For several years, Sovereign Grace Ministries has had the honor of partnering with a pastor in Myanmar (Burma) named David, who leads a church-planting ministry. David is a graduate of our Pastors College. In addition to his work with church planting, he also leads a Bible school called Myanmar Center for Church Planting (MCCP) which Sovereign Grace helps support.
Last year, 16 students graduated from MCCP with either a two-year or a four-year diploma. Of these 16 students, 15 are serving in full-time ministry in various ways. At MCCP, a value is placed on providing a strong theological foundation for the students even though that takes several years.
During the school year, students take courses during the week and go out to serve in the community on the weekends. Most students do children’s ministry, but some also do music-related ministry, and some of the men have the opportunity to preach to congregations in the area.
Many students also take part in summer internships or service and evangelism opportunities. One young man who just completed his first year at MCCP spent his summer at the church where his father pastors. This is what he writes about his time:
When I returned home, I was determined to do something with the youth of my church. The only place I knew of to start was to teach the youth how to play guitar. I soon gathered a small group of teenagers....And many of them started coming back to church. In addition to working with the youth, I was also given an opportunity to preach on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. It is such an excitement to share a pulpit with my own father. And my dad himself was very happy to see me preach.
This young man’s story is one of several that David shared with us. The students of MCCP are being well equipped to share the gospel and minister for Christ in their communities. Lord willing, this will only continue in the coming year as 40 students study at MCCP. David wrote to us, “...it takes time to see fruit, but God is giving us every indication that he is at work in our midst.”
Join us in praying that God would continue to grant much fruit to this ministry as they seek to faithfully teach his word and prepare students to serve him.
In late March a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck northeast Burma, killing more than 70 people. We recently posted prayer requests for Burmese churches and an opportunity to give. Here’s a more recent update from David, who leads a church-planting ministry we partner with in Burma:
Two of [the churches] sustained major damage…Though there are no casualties from those churches, at least 18 families have lost their entire homes and some 30 families also suffered significant damage to their houses….
In an interview with a lady from the church, she told us, “Our house was made of wood and bamboo with a thatch roof. When our house collapsed, no one suffered major injury as the building materials are very light. Today, we sleep under the tree as the local authority warns us to stay away from any building.” When asked what worried her most, she replied, “We have planted some crops on the hills or terraces not too far from our home. Many of our crops were destroyed because of a landslide and trees falling. This damage will hurt us for several months as our livelihood deeply depends on our farm land.”
….[One leader writes] “In one village, the church was so badly damaged that we have to meet at the house of one of the members. For most people, the church building is often part of their identity in the midst of Buddhist pagodas in the region. For them, to lose their church is somehow to lose their identity. It has been a difficult time for them. But I know God’s grace is with them. I can only encourage them from the Word.”
A truck was hired and some bags of rice and several hundred large water bottles were transported to the affected villages for distribution. Many people were very hungry and thirsty, as most people lost their homes or dare not go into their homes. And there are no convenient stores to purchase food and water.
Please continue to pray for those victims. Many people still live in temporary tents due to fear. Please pray also for the two congregations that lost their buildings.
You can donate to our disaster relief fund for Burma here. And whether or not you can give, please pray with us that God will provide for these believers, protect them, and cause the good news of Jesus Christ to spread widely in this region.
Photo: An open-air prayer gathering after the earthquake.
On March 24, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck northeast Burma. Since then we’ve heard from David, who leads a Burmese church-planting ministry we partner with. Some of the churches he leads are in that area. David let us know that a number of church members were injured in the earthquake and several are still missing. At least one pastor’s home, along with all his possessions, was destroyed. Church buildings were damaged as well, and two of them were destroyed.
When disaster affects churches we partner with in ministry, we often open our disaster relief fund so our friends can contribute to the need. Today we opened the fund for Burma, so if you’d like to give financially to help restore these churches, you can do so here. Your donations will go to the church-planting ministry David leads, and will be used in their rebuilding efforts.
And whether or not you can donate, please join us in praying Psalm 67:1-3 for these churches: that God will restore them, provide for them, and protect them, and that his saving power will be known in Burma.
Photos: Earthquake damage in northeast Burma.
For more about church planting in Burma, see our report from February on medical outreach and pastoral training and a report from southern Burma last year.
Two pastors from Sovereign Grace churches recently traveled to Burma and South Korea in order to visit the church planters whom Sovereign Grace Ministries supports in those countries. Today's update will focus on their time spent in Burma, and our next update will highlight their time in South Korea. For security reasons, we won't share their names.
In Burma, we have the privilege of working with a budding church-planting ministry led by a recent graduate of our Pastors College named David. In a recent visit, pastors and members from Sovereign Grace churches got to demonstrate that partnership through both practical aid (mercy ministry) and strategic training.
The mercy ministry was extended by a team consisting of members from five Sovereign Grace churches (Gaithersburg, MD; Chesapeake, VA; Fairfax, VA; Spokane, WA; and Franklin, WV) who operated a series of medical clinics over the course of a week. Quoting from the blog of Covenant Life Church (which sent several people), "The team saw approximately 1500 men, women and children in four days of clinics! Three clinics were held in rural villages, and two of those were in areas that lack a church. The hope is to eventually establish churches in both locations. Another clinic was held in a more urban setting at an orphanage."
The other priority of the trip was to help David plan strategically for long-term growth and health in the churches he leads. Given the context and resources available to him, there are several questions and challenges he needs to address:
- What theology courses should he prioritize at his ministry school, which hosts men who are both recent converts and developing leaders?
- How can he provide ongoing care and training for pastors in a network of roughly 45 churches, some of which are several days travel apart?
- How can he lead the mercy ministries of his churches (an orphanage, disaster and famine aid, and other projects) without neglecting the care and training of current and future leaders?
- Where will funding for the ministry programs come from?
Although the visit was brief, the pastors who spent time with David were able to help him think through several of these critical questions and begin making concrete plans for future leadership training. Although building the right foundations there is going to take time, it is a mission we believe has significant potential for building the Burmese church, especially given David's proximity to people groups who have never been reached with the gospel before.
If you give to the Mission Fund, we want to sincerely thank you on David's behalf for the support you've given his ministry over the last several years. He is a humble and grateful man, and would be the first to tell you that your example of service and generosity have in no small way shaped and enabled the ministry philosophy he now models in Burma.
He would also be the first one to tell you that the Burmese church needs your prayers. When you think of them, here are a few ways you can pray:
- Pray for favor with local officials, who often are the deciding in factor, humanly speaking, in whether ministry programs can function or not
- Pray for financial provision, not only for the mercy ministries but also for the critical leadership training and church-planting work that David hopes to lead
- Pray for the next generation of leaders in the Burmese church, that God would raise men who can think, lead, and teach with theological precision
Image: Pagodas and temples in Bagan (public domain).