On a recent rip to Myanmar, our team of four (2 Americans, 1 Burmese translator, and 1 Burmese church planter) took a car 20 minutes out of the city. At the bridge we stepped into a boat and took the river upstream to a small village on a flooded rice farm. When we stepped out of the boat, we were instructed to leave our sandals and walk bare foot. Our team walked from hut to hut in knee deep mud to share Kingdom stories that related to their lives. Before we were finished with one visit, we were invited to another hut.
Curious about our adventure, the owner of the boat stood in the water and mud outside the hut and listened to our stories. Fixated on a Buddhist good works world view, one listener remarked, “God will surely bless you for coming all this way and walking in the mud to tell us about him.” I responded, “I’m honored He chose me and my journey is nothing compared to the sacrifice Jesus made to pull me out of my own dishonor and shame. My shame was much worse than this mud around your house.” The boat owner was captivated. He invited us to his home for tea. As he offered a dirty kettle and one glass for us all to share, I sat with my back to the Buddhist shrine in his humble bamboo home. I shared another Kingdom story and invited him to the story group later in the afternoon.
The photo above is of the rice farming families of the village. They sit arms folded as a sign of respect and listen to the beginnings of an honor / shame story. All 30 in attendance agreed to return next week to hear more stories from the local church planter. Today, a church was born.