Amazing Reception to Good Soil Training in Myanmar
As the Good Soil representative for the Vietnamese and Burmese languages, Steve Deal and his team in the Philippines had been praying for nearly a year that God would open the opportunity to challenge and train key leaders in Vietnam and Myanmar. Steve had translated and printed The Story of Hope and the ChronoBible Cards in each language and was eager to get them into the hands of nationals.
God wonderfully answered prayer and gave them some crucial contacts in both countries but opened the door for large scale training in Myanmar first. The printer for the Burmese resources, Jacob, pastors a large church in Yangon. God also led them to Betty, an Australian missionary, who has tremendous rapport with many Burmese churches and leaders and was herself interested in the chronological teaching that would be taught. Through her, a schedule was set, and Steve travelled to Yangon, Myanmar in August with three other teachers – Mitch, Jo-ann, and his daughter Savannah. Steve calls them his “A” (Adventures in the Story of Hope) team.
The team conducted two-day sessions teaching Good Soil Evangelism & Discipleship, Bible Storying, and Adventures in The Story of Hope in three locations to 200 pastors, Bible college students, and church workers. Each participant received a copy of The Story of Hope and the ChronoBible Cards, and the pastors were given twenty extra copies of The Story of Hope for their ministries. The first training was held at a Baptist college and the second at Refuge Church, an international church in Yangon. The third opportunity was at the Church Planting Institute outside Yangon, which is led by Pastor Va Bi, and was attended by 98 delegates, including 26 pastors, representing seven tribes.
The trip did not come without its tests. The team had to teach through interpreters, which is always challenging and at times daunting. Steve is extremely grateful to his longtime friend, Vel Za Siama, for being the main translator, even battling through pink eye on the first day. The monsoon season took its toll on the team, as they were hit by illness. Steve had to spend the second day of the first training session in bed, while the rest filled in admirably. During the second session both Savannah and Jo-ann fell ill, but wanted to remain on site, so rested on mats in the room next to the training. On the day off before their final training, Steve broke his toe while they were visiting the largest Buddhist stupa (building with Buddhist relics used for meditation) in southeast Asia. The doctor told him he would have to stay off it for three weeks, but God gave him the strength to teach the next day.
Steve says that this was the “largest challenge of my ministry,” but God was faithful, and the results were remarkable. Those who participated were amazed at what they learned and several commented that they had never studied anything like this before. They were captivated by the teaching methods and even Savannah, who is only 13 but has several years working with kids in Good Soil ministries, held their attention as they listened carefully. The resources were also highly valued. Many of the pastors shared that it was the best material that they have seen translated into their language. The door has opened even wider and Steve and his team have been invited back to train up to 600 more pastors and church leaders who were not able to attend any of the sessions.
We praise God for the impact Good Soil is having around the world. Pray that God would use the training and resources to help many in Myanmar understand, embrace, and keep God’s great plan of redemption for mankind.