Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Saturday, February 7, 2015
We finished the four day seminar today. I took a late afternoon flight back to Yangon and will fly back to India early tomorrow morning. Pastor Koenig will be in Kalaymyo for two more days.
The last picture is Pastor Koenig and me along with the President (Thang) and Secretary (Kham) of the Zomi Lutheran Church of Myanmar. Zomi is the Tedim (language of the Chin tribe) word for this tribal area of western Myanmar.
Friday, February 6, 2015
It's Friday evenig here in Kalaymyo near the western border of Myanmar. It's hard to realize that I'm not that far from north-east India. But what I've learned this week is that the border area between Myanmar and India is no place that we would want to be. This is where Pastor Thang's father was be-headed back in 2007. He was on his way back from a visit to India and criminals in the area assumed that he had gone to India to get money. When he told them that he had none the did not believe him because they knew he was a Christian. They were convinced that he had gone to India to get money for the churches in Chin State that he served. The criminals became frustrated trying to get him to give them the money that he didn't have and so they killed him by be-heading him. Hard to even imagine that a story like that could be a part of a churches' history. It was after his father had been killed that Pastor Thang was thrust into a leadership role that he had neither desired nor expected. He and Pastor Kham began looking for guidance in leading this small group of Lutheran pastors and congregations spread through-out the poverty striken Chin State. That was the time when the "stumbled" across the Church of the Lutheran Confession. Their email was forwarded to the CLC Bd of Missions and that email landed in my email inbox back in 2007. After initial correspondence and then correspondence course, Pastor David Koenig was asked by the Bd. of Missions to take over communication and to plan a visit. Since that time Pastor Koenig has traveled to Kalaymyo every year but one to meet with the pastors and to conduct Bible teaching seminars.
Since Chin State (where most of the congregations are located) remains restricted to foreign visitors Pastor Koenig has not been able to visit the local congregations. We were hopeful that the new and developing government here in Myamar would issue the necessary permit for us to visit one of the congregations that recently finished construction of a new church building. Unfortunately, we were not able to secure the permit needed to travel to Chin State.
The last four days have been spent teaching several pastors and about 90 others who have gathered to grow in their understanding of God's word. The seminar began each day at 8:00 am and concluded at 3:30 pm. And each evening there were more than a 100 who gathered for evening worship. Pastor Koenig and I took turns preaching and teaching at the seminar and evening worship services. It has been a joy and a privilege to spend this time teaching God's saving word to so many who are so eager and hungry for God's word.
I also so thankful for the opportunity to finally meet Pastor Kham and Thang face to face. I have read so many emails from them and have read and prayed over the reports that Pastor Koenig has faithfully sent to the Bd of Missions over the past several years. While email and things like Skype or Facetime are wonderful tools for instant communication...nothing can replace or make up for the understanding and fellowship that can only be established and truly appreciated through a face to face visit and standing and working side by side, shoulder to shoulder in our Savior's harvest fields. Thank You Lord for these past 4 1/2 days with these faithful servants of the word and for all those who have gathered around His word!
My travel plans have changed a bit. I will leave Myanmar a couple of days early so that I can return to India for a couple of days on my trip back home. My flight leaves from Kalaymyo tomorrow afternoon. My flight will take me from Kalaymyo to Mandalay and then back to Rangoon. I'll spend a short night in Rangoon before I catch an early flight back to Chennai (via Kuala Lampur) where I will be met by Pastor Starkey.
The internet here is too slow to post a lot of pictures...I'll try to upload one picture from the worship service last night. Check back again in a couple of days. I'm hoping to post a few pictures while I spend the night in Rangoon.
Good night from Kalaymyo in western Myanmar!
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Made it safely to Kalaymyo in western Myanmar. The hotel has wifi but it is painfully slow so I'm not sure if the pictures will upload or not.
Tomorrow I will teach about 90 folks at the first day of the four day seminar and then I will preach in the evening. Pastor Koenig will be on deck for day two.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
We worshipped with the members of the congregation that Pastor Charles serves in the outskirts of Yangon this morning. Six people were baptized in the service. Three of them were recently converted Buddhists.
Such a joy and a privilege to worship our Savior and to abide in His word together with fellow believers who are united together in God-pleasing fellowship. Former Muslims and Buddhists and all of sinners...rejoicing together in the forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life that is ours through our Savior's death and resurrection!
The pictures below are of the inside of the church as Pastor Koenig is preaching and Pastor Charles is translating. The other pictures are the views from the Windows of the church.
Saturday, January 31, 2015
It is such a privilege to be at work in our Savior's kingdom. Today was no exception. Pastor Koenig has been here for a couple of days already so I was slated to teach the whole day. There were well over 90 in attendance today. The Bible seminar was from 9:00 - 3:30.
The crowd that gathered was made up of several independant pastors from the area along with many others from the area who were interested in learning more of what the Bible has to say. I was introduced to a number of individuals who have recieved Bible instruction class from Pastor Charles. Several of these individuals are converts from Buddhism and one woman was recently converted from Islam. Praise the Lord!
Before the afternoon session began 15 individuals came forward to recieve their certificate of completion for the course on Luther's Catechism that the recently completed with Pastor Edwards. The young lady who was recognized for having the highest score on the test was recently converted from Buddhism. Again...Praise the Lord!
Tomorrow morning during the worship service two recently converted Buddhists who are being instructed by Pastor Charles will be baptized. And again...Praise the Lord!!!
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Just a quick note to let every one know that I made it safely to Myanmar today. I'm at my motel now with excellent internet access.
I'll meet up with Dave Koeing later today and then I'm hoping to get a good night of sleep tonight so I can kick this nasty head cold that I picked up along the way.
Tomorrow (Saturday) we'll meet with the pastors here in Yangon. This will be the first time I've met these men face to face. I'm excited to finally have this opportunity and privilge to work with them in our Savior's kingdom.
A big thanks to Ed and Janice for hosting and scheduling my quick visit to India. It was great to spend time with them and the hospitality was top shelf. Thanks again!!!
Just a quick post to let everyone know that I've made the first leg of my journey from Chennai to Myanmar. I'm about halfway through a three hour layover in Kuala Lumpur. I'll arrive in Yangon /Rangoon around 11:30 am (Friday).
I had great visit with Ed and Janice in Chennai. The class with Martin Luther Bible School students went well. And had a good visit and discussion with the District Chairmen of the BELC. I have really grown to appreciate and love those men in the 17+ years I've had the privilege of working with them. I'll post pictures as soon as I find some high speed internet in Yangon.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
My flight arrived at 1:15 am in Chennai and Ed and Kumar were waiting as promised...it's now 3:00 am Wednesday (India time) 3:30 pm Tuesday afternoon (St. Louis time)...I've been up for the 35 hours now. It shouldn't be too difficult to get some sleep I'm looking forward to a couple of days visting with Ed and Janice, the District Chairman of the BELC and the students at the Martin Luther Bible School.
Good night and Good Afternoon!
Monday, January 26, 2015
My early morning flight from St. Louis was right on schedule...if fact it landed a few minutes early. I turned on my phone to find a text message from Cathay Airlines informing me that my flight from Chicago to Hong Kong is delayed by one hour. That means that I probably won't make my connecting flight from Hong Kong to Chennai, India...this might turn a long day into a REALLY long day.
On a much happier note...I just got to visit with the students of Holy Cross Lutheran School in Phoenix (where my son Josh is the teacher) via Skype. They asked lots of really great questions about mission work, travel, and God's Kingdom for about a 1/2 hour. That was lots of fun!
If I can find internet access in Hong Kong...I'll check in and let you know how things are going.
Please pray that the Lord would arrange my flights according to His good pleasure!
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
On January 26th I will be leaving for a CLC Board of Missions visitation to the Mission Fields in Myanmar (formerly Burma) is Southeast Asia. Our visiting missionary has been traveling to Myanmar annually since 2008, but this will be my first visit and the first official visit by the CLC Board of Missions.
|Myanmar has a population of nearly 56 million...90% are Buddhist|
I should mention as a side note, that it was during this time that, for some unknown reason, we had several foreign pastors and church leaders make inquiry with CLC about joining together in the work of the Kingdom. I recall beginning correspondence with at least ten individuals around that that time. Surprisingly, there were two different individuals from Myanmar that contacted the CLC about this time. One of those two contacts "panned out" the other did not as we soon found out that they were already involved with and receiving financial support from the another Lutheran church body in the U.S. This was also the time when correspondence was just beginning with a young pastor in Nepal that would eventually lead to the formation of the Himalayan Church of the Lutheran Confession of Nepal. Many of you have had the privilege of meeting this young pastor named Raju who has spent the past three years attending our ILC seminary in Wisconsin. Somewhat later, correspondence also began with a pastor in Zimbabwe, Africa that is still progressing to this day. Most of the other correspondence with other contacts have come to end because it was determined that doctrinal unity was not important to them or their requests had only to do with financial support with no interest in pursuing God-pleasing fellowship first through the study of God's word. The reason I mention all of this is so that we can rejoice together in the fact that of all the pastors and preachers and church-bodies spread across this vast and wonderful world, the Lord saw fit to give us the privilege of working together in His kingdom with the pastors and congregations of the CLC-Myanmar and the National Church of Myanmar. God is certainly good!!!
|Official Flag of Myanmar - Adopted in 2010|
I am not sure how often I will have the opportunity to update this blog. I hope to keep it up to date and also post lots of pictures. Again, I am excited to finally meet the pastor that I had the privilege of corresponding with some seven years ago as we worked through and found unity in the doctrines of Holy Scripture that we hold so dear.
I will be meeting up with Missionary Koenig in Yangon, Myanmar on January 30th after I spend a couple of days visiting with Missionary Ed Starkey and his wife Janice along with the leaders of the Berea Ev. Lutheran Church (BELC) and the students of the BELC Bible institute in India.
You can read some brief history of our involvement in Myanmar on the CLC Lutheran Missions website at: www.LutheranMissions.org
Please pray that the Lord would...
- keep us humble and grant wisdom in all things
- grant us patience
- bless our preaching and teaching of His Word
- bless those who hear the Word and lead them to repent and believe in Jesus
- be with our families and help them not to worry
- be with the members of Faith Lutheran Church of St. Louis County while I am gone
- help us to rejoice always in this great privilege of proclaiming His word
- keep us safe
- keep us healthy
Pastor Todd Ohlmann