Myanmar calling

Since 2007, Dianne and I have been involved with Myanmar mission work, having travelled there quite a number of times now.

In early September 2019 we arrived in Myanmar and spent five weeks doing volunteer work. On the night we arrived, I went to bed and prayed to God, as I was feeling overwhelmed and spiritually under attack. The devil spoke many lies and half-truths into my heart.  I was fearful and felt like a ‘pretender’ who was not up to doing the training.  But God came to me, his Holy Spirit filled me with peace and warmth and I went to sleep knowing that God was with us and would bless what we were doing.

We started the next morning, teaching English via the medium of music with explanations of words in English and Burmese. We also introduced Lutheran doctrine and material about the Theology of the Cross vis a vis Theology of Glory. Training during the day was generally from 10am to 3pm, with lunch at noon.

The students loved worshipping and learning English through music and explanation. I starting learning Burmese with the help of some of the locals which gave the students a laugh. The students were very forgiving and understanding.

One day we were worshipping using one of Hillsong’s songs which we had been teaching the students.  They knew the song as we had been through it a few times.  I was standing out the front and, as I had my hands out in front of me, I felt the Holy Spirit come upon me in a powerful way.  I fell to the ground, flat on my back, in front of all the students.  As I lay there, I heard from God, through the Holy Spirit, “I am in control and will guide you and give you the words to say when you’re doing the training and lead you. Trust me Ian.”   I had no strength in my limbs so I lay there for several minutes, eventually getting up knowing God had touched me in an amazing way.

We spent our five weeks in Myanmar training at the Myanmar Lutheran Seminary. Pastor James San Aung, Principal of Myanmar Lutheran Seminary and Mission Director of Myanmar Lutheran Church (MLC), asked us to do some theological training on evangelism and discipleship. I spent the evenings preparing material from books borrowed from the church library and also those I had taken with me on the trip.

We mixed up the training activities throughout the day, singing songs, learning English and doing theological study.  Students were also given opportunities, through an interpreter, to share what they had learned during the day.  At these times they offered wonderful faith stories and testimonies of their faith. I learned a lot while teaching at the Myanmar Lutheran Seminary.

On a number of occasions, God prompted me to stop training and instead pray for a given situation, whether it be the ongoing civil war in Paletwa, Chin State or for individual students.

The Holy Spirit was also playful.  One day as I was training on the ‘Kingdom of God’ I heard Pastor Peter Steicke’s voice talking to me about the topic. It was nothing I had ever heard him train on or speak about but the words poured out from me on to the white board.  Pastor Moses was astonished, saying that what I had shared were really good thoughts.  At the break, I let him know that it was God who had put those thoughts into my heart and mind.

The last Sunday (6th October 2019) was a really special moment from my time in Myanmar.  We had just finished lunch, after morning worship, when Pastor Moses summoned James and I to go to the youth service. As I walked to the worship centre, I prayed ‘what do you want me to say Lord’?  God replied with thoughts that were direct and simple, “Ian, don’t say too much, just sing and worship me through music.”  So that is what we did. The presence of the Holy Spirit was real as we sang several songs in English with the youth. It was a special time of worship to God our king.

If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email For more information, go to

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