Ministry update from Chan Thleng
Thang Tlang is one of the members of First Wesleyan Church. His brother is a Christian Reformed evangelist and denominational leader of Myanmar. I received the following newsletter from him today. Check out this related post.
Myanmar Ministry Update
At first, I give thanks to the Lord who has given me this opportunity to continue his mission works in Myanmar and enabled me to visit churches, strengthen the mission work, to meet with the people in the very remote area talk to them, have fellowship with them and encourage them with the Word of the Lord. Generally I spent my time with teaching the young people at Reformed Theological College almost the whole year. It is a great task preparing the young people who will become ministers, workers and teachers in the church. Only during summer times from March to April I have opportunity to visit churches, several ministries and projects of the church in southern Chin Hills where we have most of our church members and ministries. In addition to teaching the students, the Lord allowed me to do preaching the Gospel, visiting the ministry of the Siloam clinic of the Luke Society work in Myanmar, attending the assemblies of the church, visiting the projects of highland rice holes plantation, orange groves, arrowroot (curcuma angustifolia) plantation, orphanage children home, meeting with the highland rice farmers, talking with the committee of Rural Community Development Committee members, meeting with the local authority in connection with Hannie Memorial Prayer center construction and more during this summer. I went to Matupi on March 2, and came back to Yangon on April 24. A brief reports on my work are as follows.
Reformed Theological College
The 11th graduation service was held in Insein at No. 170, Ayetheikdi Street (2), Parl House, Lautu Baptist Church on February 12. Two students received bachelor of theology degree, three students received bachelor of ministry degree and one student received a certificate of theology. Joel Hogan from Christian Reformed World Missions spoke at the service and Rev. David Klompien from Dutton United Reformed Church in Grand Rapids charged and prayed for the graduates. The RTC teaches and trains young men and women from Christian Reformed Church in Myanmar and from other several denominations for future ministers, pastors and evangelists for the church. There are 30 – 35 students every year study at the college. Four houses have been rented for several years for class rooms, dormitories for boys and girls and for teachers. The college is seeking land for its own property to continue the ministry. The RTC is asking donation and support from brothers and sisters to be able to buy the land for its own permanent place for training young men and women for the future leaders of the church.
Hannie Memorial Prayer Center Construction
The Memorial Prayer Center construction started in 2009 but the construction work has not been completed till today. The construction permission was given on April 6, 2009 and the construction should be completed within six months that was before the end of 2009, but due to the shortage of fund the construction could not continue. The local township authority summoned me on the case and told me not to continue the construction until I get extension permit for the construction. The authority told me that I have to submit another application form for extension permit when I have enough fund to continue the construction. The center will be used for prayer center, the ministry center of the Christian Reformed Church of Myanmar, Siloam clinic, church and community library and for other several ministries of the church. The Christian Reformed Church of Myanmar has been trying as much as it could to complete the construction but still needs helps and donation for the completion of the memorial center.
Please pray together with us to finish this building as soon as possible.
The 26th General Assembly of CRCM
The 26th General Assembly (synod) of the Christian Reformed Church of Myanmar was held on March 17-20, 2011 at Lalui village two days walk from Matupi. About sixty pastors and elders gathered
together to review the ministry of the Christian Reformed Churches in Myanmar according to the agenda received from the classes. One pastor was ordained on Sunday, February 20. Six new graduates from RTC were appointed as probationary pastors to serve the churches in villages. Probationary term for a person to be ordained as a full time pastor is three years. The girls are appointed to be Sunday school teachers in villages.
The pastors’ conference was convened prior to the general assembly to share their views and experiences and to learn good examples from each others. The main topic for the conference was how to improve the work of the Lord spiritually and physically from now to the future. Exchanging the views based on action plan to help the people and the community to improve their traditional farming system to a better farming system. All the participants gave their activity reports and they prayed together for the needs of the people and the church mission work and praised the Lord together for His gracious guidance. Home missionaries who work among the Buddhists were given special opportunities to express and share the activities they encountered such as difficulties, failures, success etc. Sunday school teachers (the girls) also had opportunities to share their activities and learned from each other to improve their ministry.
One action plan that the synod made decision was to plant arrowroot by all Christian Reformed churches more and less based on the sizes of the churches. The bigger church will plant more arrowroot ant the smaller church will plant less. After three years one arrowroot weights more than two kilograms. They sliced the root and dried them at sun and sell them to China. 5kg green arrowroot makes one dried arrowroot kilogram and it is sold at US $3.50 per kg.
The synod acknowledged the new government as prodemocracy government and hoped that there will be more freedom of religion in the future and there will be more justice and peace between the people and the government. The synod expressed its deep grief that more young people left the country for expecting a better life in foreign countries.
The Luke Society Ministry
The Siloam Clinic ministry in Matupi with the support of Luke Society Ministry keeps working and helping the people with medicines and with basic health education. I am glad and happy to see that the church members in villages care for their health, sanitation, food much better than ten years ago. Mr. Le Ding the health technician is always active to help and kind to the people who are sick, and ready to visit the sick people and give health training as possible as he can. His wife’s health is not very good, suffering from stomach problem. She is a nurse and always active to help her husband. Another nurse who works with Le Ding and wife is also having difficult breathing, but she is also active in her ministry. Mr. Cang Kawm who is a manager of the ministry also taking the responsibility on rural community development as a manager too. I praise the Lord for these people who gave their time and love to the people with great expectation and hope that these people in turn show their love to others in Jesus’ name.
Orphanage Children Home
The orphans and very poor children who have only mothers or fathers and the children who are not able to go to school because their parents have more than seven or eight children were taken care at the orphanage children home. At first there were more than 150 children accepted at the children home but gradually the numbers dropped to less than hundred due to the shortage of support during the last three years when the calamity of rat infestation swiped away the crops in the land. Some donors from the church and from the United States faithfully prayed for the children and supported them, the ministry continues till today. There are less than one hundred children taken care by the girls who have finished their studies at RTC. Rev. Cang Tung (Jangtung) is the manager of the children home and Mr. Myo Minn Htun in the assistant manager. The girls who take care of the children teach the children Bible lessons and songs, how to pray, and prepare for them meals and send them to school at day time. Last winter was difficult for the children to sleep at night because they did not have enough blankets and warm clothes. The women from Yangon CRC generously sent some clothes and pillows for these children. We hope this year there maybe more children come to the children home. We are so thankful to those who generously gave from inside and outside the country to these children to grow as God’s children. I hope and pray that God’s people will continue to help and support these children.
Orange trees were planted about ten years ago hoping the proceeds may go to the mission works of the church. The orange trees were planted in three places. Three years ago every orange tree bore fruits. We did not know how to sell those oranges because there was no transportation to the market place in the area. The local people ate them as much as they could but the rest became rotten. I went to the two sites of orange plantation and found them that the orange trees become blossom again. We are thinking what way would be the best to secure the proceeds from the oranges if they bear fruits as three years ago. We shall be grateful to those who can give advice and help how to get them to the market place.
About ten thousand rubber trees were planted in Dawei about 350 miles down south of Yangon. Some trees were destroyed by rats and fire. Now about 6000 rubber trees remained and the latex has been produced since three years ago. Some rubber trees were scratched first three years ago but the latex was not so much and the price of the latex was very low. The next year was not quite different from the first year except more rubber trees were scratched. The third time this year the proceed was much improved and more rubber trees were scratched. The price of the latex was also affected by world economic crisis and the price was not good. This year more workers expert in scratching rubber trees are needed. One more care taker of the rubber trees was appointed by this year synod to work together with Mr. Pa Maung who has been working for eight years as care taker of the rubber trees. We hope that this year more rubber trees will be scratched and more latex will be sold to support the mission works of the church.
Highland Rice Holes Plantation Project
Last year 17000 holes were dug and the seeds of highland rice from two to three were sowed in one hole. The holes are one foot deep and wide. This summer March and April I spent almost a month and half at the highland rice digging place with some pastors and elders. I worked with the pastors and elders digging the holes and cleaning weeds. The holes come to 20000 and we hope this year there will be a good harvest in September. The problems we have is cleaning weeds and making compost for good soil. The weeds grow very quickly as the rain comes and cover the whole area. We need means and ways how to kill weeds. Another technique we need is to make compost for good soil. We collected manures from the jungle and carried them back to the site of digging holes and pounded them into small pieces and mixed them with sawdust and dried leaves and put them into the holes to become good soil for rice. This highland rice will be harvested in September and I plan to plant cabbage after rice harvest. We put a small farm house there for the farmer who will take care of this project. I want to install water pipe lines to the highland rice farm for raising vegetables and to make fish pond and to install small hydro power for electricity. A young man is appointed as the farmer at the place to take care of the farm. We need some fund to accomplish this project that the poor people in the area may imitate a better way of farming system to improve their life and economy.
Arrowroot Plantation Project
Arrowroot is the natural wild plant in the area which has its white yam under the ground. The arrowroots grow in May and it is the time to collect them in the jungle and plant them systematically in June. One arrowroot plant takes three years to become a mature and good quality to dig them out of the ground. The matured good quality arrowroot weights one and half to three kilograms. The raw arrowroots are sliced into pieces and dried in the sun when they are ready to sell, a kilogram of dried arrowroot costs US $3.50 to $4.00. The synod of the church encourages all its member churches to plant arrowroot plants from this year. This is one way to help the people to have extra income so that they will be able to support their children to go to school and to buy their needs such as clothes, tools for their farms, medicines etc.
Visiting Churches in Villages
Before and after the convention of General Assembly (synod) of the Christian Reformed Church of Myanmar I visited several churches to encourage them with the Word of the Lord. I and my friends who accompanied me walked from one village to another day after day walking ups and downs through the mountains to see the believers. I could stay only for one night at a village and had worship service at night and talked to the believers till midnight. The next day early in the morning we got up and continued walking to another village. It was tiresome but I was thrilled to see the faces of believers who had been waiting for me eagerly for months to hear the good news of our Lord. I was happy and glad to see them and felt worth to encourage them with the Word of the Lord.
The King’s mission is not just preaching the gospel and say to the people, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:L16). The Christian Reformed Church of Myanmar is accomplishing the commission of the Lord in the very remote area by preaching, teaching and helping the people. I, on behalf of the Christian Reformed Church of Myanmar would like to express thanks to all who generously and lovingly gave and prayed for the ministries the Lord is doing through us in this difficult area. I do hope and pray that God’s people will continue to pray and support the ministries to the glory of the Lord.