Following the conferences in Yangon and Mandalay last year, we planned a second, three-day, conference this year in Mandalay and our first-ever one in Myitkyina (Kachin State). We also held a half-day of teaching in Hmawbi, north of Yangon.
Paul did a re-cap on “From Bible to Sermon” and taught Philippians with an overview plus several expository sermons. Simon gave the Bible Overview, and explained the role and work of PTI to 55 enthusiastic participants. At one point, we asked delegates to indicate if they had previously been Buddhists, and were amazed to see around half of the hands go up. The teaching was well-received, with the desire expressed to hold another conference next year, moving onto the third level – preaching from a minor prophet.
Whilst in Mandalay, Simon and Paul also met the leaders of the Dai Chin Methodist Churches, and found like-mindedness and warm fellowship.
Pastor Kaung Ze, who helped organise the conference, had given about 150 invitations to local Pastors. 70 people actually attended; many were women, as always. Even reformed Burmese pastors told us that this is normal in Myanmar. Most are gospel workers in some capacity, and it helps for them to understand how to handle the Bible better. It was a most encouraging conference, with a real hunger for God’s word very evident throughout. Paul taught sessions on “From Bible to Sermon” and gave an overview of Mark’s gospel, with sermons [from/in??] Mark. Simon again did sessions on the Bible Overview.
Delegates were very keen on having a second conference next year, to focus on preaching through Philippians, and they think we can confidently expect 150 people then. We did experience some difficulty in getting the free conference books from Mandalay to Myitkyina, although they did arrive on our last day. Since every participant had been registered, we were assured that each would receive their books. Aungling once again did a superb job translating for us.
Back in Yangon, Pastor Aye Min asked us to consider adding a day or two day conference to continue to encourage expository preaching.
After Simon flew home Paul went to Kyaing Tong in Shan State, to meet with church leaders there and plan a possible conference for 2015.