A handful of rice

After the small table is set and the food for the evening meal is placed on the table, Pastors Mai Ki and Si join with their five children to give thanks for their meal. As is customary for the people of the Mara Evangelical Church in Myanmar, a handful of rice is placed into a container next to the dining table and is set aside for Jesus after each evening meal is served. Once a month the rice is collected and then given to the elders. The rice forms a rice bank – a gift to God which is collected and sold. Although the Mara church is not made up of wealthy people, they have found the ‘handful of rice stewardship program’ a way that everyone in the church can contribute to the mission work of the MEC.

Mai Ki is the first female pastor of the Mara Evangelical Church (MEC) in Myanmar and while Mai Ki knew her husband, Rev Si Khaw, before going to university, they certainly got to know each other well after walking 17 days each way to the university during and after semester breaks. Mai was ordained in 2006 after studying at the Gurukul Lutheran Seminary.

Mai’s mum is president of the women in her local church and would pray that however she would serve God, she would. Because of her limited education it wasn’t possible for her to become an evangelist or pastor and so she prayed that her daughter would serve God.

Mai has served in a congregation and now has a role that sees her sharpening her churches ability to impact its community in education, community sustainability, empowering women and caring for those with disability. Many women in the Mara church are involved in serving and Mai has found that once the women are convinced they have something to offer, they gift the church with patience and perseverance. The MEC has another woman pastor on vicarage and a third who is in the process of completing her theological training.

One way Mai helps impact the role of women in her church is through the Women’s Ministry Conference. The conference is held every two years and is supported by LCA International Mission through funding and through the provision of a guest teacher. Women joining hand in hand to educate a new generation of women to be future leaders. Part of this is working together to reach the needy, the poor and the marginalised. This year Katherine Bensted from Australia was supported by the LCA International Mission to be a guest speaker at the Women’s Ministry Conference.

A mother’s prayer, a handful of rice, willing hearts and a gracious and loving God.

All things are possible.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner churches in Myanmar at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/myanmar/