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Burma Smiles, April 2009

cute burmese orphans
Khin San Zi, Hnin Hnin Shwe, and Hmung Hmung Aung, who live together at Light of the World Children’s Home

Once again I’m feeling
that familiar emotion that is so hard to describe. It’s a mixture of
compassion, helplessness, guilt, and awe. I’m sitting in the simple home
of Peter and Par Chin Cung, which they rent for about $64 a month. Before me
sit twenty-five children whom they’ve taken in, orphans and unwanted
children, all from remote villages in western Myanmar (Burma). They call their
place Light of the World Children’s Home.

Each child shyly
stands—with a heart-melting smile—to speak a few words of memorized
English, thanking me for coming to see them. Then they sing a song about Jesus.
At the end, they reward my standing ovation with more pure-hearted smiles. I’m
reminded that their angels are continually before the Father. They are His
treasures, and I feel unworthy to be in their presence.

Our two teams of
Americans are elsewhere, visiting orphanages that are sponsored through
our Orphan’s Tear division, and so I’m
here alone. Although Peter and Par Chin would like for me to take portraits of
their children to try to find monthly sponsors for them, I’ve gently explained
that there are 300 children already waiting for sponsorship on our website, and
so there is no use adding any more. Graciously, they smile, and say they
understand. How I wish that I could.

Rejoice with us as you
read some highlights this month of Heaven’s Family’s work in Myanmar. And pray that the Lord will
enable us to be the reason for more of those beautiful Burmese smiles. — David

The Doctor is In…Christ
The
Village Development Fund

village chief becomes doctor
“Doctor” Ni Kung, among some of his patients, holding a new microscope from Heaven’s Family that will help him diagnose and treat malaria.

One of the highlights
of our annual Fall trip to Myanmar is when a few of us travel by motor scooters
across dirt roads to an eventual footpath that leads us to Cang Ai Village.
Living there at the base of the Chin mountains are some of the poorest people
I’ve ever met, mostly subsistence farmers and day-laborers. The large majority
are Christians, however, and they are openly enthusiastic about their faith.

Two years ago, when we
first visited them, they had lost the village well to an earthquake, and were
forced to walk about a mile and a half for water. We supplied them with a mile
and a half of plastic pipe, and now the village has running water—from a
single pipe in the center of the village.

Last year when we
visited, we found the village chief wrapped in blankets, shivering from
malaria, with no money for a doctor. He told us he had lost two of his
grandchildren that year to the same disease. We were motivated to pay for the
medical attention he needed, and also to provide more than a hundred mosquito
nets to protect everyone in the village. Heaven’s Family also funded the start-up of a small village
pharmacy.

During our most recent
visit, we learned that the village chief’s former assistant, Ni Kung, is now
the chief. He has taken advantage of a government health program to learn how
to diagnose and treat common rural ailments. He showed us how he can read
someone’s blood pressure, take blood samples, and examine those samples under a
microscope that had been temporarily loaned to him by the government health
service. For $250 (an enormous sum for them), the village could buy the
microscope and the blood pressure cuff. I couldn’t resist.

The villagers also
requested that we help them with the purchase of three-inch plastic pipe
through which they could bring water from a mountain spring to irrigate their
fields, thus extending their growing season. They need about $1,450. If you
would like to help with that request, contributions should be made to our Village Development Fund.

Things are looking
better every year at Cang Ai Village, and they are using their blessings to
bless people of other nearby villages in Jesus’ name.

Learn how you can help

Forty Years Faithful
The
National Missionary Fund

national missionary myanmar
Evangelist Sang Bel

Evangelist Sang Bel
has a reputation among many Christians in Myanmar. They say, “Don’t ever
give Sang Bel money if you want to bless him, because he always gives it away
to someone whom he thinks is more needy.”

For that reason, a
friend of mine arranged for Sang Bel to preach in many churches in the former
capital city of Yangon, sharing about his anointed adventures as he has
proclaimed the gospel in very remote places for the past decades. My
friend then guarded the offerings that were given in those churches, and
eventually used them to build Sang Bel a modest home to replace the shack he
and his family were living in. It wasn’t enough, however, to build interior
stairs to the second floor, and now, ten years later, there is still a ladder
standing in the main room that connects the first floor with the second floor
through a hole in the ceiling. Sang Bel, who is sixty years old, climbs up and
down that ladder every day when he is home.

Sitting in his first
floor room, I asked Sang Bel about that ladder, and why he still doesn’t have
stairs. He replied, “The Lord hasn’t sent the money yet.” His wife
looked at me with a knowing glance that said, “The Lord has sent the money
many times, but he always gives it away.”

Sang Bel is a pioneer
evangelist in Chin State, and he’s preached many times to very primitive people
in remote villages who have never heard about Jesus. He told me that some
were so primitive that they were “half-naked.” (I told him he should
consider coming to America to preach.)

Sang Bel usually
travels by foot, unable to afford any other kind of transportation, and
mountain footpaths are often the only routes to his preaching points. He’s
lived by faith for forty years and has often been away from home preaching for
two months at a time. His life has been threatened by hostile villagers, but
the Lord has been faithful to deliver him.

Through our National Missionaries Fund, Sang Bel now has a
monthly sponsor named Gary in Alabama whom he will one day meet in heaven. That
monthly help came at a providential time, as Sang Bel has had to slow down
somewhat due to a minor stroke that he’s suffered. But he is still amazingly
active, preaching locally and remotely, calling people to repent and follow
Jesus. Take a good look at his photo above. None of us will likely see him in
heaven, as he’ll be so near to Jesus!

A Glorious Opportunity: We know of hundreds of God-called national
missionaries around the world whose effectiveness could be multiplied with a
little monthly support. If you would like to help one, please let us know. You
can set the amount to be automatically deducted each month from your bank
account or credit card, from $20 to $200, 100% of which will be sent to your
national missionary. You will also receive monthly email updates about his or her
ministry in broken but understandable English. You can reply if you would like.
Most of the world’s unreached people can only be reached by national
missionaries.

Learn how you can help

Mercy Came Down
The
Dorms for Orphanages Fund

dorms for orphanages mercy home myanmar widow
Widow Rin San Puii and the children of Mercy Children’s Home, standing in front of their new dorm

Rin Sang Puii moved
with her husband from Myanmar to Thailand as a missionary many years ago, but
she returned as a widow. Her father gave her a small one-room wooden house to
live in, and she opened her heart and home to orphans and unwanted children. When
we visited her in November of 2006, she had eighteen children, and she was
suffering with a problem in her lower back that caused her to limp. We went to
work finding sponsors for her children, and we helped her with $700 she needed
for surgery.

When we visited her in
November of 2007, she could walk without pain. But she had thirty-eight children living with her. She asked us if we
could help her build a dormitory for her children who were sleeping like
sardines on the floor of her one-room house. So we produced a video, Dorms for Orphanages, about
Mercy Children’s Home to show to our friends, asking for their help. They did,
and when we returned in November of last year, the new building was finished.
It is beautiful, and stands in stark contrast to the old and small wooden house
that sits right beside it.

All those children, as
well as Rin San Puii, her sister and the other helpers, use two connected
outhouses that are….Well, there is no way to describe them. You would have to
see them for yourself. By the time you read this, however, they should be using
their brand new, four-stall, good-smelling, long-lasting, concrete
and porcelain, state-of-the-art (for rural Myanmar) outhouse,
thanks to gifts to the Orphan’s Tear Special Gifts
Fund
.

Rin San Puiis’ back
problems have returned, and she can’t even sit without pain. So we are sending
her four-hundred miles to the capital city of Yangon to have a good doctor take
a look and do what is necessary. That blessing is also a result of gifts to the Orphan’s Tear Special Gifts Fund. How can we
neglect a widow who takes care of orphans? Thanks so much.

The Bigger Picture: Through gifts to the Dorms for Orphanages
Fund
, we’ve constructed or
purchased new dorms for twenty-one orphanages in Myanmar and Tanzania. Eight
more new dorms are currently under construction. 100% of all gifts to the Dorms for Orphanages Fund are sent overseas
to pay for labor and material costs of new dorms for orphanages helped each
month through Orphan’s Tear.

Learn how you can help

“I Met My Child in Myanmar!”
The
testimonies of three Orphan’s Tear sponsors

orphan's tear orphans met
Charity McDaniel and Lal Par Dim

Last November and
January, we took seventeen friends with us to Myanmar, most of whom sponsor children
at one or more of the thirty Christian orphanages that we assist there every
month through our Orphan’s Tear division. All were very blessed to meet their sponsored children. One such
sponsor was Tenney Singer from California, who later wrote:

My very
last day in Myanmar was spent visiting more orphanages in Yangon. The girl I
had sponsored for the last four years was at one of them, and I was excited to
meet her….When I saw her, I was overcome with emotion. This was the face I
had posted on my bulletin board back home and prayed for, and here she was: a
lovely young woman! She had already passed her exams and was now in Bible
College. She could read my English Bible, and understand it….We connected
easily and spent an hour together talking about all kinds of things. When we
left, she disappeared, so I wouldn’t see her cry. My heart was deeply touched
by this meeting, and I want to go back again.

Charity McDaniel,
a Heaven’s Family employee
from Pennsylvania, had visited her sponsored child three years earlier. She
wrote:

When we
visited El Shaddai Orphanage in Kalaymyo, my sponsored child, Lal Par Dim, was
not there. The director informed us that she was now staying at a boarding
school in town, as is common among children in their final years of high
school, but he would try to bring her by our hotel later that evening so that I
could see her.

He kept
his word, and as the sun was setting he and Lal Par Dim drove up in front of
our hotel on a motor bike. I was so excited to see her! She was not the same
little girl who three years ago had boldly grabbed my hand and been my personal
playmate. In place of that little girl was a shy and beautiful young
lady….The next morning we had to leave Kalaymyo, and it was a sad day. But
the one bright spot was seeing Lal Par Dim in her school uniform with one of
her classmates, coming down the road to the airport to see me off!

orphan's tear met orphans
John Moret with Lal Ro Pui , and Tenney Singer with Ning Kyaw Ti

John Moret from Baton
Rouge, Louisiana, wrote:

I met
both of the children our family sponsors. Both of the meetings touched my heart
in different ways. One child was very playful, happy and full of life…Our
other child was orphaned in his teenage years and the pain of it showed on his
face. I think he still is recovering from the trauma of it….The love of God
was present in all the orphanages we visited.

The Bigger
Picture:
Currently, nine-hundred and sixty-five children
are sponsored in eight nations through Orphan’s Tear. Hundreds are waiting for sponsorship at
Orphan’s Tear.

Learn how you can help

A Widow at Taunggyi by Stephen Servant
The
Widows & Abandoned Women Fund

widow in tiny house
Amini with her three children in front of their tiny house

Perched on a hillside
outside the city of Taunggyi, in Shan State, Myanmar, is a tiny wooden
shack with a tin roof. It is six feet by ten feet. At first glance, you would
think it was just a storage shed. A quick look inside, however, reveals that
this is a home—of a family.

A mother named Amini
lives there with two of her three children. Inside is a crude wooden bed where
they all sleep, a few shelves that hold their meager possessions, and a single
pot in the corner for cooking their meals over a wood fire. Newspaper clippings
cover the walls, which provide insulation and artwork. On the door, Amini has
painted a blue cross to let her neighbors know she is a Christian.

Although Amini faces a
more difficult life than most of us can imagine, the joy of knowing Jesus
lights her face. She has been a believer since childhood, but her parents
arranged for her to marry a Buddhist man. He turned out to be an alcoholic, and
eventually his addiction killed him. Amini’s deceased husband’s parents will do
nothing to help her since she is a Christian.

caring for widows
Amini, Mya Win Thun, Hla Hla Win, and Tha Zin Oo

Since she became a
widow, Amini has done chores for her better-off neighbors to make ends meet.
She washes dishes and clothes and cleans her neighbor’s homes, but her income
isn’t sufficient to support all three of her children. So Amini’s oldest
daughter, who is age thirteen, works full-time as a maid for a wealthy Buddhist
family, with whom she also lives. She labors seven days a week and is permitted
to visit her mother only one day of the year—on Christmas. She does not
attend school. Amini had to beg her daughter’s employer to let her have the day
off so that we could meet her when we visited.

With contributions to
the Widows & Abandoned Women Fund, Heaven’s Family recently provided a $500 grant to Amini
that has enabled her to start a small noodle shop in a nearby market. The
income she’ll generate will be sufficient for her to take care of all of her
children, including her thirteen-year-old, who will soon be back home and able
to attend school. Thank you for making this blessing possible. We hope to
provide funds in the near future for a better house for Amini and her children.
One is being considered right now that costs about $4,000.

The Bigger Picture: 100% of all gifts to the Widows & Abandoned Women Fund are sent overseas to help impoverished Christian
widows in developing nations start life-sustaining small businesses. Funds are
also used to support Christian widows who are unable to work.

Learn how you can help

Parting Shot
Follow
Me as I Follow Christ

village doctor
Always
wanting to obey Scripture and set a good example, I made sure that my left hand
was behind my back as I publicly presented Dr. Ni Kung with a big wad of
Myanmar cash for purchasing his new microscope. That way my left hand wouldn’t
know what my right hand was doing, just as Jesus taught us. — David