Thursday, October 2

Subject: Winding Down

Third Calendar Month

We arrived on the ground in Yangon on 28 August, having left the US on 26 August. There were only two or three days remaining in that month, then we spent all of September in MM, and have now entered October. We now have less than two weeks left (we will actually be on the ground in the US in less than two weeks time, if the Lord wills). Old Testament Introduction began on Monday and I must say that it is not exactly what I expected. It is much easier to keep a Greek class on course. But as Rev. Thang Bwee noted earlier in this trip, it is better to get understanding of the material rather than simply to cover the material.

The Interest in Further Reform

Most of yesterday (Wednesday) was taken up in questions about reformation in the church. Over the three years that I have been coming here, one of the pressing concerns in the reformed churches has become Psalmody. When I first came nobody in the reformed community here had even heard of singing the Psalms beyond the idea of having a Psalm number at the head of a hymn. That is not precisely true. Titus San Ceu Luai had already begun to sing a few Psalms that someone in his church had translated into Burmese. At this point, however, there is practically a clamor on the part of both leaders and members in the reformed churches to have Psalms that are suitable for singing in the churches. So, two of the hours yesterday were spent (at the request of the sem president) explaining three aspects of reformation that have still not taken place in MM. The first reform is that of church polity; the second that of worship; and the third (closely allied to polity) is that of reformed education in the seminaries. Some of the students are even thinking through some of the practical aspects of their professed belief in TULIP. It has been an encouraging trip in many ways.

More Health Concerns

Matt was unable to accompany me to Kalemyo because of a sickness that came upon him on the eve of my departure. It has returned, but this time it seems with even greater strength. He has been confined to bed or his room since Monday. Dr. Tat has prescribed a second generation broad spectrum antibiotic and he is also attempting oral rehydration therapy. Matt seemed a little more "chipper" last evening, so perhaps he will be able to return to duties today. His problem may simply go back to an ingested amoeba or some such, but that is little physical comfort. He has been taking an amoebicide since Monday, hoping that was the problem. Meanwhile, Debby is also not feeling well. She has continued her duties, but has also been feeling rather poorly. We suspected it was something she ate. We finally decided it was the roasted rice and so she has returned to a stricter diet of white rice (steamed rice) instead of the tastier roasted rice. It does seem to have helped her digestion to stick with simpler fare.

A Phone Call in the Night

Last night I received a phone call from Len Thang and Titus Lal Tai Lo. They did not have much to say beyond what they already had said in their email previously. Of course first Titus explained the situation and why they were calling and I answered him. Then he handed the phone to Len Thang who asked the identical questions. I guess it is only true if they have heard me say it with their own ears. This Saturday Moses Dawnga (Tahan Moses) is supposed to be coming to Yangon with an English translation of his new constitution and bylaws. I will look it over and probably bring a copy of it back with me to the USA. He does seem to be trying to do what I've asked him to do, viz. have a board to which he will be accountable, which can tell him "no," and which will be able to meet without his permission. I shall see on Saturday what he has come up with.

Standing in Sandals All Day

Standing in sandals (i.e. no arch support) is starting to "tell" on my leg muscles. They are in knots in several places. It is a relief to sit down for even a few minutes. When I finally finish at the end of the school day I am more and more looking forward to getting in the car and heading for GGI. I've begun doing stretching exercises several times during the day, but it will be good to be able to wear shoes again -- if my feet still fit in my shoes! I have not even been wearing shoes for preaching engagements. The custom here is to preach barefoot and so most of the people would be quite shocked I think, to see someone wearing shoes behind the pulpit. I have only six more days of lecturing before we return home. Of course there will also be a day of final exams and a day of packing after that, and preaching this coming Lord's Day, but the end is in sight.


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