On July 7th, we started our long journey. We flew from Calgary to Salt Lake City, then Tokyo, then Bangkok. We stayed in Bangkok for a few days to get over jet-lag, which wasn't as bad as we thought. God really had grace on us there, and that theme was hugely apparent on our trip.
In Bangkok, we prepared for our Bible teachings.
We then flew from Bangkok to Yangon.
First, we went to the market and the guys bought longhis (lawn-jees) - essentially man-skirts. Our friend taught us how to fold/tie them on so they don't fall down (it's one big tube-fabric-thing).
Then, we settled into our guest house. We spent some time to continue preparing for our teachings. One school had about 15 students and the other only had three! So those of us preparing for the smaller school (Sherry, Evan and I) had to change our lectures up a bit to better suit a smaller class.
We also worked with a church which ran an english club, bible study, and a church. Our timing (God's timing) was great, as we happened to come the few weeks in which all but one of their pastors was around. And since they ran an event almost every night, plus the sermon, it was really good that we could help. I personally helped with two of the bible studies we did (on Thursdays), and shared my testimony (in ten minutes or so) on a Sunday.
At this church we made most of our friends, who were happy to practice English and even share about their own struggles with being a Christian in such a primarily Buddhist place. One friend I met became a Christian a few months ago, but hasn't told his parents, and probably won't until he moves out, because they would kick him out, he believes. But his excitement for Jesus, and this is true with many young people we met there, was fantastic! Here's a picture of him (the one next to me).
Most of our preparation during our time in Yangon was for that church. All the preparation we did before going was for the inductive SBS teachings we did. I taught the book of Philemon with Steph's Colossians; Sherry taught Philipians and Malachi; Evan taught Hosea; and Nathan taught I Thessalonians. These were between two SBSes there - one with YWAM (the one with 15 or so students) and one that was separate from (though closely tied with) YWAM (3 students). Here's the first one during Steph's teaching.
The third and final place we did most of our work in was the smaller SBS. The students were very kind and generous (highlighting the awesomeness of their culture). Every time we went, we were served with a wonderful lunch. The students (and even the staff) were very respectful. Once, one of the students started fanning us while we ate lunch (after someone's teaching). THEN, a staff member came and she took over for him, fanning us. I just wonder how much I would do for visitors to our base...
This was the school I taught Micah in. I was so excited for my teaching, it's almost no surprise that the moment I was waiting for came with an unexpected twist... In the extreme heat and lack of electricity, not helped by my light-colored shirt, I perspired all too noticeably.
Before it got too far:
After it got too far: (enlarged to show grossness)
Soon enough though, the teacher, an older and rather blunt man, stopped me and kindly asked if I wanted to change into one of his shirts! So I rolled with the punches (the sweat helped with the rolling) and I taught in a Karen shirt for the rest of the lecture (I still had almost three hours left). Ah, outreach. :)
There are other stories of course, and they're all worth telling. So ask me sometime, or I'll throw one up on here now and then. Our focus was in Myanmar on this outreach. But we ended the trip with 8 days in Thailand, and they were good days! We stayed at an awesome, jungle-like guest house in Chiang Mai and went to the zoo.
Next we took buses to Chiang Rai and visited a family from Turner Valley. We had fun riding elephants and long-boats, but probably more fun spending time with our friends and their two kids.
Thanks for all your support, friends! It would have been too hard without you all supporting me, with finances and with prayer. A few things I learned were: I desperately need quiet times; that is, time spent with God, in order to be myself; I need to be more patient as well as communicate better; And that I have a lot to offer and am capable of encouraging others. I was also challenged by the hospitality and generosity of Myanmar people.
The next chapter of my life has been planned! I am returning to Turner Valley, AB, Canada to staff DTS! I have committed to two years of service. This job, like all the YWAM things I've done so far, is not a paid position. So I must depend on you, my friends and family, again. Though the staff fees are only $200 CAN, they ask that I raise as close to $500 a month as possible. (This is so that people don't come on staff and run out of money.)
As a DTS Staff member, I will help disciple the young people who come to do our school; help them get to know themselves and God better, and then lead them on an outreach to one of our targeted people groups. Each school is a little less than 6 months, but I'm sure I won't do four whole schools in these two years, as the intensity of discipling and leading is a lot to go through.
Paypal: If you'd like to donate, you can send the money electronically to email@example.com
Me: You can donate directly to me, using checks or other means.
For a tax receipt: You can donate to New Hope Christian Fellowship at 300 Trask Lane, Modesto, CA, 95354. The check must not have my name on it, not even in the memo, but please include a note saying it is for James Harrison.
If you'd like to support me monthly, please use YWAM Project Funding. As of now, I still have to set that up. So soon I will post the information as to how to do that, but I would like to hear if you decide to support me monthly.
If you have any questions, lemme know! Thanks for reading, and the peace of Christ be with you!