May 4 2017, Thursday
The day started with a meeting with Rev. Titus, discussing the details of the delegates’ mandate, as well as the schedule for the week. After that the trip to Rev. Titus’ house/church, where the men were assembling for the conference. Since many were already there, they were able to hold a summary discussion, laying out plans for the conference topics. One of the plans was throughout the week to meet with the men from the 6 different cities represented at the conference to get to know them better. On the map : Yangon, A) Kyangin, Irawaddy division, B) Rakhine, C) Falam, D) Kale, and E) Nagaland,
First city to meet was Kale, about a 2 day journey. There were men from 6 different denominations, including Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian congregations. These men were willing to travel the distance because they wish to hear more about the doctrines presented by Rev. Titus, and we trust God will use these efforts in some way to spread the Gospel to the “4 corners” of the earth!
May 5, 2017 Friday
The roads are sure different than what we are used to at home! It is bumpy, there are no discernible lines to follow, and the sometimes precariously balanced motorbikes and the sheer masses of people driving make driving a nightmare!
Rev. Titus picks up the delegates, and one way is an hour drive for him…so between picking them up and dropping them off it is 4 hours of driving for him!!
When the delegation arrived on Friday, the men were ready, so Rev. Laning started the meeting with prayer. Rev. Titus translates every sentence as spoken in Burmese. Some of the men speak English quite well, especially the younger men.
Rev. Laning spoke of the Reformed view of one Church, one people, and one salvation from the beginning of time, and proving it from Scripture as well as the creeds. Most have been taught the pre-millennial view that the Jews will be brought back into the Church, so this led to some very fascinating discussions.
May 6, 2017 Saturday
Rev. Titus arrived in the morning to show us around, this would be our only opportunity to see some of the landmarks in Myanmar.
Now Myanmar is still a very poverty stricken nation, but there are a lot of signs that times are changing. Dilapidated homes, buses and bikes, contrasted with huge mall opened nearby in April and building projects everywhere.
We stopped by to see the amazing Shwedagon Pagoda, a Buddihst temple. Amazing both in the construction but mostly in the idolatry that it represents.
We also stopped by to see the Judson church. It was built in honor of the Adoniram Judson, the Congregationalist turned Baptist missionary to the then Burma, in the late 1700’s.
May 7, 2017 Sunday
Sunday was spent once again at Rev. Titus’ house. Two services (in both English and Burmese), with a specially prepared meal in between. There was a brief Bible study with the women and girls, after the afternoon service. The women in the congregation expressed gratitude that the wives of the delegates accompanied them as well. Families are so important in the Covenant, and it is very nice for them to see the importance of that as well.
Rev. Titus, Timothy, and Soe Thein (an elder) accompanied the delegation back to the hotel after the afternoon service so that they could go through the church visiting questions from the Church Order. It was a bit cooler there.
May 8, 2017 Monday
Bright and early, ready to get to work, right??!! Well jetlag, different food, and the heat are starting to take their toll after a few days…Rev. Laning wasn’t quite up to the trip to the conference. However, John was able to attend with Rev. Titus, and Rev. Laning was able to still communicate with him through Facetime. After plugging his phone into the amplifier, it was almost as if Rev. Laning was right there presenting!
May 9, 2017 Tuesday
Tuesday Rev. Laning spent most of the morning and early afternoon finishing his section on eschatology. There were a lot of questions, as well as proof texts for further study. After that a Q&A session…many questions relating to the topic, but also many good ones about unrelated topics.
As we were trying to meet with one city group per day, today is the Rakhine state group. These gentlemen have traveled the furthest. First they take motorbikes for a half day to get to the river, then by motor canoe for a day. Overnight in a traveler’s inn, and then a bus trip for 36 hours to get into Yangon. Wow! And I thought our drive out to Yellowstone was tough!
May 10, 2017 Wednesday
Rev. Laning covered a lot of Church history around the time of the Reformation 500 years ago, including some coverage of the error of the Anabaptists. This is good because this influence is prevalent in the the Christian population in Myanmar due to the Gospel being first brought over by the Baptists.
May 11, 2017 Thursday
The ladies of the church were brought in and formally thanked as well for their hard work in feeding the 50 or so attendees to the conference.
They were happy to be of service, and expressed their gratitude to be able to fellowship with women from the PR churches.
It was good get back and re-establish friendships with like minded believers. We hope they have been encouraged by the visit, and they have been a great encouragement to us.
May 12, 2017 Friday
Travel home… As the first time visitors (the wives of the delegation) can readily attest, a trip like this affects you completely to the core, with thoughts you cannot express. You can only come to understand the depth of the love God has for His people in Christ, and the fellowship experienced with like-minded saints from around the world. “The Lord be with you till we meet again!”
Titus 3:15 “All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.”
One note: During the conference we noticed that the men from Nagaland were missing. Nagaland is very far away, almost connected with India. Rev. Titus speculated that they were delayed by the rain, and this in fact was true. There was a 30 mile stretch of “road” which was all mud.
By the time the men made it through this section, they contacted Timothy, who regretfully informed them that the conference had just wrapped up. Hopefully they can make it to the next conference.