Thursday, December 30

Here is one of five pictures sent to me by Rev. Jose Peter from India. The devastation in South India is overwhelming (no pun intended). I think the other pictures are AP wirephotos and are therefore probably copyright and I'm disinclined to post them for that reason. We have reason to be thankful that this has not befallen us.

"There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."


Tuesday, December 28

More On The Tsunami

I have not heard from everyone in MM as yet, but here is our contact in Yangon (Rangoon) with the most immediate access to the internet:

"Thank you so much for your concern and we all are doing fine here and it didn't effect our daily routine work.No power cut off. We only felt mild earthquake and no damages and no one injured. I believe that because of your prayer we all are safe.
Best regards to Mrs. Bacon and Matt as well.
See you in February."


Monday, December 27

Very Few Reports on Tsunami

Most Blog readers have already heard of the earthquake that took place off the northeast coast of the island of Sumatra (Indonesia) and the resulting devastating effects of the Tsunami that came from the earthquake. There is a lot of news coming from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and from Phuket, Thailand. But little is coming from Myanmar.

The one thing I've seen was a link from the Myanmar International Times to the Reuter's News Service. I've sent emails to several friends and contacts in Myanmar and hope to hear back from them soon. Of course, even without a Tsunami the power situation in Myanmar is not 100%.


Monday, December 20

It Is Winter In Tahan

I have been in Tahan in the winter, and though it is in the tropics, it is also at a somewhat higher elevation -- around 4,000 feet above sea level. It does get "chilly" there in the winter and the hours of darkness are longer. The darkness is not so long as it is the temperate zones, but it is appreciable. So the schedule changes somewhat for the orphans.

A Day At New Life Orphanage

The following is the routine from Monday to Friday for the short daylight hours during the winter season.

1) Wake-up time 5:30 Am
2) Devotions 6:00 Am
3) Breakfast 7:00-7:30 Am
4) Laundry 7:30-8:30 Am
5) School starts 9:00 Am
6) Recess 10:00-10:15 Am
7) School Resumes 10:15-11:00 Am
8) Lunch 11:30 Am
9) Aftermoon school 1:00 Pm
10) Recess 2:00-2:15 Pm
11) School Resumes 2:15-3:00 Pm
12) Playtime 3:00-4:00 Pm
13) Bathing time 4:00-5:00 Pm
14) Dinner 5:00 Pm
15) Evening prayers 6:00 Pm
16) Study 7:00-9:00 Pm
17) Lights out 10:00 Pm


Tuesday, December 14

Here is a previous conference at RBI. Yours truly is in the blue shirt in front. To my left is Rev. Changwon Shu and to his left is Dr. Thang Bwee. Posted by Hello

Monday, December 13

Time For Another Trip

It is hard to believe it has been nearly a year since my last trip to Myanmar, but time does get away from us sometimes. It has been a profitable year. The New Life Orphanage continues and with more support could easily double the number of orphans we presently have. At the present we are supporting 75 orphans, including food, lodging, and education. As the orphans become older they also learn trades (generally sewing, farming, and carpentry). Our biggest "structural" need at present is for a carpentry shop. We have the space to build it -- it would go on about 1/3 of the 7.5 acres that we are presently using for rice. But we need the funds (yes, that is a hint).

The Ticket Has Been Purchased

So, the plan is presently for me to leave Dallas-Ft. Worth on February 1st. The trip this time takes me through Los Angeles, Osaka, Bangkok, and then to Yangon (Rangoon). I will arrive in Yangon, DV, mid-morning on the third. We "lose" a half day when we cross the Int'l dateline, so it doesn't really take 48 hours to get there. It only takes 33-36 hours on the trip -- but about 8 hours of that is a layover in Bangkok.

And For Those Who Have Prayed With Us In The Past...

The next step is that of receiving an entry visa from the government (embassy) of the Union of Myanmar. I have been there seven times now -- this is my eighth trip. So the immediate temptation is to think of the visa as a "given." But the fact is, "man proposes, but God disposes." We have received the visas in the past, it is true. But we have also undertaken to pray with hundreds of people that those visas would be granted. So God has been pleased to go before us in the past, just as he went before the Israelites in the desert. But we dare not think we should quit praying for his will to be accomplished in us and through us.

Actually, Myanmar visas are very hard to get. I know of others who have gone there and been turned down for subsequent trips, so it is not "automatic." Please do be in prayer -- remember this as you pray for missions. And please pass along this request to others in your congregation's membership and leadership as well.

The Psalter Is Ready To Go

The digital file has been brought up to date. We simply need to compile all three portions into a single document for the "final review." This will be the first complete Psalter available for singing in any of the languages of Myanmar. There are over 100 distinct languages and dialects used among the tribes of Myanmar, and we have been helping in getting Psalters for two of them. Most of the work being done on the Burmese language Psalter is being done by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (EPCM) and the Protestant Reformed Churches of Myanmar (PRCM). We are happy to be of some help to them. But most of our work has been done on the Falam language Psalter. That is the "family" language of most of the Christian Chin in Myanmar.

And We Hope To Do Some Teaching

We will be getting to Yangon just at the end of the school year and hope to teach at the Reformed Bible Institute (RBI) under the presidency of U Thang Bwee. In two weeks, it will be difficult to teach much in depth, but I will have the students for six hours per day and six days per week. So the lecture time will actually be comparable to 3 or 4 semester hours. Please pray for understanding. The men I will be training will be carrying the gospel to the villages of Myanmar for the coming generation.

More later as the day of departure approaches.

Saturday, October 2

My wife suggested that I paste the following letter into my blog. Please keep in mind that this letter was likely written originally in the Mizo tongue and translated into English. Thus in order to "prevent misunderstanding," the translator will often use a series of synonyms for a particular Mizo word. Here is the letter, just as it came from the children of the orphanage.

First Presbyterian Church, Rolet Texas
Sunday School Children.

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

We are reformed children;
Jesus loves us, this we know;
For the Bible tells us so:
Little ones to Him belong;
We are weak, but He is strong.
(Yes, Jesus Loves us ) 3
He also Loves you too!

We have heard that you are doing your best for us and also praying for us; so we thank you and God Who plans and arranges all things.

Your ministry in serving the Lord has strengthened us very much. It has been and still is a great blessing for our bodies and our souls. While we were yet fatherless and motherless, our God, the Great Designer aranged and planned it so that just as you have fathers and mothers, God gave us Mr. Bacon and Mrs. Bacon (Dabby) to be our father and mother. He also gave you all to us to be our many brothers and sisters. It fills our hearts with gratitude mirth and glee.

We have high hopes that God the eternal Designer will arrange it so that one day, hale and hearty and happily, we will meet face to face with you. We pray for your always. Let us pray for each other, you in your corner, cubby hole and niche, and we in ours.

May the Lord continue to bless your ministry. Amen.

Your brothers and sisters in Christ
New Life Presbyterian Church Children


A Few of the NL Orphans Posted by Hello

Here is Pasiang (Siang Lian Hope) Posted by Hello

Friday, October 1

Invitation Declined

Rev. Thang Bwee recently invited me to join the first graduation class of Reformed Bible Institute (RBI). Sadly, it was necessary for me to decline at the present time. I have previous commitments in this country at the same time that RBI is graduating its first class. RBI is the school that is sponsored by the Korean Presbyterian Church of Rev. Changwon Shu (pron. "saw"). Thang Bwee was recently awarded a D.Min., so it was my hope to be able to be with him, but as we say, "man proposes, but God disposes."

Work On Psalter Progresses

Some of my readers know that we have been working for some time on a Burmese Psalter. At present we are actually working in two distinct languages. One is the Burmese tongue, which is the "universal language" of Myanmar. That translation is being done primarily or exclusively from The Psalter (UPC 1912 version). At the same time we are working on a Falam language Psalter based upon The Comprehensive Psalter (a version of the 1650 Psalter) settings, with comparison and additional translation from the Hebrew.

On my last trip to Myanmar, last Feb, we updated all the settings. There was a committee of about 21 or so Chin men. We also "translated" the musical notation from standard staff notes to "Sol-Fa" notation. We are now in the process of updating the digital file to incorporate all the committee's changes. We hope to have this work finished by next February. Right now it is progressing, but very slowly. Anyone who would like to make a (financial) contribution to this project can send his or her check to the address at the end of this blog entry.

Siang Hope In India

Pasiang (a diminutive or "nickname" for Siang) has journeyed partly by foot and partly by rail to get to Dehra Dun, India to attend the Presbyterian Theological Seminary (PTS) there. All courses at PTS are taught in English. It has already begun to stretch him not only in his theological studies, but in his English study as well. For a picture of Pasiang, see the picture "Here is Pasiang." It should be just above this entry.

Pasiang's tuition comes to about USD 900 per year. This does not count expenses for clothes, bedding, books, and supplies. It does cover bed and messing (board). If anyone would like to help with Pasiang's education, a gift in any amount would be welcomed. First Presbyterian Church's deacons are currently keeping a fund for Pasiang's education. If you would like to contribute to this cause, please send a check in any amount to:

Mission To Myanmar
c/o First Presbyterian Church
8210 Schrade Road
Rowlett, Tx. 75088

Please make your checks or money orders payable to First Presbyterian Church and indicate if this is for the New Life orphanage or for the education fund.

New Life Orphanage

I received an accounting from Rev. Moses Dawnga just this morning for their expenses through the month of September. Because they raised rice on a 7 acre paddy this year, their rice expense was lowered by about 25%. We are presently housing, clothing, feeding, and educating in the reformed faith, 75 orphans in the northern part of Myanmar for about $135 US per year per orphan. They are learning not only basic "3 Rs" education, but they are also receiving training in various trades as they get old enough to be trained in that way. Rev. Moses Dawnga loves these children and was keeping about a dozen orphans in his home when we first heard of his ministry.

Sadly we cannot simply adopt the orphans and bring them home with us. We have quiet and diplomatic arrangements with the local authorities that the children can be educated in the Reformed Christian faith and not attend the Buddhist run schools. If we were to bring these children to the attention of national authorities, they would immediately give them to the Buddhists, who use them to go house to house begging rice. So we have adopted a course that we believe is best for the orphans themselves. They are quietly educated in the Reformed faith, a Christian worldview, and given trades by which they can "give back" to those who follow them.

If you would like to help with this effort, please let us know you are praying for them; and if you can give financially, please send any contributions to the above address. Simply let us know that it is for the New Life Orphanage. A gift of $135 will support an orphan for an entire year.


Saturday, February 7

It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

The website that supposedly was going to be able to handle my visa application now appears to be "for sale." Or rather the domain name is for sale. I've written to the email addy on a few occasions and have yet to receive any sort of response. At this point, it seems the best approach would be for me to obtain my visa in the usual way. I sent off last week by local expeditor for a new visa. I hope the readers of this blog will be in prayer that a visa will be forthcoming.

Company and Yet...

It seems that there will be a few friends of the gospel in Myanmar during the month of February. I mentioned in my last installment that Jeff Easley of The Aquila Project expects to be there. However, there will be some other reformed people there as well and although the particular people group with which they work is different, I hope to be able to spend some time fellowshipping -- perhaps a meal. This trip will be quite short and the time of overlap will be even shorter still, so we shall see what we shall see.

Yesterday I Heard From Pasiang

Things are lined up at the City Star Hotel for us to have their large meeting room. It seems that there will be about 22 to 25 people involved in this final review and revise meeting. All are qualified in both Falam and English languages to be able to look over the documents.

And The Digitizing Is Finished

Matthew informed me that the digitization has been finished and the results compared with the original of the Falam Saamhla. Lord willing I will have the digital "product" with me on the HD of my laptop, but also on CD for distribution. As things stand right now, this is the only item we have to do on this trip. We do hope to investigate further the resources necessary for an English Language school and other projects, but nothing other than exploratory work will be accomplished. The bulk (90% or more) of the time will be spent on the Saamhla.


Thursday, January 15

Newest News

We (Mission to Myanmar) now have a new, but very short, trip planned for next month -- February 2004. The single purpose of this trip is to review and revise the wording of the Falam language Psalter. The "philosophy" of translation that we have in MTM is that it is better to have those who are native speakers of the target language do the revising -- and the translating where possible. So, this trip should finalize the wording of the Samhla Theihthiamnak.

I will be going to Myanmar alone this trip, but do hope to meet for a short visit or two with Jeff Easley of The Aquila Project. Jeff is a former Marine and he and I have had a number of good experiences together in Myanmar at the Golden Guest Inn.

The visa procedure has actually joined the 20th/21st century! In the past we have always used a visa expediting firm here in the Dallas area. I lost confidence in them because of the way they handled my last trip. I was getting less and less service each time for more and more money. That is usually a sign in the capitalist world that a company no longer wants one's business. So, in doing a "Google search" for another company that could handle my visa I came across a site that has been set up for the Myanmar Immigration Department. The MM immigration dept sends, via email, a letter of approval and then charges for the visa at the Yangon airport. Very handy. The procedure takes a minimum of seven days, however, so should not be used for an "emergency." Only when the flight numbers are known and there is plenty of time, it looks like a great option!

Best Intentions

It is my intention to keep blog postings while I am in Myanmar again this trip. For those who would like to see some of the past work that MTM has done, please log into the FPCR Website. Also, for those who are on my regular "Burma Mailings" list, I will let you know as there is new activity on the Blog here.