Pray BFF Letter #179
October 2, 2010
Reports from the Field (Burma)
Dear Prayer Partners,
This is a summary of the reports sent while in Myanmar.
Sept 14, 2010
I left 26 hours ago. The connections were very smooth but super tight. Twice just getting into the tail part of the line for the plane. I am safely in Singapore and in transit for 6 hours or so before I am off. I should sleep but will I wake up?
Tomorrow (Thursday) the first seminar starts.
Sept 17, 2010
People have been regularly fasting and prayer. We see God working.
First of all, I could get through customs and immigration without a hitch.
Praise the Lord. God was really wonderfully working when He let me find out that the visa policy change and then could process it within an incredible one day.
The first day of the seminar went smoothly. We had about 120 people filling the church. Many from various denominations were there. Most amazing were the five that traveled five days from the border of Bangladesh here for the seminar. This Bible College and church strives to reach out to all places without the gospel.
Again we are touched by the difficult situations that these pastors live under. God our common Father cares for all of us though.
The reception of the training on how we can initiate spiritual growth in all different circumstances has been very well received.
The hotel accommodations near the airport are perhaps the best I have had on a STM trip. We even have hot water from the faucet. A very nice place and the food has been excellent! The people are very nice and have enjoyed making new friends.
Thank you so much for your prayers. The first seminar is done and has gone quite smoothly. Attendance was about 120, more than they expected. The response was very good.
I was largely touched by those five who traveled five days to get here. Now they need to go five days back! Two of those days are beyond the bus. They have to climb rocky mountains. This group's burden is to plant churches in places which does not have churches. So they are aiming for the strong Buddhist stronghold. They will take these lessons taught here and reteach them there for the believers.
Although this is my first time here, nothing has really surprised me. It is so typical of the blend of countries that I have travelled to and ministered in. The meetings have been only about 20 minutes taxi ride away, most of it on very nice roads. The pastor/church planters had a lot of questions. Many of them had to do with how to live and minister in a very poor land. Evidently, the strong Buddhist mindset impacts many of them. For example, they believe like monks that they should not be a tentmaker, but just always trust the Lord. Do pray for this group as it reaches out to some parts of this country beyond the light of the Gospel.
My biggest problem has been not being able to connect home. The hotel or internet cafe's connection are always very erratic. Since arriving, I have been able to send a message once (I hope) but not read email. So if you send me email, I will not be able to read it. Try send a message via Facebook.
Thanks for your prayers. We have two more 3 day seminars, one starting Monday (20th) (tomorrow) and one starting Thursday night (23rd).
9/21/10 4:04 pm
The second seminar has started. They are enjoying the opportunity to learn about how to be a good disciple and how to make good disciples. I need to travel about 30 minutes on somewhat good roads to get there. One was built by the Japanese and called the Japanese Road.
The attendees is less than half of the former, around 60, but it provides a much better teaching situation. We are perched on a second floor room surrounded by fields and trees. This small Bible school has had to limit its students this past year because they have taken in ten more orphans (30 altogether). No place for more Bible school students to stay.
It is extremely hot. Constant perspiration even in the morning!
Other than a few minor stomach difficulties, I am doing well. Thank you for your prayers.
Someone asked me this morning if the authorities have met up with me yet.
It reminds me that this opportunity to be here is rare and good. For some reason God wants me here!
Do pray for smooth travel. I just found out one of my flights to the next seminar was cancelled. I am trying (with someone's help) to find another flight or it will be an all night bus ride (5 pm to 8 am) tomorrow night!
- update. We cancelled the old flights and booked new ones! Confirmed. Praise the Lord!
Seminar #2 is completed. We are glad to have no problems with officials.
Things are very safe here. Roads are good. Taxis? Well, they somehow work. Sometimes no door handles or windows. One can see through the frame which often doesn't have the inside padding. They really make the most of these corollas!
Thank you for your prayers. God has been stirring the hearts of the people. Leaders of the first and second seminars told me that this seminar is helping others but really is for them. God has deeply encouraged them. We praise God for touching the hearts of the people. One translator for this seminar told me that people were really touched by my sharing so that they were crying. He wanted to cry too, but as he was translating, he couldn't!
God has wonderfully worked out a new round trip flight for tomorrow's seminar on a different airline. Only 3 seats were left. Only the Lord has worked out the details - even letting me find it out (Since I cannot receive emails here). Prayer at work.
Please pray for seminar #3. I need to move up in stamina. I have been standing in bare feet preaching in extreme heat for 5 plus hours.
I am grateful for the excellent lunch that interrupts the preaching schedule. Now, however, starting tomorrow, I will also speak at night. So I need to add another 1 1/2 hours on. God has wonderfully helped me so far. Please keep praying as people from distant places will be present.
I also thank the Lord that so far two leaders told me that they want to take these seminar messages to different places. Pray for them.
I do desire that these teachings reach the extreme edges of the earth to help and revive God's people. We are 10 1/2 hours ahead of USA EST.
September 24th 2010
Hi from the high mountains in Myanmar!
Safely arrived. First full day is almost done.
Very responsive. Lots of experienced leaders serving from between here and China.
We meet under a series of tarps in the courtyard. Been raining and dripping through at times. I move the pulpit when it starts getting wet with Bible in hand.
Doing well. My translator is holding up too.
I am so blessed to meet these incredible people here.
45 orphans joined in at the evening meeting.
Their time of worship was awesome. During the day, just the leaders/students are attending.
Housing is cute, a one room cottage of sorts. Nice breakfast.
Because we are high, it is cool.
Do keep praying through Sunday for meetings. And then I will be traveling back to Yangon for one day before going on to Singapore.
Monday, Sep 27th, 2010
God was mightily working during this third seminar. There was a measure of healing in the first and second seminars. The healing from His hand surged during this third seminar. Key leaders from across the Shan state came, even a number from the border of China (a day's drive away). God was renewing His people. Testimony time, was always a very moving time as people related how God changed them. They again and again said that the messages touching on forgiveness and removing bitterness were used the most. Some publicly shared how God had helped them totally forgive their parents, pastors, etc.
All, though, were very grateful. For now they were ready to train others. They gained such a hand on spiritual growth and how to bring it about that they have plans to implement it upon their return. They will need our prayers.
Most memorable, though, was the last night (Sunday night). During worship time God extraordinary moved from 15-20 individuals. Each was on his or her knees crying out to the Lord for extended periods of times. I asked the coordinator pastor about how often this happens. He said, "I never saw it happen before." Most interestingly, I spoke on prayer that night following that intense worship where the Spirit of God was reviving His people and having them cry out to Him. I am only sad that I could not understand their prayers due to them using Burmese. I encouraged them to pray for big things, like the conversion of key Buddhist priests. Thank you for your prayers.
Something else happened that never happened before (or for a long, long time). That night a great storm came over this mountainous area. They are used to storm bursts, but torrents of rain came down all night. The taxi driver said that in 30 years of driving he had never seen anything like it. Rivers of water were covering the road at certain places. At one point when he was passing, he entered one of these 'rivers.' We could not see for about five to fifteen seconds (while passing). Our windshield was awash with a solid bathing of mud water. Again, thank you for your prayers. I live by them.
Each pastor coordinating these three seminars wants me to return. I will pray to the Lord as we have many invitations.
I safely descended the mountains and now after a flight am safely back in Yangon, the main city. Thanks to one pastor, I got a great tour around the city today. Tomorrow morning I will leave for Singapore for several days. I will meet up with friends from our church and possible ministry contacts. Everything at home has been fine (a few days ago, that is). I will take the long trip back to USA this Friday.
Many thanks for your prayers and support,
Rev. Paul J. Bucknell, President and Instructor
Phone: (+01) 412-398-4559
3276 Bainton St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212 USA