Archive for the ‘Myanmar (Burma)’ category

No Friday this Week!

October 1, 2017

Thursday, September 28, Martha Lynn and I began our trek from the USA to Asian countries that will encompass the next 55 days before our return—Lord willing. Our journey presented little difficulties; no major complications were encountered. Our flights took us from Orlando, FL to Los Angelos, CA to Taipei, Taiwan to Yangon, Myanmar over the next nearly 30 hours. The transpacific flight alone was around 13 hours aloft! In the process of travel and crossing the International Date Line as we headed in a westward direction, we completely skipped Friday—except for boarding a plane in California after midnight. Essentially, we took flight on Thursday and landed on Saturday—all within the space of 30 hours. Remarkably, on our return trip as we fly completely around the world, we will compress the same number of hours into a single day; we will leave Asia and arrive in North America on the same calendar day, despite traveling for more hours than there is in a single day. As confusing as that is, imagine trying to take one’s scheduled medication in a timely fashion.

We slept on the three planes at will and otherwise amused ourselves with music, movies and preparation to teach upon our arrival in Asia. The last 3½ hour leg of our travels seemed to me to be the most difficult, only because I was tired of traveling and ready to be there.

Gladly, dear Christian friends were promptly at the airport to greet and to retrieve us. They and we paused a bit for refreshments at the airport before traveling to our hotel for the next week. Later, we will transfer to another hotel where we will abide for two more weeks while in Myanmar.

Sunday, we assembled with Burmese and Chinese Christians for worship. Afterward and upon returning to Hotel Bo Bo Min, we decided to rest for just a little while. Three hours later, we were awakened by housekeeping upon the delivery of our laundry. Returning to our slumber, we slept for another six hours! We thought we had been refreshed and handling reasonably the jetlag, but apparently our bodies behaved differently. Two days in a row we snoozed—dead to the world—right through the supper hour! Sleep is never so rewarding or as deep as it is when one is exhausted; we have been sleeping soundly. Unfortunately, the bedbugs haven’t been sleeping; this is the first and only occasion in my stateside and foreign travels that I have encountered these critters. Unfortunately for Martha and surprisingly to me, they prefer biting her over chewing on me! I had jokingly said previously that I was taking her with me for “bait,” and apparently that is truer than I suspected.

Monday through Friday, a new chapter in our lives commences as we commune especially with Chinese brethren. They and we hope to glorify and serve our Lord.

Winding Down and Winding Up

September 26, 2017

Recently, Martha and I dined with some of her children (Jim, Denise and family) at Gator Joe’s on a Florida lake. What a beautiful sunset graced our suppertime delight! Of course, Martha had to get sand between her toes and wade in the water.

This past Sunday morning, September 24, Martha and I assembled with the Wildwood, Florida Church of Christ. This was my second visit to the congregation and my first opportunity to speak for this church. During Bible class, I presented my “World Evangelism Media & Missions” PowerPoint presentation. At the worship hour, I preached “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” We felt right at home with Wildwood, and everyone paid rapt attention. It was a pleasure to worship God in spirit and in truth together.

For lunch, Martha and I treated ourselves to some deluxe Angus cheeseburgers and trimmings. Not only were they delicious, but we won’t have any such favorites for several weeks as we are abroad for eight weeks in three Asian countries. We drove a few miles thereafter to what turned out to be a dying, indoor mall. We idled at a franchise bookstore café and enjoyed the air conditioning while doing digital jigsaw puzzles on our electronic tablets.

When it was time, we made our way to the meetinghouse of the Village Church of Christ in Lady Lake, Florida. This was my second visit to this little church, and we worshipped with them.

Tuesday was a mobile office workday. I was able to publish the September edition of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet and sundry other matters were addressed, too.

Thursday, Martha and I fly from Orlando, Florida to Los Angelos, California. From there we will fly for about 16 hours to Taipei, Taiwan, and then fly on to Yangon, Myanmar (also known as Burma). We will arrive on Saturday after nonstop traveling by jet airplane.

Three weeks later, we will fly to Singapore for about four days, before flying to India. For five weeks, we will travel to sundry places. Finally, November 21, we will return home from New Delhi to New York to Florida—all on the same day, though the same number of hours as traveling to Asia! I am looking forward to sharing some of the beautiful pictures of our travels from time to time during the eight weeks we will be gone. Please remember us in your prayers.

I Love Myanmar

November 1, 2016

 

96-dpi-4x6-hmawbi-2“I love Myanmar” is a slogan that one sees often plastered across signage from clothing to the sides of busses to billboards to the face of city buildings. I love Myanmar, too. I love the countryside, the people and especially my brothers and sisters in Christ.

96-dpi-4x6-asho-village-9Therman Hodge and I arrived in Yangon, Myanmar finally on Saturday, October 22 after around 30 hours of constant travel by jet planes and brief layovers in airports between flights. We had left Jackson, MS on Thursday, October 20, traveling to Houston, TX to Moscow, Russia to Singapore to Yangon, Myanmar.

96-dpi-4x6-kyaw-sein-1Since then, we have worshipped with brethren of two congregations in Yangon, and I assembled with brethren last weekend in a distant Asho tribe on a mountain accessible only by footpath. Monday through Friday for two weeks, we spoke at the Hmawbi Bible College tucked away amidst tropical flora. For one week, I taught half a day in the jungle home of Kyaw Sein. At night when not too tired, I worked on our Internet magazine (Gospel Gazette Online) as well as on our print journal (The Voice of Truth International). I fielded emails and literature orders also.

96-dpi-4x6-asho-village-1My adventure last Friday through the wee hours of Monday morning involved a trek via automobile about 12 hours each way over mountains, across the mighty Irrawaddy River and winding up back and forth on the side of a 3,000 foot high peak. After taking some respite in a modest, old teak wood and bamboo home borne by stilts on a highland slope, Asho brethren and I hiked a foliage shrouded, meandering uphill path that hugged the cliff. Less than an hour later, we emerged at the edge of small village of 20 homes, themselves suspended upon the mountainside and camouflaged with the dense rainforest. Torrential rain for the two days I was there, low clouds masking the scenery and unimaginable humidity – surely somehow more than 100% – inhibited sightseeing and picture taking. Leeches that bloodied my feet and the lack of amenities to which I have become accustomed proved to be challenging and temporarily excited some culture shock.96-dpi-4x6-hmawbi-1

96-dpi-4x6-asho-village-4Nearly every resident of the village who is old enough to obey the Gospel is a member of Christ’s church! The meetinghouse for the church of Christ is an elevated platform with a corrugated metal roof, but without walls. Once complete, the structure will have bamboo walls to interfere with blowing rain that currently bombards attendees from time to time.

96-dpi-4x6-asho-village-7Approximately 50 men, women and children came together for many hours Saturday and Sunday. The eagerness with which the audience hung on every word and took notes compelled me to focus on their edification from the Word of God and less on my grumbling. Following each instruction, they refused to take a break and asked for “more.” Over the two days, I taught eight lessons, and we only concluded in anticipation of darkness in the absence of electricity with which to illuminate the night.

96-dpi-4x6-asho-village-8No one arrives at this village in a Myanmar alp by accident, but by purposeful and deliberate exertion. To facilitate easier access for me, brethren gave the trail a haircut so to speak. They made it easier for me to penetrate the jungle thoroughfare to their homes by cutting back grasses, banana trees, etc.

96-dpi-4x6-aung-san-1In addition to the mountain destination, along the way, I visited the museum of the Myanmar national hero, Aung San. At another wayside stop, Burmese brethren and I visited a private boarding school of about 400 teenagers. Dotting the travel were numerous oxcarts alongside cars, bicycles, motorbikes, trucks, buses and an abundance of cows, dogs, goats, an elephant and people.

96-dpi-4x6-asho-village-6Lord willing on Friday, Therman and I board the first of two airplanes to wing our way ultimately to India. Once on the ground, we’ll take a hotel for the night before proceeding the next day by land to Kakinada, India. Once that appointment concludes in about a week, brother Hodge will return home while I make my way to additional venues in India.

96-dpi-4x6-asho-village-5Sometimes where we are, what we eat and such like prove to be somewhat daunting, but we and others like us simply push forward. The sense of Christian duty and souls anxious to hear the old Jerusalem Gospel propel us with eagerness into fields that are white unto harvest.

 

Utterly Worn Out!

October 22, 2016

Weary doesn’t begin to describe how utterly worn out I feel at this juncture in my trek to Yangon, Myanmar. Two hours yet to Singapore and we have already traveled 26 hours. After arriving in Singapore, it’ll still be about another six hours before we arrive in Yangon, Lord willing. Singapore is the way station where on at least one occasion in years past I said to Bonnie  that I didn’t want to go any farther, and a I didn’t want to go back either.

Brother Therman Hodge and I flew from Jackson, MS to Houston, TX to Moscow, Russia to Singapore. From there, we will be bound for Yangon. I’m looking forward to reuniting with dear brethren—some of whom usually meet us at the airport.

Later that day, Yangon local time, Therman and I arrived in Yangon. Brethren awaited us and took us to our hotel. Actually, that was the second time today we have been to Yangon; we flew over it on our way from Moscow to Singapore, and then we had to retrace our flight path for a Yangon landing.

The brethren and we agreed upon a work-filled itinerary that not only will have us teaching daily for two weeks at the Hmawbi Bible School, but we will teach daily at a jungle home, too. Then, on one weekend, we will travel 12 hours away into the hill country to present a two-day seminar. Within a couple of hours of arriving in Myanmar, we have more than doubled our plans for the two weeks we will be here.

Though I don’t have any pictures to accompany this short update, but especially when we go to the hill country where I have not been before, I suspect that I will come away with some interesting pictures. Where we are going, following travel by automobile, we have to complete the trip on foot – uphill! Communications will be limited over the next nearly five weeks, but I will apprise readers periodically of progress.

My biggest anticipated challenges for the balance of the day is not to fall asleep before dark so I can more nearly adjust to the swapping of night for day of the nearly 12-hour difference between home and half way around the world to Asia. I hope I don’t conk out at supper – maybe even dropping my head into my plate at my hostess’ home!

Between Then and Now

July 27, 2016

The Sunday following the workday in Winona courtesy of the Booneville, MS Church of Christ on Friday, the Old Union Church of Christ in rural Carroll County, Mississippi (did I say rural – smothered in the woods and Kudzu traversed only by multiple gravel roads) hosted a Gospel meeting through Wednesday. I purposely did not schedule any appointments that weekend so that I could contribute my moral support to the Old Union congregation. I worship with that group of Christians Sunday mornings when I am not traveling stateside or abroad, and the locale has the meetinghouse sitting in the edge of a cemetery going back over 150 years. My dear Bonnie rests there in one of the most peaceful and picturesque settings on earth.

Friday, July 22, I reluctantly transported my loving daughter Rebecca back to her domicile in Collierville, TN. She needed to get back in place to attend training on Monday for the new school year, as well as put her classroom back in order before she has to return to work on August 1. Rebecca teaches 6th grade special education in the Desoto County, MS schools.

On the way, of course, we stopped at one of our favorite restaurants for a little Road Kill – a glorified hamburger, complemented with a house salad and a baked potato – at Texas Roadhouse in Horn Lake, MS. We did a little shopping afterward before proceeding to her house. I returned to Winona on Saturday, after Rebecca and I dined at another favorite eatery – Cracker Barrel.

Sunday, I once more taught class and preached in the morning for the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS. In class, I spoke about “Redemption, Forgiveness, Justification and Sanctification.” During worship, I preached, “Come Meet Jesus Christ as Creator.”

Otherwise, I have been working diligently, along with others, on Volume 90 of The Voice of Truth International, which will be shipped in January 2017. I have been working on four additional printing projects and securing quotes for a fifth printing of Gospel literature for use on a South Pacific island. Gospel Gazette Online has garnered some of my time, but not nearly enough as the calendar pages turn relentlessly when it comes to the monthly publication of GGO. More than usual, triage has been the name of the game over the past few weeks and will be into the foreseeable future. One of the items to which I need to turn my attention immediately is the preparation for mailing of the July edition of the Rushmore Newsletter. Within two weeks, I need to apply for a visa to Myanmar (formerly Burma) and scout out airfare for my trips to that country and India.

Anyone tagging along on my blog of personal expression and life’s journey, I solicit your prayers. My journey is not ended yet, but I struggle onward – mostly struggling with myself – as long as life is in me. May we travel together on our respective excursions throughout life toward a city whose builder and maker is God.

Tis Done in Myanmar This Year

October 16, 2015
Louis Rushmore & Damon Vincent

Louis Rushmore & Damon Vincent

This Friday, October 16, 2015 I am winding up my three-week stint in Myanmar. Tomorrow afternoon I wing my way first to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After a three-hour trip to there and a three-hour layover, Lord willing, I will continue onward for three and a half hours to Colombo, Sri Lanka; I should arrive there five minutes before midnight. I will not get to bed down until the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Wednesday of this week I once more was ferried to the jungle neighborhood home of brother Kyaw Sein, whereupon I taught “The Deity of Christ” to a number who had gathered there. That afternoon about a mile away as a drunken crow might fly through the jungle, I taught the same lesson at the Hmawbi Bible School. Thursday morning at the Sein residence, I taught “The Ministry of Angels,” and that afternoon at the school, we dabbled in the basics of English and an introduction to Greek. Friday, at brother Sein’s home we studied “The Ascension of Jesus Christ” and “Pain and Suffering,” while at the school in the afternoon, we considered “The Ministry of Angels.”

Thursday at the end of the day, we took picture after picture with camera and camera phone after camera and camera phone. We took multiple group photographs of the assembled teachers and students, plus innumerable quick shots of various ones with brother Damon Vincent and me.

Friday before we could depart, brother Damon and I were amply appreciated in a prolonged speech and subsequent translation. Then, with the beautiful and harmonious Burmese voices I have always adored they all sang us goodbye.

Sheila, Louis, Winsome

Sheila, Louis, Winsome

For supper, I persuaded sisters Winsome and Sheila, our mother-daughter hosts for dinner meals, to have our annual Asian-American meal in their home where we eat together instead of eating while they serve and administer the meal to us. This year, we didn’t buy any pasta, but we purchased milk and processed cheese out of which I made a cheese sauce that we stirred into the white rice. That’s all it takes to alter the polite custom enough to have these dear ones join us, and still, Winsome was like a butterfly flitting here and there seeing to our every perceived need.

It was good for me to be here, and I hope that my presence these three weeks has resulted in glorifying God first, and secondly in edifying those with whom I came in contact. Over the last few days, I have heard so many firsthand accounts of how over the generations precious souls came to become Christians in Myanmar. Today, I learned of a brother who back in 2008 attended the Hmawbi Bible School while he was a Baptist preacher. He was angry, he said, when he heard about the divine organization of the Lord’s church and how denominational organization was incorrect. However, he came to realize the difference between the ways of mankind and the divinely authorized organization of the church of the Bible. He became a Christian in 2008 in the second session that year, and he is an active Gospel preacher now. Nearly a third of the students this year are Baptists, and we hope that they have been favorably impressed with the Word of God; they voluntarily came a long way deliberately to devote five weeks of their lives to studying the Scriptures with us.

The Burmese brethren, representing a number of tribes within Myanmar, haven’t and don’t always get along. Of course, that wouldn’t happen in America among our brethren, or would it? I am happy to say that this year it is clear to see that Christian brethren are working wonderfully well together and cooperating with each other for the furtherance of the Gospel of Christ and the extension of the Lord’s kingdom. It would be difficult to find Christian brethren anywhere in the world who are more evangelistic than these dear ones in Burma, despite the hindrance of being in a decidedly Buddhist nation, which is sometimes hostile toward non-Buddhist religions. I could not be more proud of my brethren and Christian friends here. Thank you, those of you responsible for me being here, for allowing me to serve in this wonderful, fertile field of labor.

A Little Crabby Today

October 13, 2015

96 dpi 8x10 Kyaw Sein Class2Sunday morning October 11, brother Kyaw Sein sent his car after me to transport me from my hotel in Yangon to his home in the Hmawbi jungle. There several Christians assembled for Lord’s Day worship, and it was my pleasure to present a message from God’s Word (“Redemption, Forgiveness, Justification & Sanctification”). It is always a joy for me to worship Almighty God in spirit and in truth with brethren wherever I find them across the globe; today was no different in that respect.

96 dpi 8x10 Kyaw Sein Class1What serves as the living room turns into a dining room for meals, too. On Sundays, though, the same space becomes the assembly place for Kyaw Sein’s extended family, neighbors and friends. Upon my arrival, I attempted too soon to snap a picture of brother Sein and myself – before the camera lens had time to make the adjustment from the air condition car to the humid tropical surroundings. Hence, that’s the reason for the blur. Notice, however, the traditional dress that he and I are wearing, and I am wearing an Asho tribe shirt, too. In his arms you can see the copy of Vine’s Expository of Old Testament and New Testament Words that I gave him that morning; he will make good use of it in his personal studies and translation work that he does. Following lunch of spaghetti, fruits and juice, I was ferried back to my Yangon home away from home.

Monday, brother Damon Vincent and I rode a taxi the 45 minutes to an hour to the Hmawbi outskirts, to the Hmawbi Bible School – and beyond for me. While brother Vincent taught in the morning at the school, I taught Christians, denominationalists and Buddhists at the Sein home. By request, I taught my tracts Salvation Summarized and Foul Language. Brother Kyaw Sein (pronounced Joe Sane) and one of his fleshly brothers (siblings) are translating some of my tracts into Burmese, after which those tracts will be printed and distributed.

At noon, I returned to the school, ate my lunch with the students and staff, and prepared to teach afternoon classes there. In response to a question days earlier by a Burmese evangelist present, I taught a lesson from one of my sermon outline books about “The Deity of Christ.” This was of interest in preparation for conversing with Jehovah’s Witnesses and trying to lead them truly to Jesus Christ.

Tuesday was a day of adjustments, requiring a certain amount of flexibility. First, the hotel neglected to bring me any breakfast, such as it is – two slices of toast, a fried egg, a cup of warm tea and orange drink. (While the dining room is under construction, the hotel brings breakfast daily to one’s room – or that’s what is supposed to happen.) Next, my class at the home of Kyaw Sein was cancelled for the day. Therefore, I opted with the approval of brother Vincent to stay in my room and work my mobile office while he taught both morning and afternoon classes at Hmawbi Bible School.

I had planned to venture out on foot to get some groceries and some lunch, but heavy rains convinced me to remain in my room and make do with two small apples, some crackers and spray cheese and a couple of cereal bars in place of breakfast and lunch.

Upon leaving the hotel for supper with Winsome and Sheila Vertannes, I inquired about no breakfast, and I requested my room to be sprayed for mosquitoes and to have the room made up since that had not occurred during the day either (i.e., clean towels, etc.). Sadly upon my return later, neither had the room been made up nor had towels been replaced, and not even the trash was emptied. Just to round things out, when I turned the AC on, it began to chew itself apart – making the worst loud noise; now no air conditioner. Children and adults play and shout outside my window in the narrow way between two buildings. The blast of the front desk phone sounds off a few feet down the hallway. I hope that there is enough water pressure to shower tonight.

The work is tedious, but I did manage to make significant progress on preparing literature for publication. There is still a long way to go before this particular material will be ready for public use. During the day, I worked, I rested and I have had a little bit of a crabby attitude. (Some loneliness visited me as well a little bit this day.) Fortunately, being alone, I didn’t have any arguments with anyone!

I know the blessings are bountiful, and furthermore, I am wonderfully blessed to have these opportunities to serve our Lord. Some of you make that possible. No sacrifices are being endured here in these things, only some inconsequential inconveniences from time to time that pale in comparison of the reason for being here and elsewhere where opportunities for Christian service present themselves.