The Dirtiest Shirt [David’s 2nd Blog from Myanmar]

14 Dec

The Dirtiest Shirt [David’s 2nd Blog from Myanmar]

It is cold in Chin State’s mountains, and babies are dressed accordingly

The Dirtiest Shirt

David’s 2nd Blog from Myanmar

Dear Friends,

Our team is spending the first half of our trip visiting villages in which Heaven’s Family has not yet established micro banks. We’re making loan deals with village elders that thrill them, because our loans offer their villages opportunities that have previously only been dreams.

We’ve only been able to reach these villages via miles of mountain trails that we’ve navigated as passengers on motorcycles. Our chauffeurs are usually village teenagers whose driving skills are surpassed only by their tolerance for risk.

This morning, my driver lost control of our motorcycle as he was going up a steep hill. Apparently, my guardian angel was sleeping on the job, and I found my face bouncing off a large rock at the end of a downhill tumble. My 29-year-old son, Stephen, who is filming parts of our trip to produce a short documentary about Heaven’s Family’s micro-loan ministry, caught my fall on video as he was riding two motorcycles behind me.

Thankfully, I only suffered some cuts on my lips, a sprained wrist, and bruised knees. But as I later watched Stephen’s video of my face rebounding off the rock that stopped my tumble, it seemed remarkable that I didn’t break some teeth or my jaw. Perhaps by that time, my guardian angel woke up and sprung into action!

In every village, our hosts offer us their best. That usually means that we eat a lot of rice and mustard leaf soup, as well as chicken from skinny birds, the latter of which is a rare luxury for most villagers. It also means that, like our hosts, we sleep like sardines on the wooden floors of their small homes, cushioned limitedly by blankets that also help us stay warm during the cold mountain nights. Our team will endure this for less than two weeks; our hosts will all their lives.

In the mornings we huddle with them around indoor cooking fires, waiting for the breakfast rice to cook as we swap sleeping stories. Among our team of 4 Americans, 1 Brit, and 2 Burmese (see photo below), we’ve got teeth-grinders, welterweight snorers, sleep-talkers, small-bladder sufferers, and occasional insomniacs. Add non-Christian 4AM roosters, and you’ve got a perfect setting for some sanctification!

Below are some photos from the past few days.


Our team: Thawng Hup, Jeff Trotter, my son Stephen, me, Philip Barker, Bruce Harris, and Lalchhuan Mawia

Age lines: The large majority of people who live in Chin State profess to be Christians, and there are churches in just about every village. It was more than a century ago that American and British missionaries first brought the gospel to the Chin tribes, who at that time had no written language.

The square patch on her temple (and duplicated on the other side of her head) is a remedy for headaches

At one village, our team was blessed with a traditional dance presentation, performed on the grounds of the village’s pewless Methodist church. Congregants sit on the floor.

There are no washing machines in Chin State villages, and this little boy surely won the prize for the dirtiest shirt!

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