The People Who Never Saw White Skin [David’s 6th Blog from Myanmar]

04 Dec

The People Who Never Saw White Skin [David’s 6th Blog from Myanmar]

Young and old alike react with surprise as I “remove my thumb from my hand,” a trick I learned from my dad, as we gathered with residents of Van Hniam Village

After breakfast at Zatual Village, we jumped on a few village motor scooters to return to our parked Land Rover and begin another leg of our jeep-trail-journey through Chin State’s mountains. After traversing ridges and valleys all morning and part of the afternoon, we eventually could go no further and had to be ferried once again by motor scooters to our destination, Van Hniam Village. Van Hniam is another place that has benefitted this past year from Heaven’s Family’s Micro-Loan Fund, and now all 19 houses have running water via 19 village faucets, made possible by a $3,000 loan.

Upon our arrival, all the villagers gathered at the local Assembly of God church, where I asked the children if they had ever seen a person with white skin. They had not. Then I learned that no one in Van Hniam—including the elderly folks—had ever seen a person with white skin!

Next I quizzed them about their commitment to Jesus. I’m happy to report that the Van Hniam Baptists love the Van Hniam Assembly of God folks, and vice versa. None of the professing believers are liars, thieves, or adulterers. (Four men, however, admitted to smoking homemade cigarettes, and also admitted that their wives want them to quit!)

Finally, we talked about business. They told me that credit was available to them at a town we could see on a ridge far in the distance, but the going interest rate is 10%…per month. I asked them if, after they repaid their water project loan, they would be interested in individual loans at a very reasonable interest rate from Heaven’s Family to help them all start small businesses. They were very interested. I told them about how the folks of Maul Zawl and Zatual, whom we had visited the day before, were prospering in various business endeavors funded through micro-loans.

Late in the afternoon, we toured all the village faucets and took photos of thankful residents. Although their normal diet consists of mostly corn and rice, they killed a pig for us for dinner, and the village children used the pig’s inflated bladder as a ball. After dinner the whole village returned to church to worship and pray under a battery-powered light, and to listen to our team’s short sermons that were translated into Falam—the third language we’ve encountered on our journey to three villages in Chin State. We again retired early, sleeping under blankets on the wood floor of one of the village homes.

A few of the day’s photos are below with captions. Thanks for your prayers. — David

Eight of thirteen motor scooters now owned by prospering families in Zatual that we used to make it back to our parked Land Rover.

A royal reception awaited us courtesy of the 19 families of Van Hniam Village, who waited in line to shake our hands after a startling black-powder rifle four-gun salute. Residents use their primitive rifles to hunt local game.

A homemade toy truck that one of Van Hniam’s children pulls around by a string. I’ve seen this kind of resourceful craftsmanship in children’s toys all over the developing world.

One of Van Hniam’s good mothers with two of her children.

Wearing his honorary Falam sash, team member Bruce Harris delivers a timely word at Van Hniam Assembly of God church, with Van Hniam’s Baptists also in attendance.

Upon our departure the next morning, we were treated with a traditional Falam farewell dance, complete with one villager in the middle of the circle soaring like a hawk

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