As I’ve traveled the world, I’ve heard about glimmers of hope in the Muslim, Hindu, even communist worlds. But to my knowledge, Buddhism has remained relatively unaffected by the gospel. When I became aware of this I asked the Lord to reach the Buddhist people for Jesus!
As I began the training in this Bible school, I was thinking, “are they even getting it?” Thomas, (my host) kept telling me why Jesus process of discipling nations “won’t work here.” You see, to be Burmese, (Myanmar was Burma) IS to be Buddhist! In this country, if a person leaves Buddhism they will lose everything, family friends, job, home, possessions and nationality. The belief is that a person can’t be Burmese unless they are Buddhist. They literally must “count the cost” before deciding to follow Christ. Thomas’ brother, a traditional pastor, sat in the back with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face. He had many questions and had no problem voicing them. To my surprise, he stayed for the entire training (Wednesday – Friday).
On Saturday, I gave the commencement speech at the graduation service and afterwards he came and sat across from me at lunch. He was so excited! It was as if he had been given a new lease on life. Here is what he said, “For four years I have been trying my level best. I have been doing what I was trained to do. I read the Bible and I read it and I read it, but I never saw these things before. What do I have to show for my work but 4-5 converts? If I had known these things I can’t imagine how much better my results would have been.” He went on to say, “Brother, no teaching like this has ever come to this nation! Many people talk about making disciples, but they are really just making better Christian church members instead of true disciples of Jesus! I imagine that today I am the ONLY pastor in Myanmar who has been trained how to make disciples that multiply the way Jesus taught and trained his followers to do so.” I said, “If that is true, may you be the first of many.” I found myself thinking, “This guy might be the whole reason I came to Myanmar. Even if nothing else results, having this one pastor really understand Biblical Discipleship and put it into practice will make it all worthwhile.”
God wasn’t finished quite yet. Later that day I was sipping tea in the hotel lobby waiting for the taxi to the airport for the journey home. Although the taxi was 40 minutes late God gave me a peace (I wasn’t anxious at all). When I finally arrived at the airport, I used the restroom. As I stepped out of the restroo
m and sat down on a bench a smiling gentleman sat next to me. We struck up a conversation. He is the president of Judson Bible College in Yangon (the capital city). I was surprised & delighted to learn we shared the same mission statement: To FINISH the Great Commission by multiplying disciples of Jesus in every nation and among every people group on earth. Immediately I knew that this meeting was of God!!
He asked if I would be willing to come back in June and February to train students and missionaries from every corner of Myanmar. He would gather them at his bible school. Please pray for God’s will to be accomplished through this divine connection. “For God so loved the world…including Myanmar.