Wednesday night’s “English Evening” has been the most interesting expereince for me so far. Amanda already posted about the logistics of it. I spent time with the advanced group, and I cannot get over how well they all speak. I especially bonded with two 18 year old girls, Tereza and Lucia. They were so smart and intriguing, and as cool as they were, they were just so excited to be talking to me because I am American. They are fascinated with everything American and they hung on to my every word about my life and home. Gloria asked us if we would lead a singing time with the group. Most of the people that attend English Evening are not Christians and they never have singing during this time. The group was very open to it and we had a blast singing praise songs (and even some Beatles tunes). One man in the group turned out to be very good at guitar and we all had so much fun singing and dancing along. Hopefully someone there will want to lead in the following weeks and they will continue that. Tereza and Lucia told me that this was the best English Evening they had ever attended.
Yesterday was our last day of Kindermusik English camps. The morning with our two/three year olds was so special and sweet. They all had learned so much and were so proud of themselves. We spent the afternoon helping Gloria with her library and making photo books for her. In the late afternoon we had our last camp time with the 4,5 and 6 year olds. There are so many of them at this time was always a bit chaotic, but they all showed so much improvement in their English and they seemed to have so much fun. We so enjoyed getting to know the little ones and their parents.
This morning was “Moms Club” here at the mission where Moms and their toddlers come for several hours and we had the chance to play and talk to the Moms. This is another great mission opportunity that Gloria has to bring families to the mission house. Her mission/home is truly an open door. We spent the rest of the day working on the library and preparing for tonight’s grill party. We enjoyed several hours of fellowship with our students and their families. It was a bittersweet time saying our goodbyes to these sweet people and precious children. They will all certainly be missed!
After the party, Gloria took us to see a Medieval castle on the other side of town. It was built in 1213 and was stunning with gorgeous countryside all around it. We leave early tomorrow for Italy. We are so excited about our last few days of the trip, but we will certainly miss Gloria and all of the friends we’ve made here. Gloria has been so good to us and we have been so blessed to have this opportunity!
What an incredible day it has been! At camp ABC English and Me this morning we had one new student in addition to the ones who have been coming. This group is from ages 2-4 and there’s only about 4 of them. But they are SO fun and special to watch as their faces light up. They get so excited to see a picture of a cow and answer correctly that yes! It is a “cow”! We truly have the best time with them and find ourselves speaking to them in the same accents they use when talking to us. Our “Hellos” and “Good-byes” are sounding very Czech-English these days….
We spent the rest of the morning and afternoon today helping Gloria with various projects. Mom and Meredith mainly worked in her garden while I attempted to go through her computer and get pictures organized to have some picture books made of different weekly events that Gloria leads here.
So Hannah and I wrapped up our time in Myanmar today by worshipping with the Grace Christian Mission. Lynne will stay one more day and go back to the orphanage to hopefully lead another day of Bible teaching, games, and music with the children. There is hope that some of the Buddhist children will return as we think school is out on Monday. But this will be the last blog as Lynne will not be able to post here.
This morning we met Hung Kee Paing after breakfast and spent a little more time talking with him and videoing his story for our church to hear. Hung Kee Paing is a humble servant. I have enjoyed meeting him and hearing his story. I think you will too! Then we headed back to the Hung Kee Paing’s house which not only serves as the orphanage, but their church as well. Now that’s a multi purpose building. Worship began around 1 pm (they delayed it for us) and it began with music. The tunes were similar, but of course the words were not. But I loved watching them worship through the music accompanied only by guitar. The the children from the orphanage sang and recited scripture, followed by a time of testimony from members. I prayed and then there was an offering taken. Before Lynne brought the message, they honored all three of us with beautiful gifts. It was quite humbling. Then Lynne brought the message on the “Risen Christ.” The service lasted 2 hours with everyone (except us and the leaders) sitting on the floor with only fans circulating. Amazing. Then we fellowshipped for an hour or so with everyone enjoying coffee and cookies. It was a beautiful time. Then we went out to eat with Hung Kee Paing, his wife, and two children. Sweet fellowship.
So as I leave this place and will return to share what I found out…I know that these children are worth our investment. Not only will we be helping orphans, we will be investing in sharing the message of Jesus Christ to many people far and wide. e praying for Lynne as she will lead the children by herself. Pray for Hannah and me as we travel on to Vietnam. Pray for strength for the people here at Grace Christian Mission as they have little but want to share much. Susie
Here are some pics from the day!
Today we left for Hung Kee Paing’s home which also serves as an orphanage for 12 children. Lynne had told Hung Kee Paing to invite children to come for Bible Study, crafts, and music. We were first told there might be 40 children including some Buddhist children, then yesterday he wasn’t sure because the school schedule had changed. Lynne was prepared for whoever showed up. After about a 45 minute drive outside of the city, we were surprised to see a room for a children, teenagers, and young adults. They were packed into the living area of Hung Kee Paing which also serves as the Grace Christian Mission. The children in the orphanage each introduced themselves to us and included what they wanted to be. Their answers ranged from Evangelist and Nurse to Musician and Sunday School Teacher. Then they had all the friends they had brought with them stand. It was amazing to see how many children came because of an invitation! Lynne then led them in Bible Study sharing about how all that God had created was good! Then the children received handprints that they wrote 5 good things about themselves and then shared them with the group. They truly grasped that God had gifted each of them with special qualities. Then they sang and recited scripture. One even led us through the plan of salvation using the Evangecube. Before lunch, Lynne then shared the plan of salvation with them all and that the “free gift” was available for all of them. After finishing, she asked if they had any questions. Goodness, they had some deep questions! They sure were thinking. Then lunch was served. I must admit, I am never comfortable receiving some better than the children, but the leaders wanted to have some thing special for us. The children each got a small package with some type of bread inside and some juice. We were led to another room where we received a meal of rice, veggies, noodles with meat. It was delicious, but hard realizing the children usually on get rice.
After lunch, we met back with the children and gave them a craft to do…it was a “gift” tying into the lesson of the gift of salvation. We sang a little more then some of the children left around 2:30pm and then we did a few more songs and prayed before finishing.
Here’s what Lynne had to say about today: ”Every day the Lord added to those who were being saved to the group of believers”. I do not for one minute think God brought these children for naught. He did not bring me, Susie and Hannah today for naught. And at the end, when after having shared with them how very much God loves them because He created them and made them, one of the teenage Buddhist boys stood up and declared that God loved him and he loved God. He continued to seek my eyes and smile throughout. I do not for one minute think it was me he was seeking. God was working on him. When he left, he hugged me and thanked me for coming to share with him. His last words to me were, “Jesus loves me” which he said using the sign language I had taught them. Hung Kee Paing and Naing Tung assured me they were going to follow up with him and his family. I have no doubt this will occur.”
We then helped clean up. I think we were all tired and hot, but it was a beautiful day of seeing children who don’t have much, but sure know what is important and want their friends to know that as well. Obviously the children shared with us as much as we did with them. And a seed was planted among many…we head back tomorrow for worship with these children and adults! It will be another day of sharing! Keep praying! My main reason for being here is to see if this is where our church will partner as part of our orphan ministry. Today I saw a family who doesn’t have a refrigerator, stove, toilets, or air conditioner. But they have opened their home up to twelve children who needed a home and family. I am continually challenged that if we (me included!) could just be half as giving..we could change the world.
Here are some pics from the day:
The children were still in school today and it is a drive to the orphanage, so we set out to see a little of Myanmar in case we send more groups here later. We are staying at the Panda Hotel. It’s nice and has free internet!!! Hung Kee Paing met us this morning after breakfast. Hung Kee Paing shared his testimony with us and the reason he started the orphanage. In May of 2008, the cyclone Nargis hit this area. Hung Kee Paing and his wife lost their rental house and were without shelter for 16 days. He felt that God gave him a heart to help those who didn’t have family or a place to live through this experience. He started with six children who were left orphaned from the cyclone. He now cares for 12 orphans and has a burden to take more children to care for them and share about Jesus Christ with them. It was a beautiful story how God had worked in his own life and how he is using those experiences to help others. Hung Kee Paing grew up with the religion of Animism, before becoming a Christian at the age of 16.
After Hung Kee Paing shared his testimony and vision with us, we set out to see a little of Yangon. We took a taxi to the center of Yangon and started with the Sule Pagoda. It is very elaborate and very crowded as 90% of the population here in Myanmar are Buddhist. Then we walked through the market. I will admit, we were all a little tired and it was hot, but we kept going right through lunch. I think Hannah told me at least 4 times, she was hungry! My first impression of the city is how many different cultures are here. You can see some Middle Eastern cultures, Indian, and Asian influences. As my Hannah is Vietnamese, she got many stares being with the Americans!
We’re back at the hotel now and Hung Kee Paing has left to go back to his home. He will come for us early in the morning to head to his home which also serves as the orphanage. He also pastors a church of about 40 people. He lives about 30 minutes (by taxi) outside of the city, so we will see a more rural setting tomorrow. We will also get to spend time with the children and maybe some of their friends. We are ready for Bible stories, crafts, games and music! Can’t wait to see what God’s plan for us tomorrow! Enjoy the pictures of the sights of Yangon, Myanmar.
We left Fayetteville at 6:30am on Wednesday, 10/3 and made it to the airport in plenty of time for our 10:15am flight to Chicago. We checked our bags with no problems as we were under weight in all of them! On to Chicago and through security again as we got ready for the long 14 hour flight. We arrived in Seoul safely and then headed to the gate for our final destination to Yangon, Myanmar. We arrived right on time after 22 hour in the air, not including our layover times in the airport. Needless to say we were pretty exhausted. We headed to customs and checked in with no problems and all our luggage was there. We were each bringing a tub filled with supplies for the orphanage as well as study books and Bibles for the Pastor here. Our team is small, just me, Lynne O’Quinn and Hannah. Lynne spotted Hung Kee Paing through the glass and went over and said hello. There was a big commotion out in the airport as a former leader of Myanmar (Burma) had also arrived from the US and many were there to greet her. Of course, we wanted to think it was for us ! We loaded everything in the taxi and Hannah got a quick introduction to life as she had to sit on my lap in the taxi. The wife of Mr. Paing quickly pulled her over to her lap so she wouldn’t bother me. They are both very king and humble. We arrived at the hotel and got settled. Hannah quickly fell asleep as the 2 adults struggled. But we’re up and have had breakfast. Today while the children are in school, we will learn more about this country and the orphanage we hope to partner with. Be in prayer for our safety and health, but also that God will show us what we need to see and learn about life here in this beautiful country that has struggled so much. Hopefully I’ll have pictures and more to share tonight. Susie
We went to the boarding school for the girls and boys today out at Joska. This is the school for middle and high school. We spent most of our time at the girls campus taking a tour and just loving on the girls. They were so eager to talk and just hang out. We painted their faces and played kickball and handball. I spent time showing some of the girls pictures from my camera of the slums- their home. I was so intentional on learning names and calling them by name so they would know how important they were to our group even though we were there for a short amount of time. The smile that came on their faces and the gleam in their eyes when I would say the name was priceless. I will tell you these kids know who their sponsors are by name. They know the value of that name and how it has given them a bridge to a better life. In an even more miraculous way God knows each of our names and is the bridge to a better life. I am thankful God is the same in Mathare as He is in America. He is faithful and powerful. May we not forget.