Scott announced that 90% of our itinerary needed rearranging in order to improve upon trip logistics. But that would involve getting a hold of many pastors and directors to rearrange everything. However, the longer we waited to book our airfares, the higher they were rising. Inwardly I began to panic, thinking, "But we live completely by faith, Lord, and now all of this - the logistics and financing of higher airfares appeared to be huge obstacles.
I prayed earnestly, "Lord if You want us to go on this Mission Trip, then You will need to rearrange most of our speaking engagements lightning-fast and I pray that You will give us stunningly low airfares." It was a desperate prayer as I knew all of this looked foolish to hope for in the natural realm.
Within 24 hours all of our overseas contacts, some of whom have very limited English, confirmed the new dates which fit into a divinely-crafted itinerary! Then, as Scott researched the airfares from Toronto to Bangkok, he was just about to book the high airfares when a flashing notice popped up, ALERT: Fares just dropped by $500! So, we booked Toronto to Bangkok return for 2 people for just $1750, praise Jesus! An extraordinary price. This was the Lord's kiss upon our Mission Trip and Scott scooped up that deal immediately. These were clear confirmations of His leading.
A month later we were departing for our Thailand-Myanmar Mission, being driven to the airport by our good friend, Ashley. He kindly offered to buy hot chocolate for us at Tim Hortons, on the our way. I thought, great idea! Scott promptly said, "No thanks, as we need to go directly to the airport".
At Pearson Airport, the check-in line was moving a bit slow but finally we made it to the check in desk. The Attendant asked us to show her our connecting flight confirmation from Bangkok, Thailand to Yangon, Myanmar. We explained we hadn't yet booked that flight.
She said, "Sorry I can't check you in to your Toronto-Bangkok flight unless you can show me that other flight!" Inside my heart began to pound, "Oh no, how are we going to book that flight fast enough? Is Scott's computer battery charged up enough? Is the airport internet fast enough at this moment for him to book it? Would he be able to do it fast enough?" We stepped away from the counter as Scott opened his lap top in order to book the flight. My jaw clenching, I paced back and forth praying like crazy!!
Thank the LORD, that his computer was charged up and that the airport internet happened to be fast at that moment and that Scott was able to stay calm and book our flights fights from Bangkok, Thailand to Yangon, Myanmar. I almost cried with relief when he completed the task and showed the confirmation to the Attendant at the check in counter. And so - this was the beginning of our Burma-Thailand Mission Trip!
In mid-January our meetings in Bangkok and Mahachai were powerful! The people were hungry and pressed into the Lord with great expectation. Such a beautiful Presence of the Lord came as we prayed for many, many hungry souls! Pastor Touja and the Leadership Team have laid their lives down for the sheep at MCA Thailand. Some of the dear people wept in the Presence of the Lord and we were filled with joy as we saw them receive the love of Heavenly Father and more of the Holy Spirit! Jesus was exalted and there was much joy! About 2,000 people came out to the meetings.
In early Feb. we flew to Yangon, Myanmar to begin our 1 month ministry there. We began at Pastor Solomon's church - Galilee Baptist Church. It was located in a poor part of the city, which looked more like a village within the city. As we approached the church, we saw foraging chickens, laughing children and women washing their laundry in the sun. We spent some time with dear Pastor Solomon and his wonderful leadership team before entering the church building. When the congregation began to sing in Burmese, we could not restrain ourselves from weeping. Have you heard the poor sing praises to Jesus? It is indescribably beautiful because it springs from childlike and humble hearts. God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. It was such a delight being with them all and His Presence swept into the place through Scott's biblical preaching and through the spontaneous songs. Hallelujah!
As there were no air conditioners in the building and it was about +90 F, we were quite drenched with sweat but happy He had come to the people! In the blazing sun, we made our way back along the winding village road, potholes, flies and overhanging jungle plants reaching out to us along the way.
We were then whisked away by car to the next church, For His Glory Church. Upon arriving, we saw people were packed in and expectant to receive from the Lord! The Presence of the Lord came powerfully through the preaching of His unfathomable grace and later through divine songs He gave me. People drank in the Holy Spirit thirstily! Jesus said that He would give the thirsty divine drink if they came to Him and we saw Him doing this! So wonderful is the Holy Spirit!
The next day we travelled about 30 miles north of Yangon City to a Bible School, MTC, which was built at the edge of a village, directly overlooking an uninhabited valley. As the elevation was higher than Yangon City, it was a bit cooler, at about +85 F in the day and +70 F at night. The director of the Bible School, Pastor Kuai, is a humble leader who is totally committed to train and mobilize pastors and leaders through his Bible School. This was the 2nd time we had come to teach there and we spent quality time with him, discovering that he was fairly fluent in English. We connected heart-to-heart with him.
We conducted our CIC Leadership School that week for 25 Emerging Leaders. We took them through 10 sessions of teachings, with application times included. Assistant Director, Pade faithfully served as our Interpreter and we used the CIC Workbook, which she had translated into Burmese. They were really impacted by the Holy Spirit and Pastor Kuai was greatly rejoicing. Although it was hard to sleep on the wooden-slatted bed, we rejoicing that He would entrust us to such a ministry.
Following the 1 week Leadership School, we were driven back to Yangon. On our way home, the leaders stopped at a grocery store to buy us some food and then so generously outfitted us with some Burmese-style clothing.
The following day we were blessed to preach and minister at Cornerstone Church and The City Church in Yangon. It is a vibrant church, full of the Holy Spirit. We really connected with the leaders there. So many people are attending that they hold 4 meetings per Sunday! The young generation in particular really responded to the Word and Holy Spirit and just encountered wave after wave of His glory!
The following week we had a few days of rest and recovery at a decent hotel in Yangon in which we could actually cook our own meals in the communal kitchen. What a luxury for us to be able to also do a couple loads of laundry instead of having to hand-wash. Praise Jesus for every provision.
Then in mid-Feb. we took a flight from Yangon to North-Eastern Burma to the city of Kalaymyo. It was a pleasant flight and the view was predominantly foothills mixed in with lots of jungle. We flew over remote villages which were dotted with little Buddhist temples. Upon landing in Kalaymyo we were surprised to see a rather rustic looking single runway with one old-style baggage cart ready to do its job. This airport only sees 1 flight a day so disembarking was simple and quick. A health inspector pointed a white device at my head without warning and then I remembered the Corona Virus.
Pastor Jonah and his leaders collected us from the airport and took us for dinner at the local restaurant. We taught at his Church Planting School for 3.5 days and the 55 leaders were pretty on-fire for Jesus! Pastor Jonah has high faith, housing about 12 orphans in his own house while running his church and church planting ministry! They bring orphans from the opium-run northern region to Kalaymyo, where they are housed and educated. He operates his ministry completely by faith and we had the privilege of leading the commissioning service for all the new church planters and missionaries.
Kalaymeo is predominately Christian and it is a perfect place for many churches to train and send out missionaries all over Myanmar. We appreciated how peaceful and safe the spiritual atmosphere felt, in direct contrast to Yangon and Bangkok. We we had to deal with dusty streets, pollution from cooking fires and other health and safety hazards; we were very thankful to be given the gift of face masks.
Next, we spent 2 weeks conducting our CIC Leadership School for 85 Church Planters and Missionaries who came from all over Myanmar. It was held at Zomi Baptist Convention Myanmar (ZBCM). Our friends, Dr. Gin and Man are the visionaries overseeing ZBCM. It was really thrilling to see these zealous leaders drink in the Word and encounter the Holy Spirit in life-changing ways. We were so moved as we read their testimonies at the end of the school.
The Zomi people are so lovely and gracious but also very determined to win Burma for Jesus! We were so blessed to get to know them and spend time with Gin, Man and Rev. Suan (Missions Director) and also Kai (Missions Field Supervisor). David did a fantastic job of interpreting all our 20 sessions which took much preparation and perseverance on his part.
The final week of our trip was spent back in Bangkok, praying, working on ministry administration and taking some much-needed rest. Praise Jesus for all He did :)