For the past few days we’ve been away from Myanmar’s primary city, Yangon, and in the city of Taunggyi, in Shan State, which borders China’s Yunnan Province. I’m writing this blog entry from there in anticipation of once again being able to connect to the internet when we’re back in Yangon tomorrow.
Yesterday we visited Love Children’s Home, a Christian orphanage that was “adopted” by Heaven’s Family U.K. earlier this year. It was started by a missionary from India who came to this unreached region to spread the gospel among those who had never heard of Jesus. Inadvertently, however, he found himself taking care of a growing number of parentless children. Most of the 20 orphans who now live with him and his family lost their birth parents to AIDS, cholera, or because of the on-going conflict between Myanmar’s army and Shan nationalists.
For about eight months of the year, Love Children Home’s buildings are located in shallow waters near the edge of Inle Lake, and are thus built on stilts, as are all the houses of Inle Lake’s numerous villages. The other four months of the year, during the dry season, those same buildings are on dry land. Inle Lake is more like a gigantic marsh with very undefined shores than it is a lake. Most of the villages that are found around its “edges” can only be reached by narrow water passages through the brush. We had to rent long, narrow boats to reach the orphanage.
The children were absolutely delightful, and we enjoyed several hours interacting with them. I asked them if they preferred the wet or the dry season, and their consensus was the former because they liked to swim. They also told me that they are not afraid of Burmese pythons, and they showed me the 12-foot skin of one that they had eaten for dinner not too long ago!
Today we spent time with one of our beloved Heaven’s Family-sponsored national missionaries and his family. We started our day visiting the students of their missionary training school and rejoiced with them as they showed us their brand new Heaven’s Family-funded girls’ dorm. Currently, 32 students are enrolled who represent 10 different ethnic groups. Most intend to spread the gospel in unreached villages when they’ve graduated, something they are already doing during periodic outreaches.
We also met one of the Christian widows in this area who has benefitted from a Heaven’s Family small-business start-up grant by which she has been raising and selling pigs. We were so inspired to hear how her life has changed for the better, and to learn that her children, who previously turned away from God when they lost their father, have had their faith renewed by seeing their mother so blessed. It was the perfect ending to a great day. I’ve included some additional photos below. We have much to rejoice about. — David