I am thankful to the Lord for another opportunity to continue my service for Him in Myanmar (Burma). The following note is a report of my latest visit to that land (October, 2010), where I have been serving regularly over a period of years.
I visited a new area of work where believers were gathering to our Lords name, and conducting their meetings in a manner consistent with the teaching of New Testament Scripture. In November, 2009 details of the work there were obtained from a contact who invited me to Myanmar to preach and teach the Scriptures to groups with no church links. Although he had been working in the area for some time, because of various commitments he was unable to continue as before. Consequently, he asked me to view the work and, with the Lords help, decide whether I could assist where no New Testament assembly believers from outside Myanmar had set foot.
We travelled to a township 220 miles from Yangon, where we had scheduled a three-day conference. The meetings, however, were called off by Government security men who requested that I and the brethren from Yangon leave town. This proved to be a great disappointment to the believers gathered, especially those of the household in which the meetings were to be held. By the grace of God, we did manage to have a morning Bible study with them, after which we left in our hired van. As you will readily understand, this was for me a most disappointing moment: my heart, however, was greatly gladdened to witness the believers hunger for the Word of God. All are converts from the state religion, and prior to this visit none had ever heard a foreigner teaching the Bible. They were much encouraged that the gospel and the Word spoken to them is the same as that spoken to them by brethren visiting from Yangon. The last visit they had from the Rangoon brethren was three years ago.
The brother in whose house the meetings were to be held was reluctant to have us leave. However, while he wanted us to stay, we thought that if we did he and his household would be placed in an unnecessarily difficult situation with the authorities, a situation in which, as visitors, we would not be able lend assistance. We therefore decided that it was best that we should comply with the authorities request to leave. We look to the Lord that soon, in His will, we will be able to return. As I understand the situation, national elections are to be held next month, which causes the ruling authorities to be "anxious". On the lead up to the elections they have declared that there should be no gatherings of any description until the elections are past. Also, the Government is tightening tourist visas until then - presently, they are not issuing "Visa-on-Arrival" papers. As you can see, at this time there is much anxiety among the rulers. The national brethren indicated that there will be greater accessibility once the elections are past.
After I spent last weekend in Yangon, the assembly there showed much interest in learning more of what Scripture teaches concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. While with them I sensed that they are in great need of teaching that will edify and strengthen them in "the faith". Consequently, I hope to spend this weekend with them. Also, the responsible brethren have requested that I return and conduct Bible teaching sessions during the annual "water festival" in April next year, and at the same time re-visit the above mentioned township.
Please pray for the believers there and in the surrounding villages that they will continue to be faithful to the Lord, and that they will bear a clear testimony where they live. Also please pray that the elections will pass without problems, and that the result will pave the way for further opportunities to preach and teach the His Word in places as yet unreached with the gospel. Also please pray that, following the elections, the government will allow the gospel free access throughout the land.