November 26th to December 7th, 2018
“We’ve never heard this kind of teaching before!” The speaker was an older deacon in the local church. The setting was Putao in far northern Myanmar. The teaching of this MTM Bible School was on two important subjects for the deeper Christian life; “Know Christ and make Him Known,” a study on Holy Spirit inspired church growth and evangelism from the book of Acts, and “the Godly Family.” Important, even critical subjects for the church to examine, if we wish to grow and prosper. Yet this church leader claimed to have never heard them taught.
As we asked more questions, we quickly learned that the churches in Putao have been weakened by decades of inner-church conflict and have splintered and divided over many issues. Sadly, many members have heard very little of the deeper Christian Life coming across their pulpits. Instead, they have been hearing extremely basic teachings on salvation, and then just a bunch of “religiosity” aimed at proving their superiority over the neighboring churches. There has also been much division over racial/tribal/language group lines, which has been a further hinderance to the free spread of the gospel. Brother Raymond addressed this problem very specifically in teaching on Holy Ghost inspired outreach & missions. We must not allow pride to hinder the work of Jesus!
As we taught on these subjects, brother Isaac, the native Lisu national organizer of this event, helped tremendously by his fervent translation into Burmese, and by aiding in the presentations. Many times, he would already be teaching when we arrived in the mornings, and often we would stop while he explained a particularly tricky concept to an audience that he understood so much better than we did. What a blessing he is as he seeks to serve his brothers and sisters of Myanmar, by zealously spreading deeper Christian teaching everywhere he can!
This event, a two-week MTM Bible school in rural Myanmar, was very close to his heart, and he thanked us (the teaching team) heartily for coming. Brother Raymond and sister Naomi were joined by myself (Steve) and my wife Shana for this event. It was a great blessing to me personally, to witness the earnestness of the attendees in taking notes and following along in the scriptures. They really seemed to connect and to be hungry for more.
Part way through the first week, we were asked to consider doing evening classes as well, so during the second week we held a night class which was very well attended by many married folks! The actual Bible School daily attendance was divided between young people and older folks, including several pastors.
Please remember the believers in Myanmar and especially Putao, that they would earnestly study God’s Word, and pursue a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, that would overflow and shine out to a hungry world around them! Pray that they would develop a vision for Godly Family life that actually works, and that leads their dear children to Jesus rather than the gods of this world. Many dear believers there came and thanked us for sharing, and we encouraged them to open their Bibles and let the Spirit speak deeply into their own hearts.
Putao is a place of incredible natural beauty, set in a large open valley in the midst of high mountains bordering the stunning Himalayan Mountain Range. Pray that through a spiritual awakening and revival in the church, it could also become a place of faith and beauty for the local & global Kingdom of Christ!
There were many expressions of thankfulness conveyed from the GBS students unto us as teachers for coming to teach the Word of God. But in reality, they were actually thanking YOU for sending us! We could not have done what we did without YOUR prayers and financial support. Thank you for giving unto the Lord and may the LORD reward YOU openly for your support of the MTM ministry. Also, do remember brother Isaac and his wife Rachel in your prayers, as they seek to encourage the believers of Myanmar to a deeper Life in Christ Jesus.
Editor’s Note; The above article was written by Steve and Shana Simmons who are members of Lighthouse Chapel Christian Fellowship of Richland Center, Wisconsin. Together with their three children, they support the church’s ministry and outreach in any way they can, with a special emphasis on foreign missions. They served for four and a half years as field administrators at Gospel to Haiti, located in Allegre, west Haiti. A very special thank you to both of you for faithfully serving the Lord with MTM in preaching & teaching God’s word.