The Visas Have Been Issued
The wait was something like 8 weeks, but we just received notification that our visas have arrived at Global Passport. We can come by sometime today or tomorrow and pick them up. I know that there are many who read this blog who have been praying for this (and other) aspect(s) of the journey. First, we praise and thank God for your prayers and for having so many people who continue to be interested in the missions enterprise in these days. Second, we thank God for inclining his ear to your prayers and answering from heaven. We confess, along with you, that he is the God over the heavens and the earth and does whatsoever pleases him. Therefore we rejoice that it has pleased him to move the "king's heart" (Prov. 21:1) in such a way that entry into Burma is now going to be allowed from Thursday next week.
Laundry Means More Books
We have arranged our luggage in such a way that three people taking the maximum weight ends up giving us nearly a quarter ton (420 pounds to be exact -- one more trunk would get us almost right at the quarter ton mark) for bringing items into Burma. Normally on a six week trip one might think most of that would be clothes, but in this case it is primarily books. We are taking in text books for my classes, some books we hope to have translated, and some books to begin "stocking the library" of the ESL school. This is possible because we can take very few clothes and have them washed in a Burmese laundry. Thus most of our weight can be taken up with books. By the way, if there are any readers who would like to help us out with books, send suitable English language books to:
Mission to Myanmar
c/o First Presbyterian Church
8210 Schrade Road
Rowlett, TX 75088
Please do not send new books unless you don't have any used ones and try to make sure that they would suitably reflect on the glory of Jesus Christ (no, they do not have to be "religious books" to do that).
Speaking of Burmese Laundries
The expense of having laundry done in Yangon is minimal. They even do our socks, though they don't wear socks themselves. The Burmese typically wear sandals out side the home and slip them off and "go barefoot" inside the home. Sort of the opposite of what we did as children back in the good ol' summertime in the 50s. Since they are not really that familiar with socks, the laundry treats them like any other piece of clothing: washing, ironing, folding, and placing inside cellophane wrappers. For some reason, it has not occurred to the laundry that I use in Yangon that socks come in pairs (you know, like feet). So each separate sock is folded and wrapped. Cuts down on sorting time for them, perhaps. Tee shirts come back folded on cardboard as though they were brand new.
Rainy Season in Yangon & Kalemyo
Yangon has been "declared" by WHO to be malaria-free. I guess that is better than Texas, which is experiencing another outbreak of west nile virus this year. But in Kalemyo and Tahan, this is the mosquito season and it is not a malaria-free zone. Neither is it a typhus free zone, nor a Japanese Encephalitus free zone. Of course I would prefer not to have any of these diseases myself, though something like 60% of the population in and around the area we will be ministering are infected. We trust God, but make use of means. Unlike King Asa, who trusted in doctors, we trust in God and make use of doctors. I received a different prophylaxis for typhus this year. Three years ago I received the shot, but it is of shorter duration. This time I took the capsules, which are a little more time consuming (4 capsules, one every other day), but because they use a weakened virus they also supposedly last longer. Also, instead of taking mefloquine for malaria this trip, we are trying a different drug called malarone. The malarone is more expensive and is administered daily rather than weekly, but supposedly does not have the "mood altering" effects that have been associated with mefloquine. MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor and don't even play one on TV. But there are some who play doctor on the internet, who claim that mefloquine is mood altering.
As some of the readers have heard me say, "safety is not the absence of danger, but the presence of the Lord." I ask that you pray for me, not for safety, but for boldness. An overconcern for safety will sometimes rob us of the boldness we ought to have for the Lord's sake. Through the book of Acts, there is not a single instance of a prayer for safety. Rather, when persecution arises, the church prayed in the book of Acts for boldness. It is a wise pattern. After all, the purpose of persecution is not simply to hurt us; it is to stop us. Thus whether we struggle against principalities and powers or simply against the sin that so easily besets us, our prayers to God should be that he would enbolden us by his Spirit.