In April, we had the amazing privilege to take members of the discipleship class I have been teaching on an international mission trip. We decided to minister to the Lahu tribe in Myanmar (Burma) since many members of our team are from that tribe. It was such a great ministry opportunity, and eye-opening!
As mentioned in previous newsletters, the air quality this time of year has hit an all-time record high in Chiang Mai due to seasonal burning. At some points, Chiang Mai was ranked the worst in the world. Both Thailand and Myanmar burn during this season and much of the smoke in Chiang Mai has come from Myanmar. The people of Thai and Burmese burn for two big reasons. The first is to burn the old crop so they can plant new ones ... I get this. The second part, which I find sad, is they burn the brush in the jungle so the animals will flee and can be shot more easily as they run away from the flames.
The burnt areas in Thailand are nothing compared to Myanmar! When I got to Burma it was like I had walked into a war zone. So much of the beautiful landscape was tarnished by the fires. It was sad to realize that they didn’t know the air was hazardous. Many of them were sick due to the poor air quality and didn’t even realize that the air was the cause of their illness.
I was told that even if it was explained to them, they wouldn’t believe it or change their ways.
Our team visited three different villages while we were there. It was great! As we went into their churches, we performed a skit, danced, and shared God’s Word with them.
At the end of each outreach, we did crafts and prayed for the sick and gave medicine. Many shared their stories of hardships with us and allowed us to minister to their hearts with God’s Word.
Overall, it was an amazing experience for our team to leave Thailand and see how others live, some without electricity or basic education. We were richly blessed by this opportunity to love others as Jesus did. In many of the countries surrounding Thailand, it is difficult for foreigners to go into minister, but for Thais, because they blend in with the locals, the door is more easily opened. It is our hope as missionaries that those we have trained in Jesus would go into these surrounding countries and do more than what Ashley and I have been capable of doing as Westerners.
One great testimony that came out of the trip was of a man who said he struggled to walk and had a lot of pain in his legs. After we prayed for him, he said he had no pain! Praise God for touching him!