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Aung, a 33-year-old church leader, discipler and church planter has a vision to plant 50 churches in Myanmar’s (Burma’s) 7 least reached regions, and to train them to plant at least 4 other churches. His strategy is to train 50 leaders, which he does as he plants churches in Yangon. So far, he’s up to 7 or so. Today, he was showing me his house on an impoverished edge of Yangon which he had chosen because “so many people are working in the other parts of Yangon”. It was a basic block structure which had had a small, stilted wood and thatch kitchen added to the back.
Aung’s wife and two young children had gone to visit her family in the countryside for the first time in three years. “It costs $50 for the bus, so we had to wait for the money.” How many times have I blown $50 on a movie and dinner? All the evangelical marriage books say it has to be a priority to keep my marriage strong, after all. I could hear his pig snorting through the cracks in the floorboards. Funny thing, Audrey’s never complained that we don’t have a pig snorting through the floor and walls of our kitchen. Note to self: don’t send Western evangelical how-to books on marriage to Aung.
We went outside and I noticed a small ten foot by ten foot traditional structure of wood, bamboo, and thatch. I assumed it was a guard’s post, as we were on church property.
“It was the house we first lived in when I came here to plant the church”, he said.
“You mean, you lived there by yourself? Single, I mean.”
“No, my wife and I, but we only had one child then.”
I’ve seen lots of poor people, but perhaps because we were talking “church leader to church leader” or “missionary to missionary”, this grabbed me. I was speechless for a few moments. All that stuff about many rooms and Jesus preparing a place in the Father’s house suddenly gets very real when you don’t have carpet, any furniture except a reed mat, or even a window to close.
“Jesus is going to have a better house than this for you one day”, I stated rather clumsily.
“Yes.” Enough said.