Dancing with Cho Yainians [David’s 5th Photo Blog from Myanmar]

03 Mar

Dancing with Cho Yainians [David’s 5th Photo Blog from Myanmar]

Two of the tattoo-faced women of Cho Yain Village among our greeting party today

When the dirt road ended today, Stephen and I once again jumped on motorcycles whose fearless, young drivers took us on a deep descent into a distant valley, across a river on a swaying suspension bridge, and up a narrow ridge. As the day waned, 180 citizens of Cho Yain Village were waiting on a hand-dug soccer field to welcome us, many of whom were dressed in their tribe’s traditional clothing, ready to dance. And, after a prayer of thanksgiving to the Father of Jesus, dance they did. At their insistence, I joined them—after they first appropriately dressed me. Ah, the simple pleasures!

We were, as usual, the first white-skinned people most had seen. They were excited not only about that, but also because they knew we were coming to help them help themselves. After a dinner of rice, local fish, and mystery foods, we started with a well-attended church service at which I preached about God’s promise to bless the work of our hands. Chin people have a beautiful child-like sense of humor, and my illustrated example of the man who waits, head tilted back, for a fish to jump out of the river, fly up the mountain, and land in his open mouth, was a great hit.

With Heaven’s Family Master Micro-Banker Lal Chuan Mawia on my right, translating my English to Burmese, and Heaven’s Family-sponsored national missionary, Stephen Paing Bu, on my left, translating Burmese into Mindat Chin, my 20-minute sermon was stretched to an hour.

In the morning, we met with the elders and made them the offer they’d been hoping for. Heaven’s Family will loan them $5,000 for one year, enough for them to make loans of about $300 to half of the villages’ 35 families. If the elders repay their loan, we’ll offer them a second one that is at least twice as large, enabling them to make second and first loans to every family. This strategy provides enough incentive to insure repayment. Cho Yain’s elders were thrilled. Gifts to Heaven’s Family’s Micro-Loan Fund make this possible, and the money never stops being recycled.

There are only about 10 business possibilities for families to choose from, and most involve growing cash crops or raising animals and transporting them to the nearest market, which could be more than a day’s walk away. But how much more exciting could it be for some of the world’s poorest people to leave slash and burn agriculture, subsistence farming, and food insecurity for growing cash crops and making profits for the first time? Imagine what a loan of $300 looks like to someone who only sees the equivalent of $600 pass through their hands in a year’s time.

Below are seven of my favorite photos from our stay in Cho Yain. Hope you are enjoying this journey with me!


This suspended walkway might not look too terrifying, but when it started to sway, I decided to disembark from the passenger seat of this motorcycle and walk. For a perspective of the height, see the next photo.

See what I mean?

This 80-year old woman told me about her conversion to Jesus that occurred just a few years ago, a result of the ministry of HF-supported missionary Stephen Paing Bu. She’s short in stature, but a giant in Christ (see inset)! On the morning of our departure, she sang me a spontaneous self-composed song about how God had blessed her village by our coming and which included a prayer for our safe travels.

My son, Stephen, with some new friends. This is the place where the road ended and we started our motorcycle journey.

A very typical house in Cho Yain. This couple will never win the Good Housekeeping Seal but, lucky them, they don’t care!

These kids and their mom were a little intimidated by the first white-skinned person they’ve ever seen, with a big black camera aimed at them to boot!

Some of us like to see the world from a little different angle.

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