One Kachin pastor came over 700 miles from a remote village in the mountains, near the India border, just to attend the four-day, Spirit-led Leadership workshop.
Others traveled some 500 miles, over two days and one night, through military checkpoints and dangerous rebel areas. In all, 85 pastors from a cluster of Myanmar Baptist Convention (MBC) conventions (principally, Kachin, northern and southern Shan, and Wa ethnic groups) participated in the workshop, held in Lashio, Shan State (eastern Myanmar).
Just a month before, eight people had been killed in fighting just outside the city. Three days after the workshop was over, the U.S. Embassy issued an advisory to not travel to Lashio at all. In retrospect, we see now that God opened a window between dangerous moments for us to offer these pastors teaching and training they highly valued and needed. As the discussions unfolded, it became clear that they were hungry for biblically-based teaching on the Holy Spirit and for fresh ideas on how to grow spiritually themselves as well as how to better lead their congregations. Their willingness to risk the dangers in travel and to put up with the long journey speaks volumes, too.
By the end, what touched me the most was seeing how much the
pastors want to be Spirit-led leaders and how much they care about their congregations. I left feeling so grateful for how God was at work among us all week. Here are some of their learnings and comments after the workshop:
"I realized that I contribute little for God's ministry." (5 pastors)
"I promise that I will do God's ministry according to his will." (6)
"I feel that God woke up my spiritual life." (7)
"The spiritual practices created a close connection to God." (11)
"I need to take more time to strengthen my spirituality and do spiritual practices." (7)
"This workshop gave me courage to serve more in my community." (4)
"God deeply touched me through these lectures, and I really need to share it back." (4)
Thank you for your prayers and support of our Christian leadership development ministries in Myanmar. God continues to bless what we are doing and expand our reach among pastors and leaders throughout the country. Already, three new invitations for conducting future workshops arose out of just this one event. Please continue to pray for wisdom, protection, and even greater fruitfulness, and consider making a contribution today. Thank you.