2015 Myanmar – Steven Shin

His Gold

The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. – Haggai 2:8 (ESV)

On January 30th to February 5th, I had the honour of going with ten others to the beautiful country of Myanmar. It was also a privilege to be the third New Philly team to go to Myanmar and to see the fruit of all that was planted by the first two teams in 2009 and 2012. From church to church, God’s light was truly bright in this spiritually heavy country. Not only did we get to see revival, but we were witnessing the making of a powerful army; an army of “golden” warriors.

One of the places we visited in Yangon was Evangel Bible College, run by Pastor Zam, one of our local contacts through Native Partners for World Mission. We were able to witness the start of something amazing at his college. As we were breaking the ice teaching the college students VBS songs with my superb dance skills, a heartwarming and powerful testimony from Pastor Annie, and an encouraging sermon from Pastor Myunghwa, we were seeing revival within the student’s hearts. Those students…they were praying to God with so much passion and zeal, that’s when I felt like God was telling me, “They will be the ones to help bring the future I see.” There were so much laughter and joy afterwards, wish I could have stayed and get to know them a little longer.

We then went to Pastor Zam’s church, Immanuel Evangel Church, for a couple days and that’s when things started to get challenging for me. Growing up, I never had any siblings, and I always hung out with people my age or people that were older than me. One of the things I wanted break off was the fear that I couldn’t interact with kids. So when it came time to do VBS, I loved every single moment of it. Watching those kids dance along to the music and dancing with them, little by little, my fear of interacting with kids was slowly washing away. After service, however, that’s when I started to feel uncomfortable. I tried with every ounce of body, to try and interact with the kids personally. Even though I felt uncomfortable, God, again, was telling me about His heart for these kids. They were not just some ordinary kids, but they were His kids, kids that will grow up to be future leaders. These kids will not grow up fatherless. They know who their Abba is, and throughout our time of fellowship, God wanted to use me to interact with the kids as if He was there physically.

After interacting with the members of the church, we had an opportunity to meet with the other NPWM pastors of Yangon. It was such an honour to meet them and we wanted to learn and receive so much from them, but the surprising thing was how they wanted to receive and learn from us. Well I didn’t know what to tell them because while they have years and years of experience and wisdom, it seemed like I got nothing. Listening to their journeys with Christ, and how some of them started orphanage ministries, I couldn’t help but be amazed by all the sacrifices they are making. One topic the pastors discussed the most was the “Religious Conversion Bill.” When one wants to convert religions, they must apply and be granted permission from their local government. If they break this bill, they will suffer the consequences of facing two year of jail and a fine of 200,000 kyats, which is equivalent to 200 USD, which is a lot for these people. This bill has made changing religions very unappealing, and makes it hard on the pastors in Myanmar. Although this bill sounds discouraging, the pastors of NPWM have full faith this bill will not discourage or slow down God from doing His work in “Golden” Myanmar. Can’t wait to interact with them again and hear more about the greater praise reports through their ministries.

After our time in Yangon, our next destination was Mandalay by flight! Once we reached our destination that is when we met Pastor Piang, the only NPWM pastor in Mandalay. He and his wife had such kind and gentle hearts; they are really anointed. We arrived at their church, Mandalay Zomi Baptist Church. The church has such a rich and long history being built in the late ‘20s. God, too, had His hands all over this place.

Even though the turnout was not the highest, it’s about quality, not quantity. That night, the service was incredibly powerful and it felt like something the church needed. But the enemy knowing that something was going to happen that night, of course, would try to distract us. The atmosphere felt so spiritually dry and there were several tiny distractions throughout the service. There was one fan in the ceiling that was going buckwild whenever Pastor Myunghwa was talking about something spiritually sensitive and Pastor Annie and I were praying against that. There was also one man who kept on entering and leaving the sanctuary, which was a bit distracting for Pastor Myunghwa. The team and I were tired of these annoyances so throughout the entire service, everybody was just praying in tongues against the enemy. In the end, we all bore witness to people receiving breakthrough in their identity and future, people of old age gaining new hope for the salvation of their community And after all that warfare, seeing the fire fall in the sanctuary, was truly a sight to see. There was a group of teenagers, a few years younger than me, who attended the service and were sitting in the back. When it was time for an alter call, the young men all left, all but one. This young gentleman went to the front to receive prayer. Isn’t it incredible how even though there might have been a language barrier, God still uses us and the Spirit knows exactly what to say? The young gentleman had a radical encounter with the Spirit that night. I can’t point out what it is but I have a feeling that one young man will be a pillar for his group of friends.

The last church and bible college we visited was the Pyin Oo Lwin Imannuel Church, ran by NPWM pastor, Pastor Kai. Not only does he run a Bible college but he also runs an orphanage ministry filled with the most beautiful, heartwarming kids I have ever met. Our first night there, that’s when I felt God’s heart for all these orphans. I did have an emotional moment when the team was introducing themselves. We had a few minutes to play with the kids and all the kids were very shy at first. Then service was about to start and then…that’s when all the feelings started to come to. We all had a moment to pray and seeing all those kids, ages 3 to 18, pray and shout to God with passion and zeal, these feelings I never felt before started bursting into my heart. After that, it was time to introduce ourselves. When my turn came and I introduced myself, I just bursted out crying. The audience was so confused as to why I was crying. I told them that seeing them pray like that, not only was it beautiful, but God, too, was crying tears of joy seeing His children like that. There was just so much passion and hunger in their prayers…I never knew I would see such a thing. After that moment, all my fear of getting along with the kids disappeared. Any residual fear I had of not being able to connect with children, or not understanding children, just disappeared. It was as if in that moment, the Lord was giving me a deeper understanding of who I am as His child, and how much He values me. And just as the Father would want to play with His kids, I, too, wanted to have fun with the kids. VBS was another level, and I really wish I could do VBS with these children again. On the last day with the kids, I would chase after them, pretend to be a monster, but then at one point got, the kids got a bit aggressive. After 20-30 minutes running around with those kids, I realized how tiring it can be playing with kids so I’ll wait on having kids of my own. But I still hold on to the breakthrough!

I have so much respect for all the sacrifices and the struggle the NPWM pastors are going through to minister to the kids and people of Myanmar. Watching those kids pray and play, I knew why Myanmar was called “Golden Myanmar.” It’s not about how much gold the country has, but the real question is, what is the real gold? The kids, the bible college students, the leaders, the people. They are the ones that are made of gold. Right now, God is in the process of refining his gold to make sure they are of the purest quality. I am so excited to see what will happen to Myanmar the next few years. I know that the name “Golden Myanmar” will have a new meaning and we will see an army of gold being formed soon.

Thank you so much New Philly Sillim for all your prayers, fasting, and financial support in help making this trip possible. We are so excited for the greater testimonies that will continue to come out of Golden Myanmar. The Lord has started a good work, and He will be faithful to complete all of it! Thank you and God bless you!

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