Everywhere I Go I See Jesus

Jan 04th 2009

…and it’s breaking my heart. Remember the story in Matthew 25. Jesus is talking and he shares that story of the good guys (sheep) and the bad guys (goats). The good guys are the once who give Jesus water when he is thirsty and food when he is hungry. The good guys are the ones who give Jesus clothes when he is naked and a home when he is homeless. The bag guys ignore Jesus in need. The good guys and the bad guys both say, Jesus when did we see you in need. Jesus responds, Whenever you care for the least of these my brothers, you do it to me.

In Myanmar, a country that is over 80% Buddhist, a country where 90% of the people live on less than a dollar a day, everywhere I go I see Jesus… and it’s breaking my heart.

Last Sunday, after church, Lynn and I prayed for a woman who runs an orphanage in a very remote area of Myanmar, the Chin State. She has an orphanage in the mountains – forty one children. Because they are so remote, they have no sponsors, so they come to Agape Orphanage when they need help. It is the poor helping the very poor. The Nargis Cyclone hit them hard, so they have gone into debt buying food. Nobody will give them anymore credit. So she has not been able to buy food for a few months. Her children walk the fields looking for corn and rice that has been dropped behind in the harvest. For the last month, her children have been eating one time every three days. Joseph – the Agape Orphanage Director – asked Lynn and I to pray for her and her children. We prayed and the tears streamed down her face.

As we were praying, the thoughts going through my head were – I’m praying to Jesus who is eating once every three days in the mountains of the Chin State.

We gave her $700 — the $500 we saved from not paying extra for our baggage and $200 we took for personal expenses.  It will help for a couple of months.

After that prayer, as we drove to another mission, all I could think about was 41 hungry children and I kept asking Jesus, “Did I do enough?” Tears in my eyes — I can honestly say that I have never had such a strong desire to be rich. If Jesus really is to be found in the “least of these,” if you ever go to Myanmar you will see Jesus everywhere you go…and it might break your heart.

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Agape Orphanage, Christmas Day, and Walmart

Jan 03rd 2009

I didn’t take pictures.  It just seemed wrong.  On Christmas Day — not only did I preach to 1500 villagers, counting men, women and children — but you (Calvary) helped to feed them.  From dollars that you gave we we were able to give a meal and the rice for two more meals to everyone who attended.  (In fact that was probably the main reason they came, since my preaching is not really a huge draw in Myanmar!)

They received a box of cooked rice with 2-3 small pieces of meat — the meat was a luxury — and a small piece of bread.  They also received a bag — maybe a pound — of rice for future meals.

I watched them stand in line waiting for their free food.  (Those were the pictures I didn’t take.)

Actually I watched them push and shove and knock elderly people and small children to the ground as they were waiting for free food.

At first it disappointed me, then I remembered that they were hungry and I realized that they were afraid that the food would run out.

At first it disappointed me, then I remembered our Walmart Black Friday story.  One thousand plus people standing in line to get a good deal on a high definition flat screen tv, stampeding through the doors, trampeling and killing a temporary employee.

We push and shove and stampede for a $200 discount on a hd tv.  They push and shove and stamped for food.  I’m still disappointed…that those people are so hungry and so worried that the food will run out.  But I am so thankful that Calvary gave and continues to give.  I didn’t take pictures, it just seemed wrong, but the picture is stark in my mind.  I pray that the day will come when Americans won’t stampede for tv’s and Burmese won’t have to stampede for food.

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(NOT) Home for Christmas

Jan 02nd 2009

So there we were Christmas Day, walking up at the Seasons Hotel in Yangon — 10,000 miles from home.  We got a “Merry Christmas” greeting from two elderly ladies in the breakfast room — the only non-Burmese we would see on Christmas Day — Australians visiting another orphanage.  By the way if you google the hotel — don’t trust the description or the pictures, false advertising at it’s best!

Driving to Agape Orphanage, it hit me that Calvary’s last Christmas Eve service was just beginning. I love Christmas Eve at Calvary, it is always one of the highpoints of my Christmas season.  It’s one of the best parts of being home for Christmas!

But God had other plans for us this Christmas – Myanmar plans.

We drove through the gate at Agape and all the children were lined up to greet us, yelling like we were some kind of celebrities — or long lost family members returning after a long absence.

In Myanmar, while it is not against the law to have a church, it is against the law to proselytize. But at Christmas, a bit more freedom is given. So the orphanages use Christmas as a time to reach out to the neighboring villages. In December the orphanages we support hosted Christmas celebrations for close to 10,000 people – at each one the Good News was shared.

Former Muslim

I had the privilege of sharing at the Christmas Day gathering at Agape orphanage – over 1200 Buddhist Read more…

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