Peace, Hope and a Future

To meet James is to meet a whirlwind for Jesus! Confident, enthusiastic and wit the deep warmth of hospitality, James is alive with God’s Spirit and is a pastor in the Myanmar Lutheran Church (MLC).

James grew up in a village of 50 houses. Three of James’s siblings died from disease. During this time, a village missionary evangelist challenged the family about what was important in their lives. ‘What is it in life that could give you peace?’, he asked.

It was James’s’ mum who came to trust in Jesus first, followed by his dad. As his dad was dying, he requested that the local evangelist come and pray with him and he told his family of the deep peace he felt.

After his dad died, many in the small village turned against the family because of their belief in Jesus. In the mornings, it was common for James’s family to find drunk men had damaged their fence the night before. Often they were told to move away to the mountains.

But every morning they would wake and spend time with the Lord. James’s mother led them in prayer and devotion, always encouraging them.

Only five children from James’s village attended school with him. According to tradition, his sister had to stay home with her mother. Most of the other village boys worked on their farms and saw little need for education. At school, James was told that his future was limited as he was ‘nothing’. However, his mum encouraged him to instead see what God in heaven could see in him, that there was hope and a future.

James felt lured to join the army because power over others was valued. But his mother told him she had promised his father that James would not join the army.

While at school in year 9, James received a message that his mother was very ill. When he arrived home his mother could not talk or move and, as she was being taken to hospital, James was told to expect that she would die. As nothing could be done for her in hospital, James took his mum home.

James prayed, telling God that he didn’t know what to do and he didn’t want to live if his mother died.

While reading Mark 12 1-27 the word ‘living’ kept playing on James’s mind and, in a moment of emotion, he promised that if his mother lived, he would serve Jesus. A month later, his mother was healed.

Within a year, James went to Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, to study the God’s Word. James proved a good student and soon found that in exchange for tutoring other students, he did not have to wash his clothes!

James has been in ministry ever since and knows the joy of serving Jesus. He understands that God does indeed have a plan for his children and that hope and purpose are gifts from God.

James received a short-term scholarship through LCA International Mission, to study theology at the Australian Lutheran College in Adelaide for three months in 2012.

This story was also published in the April 2019 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

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