Not everyone is comfortable with sharing their faith. And the same could have been said for eight people from Ipswich Lutheran Church in Queensland, who travelled to Myanmar as part of their partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Myanmar (ELCM). Apart from the obvious language barrier – people from Myanmar speak Burmese, among other […]
Not everyone is comfortable with sharing their faith. And the same could have been said for eight people from Ipswich Lutheran Church in Queensland, who travelled to Myanmar as part of their partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Myanmar (ELCM).
Apart from the obvious language barrier – people from Myanmar speak Burmese, among other languages – the team’s challenges included that around 90 per cent of the country professes a religion other than Christianity. Despite these, they did an amazing job sharing faith with people there as part fulfilment of the congregation’s mission ‘To Know Christ and Make Christ Known’.
This was evident in Ipswich member Paul Modra’s talk to the children, youth and Sunday school leaders, as part of a day of mutual sharing between Ipswich and the ELCM in Yangon. The children and youth especially appreciated the way Paul used an everyday item – fruit he had bought from the local market – to share his faith in Jesus, and God’s love to them.
Later in our visit we were greeted in a village by a large number of men and women, along with many children. After sharing our faith in song, which was learnt in Burmese and English and back again, I was approached by our wonderful ELCM host Luke Andrew, to see whether any members of the team would like to share with the unexpectedly large group.
With the help of local church translators and with about only a five-minute warning, Wayne Kreis and Tracy Bock shared their faith stories, including some of the challenges they face in their vocations, to the men and women of the village. They also pointed to Jesus as the Son of the one true God, in light of the many gods Burmese people face in their everyday culture.
For me, the highlight of the trip was seeing Ipswich members join those from the local church to present a clowning skit to the village children about how Jesus wants our hearts. It was sheer joy to see them work together to share the common language of faith in Christ.
The lasting legacy of our visit – until we return next year – was funds for the ELCM to translate the LCA resource Growing as God’s People into their local language in order to continue to share and teach the faith to people in Myanmar who do not yet know him.
If you, your school or your congregation, would like to know how you can connect to the mission of God through a LCA International Mission partnership, you are invited to phone Erin on (08) 8267 7300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/start-a-partnership/
Read more stories about congregational partnerships at www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/local-partners/congregations/