In just a few hours Alie and I, along with four other team members, will be boarding a plane once more more Asia. This year will mark my 8th trip to Myanmar and my 6th time taking a team with me. Our connection to a local church/orphanage/school/community in Myanmar has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life as I am continuously blown away by their faith, and the willingness of our home community to contribute to our work there. Over the years we’ve had some incredible and miraculous experiences as we continue in our friendship with our friends there and so much has been accomplished that it’s hard to even begin to catalog.
As I was reflecting and preparing for this years trip I decided to add up some totals to help us understand just how much has been accomplished because of friends and family who have supported our ministry. Just FYI these numbers are estimates based on my math and my phone calculator.
Over the years:
8: Number of times we’ve visited the same church community. In Myanmar Christians are a minority and are often persecuted, in fact most churches are illegal, so visitors are rare and very cherished. Because we go back every year, we’ve developed a very special bond with this community, we know their names and they know ours. Incredible.
21: Number of made by people who have traveled with us to Myanmar over the 8 years. 33 is the total number of trips including repeat travelers.
165: Total number of flights over the 8 years. (33×5; 5 is an average of how many flights each traveler made per year)
5: Total number of guitars we’ve donated over the years.
1: Number of tractors purchased/donated. This ended up being the orphanages primary means of transportation!
2: Number of computers donated.
2: Number of cameras donated.
1: Iphone donated.
120: Number of sermons/messages given! Crazy!
22: Number of church services led. This number does not include the home group meetings.
60+: Number of home group meetings.
95: Number of times we’ve song songs/ led worship.
100+: Number of times we’ve prayed with individuals.
1: Number of weddings we’ve been in attendance as honored guests (it was as silly as it sounds).
1488.88: Number of total miles traveled inside of Myanmar.
4: Number of times we’ve paid for the orphans to go to the beach. Typically, we rent a bus and take all the orphans and church community. The kids had never seen the beach before this, and this is one of the most memorable experiences of the whole thing.
5: Number of beer tasting fundraising events we’ve held. Yes, beer tasting.
150+: Number of beanies made and sold for fundraising.
4: Number of various other events held for fundraising. This includes a 5k run, and a Chili’s fundraising night.
$86,000: The total number of funds that have been raised in support of our ministry.
$14,000: The amount we’ve been able to donate to the local orphanage/church. This goes to various supplies and needs ranging from food to medical supplies.
1: Number of churches that have started.
Wow. This list doesn’t even come close to actually telling the story of this connection. When I think about how much has happened I can’t help but be in awe of God to the point of tears.
Here are some dreams of ours:
_: Number of times we continue to go back.
_: Number of times we can sponsor our friends to visit us.
_: Number of the orphans we might be able to help with college.
_: Number of people forever changed by the God who is big enough to hold the world in his hands and yet intimately be present both here and there.
As we make our final preparations and head to the airport I just want to say thank you. First, to God, whom none of this is possible without. And second, to everyone who has come with us, prayed for us, donated to us, and been a part of this in any way. From the deepest part of my heart, thank you.
One last thing: Would you pray for us as we travel and dream about the future?