This update is from Rod Matthews, GCI Mission Developer for Southern Asia and the South Pacific.
The Holy Spirit made his presence felt powerfully in a conference of about 40 church elders and leaders (pictured below) held recently in Yangon, Myanmar. There was much excitement in that this was the first meeting between several of the participants, including those who had become part of our fellowship in 2016. Nine participants came from the Matupi area in the Chin Hills of Myanmar. They were joined by local GCI leaders and several pastors from other fellowships.
The conference featured presentations by speakers from Malaysia, India, Singapore and Australia. We were humbled and amazed by the way the topics dovetailed, presenting a comprehensive overview of God’s nature and his presence with us by the Spirit, enabling us to participate with him in ministry.
In order that the participants from Myanmar could meet their counterparts from other areas in Southeast Asia, we arranged for the attendance of Dr. Sellappan and Devaraj Ramoo from Malaysia, Joe and Anna Zachariah from Singapore, and Danny Zachariah from India. Danny gave presentations on pastoral counseling. As shown at left (with Regional Coordinator Wong Mein Kong speaking) translations were provided into Burmese, Myanmar’s national language.
On Sunday morning during the conference, a special worship service was held at our Hmawbi congregation’s building. The assembled group (pictured below) shared lunch prepared by the members. In the afternoon, several more sessions were held with the local members attending (note their T-shirts, specially produced for this historic gathering).
I received many expressions of thanks for the conference. The elders from Southeast Asia said they greatly enjoyed meeting their new brothers and sisters in Christ. Chan Thleng (at left), leader of our Hmawbi congregation, wrote, “To God alone be all the glory for the successful completion of our Asian GCI Conference. Thank you for the wonderful teaching your team is doing! We have learned a lot of the word of God from you especially about Trinitarian theology, pastoral service and counseling. It gives encouragement and motivation to follow Jesus Christ.”
During our time in Myanmar, Mein Kong and I, along with our wives, visited several local ministries with whom we have become friends. These ministries focus on caring for orphans and children whose parents cannot look after them. One of those visits was with a married couple that looks after 16 children. We had a delightful time with them. We had hardly got back to our hotel when the husband informed us that his wife had given birth to their third child within two hours of our departure—he reported that his wife and new daughter were doing very well (we didn’t expect our visit to be so effective in adding to the “congregation” in their home!).