I was at Calvary Midtown when I heard about Myanmar ministry for the first time. During announcements, the pastor was sharing about Agape Orphanage and the kids. My heart was touched, and immediately I wanted to be part of the team to go and serve those kids. However, Calvary usually sends a team in December or January which is not the best time of the year for a student. Then, I prayed and I asked God that, if He wanted me to go, He would open the doors for me to join a team.
After a year, in God’s perfect time, He answered my prayer! Praise the Lord! Again, during the Sunday service at Calvary Midtown, the pastor announced they decided to send a team during Spring Break. I was thinking: “This is it! This is my chance to go!” I was so happy and convinced that I should go. When I finally signed up to go, I had about a month to raise the funds for the trip. In my heart, I knew God would provide but my mind was conflicted and struggling to trust in God’s provision. I prayed a lot during that month. I also wrote letters to my friends and prayed more. I knew God is powerful and I knew He had opened this door for me to go, I just had to believe He could do it. You know, when God works, He is perfect. God provided not only the full amount of funds that I needed but also a great team in which I found encouragement and support during these uncertain times. I was so convinced that God really wanted me to go, but for what? What am I going to do there? I had no idea how God would use me there or even why He chose me to go.
All the preparation process for the trip was amazing. We as a team collected donations for the kids such as activity books, clothes, shoes, etc. We got together to pack and to pray for the trip. We were encouraged to learn more about Myanmar culture and language, and how the gospel was first preached on that place by our team leader. I believe God was using that time to prepare our hearts for our future experience in Myanmar. And that was amazing!
My experience at the orphanage changed my life completed. Despite my limitation on expressing into words what I felt during the trip, I want to share one story. Before the trip, I was meditating on 1 John 4:18a which says: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
And during the trip, I experienced this love in such an amazing way. When we arrived at the orphanage, the kids immediately connected with us. They embraced us, and they chose us and stayed with us for the entire week, by our side all the time. They were our companions, they were our friends and our protectors in a way. They always checked if we were okay, if we needed water. It was just a clear representation of God’s love and care for us. Love without fear, just simply love in action. This experience changed me. I was at the orphanage to serve those kids, but honestly the kids served and ministered in my life more than I could ever expect. Before going to the trip, I did not know what to expect. Now, I praise God for the opportunity to experience and see God’s love in action. It is powerful and as Paul says: “For Christ’s love compels us”. It does, indeed.
I chose this photo because these three little girls were my inseparable friends during the trip. We called ourselves a “squad” because we stayed together all the time. They loved me so much and I love them back. It was so hard to say good-bye. I will never forget our time together, and I pray to God to bless their lives always. They certainly have my heart. I hope to see them again. Maybe in Myanmar again or maybe just in heaven. God is Good!
Besides the orphanage, Calvary also sponsors a seminary called International Calvary Theological Seminary. We as a team were invited and had a chance to share our testimonies with the students. I had no idea what to say to the students and so, I just prayed God to put the words in my mouth. As soon as I finished my prayer, I remembered my dad’s story and I decided to share it with the group and the students.
My dad is an orphan too. He was raised in a large and poor family. He had to work as a kid to help his mom and his siblings. At age of 16, my dad accepted Jesus. However, his family was not pleased. My dad passed through many difficulties because of his faith in Jesus. He was rejected by his family but not by God. After a while, my dad decided to join a seminary and to become a pastor. The interesting fact is my dad joined a seminary built by Americans, similar to the one in Myanmar. And today, I can relate to those students even more. I thank God for churches and seminaries around the world. Those are seeds and in God’s time, they will grow and produce fruit. I am a fruit, and today I can share my story with others and plant new seeds.
When I decided to go to Myanmar, I had no idea that my dad’s story would be so similar to the ones we heard at the seminary. I had no idea that our presence would have such impact in those students’ life. At the seminary, I felt as I was seen my dad’s story all over again but now God was acting in Myanmar. That moment was such an encouragement to me and I hope my words were also an encouragement to the students to continue in their studies and learn about God. Our God is not limited, He is powerful and He can use us! No matter if you are in the US, Myanmar or Brazil, God takes good care of his sons and daughters. His love never fails!