Hmawbi Bible School

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Thursday, October 13, Winsome, Bonnie and I returned by turboprop airplane to Yangon. Our plane was about 40 minutes late departing for Yangon, but around one hour after takeoff we landed in the old Rangoon and former capital of Burma.

A short drive from the airport back to Yangon Hotel, and we were ready to unpack both the suitcases we had taken with us on the most recent jaunt to northern Myanmar as well as the four pieces of baggage we had left in storage at the hotel. The hotel had moved us to a different room than we had occupied before our flights to Mandalay, etc.; we found ourselves on the eighth floor. Besides skipping out to a restaurant for a bite of supper, it was wash night – Bonnie washing clothes in the bathroom sink and me rinsing them in the shower. With the overcast skies, our room looked and smelled like a laundry for days as we hung our clothes to dry on the window rod.

Friday, we headed to the Hmawbi Bible School three quarters of an hour by taxi from Yangon. That day as well as Monday through Friday of the following week, Bonnie would teach ladies’ classes, and I would teach men’s classes or sometimes a combined class of men and women. Bonnie taught morning and afternoon of that first Friday back at Hmawbi, as did I. The following week, Bonnie taught ladies in the morning and I taught men in the morning about sermon preparation and presentation, while I taught men and women in the afternoons about Bible Geography and Archaeology. Bonnie taught character studies from her book Living Principles.

Saturday, October 15 was an unencumbered day. We stayed in the hotel room all day with two laptops a blazing, working on various literary items, including Gospel Gazette Online for October; I was able to publish Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet with some difficulty. At one point in the day, we had just gotten into the elevator when the electricity failed, temporarily trapping us (about 10 minutes) between floors. Eventually, it slowly descended, dumping us out on the ground floor where we had begun minutes ago. Shortly, the generator kicked in and we were able to take an elevator to the eighth floor where we were lodging.

(On another occasion, we had an interesting event in the elevator when someone riding with others and us didn’t know how to operate the elevator but was determined to be the one to make it work; he kept pushing the button to open the door every time he wanted the door to close, and he kept pressing the button for the ground floor twice, which turned it on and back off. Heads were shaking; it’s a wonder we’re not still in the elevator! On still another occasion, a passenger in the elevator with us leaned on one of the control panels; I saw the lights on the panel closest to me blinking repeatedly like Christmas tree lights. Our poor elevator didn’t know whether to start, stop, go down or go up; Bonnie said that the gentleman was a little embarrassed when he realized what he had done. On yet another day, some mature gentlemen from a far away, mountain village came to our room for a scheduled Bible study; they had never been in a tall building before, and one of them clutched with both hands the upright frame of our glass-walled elevator as it climbed the exterior face of the hotel to the eighth floor.)

Saturday, we also were visited by Jay Ahti, who we had helped purchase a laptop computer and printer to aid him in his continued translation of materials into Lisu and Rawang languages. He came by with the computer to show us what he had gotten. Later that night after supper at Winsome’s, a tailor stopped by to measure Bonnie to finish off some longis that she had purchased at Inle Lake.

Upon return to the hotel, I stopped by the front desk and requested additional lighting in the bathroom so that I could see to shave. Asia has already adopted some of the new lighting that America will experience very soon – which is about as bright as a nightlight! In response to my request, the hotel sent up to our room a battery operated light with two small fluorescent bulbs, only one of which worked.

The next morning (Sunday), Bonnie held the flashlight so I could attempt to shave! You can only imagine the ridiculous sight of trying to shave by flashlight! A little later while I was brushing my teeth, the doorbell rang, and the building’s engineer requested entry. Bonnie opened the door, wearing traditional Burmese dress, long hair and a slightly darker complexion than mine, whereupon the engineer started rattling off words in Burmese to her. I can only imagine that she stood there dumbfounded, at which time I emerged from the bathroom with a toothbrush in my hand. Looking at me, obviously a white guy, the engineer quickly surmised that Bonnie was not Burmese. He told her, “I’m sorry, I thought that you were Burmese!” Bonnie gets that a lot, only in India she is mistaken for Indian; sometimes in America, fellow citizens have puzzled over Bonnie’s ethnicity, too. As Bonnie says, “They’ll only think I’m Burmese until I open my mouth” and speak. Later in the day upon returning to the hotel after worship, we discovered that the engineer installed a new fluorescent light above the mirror in the bathroom; I felt obligated now to shave daily since the hotel made a capital improvement just so I could shave. Sunday, I spoke at worship in the home of Sheila and Winsome as well as in the afternoon at the home of Esther.

Tuesday afternoon, brother Kyaw Sein brought two gentlemen by our hotel for a Bible study. I thought they were Baptists, but soon I discovered that instead they were animists. Of course, that completely changed the nature of our study, which we had over the next hour and a half. They were extremely attentive and interested. I suspect that after further study within the year one or both of them will obey the Gospel. (We are not looking for people we can merely dip in the water, but we and the brethren with whom we labor are more interested in converting souls, a part of which conversion involves immersion for the remission of sins.)

Wednesday evening, we treated several of the brethren from Yangon and Hmawbi to a supper meal at the Airport Million Coin restaurant. We appreciate these brethren and their families so much, and they are great encouragers of us as well. Monday through Friday, both Bonnie and I continued to teach daily at the Hmawbi Bible School. Friday evening, we fly to India.

Explore posts in the same categories: Good Eats, Good Friends, Ladies' Class, Literature, Magazines & Books, Moral Encouragement, Myanmar (Burma), Overseas, Travel

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