Kalemyo, Myanmar (Burma): Southeast Asia team member, Bill Kwon, shares an experience of a very special blessing from a very unlikely place.
In the north of Myanmar, about 22 driving hours away from Yangon (Rangoon), the gate city Kalemyo opens the way to the Chin Tribe, truly a birthplace of Burmese Christianity. Because Kalemyo is close to this tribe, it has become a city of mega churches of various denominations. On one particular day, as I travelled the ridge that leads to Kalemyo, God led me to Nine Mile Church (NMC).
Around 10 people, including small children, gather to pray and worship as part of NMC. They meet in the house of Rinpuii, who is one of the members of the church. While they do not yet have a church building, it is a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ. They are loving the Word of the Lord, sharing life-breathing testimonies, and finding ways to share the love of Christ to their neighbors.
Nine Mile Church was started through the prayers of Rinpuii, who had been a faithful member of Trinity Nazarene Church (TNC) that is located in a small community within Kalemyo. She asked her pastor if she could start a worship service in her house, as she regularly traveled 9 miles from her home to TNC. The pastor agreed and even invited other willing church members to join Rinpuii. NMC has now been worshipping together for 2 years. It is a wonderful model of a church giving birth to another church.
The members of NMC have not heard the term “compassionate ministry” but they understand and are doing what Jesus did. They are visiting neighbors, sharing food and providing medicine to those in need through the financial gifts of the members. They do not care if they’ll be praised or get anything in return out of the good things they are doing. What is important for them is that the neighborhood feels the heart of the church and experiences the tangible love of Christ. The members of NMC are themselves, experiencing peace and joy through the service that they are giving.
It has not always been easy; trials have come. Not long after the church was started, Rinpuii unexpectedly lost her daughter. As can be imagined, this was a huge blow to Rinpuii, who at her older age, felt that she had lost all hope.
But God has been faithful. One day in the field where she was farming, Rinpuii saw a sparrow flying and singing beautifully. She felt the grace of God flowing in her heart.
“If God takes care, feeding and guiding this little sparrow, how much more has He poured out love and care to my daughter and me,” shared Rinpuii. After saying this out loud, Rinpuii was relieved from the sadness brought on by the loss of her daughter. She made the decision that to honor her daughter, she would serve the church even more faithfully.
Rinpuii shared her testimony from her well-worn daily devotional notebook, “This insufficient, this shameful and sinful woman like me…” As she poured out her heart, she could not even finish her sentence, but then she continued, “Christ has saved…”
I asked Rinpuii how we could specifically pray for her. She had two requests: that NMC would be the salt and light in the village that, like Sodom and Gomorrah, is in such need of Christ; that we pray for her son, who is now studying to be a pastor at a seminary in Korea, that he would be equipped to be able to return and make Christlike disciples within the country of Myanmar.
Please join me in praying for Nine Mile Church, as it has deeply touched my heart. This church truly models what it means to be a “Christlike” church. It has taught me what the mission of the church is truly like.
—- Submitted. Dr. Bill Kwon, team member in Southeast Asia.