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Greetings from Yangon, Myanmar.
After over 30 hours of travel, I have arrived in Yangon. This morning Pastor Luke picked me up at the airport and brought me to my hotel to rest for the classes beginning on Monday morning. I noticed this morning that the smog level in Yangon has worsened considerably. It reminds me of Los Angeles in the early seventies, but worse. The sky was completely grey, no sunlight was getting through. Luke told me that the influx of more automobiles is the contributing factor coupled with very few air quality controls.
As we were driving Luke told me that the Chin pastors and other local pastors visiting the classroom this week were excited about the class and the training being offered. I asked a couple of questions which I’m dealing with in a new book I want to finish this year about training nationals. The first question I asked him was why, after two hundred years of mission effort in Myanmar, does the population remain 89% Buddhist? I was interested in his response because, at first blush, the dominance of Buddhism doesn’t make sense in light of the efforts to evangelize the nation for over two centuries. But Luke’s answer was indeed shocking. He said the primary problem was the fact that Western missionaries have never been the real answer in reaching the nation for Christ. He said, the real answer is Burma reaching Burma because they are from the culture, they know the language, and they already live among the people they want to reach.
He then looked at me and said that the answer is that we must keep training the national Burmese to do the work of the ministry! Luke is exactly right. Our job is to train the nationals. We must keep our eye on the main thing! It is time that we focus on the bulls-eye of our mission target! The mission is not just to have a fun missions experience or take selfies with needy children or build buildings or dig wells. Don’t get this wrong. All of these other things about mission work are helpful, and even have a necessary place in the big picture. But, let’s never forget the main thing. Someone has said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
Pray for the training this week that God will raise up more qualified Burmese believers to reach their native land of Myanmar.
In His grip,
Bruce Snavely, PhD
Global Baptist Training Foundation