With an experienced missionary team on board, Ignite and the Rock Church set out to Myanmar on a two week mission journey. What God did is remarkable and undeniable.
Tribes and training
The highlight of this mission trip was visiting the Ignite Myanmar Training Center. After we introduced our team, it was time for the students to be introduced. All 30 students introduced themselves by tribe. In Myanmar, there are over 140 tribes. The vision of the ministry in Myanmar is to penetrate each tribe with a gospel movement as some of the tribes have few or no believers within them. When the students introduced themselves our hearts were filled with joy because they represented at least 8 tribes within the country. After their eight months of training is finished, they will return to their home to spread the gospel. Their great passion and love for Jesus was so evident in the worship, teaching, and prayer times we experienced together. We can only imagine the kingdom impact they will have as they return home with a new found vision and foundation for ministry. When we think of reaching a diverse nation like Myanmar, our hope is to Ignite a movement of light in the darkness.
During the training event for the students, pastors, and leaders, Alan Hunt led a group breakout session. One of the questions he asked each team to consider was "what obstacles do you face in your ministry?" Some of the answers that came back sounded like the same obstacles that we face...distractions, social media, laziness, etc. On the other hand, some of their answers were quite surprising. They spoke of things like being hit or beaten by the Buddhists, local Buddhist officials shutting down their church gatherings, being arrested, harassment during worship times, and false accusations and slander. Our team felt great empathy when we heard what they deal with on a daily basis. It gave us great respect for each pastor and student in their bold stand for the gospel. We are so thankful to be able to partner with them and encourage them in their Kingdom ministry. How much more can we spread the good news in a land where we enjoy such freedom?
Coming back to God's goodness
When you visit a nation like Myanmar, you quickly notice the work of the enemy. The military dictatorship, rampant poverty, and the prominence of a false religion have left the nation struggling in the darkness. During this trip, we also noticed that there were some divisions between the missionaries that left us feeling a sense of grief and concern. However, we felt God leading us to encourage them in our short time together. As we searched for signs of hope, the Spirit led us back to the goodness of God. We realize that God has a good plan for this nation and its people. We believe that He is good all the time and none of these evil things have happened by His doing. We realize that the Gospel is the Good News and Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Jesus came to the earth to show us the true nature of the Good Father. This gave our team a platform to speak to them and offer hope, love, and encouragement.
During our trip the picture that came to Pastor John's mind was Mary Magdalene grieving and weeping at the tomb of Jesus. Her weeping instantly turned to joy when Jesus called her by name. Jesus was indeed alive and everything was changed. This is the moment that Pastor John believes we are all called to live in. This is the moment that he believes will change the landscape of Myanmar. This moment demonstrates vividly the goodness of God. Pastor John believes that in times of sadness, grieving, and disillusionment, we can escape by coming back to the goodness of God and choose to live in the resurrection moment. This message was shared and indeed brought hope, encouragement, and unity to the local missionaries.