding that “nations” means “ethos or ethnic groups”). I am sure people on the street wondered what these two strangers were saying as we animatedly discussed such a strong conviction. This must be the central driving force along with God’s purpose and plan for His church being and doing all for His glory. While our aim must be that those we train so that God’s people capture the same vision by the Holy Spirit, could it also be that God would allow these two old men to facilitate reaching an unreached people group before our life here is ended? Our fervent prayer is that this would happen.
Tim showed the list of 52 unreached people groups in Myanmar on the screen and asked if any were seeking to reach these. To our surprise, five or six hands went up. Tim then asked what the names were and one brother shared that he had reached the Ake. At the break we spoke to him through Moses and discovered that he had started twelve years ago. At that time there were no believers and no churches. Now there are three churches. That leaves 51 unreached groups. We wanted to interview him later, but the opportunity slipped through our figures.
Our seriousness and determination in our ministry is never so stilted and boring that we can’t enjoy a Swenson’s Ice Cream when it is available. So after a fried chicken dinner, we headed up another street to the new building I had seen a few days before. This Swenson’s had only been open two weeks and the steps up to the door were still unfinished, but that didn’t hinder us from achieving our goal. Friday evening was Tim’s last night in Yangon, so we repeated the habit as a farewell to my brother. He took the same flight Saturday morning that I would take on Thursday of the following week. We ate breakfast (omelet, toast and orange juice) and then a taxi was hailed and he was gone. I will not see him again until we are both home in NC.
By this stage of the training, we are assigning lessons for each person to work through in the evenings so they can get a true flavor of what is ahead of them in doing all the lessons. We made a change this time, considering we had a couple of extra days with this group, and had them divide into six groups so that one group (instead of one person) could do the six parts of the Book of Acts and they would assign one leader to represent their answers to the whole group. This worked well. We often have to skip over Paul’s thirteen letters (Early, Middle, and Later) because of the extensive reading and writing. This time we assigned Galatians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians to two groups; Ephesians and Colossians to two more groups; and Titus and 2nd Timothy to the last two groups. This was extremely beneficial as it gave them a much clearer understanding of why Paul wrote his letters in a certain order and how they are tools to address specific issues. Saturday was used to hear their findings and help fill in a few holes in their observations. To be at one of these events and see the Holy Spirit bring understanding and vision is something to experience.
As we concluded Saturday, I assigned the first lessons on the Roles in the Family for Monday morning. Even though I planned to use Sunday as a down day to rest, Mang asked me to preach. When I told him that I really wanted to rest, his face gave me a pleading look that I couldn’t turn down. Since my talk with the group in Michael’s office, the Lord had added some insights that thrilled my heart and pushed me to share the message again, but with added insight. It was evident that God was really working in most hearts. A couple who are close friends with Mang said they came back Sunday morning because of how the teaching had really touched them. I looked forward to being with them Monday morning when I would share the message from Lesson 33, “Your Life in Christ”.
After a traditional Burmese lunch, I went back to hotel for some rest. I had one last chance to go to Scot’s Market and pick up some gifts that I usually get for Rosemary and others. After a good sleep for about an hour, I got a taxi to the market. It did not take me long to find what I wanted. The shop owner recognized me immediately and gave me a very good deal. From the market I walked to the Shangri La Hotel where I could get very strong internet with a cup of coffee (a Tim Bunn trick!). I had been there about an hour when I felt the Burmese lunch was working some serious damage. After using their restroom, I quickly got a taxi back to the Bliss Hotel where diarrhea set in for the next day and a half. I phoned Mang Monday morning after a very rough night and told him what was happening. My worry was not that I couldn’t teach, because Moses knew the material well and didn’t need me to carry on. My worry was how soon would this condition turn around? During the night I dug into the pharmacy that Rosemary always sends with me and found the anti-diarrhea medication and began the routine. Between Mang, Ciin and the hotel, many provided lemon tea and whatever they thought was helpful. By Tuesday morning, I was getting a little worried how long this was going to last. Rosemary contacted our PA and got instructions which I followed to a “T” and the condition began turning for the better. Tuesday afternoon I walked to the training center just to be with them for a couple hours. They all came around me and prayed. There was a feeling of oneness and deep concern on their part which was very touching.
Wednesday morning was truly a new day. The prayers of God’s people were being answer. The antibiotics, change in diet, and a good sleep certainly worked together for my good. When I arrived at the training center, they were already in worship and prayer; preparing themselves for the day. There were four more lessons that they had not shared yet, so I gave them that opportunity.
Since Tim and I emphasized the unreached people groups of Myanmar (51), we kept this before them throughout the training. I asked if someone would come up to the white board and draw out the six chapters of the manual. No one wanted to venture such a task until a pastor who had been very studious and good in his responses offered. It was amazing to watch him, without notes or book, go through each chapter, even adding some things we do not normally expect. We applauded his success. As I looked at the board and reflected back to what happened in Jerusalem as the Holy Spirit filled believers then and soon forced them out into unreached parts of the world, I felt inspired to write just above Jerusalem, Yangon. I then asked the group to come up one-by-one and write the name of an unreached people group or an area that the Lord placed on their heart. One sister almost jumped out of her chair as she responded and came to the board to write a name down. This was followed one-by-one as they came forward until everyone had written on the board a people group or area they would reach. We then gathered closely around the board and had an extended time in prayer asking God to seal these commitments on our hearts and then put our feet in motion to accomplish His purpose. I felt this was a very significant moment for Myanmar and these people.
I gave a closing message and instructions on finishing the lessons in preparation for meeting again and doing the projects. Brother Mang felt that we should end the time in prayer again and then asked me to go to each person and pray for them individually. In my mind, I felt a little overwhelmed considering the size of the group, but as I obeyed, the Lord gave me specific things to pray for with the limited knowledge I had of each one. This was followed by them praying for me – a very moving experience! The goodbyes were endless and many were with tears. I truly felt that God had done a work in them that was going to last and have a major impact on Myanmar and bring great eternal glory to God. Mang and Ciin came to me over and over saying that they had never experienced anything like it before. Now I ask you who have read all this to the end; will you commit to praying for these people? Will you hold them up with us so that God will do a mighty work in Myanmar for His glory and fulfill the promise in Rev. 5:9-10 that there will be those out of every tribe and language and people and nation who sing a new song of praise to our Lord Jesus?
Though they begged me to stay for dinner, I was physically spent and needed to pack for my flight in the morning to Bangkok. Mang asked what time I was leaving for the airport. I said 8 a.m. Packing went well and I had a good sleep which was facilitated by the sound of rain that continued for over a day and a half. I was downstairs by 7:15 for my standard egg on toast and orange juice. By 7:40, Mang, Ciin, and Joe Lim arrived to see me off. It seemed like the whole hotel staff escorted me out to the taxi for their final goodbyes. I know when I am loved and appreciated, not for what I am or do for others, but for what God has done in them that will never be removed by distance or time in this world. After forging through flooded streets to the airport, I was in the final lift-off from this country of Myanmar. Two days of rest in Bangkok and I’m on my way home! May the Lord be forever praised for His abounding love and faithfulness to us who are so unworthy of such a privilege!
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I have received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” Acts 20:24
Please Pray: (October 3 – November 10)
1) Teaching Church Leaders using the Burmese God’s Plan for His Church in Yangon – October 27- November 7
2) Launch the new Karen God’s Plan for His Church in Maw Day Musekee – October 17-19
3) Teaching Bethany College students God’s Plan for His Church in Chiang ai - October 13-24
4) Synergy Meeting with Vietnamese Leaders in Bangkok - October 6-10
5) Strategic Planning for the Khmer God’s Plan for His Church in training Cambodian Leaders – November 1-3
6) Launch the new Vietnamese God’s Plan for His Church in Saigon – October 13 – 24
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving, pray also for us, (Tim and Sherman):
1) That God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ Col 4:2-3
2) That words may be given to us in opening our mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel Eph 6:19
3) That the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored 2 Thess 3:1 (ESV)
4) That we may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding Col 1:9
5) That we be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might Col 1:11
During this season in the USA we celebrate Thanksgiving with an amazing spread of food and special time with family and close friends. We want to take this opportunity to especially thank you for standing with us in so many ways. The best way we can do this is by giving you some ‘clips’ of events that have taken place recently and exciting opportunities ahead of us:
Brother Henry met in Mabonga with “more than 100 people eager for the Word of God”. He taught from God’s Plan for His Church which brought transformation in the church. “Church chairmen” resigned and became biblical “deacons and deaconesses”. After preaching from Luke 15:11 “about the lost son, 57 people believed in the Lord Jesus”. 13 were set free from demonic oppression, and 3 were healed from different diseases. “We really felt the presence of God and the Holy Spirit moved mightily.” There was further teaching for GPHC on New Testament principles of order in the church.
Persons are asking how to plant churches like Paul did. Henry is being used by the Lord to teach these principles from Scripture.
We have helped Henry purchase two new tires for his vehicle because of the amount of travel he is doing and since the tires he has now are very smooth. There are 22 other repairs that need to be done, so if the Lord moves you to help, please let us know. Remember that Henry has also launched a ministry to the Pygmies which is already bearing fruit.
The Burmese translation of GPHC is complete and in the proof-reading stage. Pray for printing to take place soon in view of Tim’s visit in January.
GPHC training will take place at the Siloam Bible Institute, January 13 to 17, 2014. Pray for students to have completed the lessons in preparation for a week of review and writing their projects and strategy.
The GPHC Karen translation is nearly finished. It will need type-setting and proofing before it can be printed. The opportunities with the Karen in Thailand and Myanmar are many. Please pray for the completion of this translation and for God to open effective doors to train and promote a focus on the unreached of these countries.
The translation work in Urdu is complete and we have sent partial funds for printing. Our Brother in Christ has a vision to train key men who will impact this country and beyond. Pray that this amazing opportunity will result in a spiritual awakening throughout this part of the world.
Tim has had amazing opportunities to attend the Campus Crusade Conference in October and present GPHS which received wide acceptance by many, including a representative from Global Alliance for Church Multiplication. He also will attend the Finishing the Task Conference in CA the first week in December. The purpose of this conference is to identify current unreached people groups and to connect churches, missions and missionaries to them. Paul’s “ambition was to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named” (Ro. 15:20) Pray for God to use these occasions as divine appointments for spreading biblical principles for accelerating God’s work among the unreached of the world.
Through a chain of contacts from the US and England, a brother in Liberia heard about our ministry and asked for our material. We sent two copies of GPHC along with instruction on working through the lessons. Here is a brief quote from his last email: “Our churches and some of our sister churches in Liberia are facing serious problems that this training manual gave an answer to. Therefore, I decided not to delay but to start studying the materials and to organize some men who are willing and also can be used to train others, as we see in 2 Timothy 2:1-2." Pray for God to use this brother in reestablishing the church in Liberia on a biblical foundation in preparation for God’s expansion throughout Africa.
Changes: We are in the process of upgrading the Seminary Course to be used anywhere in the world. We are convinced the time is right for this to be used in equipping students before they launch out into the Lord’s work. Along with this, we have decided to change our ministry name to NEW FOUNDATIONS, dba Go and Reconcile
We believe this new name more accurately represents our goal; to follow Paul’s example in Romans 15:20.
Ministries: We have so many reasons to thank you for standing with us in prayer and support for God’s work through unworthy and unlikely servants. We are humbled by His grace, yet inspired by the continual renewal of the Holy Spirit. It is a joy to also report that Sherman’s health is much better--thank you so much for the prayers, emails, cards, phone calls and visits. There is another three weeks of physical therapy, but he is beginning to get back into the work.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14).
From the jungles to the cities in Burma or Myanmar, many came for training, hosted by a dear Chin Brother who lives in Burma and Australia. About 3 years ago, he located a copy of the manual in Australia, and after reading it, contacted me about teaching the material to his church planters so they can be more effective by becoming more biblical, Holy Spirit dependent, indigenous and self-sustaining. We had about 50 hungry students from Chin area, desiring to follow Paul’s model as he followed Christ.
As always, we soon realized we lack the power of the early church, so we renewed this area of our lives and pushed on to the importance of our personal relationship with Christ, its effect on families and how it results in Spirit filled church planting and renewal. Through the Holy Spirit, much of the teaching was soon turned over to them.
They taught and preached the Word concerning factors that made the early church so powerful, making disciples or leaders like Jesus, strengthening the churches using Paul’s letters, the value of family in their ministries and how to solve or resolve different current issues facing the family and church biblically. Testimonies afterwards were so encouraging to hear! These simple truths applied to their lives personally, and Lord willing, we will see the church renewed in Burma which is really (as in the USA) the answer to so many of the problems we all face in these last days.
I walked about 30+ minutes each day to and from the meeting winding through the streets of Yangon, the main city in Burma. As always, I find the people so interesting in contrast to our culture, but something particularly fascinating is to see four religious buildings within a rocks throw of each other: a mosque, a church building, and Buddhist and Hindu temples.
I felt fairly safe there because if anyone gets or even starts to get out of line, the military or police will stop them dead in their tracks.
I am now back in Chiang Mai; spent yesterday washing clothes, being lonely, but I did meet with one Rawang Brother who has a ministry to the Lahu people group which is interestingly located in Burma, Thailand, Laos, China and Vietnam. We will be making training plans for some of the leaders from Lahu leaders from the tribal areas in Thailand. Yesterday I met with my dear friend and Karen Brother to make plans on training here and in the jungle areas “new” evangelists or maybe I should say, “New hungry souls”. I spent today with an elderly brother, 78, who is fired up and taking the gospel to remote areas of Thailand. He is the one I went with several months ago where they have no electricity etc... With him around, can I even think about stopping at 67? We talked over the process and concepts in translating the manual into the Karen Language. Also, keep Henry and Peter from Zambia in your prayers that they will be able to come to Chiang Mai for training and preaching in the Karen and Lahu Churches in Northern Thailand. They just now received their visa applications.
Thanks for your prayers!
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