It was the night before we were to fly into Bangkok – Monday night (Monday morning at home). We needed to leave the hotel by 4:30am Tuesday to get to the Bangkok airport for our flight to Yangon, which meant awake by 3:30am. All after a day of sightseeing in Bangkok, preceded by a 20 hour trip from home to Bangkok.
So I was in bed, easily by 10:25pm. I figured I would fall asleep right away and get 5 hours sleep, not bad actually. Instead I never slept. From 10:30pm to 3:30am I was awake. Did that ever happen to you? You know you have to get up early, so you find it hard to get to sleep?
Except it wasn’t just that. The flight into Yangon from Bangkok was the one that had the most question marks for me, which meant it also had the most prayer requests for me. Let’s see…
- I had mistyped Sarah’s name on her Air Asia ticket – put Sarah Danielle instead of Sarah Nold. I had typed her full name so many times for passport stuff that it was just stuck in my head. Tried multiple times to contact Air Asia about it, but in 10 weeks was never able to get through. Were they going to let her on or would her and I have a few more days in Bangkok?
- For our other three kids, Katy, Jake and Josh, we were using two different passports, a cancelled one that contained their Myanmar visa’s and a new one that they needed to get into Thailand. Was that going to be a problem at Myanmar Passport control?
- Because of different baggage restrictions between Cathay Pacific and Air Asia we had excess baggage going into Yangon. How much was that going to cost us?
- Nobody I had talked to had ever heard of Air Asia – except for Ginger and Theresa – who said, “Stay away.” How was the flight going to work out?
So I figured, with all these prayer requests, I can either lay awake worrying or perhaps God just wants me to pray. So for five hours I rested and I prayed. Sometimes I sang – in my head of course, I didn’t want to wake Lynn. Some time I spent tell Jesus thank you. Some time I spent telling Jesus, “please help us.” Some time I spent praying for the people in Bangkok and Myanmar who don’t know Jesus
But at one point, must have been about 3am — I just wanted to know that Jesus was there. I was asking him to reveal himself, to make himself known to me. Perhaps part of it was that I just wanted to know that everything that day would be okay – but even more at that moment I just wanted an encounter with Jesus.
At the end of my pleas – the words came into my mind – “I’ll meet you in Myanmar.” It felt like a promise. I felt at peace.
About 6 hours later, as we drove away from the Yangon airport – having had an easy and uneventful trip — we drove past a garbage dump. A little girl about 3 was picking through the garbage. A young mother and her son were gathering scraps of wood for cooking. I heard Jesus words again – I’ll meet you in Myanmar.
Jesus’ story in Matthew – close to my heart – came to my mind, Whenever you serve the least of these my brothers and sisters you serve me.
I’ll meet you in Myanmar. Both a promise that brings peace, but also a challenge that brings conviction. For if Jesus is to be seen in the eyes of the poor, everywhere you go in Myanmar, you have an opportunity to meet Jesus.