2015 Mission Team member Brand Perkins shares his thoughts, observations and personal message about his recent trip to Myanmar – his first trip abroad:
The Land of Gold, I pray will become the Land of God. Thursday morning I boarded the first of four flights, and 30 hours later I landed in Myanmar, “The Land of Gold.” I have never traveled outside the country so this was a big step for me. Being a Christian for only two years this was a big leap of faith. Leaving my family, friends, and work for three weeks to join God at work on the other side of the world. I’d like to share three main points with you, the team, the people, and my greatest take away.
The team consisted of 18 people, not including the translators we have. This was also the first mission trip for several of the other team members as well. Before even meeting the whole team I began praying we become as unified as Jesus is with the Father. I have never worked on a team that worked so well together, making serving God joyful. The team came together greater than I could have imagined. This is the work of God. Experiencing Christ being the head, and each member being a part of the body that is important for the whole mission. In times of members being sick and having to stay behind really made us feel incomplete. The team came together for laughter, service, prayer, tears, and sickness. We all play a vital role in the body of Christ. He calls us all the a special work, that whatever we do, we may glorify Him. We visited several different churches, villages, children homes, and a leprosy hospital. We taught the people health and hygiene, we taught them about diseases, stories out of the bible, and we had great fun with them.
The people in Myanmar are incredible people. One of the ladies from a village there literally washed my feet. That was a new experience, extremely humbling. I came to serve, but it truly seemed these people wanted to serve me. As I think of the people my heart experiences many emotions. It cries because most of the people are buddhist. Walking around the country seeing hopeless people pray to a god that has no hope to offer, that doesn’t exist, or even hear them is heart-wrenching. I witnessed three people approach a monk to bow at his feet on their hands and knees. As I type this my heart screams out, “Why didn’t I tell them to get up!?” The country is poor. Here in America we drive down the highway seeing grass, maybe untamed grass. In Myanmar you drive down the roads and see mounds of mounds of trash. In the trash are people barefoot digging for recyclables to sell just to get a bowl of rice. The kids at some of the villages we visited showed signs of malnutrition. My heart also sings for the faith of the Christians living there, in the middle of the buddhist communities. The Christians there have a fearlessness in their eyes as if they’re ready to die in Jesus name at any time. It’s incredible to see how Jesus Christ came for all, and there are people on the other side of the earth that know Him too. To see the Gospel prevail in the midst of poverty, only the love of God can explain this joy!
As I think about the way the word of God prevails, I consider my own life. The way it has drastically changed from hatred, hopelessness, depression, to love, unending hope, and joy. I learned the reality that the Spirit of God lives with in me, allowing me to live with Him for eternity. Upon landing back in the states I became very sad. My thoughts were “God is at work in Myanmar, that is where I want to be. I experienced God I only want more.” Then I learned when Jesus Christ said to His disciples, “and lo, I am with you always, to the end of the age” this is a truth the Spirit has helped me grasp in my few weeks of mission work in Myanmar. Incredible the way the Spirit of God guides us, and helps us learn Himself. Since the day I learned Jesus Christ died on a cross for my sins. I learned Jesus became everyone of my cheats, lies, hateful acts, and was hung on a tree for all of our sins. Being buried and raising from the grave three days later, conquering the grave, so we may live with Him for all eternity. Making life worth the living just because He lives. I have learned to hear His voice the more I walk with Him, and since that day, it has always been my plea, “Jesus may I please just have a closer walk with thee.” Jesus Christ did not only die for my sin, but for anyone who will believe. Jesus Christ has made a way, and with each day passing He is waiting for us to call on His name so that we may be saved. If you are saved, He is calling you each day into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Himself. As this happens, the things of this world will grow strangely dim. Which is what happened to me, making the decision to follow Christ into Myanmar so much easier. I encourage you today to ask yourself, “Why are you living?” “What drives your every day actions?” “How is my relationship with Christ?” “Is God calling me to help in Myanmar after seeing all the opportunity there through Love For Myanmar?” After answering the questions, I encourage to respond to Christ, whatever that may look like. If you do not know how to respond, find someone, and ask them!