We are about to leave for day 4 of our classes, and I wanted to give an update before we leave. My friend, Glenda Grayum, asked a couple of questions that reminded me not to take for granted that you understand everything we put in our emails. Thanks, Glenda.
Food: Myanmar is an exceptionally poor nation. They eat very little meat (partly because of poverty, partly because of Buddhism, and partly because of the Asian diet). They eat MOUNTAINS of rice at every meal. Rice with dried fish, rice with soy beans, rice with vegetables. Unfortunately, we cannot eat anything raw – fruits or vegetables – because of the organisms that live on produce in underdeveloped nations. So, eating can be quite a challenge. We eat lunch each day with Pastor Siama and our students.
Buddhist woman with babies: She did not come to class yesterday but sent word that she will be there today. The white solution on their faces is called Nakai. It is a cream made from the pulp of a tree. For thousands of years, Burmese people have used it as a make-up, as a traditional symbol, and as a sunscreen. They all wear it – even men, although women wear it almost universally every day. If you’ve ever read biographies of Ann and Adoniram Judson, you may remember that they called these people “the white faces.”
Electricity: The infrastructure in Myanmar has not been upgraded in decades. The roads are atrocious, the buildings are crumbling, and the electrical grid is antiquated. We lose power constantly. Out in the remote area where we teach, this means that even the four fans that blow around the hot air are not in operation. Very hot!!!!
Religion: Myanmar (Burma) is a Buddhist nation. There is no question about that. As we were landing, I counted 42 gold pagoda spires. There are thousands of pagodas – one in every small neighborhood. The monks walk the streets in their burgundy garb picking up donated food. Once a month, they have a festival day when people bring money they have been collecting for ten days and food to the monks. They play loud, eerie music and dance around. It is heart breaking. This festival day was yesterday, and the music blared the entire time we were teaching. Looking around, I feel overwhelmed at the task of winning this nation. There is such need here for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’ve included a picture of the front of a Buddhist temple (not a pagoda – I’ll send a picture of that soon).
Our classes here are much smaller than the ones in Africa, but I feel that this is still one of the most profitable teaching sites for Global Baptist Training Foundation. These people soak up the teaching like sponges. They want to win their nation, and we are honored and humbled to equip them. They are begging us to return in six months instead of a year. Please pray that we would have wisdom and the finances necessary to train these people.
Global Baptist Training Foundation offers four levels of training in Hermeneutics, Basic Theology, Expositional Preaching, and Evangelism. For national pastors who desire training in the original biblical languages, we also offer extended training in this area. When it is possible to return to teaching sites twice a year, the training can be completed in as little as two years (without languages). ESL is also available to all of our students.