Philip Shee—Singapore

The True Jesus Church (TJC) was established in Myanmar in the 1990s when a few local Christians from the ethnic Chin[1] group contacted our International Assembly (IA). They were interested in the beliefs preached by TJC, particularly our doctrines relating to the Sabbath day and the Holy Spirit. About the same time, some members were working and doing business in Yangon, so they were able to assist in this pioneering work. After missionaries were sent to Myanmar in the mid-1990s, the first batch of believers was baptized. A church was then established in Sakankyi, a village in the plains below the Chin Hills in Northwest Myanmar. Over time, TJC was established in several other villages.

From 2000 onwards, the IA tasked the Singapore TJC to pastor and develop the church in Myanmar. Since then, with the help of members from Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan, Myanmar TJC has conducted annual programs such as Bible camps, short-term theological training courses for students and youth, spiritual meetings and various training seminars. The church has run full-time theological training programs for two cohorts of preachers.

Currently, TJC is present in the city of Yangon and in three other rural localities in Northwest Myanmar, namely, Taungzalat and Natkyikong in the town of Kalaymyo, and Sawbuayeshin, a village about seventy-two kilometers from Kalaymyo. Two full-time local preachers and one deacon pastor some three hundred members in Myanmar.

Pathian in Malsawm ang—God Will Bless Us

Enoch Chin—Singapore 

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Mt 28:19–20)

This is Jesus’ commission to us—that we must go and make disciples of all the nations. Making disciples is not easy, as it is not simply baptizing people; rather, it involves nurturing them to be true followers of Christ. When we bring the gospel to developing countries, the task of making disciples is complicated by existing cultural and religious backgrounds, language barriers, poverty issues, differing personalities, and life’s challenges. Despite the many obstacles we face, we must not be afraid but press on, for our Lord Jesus has promised to be with us always.

By God’s grace, I have been given the opportunity to serve in the Myanmar Mission Committee (MMC) since 2011. During these years of service, I have truly experienced God’s guidance. Pathian in Malsawn ang is a phrase I hold dear to my heart, because it represents all my mission trips to Myanmar. Pathian in Malsawm ang means “God will bless [us]” in the Mizo language, a dialect of the Chin people in Myanmar. God has blessed and will continue to bless the Myanmar mission work. No matter how difficult the work is, I am resolved to do my part. I would like to share three instances of God’s blessings during my trips to Myanmar.

GOD’S PROVISION IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF A CHURCH BUILDING

In April 2013, I was part of a team sent to Myanmar to conduct a youth camp. Just like the previous trips, we brought along funds for the camp, trip reimbursements and members’ education welfare benefits. During this particular trip to Kalaymyo, a town in Northwest Myanmar, we encountered a problem—there were insufficient funds to complete the construction of the church building in the nearby village of Sawbuayeshin, which was scheduled for dedication the week after our trip. The shortfall was due to rising raw material costs and an underestimation of the amount of materials required. The local church board approached us at the last moment; they had to obtain the funds that very same day to ensure that the construction would be completed in time for the church dedication.

After counting all the money we had, we found that what we had brought was just enough to make up for the shortfall. Discussions with the MMC chairman, local ministers and church board followed; it was agreed that we would give the money we had on hand to complete the construction. This was God’s amazing provision because no man could have made such accurate calculations! I believe God had arranged for us to bring the exact amount of funds required to finance the building construction.

GOD’S PROVISION DURING A DIFFICULT JOURNEY

In October 2013, I took part in a mission trip to conduct a youth leaders’ training course and youth spiritual meeting in Kalaymyo. Due to the closure of the Kalaymyo airfield for runway repairs and issues with the timing of the express buses, we hired a private van to travel from Yangon to Kalaymyo for the youth activities. The journey would typically take about twenty to twenty-four hours, with the first twelve to fourteen hours on the expressway and trunk roads, followed by eight to ten hours on mountainous roads. However, what was not told to us was that many roads along the way to Kalaymyo were affected by the cyclone that had battered Myanmar the week before we arrived.

After an uneventful first leg of the journey, we started traveling on dirt tracks and mountainous roads. The driver felt increasingly uneasy as he was unfamiliar with the route and unused to driving on dirt roads. After a slow and cautious drive past the first mountain stretch, our van met with a flood on the plains, with water reaching knee level. The driver refused to drive through the floodwaters, insisting that we waited for the water to subside so as to not damage the car engine, even though it seemed like the water level was lower than the engine. After negotiating for two hours and seeing countless vehicles drive past us, we managed to convince the driver to allow us to push the van past the flooded stretch and continue the journey.

Within fifteen minutes of resuming the journey, we reached a steep downward slope, followed by an immediate upward slope after a right turn. The driver drove very slowly downslope and was caught in the mud at the bottom due to the lack of speed and momentum. Some passers-by helped the driver to free the vehicle. After the short upward slope, we drove to Kane-yi, a rural farming village. The driver stopped the van and refused to take us any farther. He insisted on turning back to Yangon and said he would try to get a replacement vehicle for the rest of the journey. However, we would need to wait for at least a day with no guarantee of a replacement.

Kane-yi was a village without proper amenities and electricity. It had a couple of small sundry shops for the locals and no restaurants or cafés, much less a place for us to stay. Also, we had not seen any vehicles since we entered the village, except for a couple of motorcycles and bullock carts. We persisted in our negotiation with the driver to resume the journey or find us a feasible solution. As minutes turned into hours, we decided to ask a villager if there was a vehicle in the village or nearby villages that could take us to a bigger town to secure our transport to Kalaymyo.

Unexpectedly, the villager pointed us to an alley where there was a man with a vehicle. Seizing the opportunity, we went to the vehicle owner to ask for help. What happened next was beyond our expectations: the vehicle owner was willing to take us all the way to Kalaymyo and would only need thirty minutes to prepare before setting off. What was more amazing was that the refund we would get from the original driver was exactly the same amount that the new driver was asking from us! We could see God’s marvelous provision and care; He arranged a vehicle to take us from the middle of nowhere to Kalaymyo. In hindsight, we realized that the first driver lacked the necessary skills to safely navigate the mountainous dirt tracks, and we might not have arrived unscathed or in time for the church events.

GOD’S PROVISION FOR THE TROUBLED

During our trip to Myanmar in April 2019 for a youth and students Bible camp, we witnessed the amazing grace of God once again. A total of eleven participants received the Holy Spirit during the camp. There was a young brother who, on hearing an encouraging message from a preacher, decided to pray for the Holy Spirit in his spare time, in addition to the scheduled prayer sessions. Despite it being a hot summer night, he gathered a few friends to pray before bedtime. Although they had just had an exhausting day of lessons and activities, and there was no electricity due to a power outage, they prayed to God with a sincere heart and sought after Him.

The next day after lunch, the same group of students gathered once again to pray in the church hall of their own accord. This time, the prayer took place during the hottest hour of the day with a temperature of forty-five degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). Under a heat-conducting zinc roof and away from the fans that were circulating the hot air, this group of students, some as young as seven to eight years old, were determined to seek God and His precious Holy Spirit. God truly hears the prayers of those who diligently seek Him; He poured down His Spirit onto a number of them, including the brother who initiated the prayer.

During that prayer, the brother saw a vision of bright light, which lifted him toward the light source. After he was lifted up, he saw a golden building surrounded by very beautiful lakes and trees. He also saw birds and a lion roaming freely. When we asked him to tell us more about his vision, he was at a loss for words and could only describe the place as beautiful beyond words. God heard the prayers of this brother and understood his troubles. He was facing a lot of problems at home. Not only was his family poor, but they also had difficulty making a living. His mother had left home recently, abandoning his father and the three children. When this brother confided in God and sought Him with all his heart, God provided him with the Holy Spirit and comforted him through the vision.

CONCLUSION

Yes, there are challenges, and we could even face failure when we want to make disciples of all the nations. However, Pathian in Malsawm ang—God will bless us! This is the work of God, so He will personally lead us. God will bestow His grace upon us. As servants of God, our duty is to go and preach and make disciples. When we do so with a willing heart, God will be with us!


[1] The Chin people form one of the major ethnic groups in Myanmar. Many Chin live in the Chin State and Sagaing Region of Myanmar, where the town of Kalaymyo lies. They are mostly Christians (as opposed to the Buddhist majority in Myanmar), with many belonging to Protestant denominations. Around fifty percent of our Burmese members are Chin.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This