Has winter finally gone and are you seeing signs of spring? Wish we could send you some of this tropical heat. Even the native people are suffering and saying that this April is hotter than last year. We’ve had NO rain showers to give a short reprieve from the high humidity.
Sports tournaments are going on, with lots of sweating. Cane Ball is finished. Students and teachers are enjoying the competitions. Non-participants have fun cheering.
We had a busy weekend with different experiences. Saturday Ready, Aye Aye and Hnin Nu went to “Grandfather Beach” with some of the workers at CEC. You may have seen their photos on FB? They said the beach was beautiful, but the tide was strong.
This weekend I attended the wedding of Hay Thar Htoo who worked here last year and came to MN in August. Her wedding took place in The City of Love Saturday morning at 7:00 AM! Friday afternoon I traveled with Tamla and others on continuous hairpin turns through the mountains. The scenery is breath-taking. Between views of rolling mountains and bamboo and Betel Nut forests we passed through little villages of little houses made of bamboo. As I saw people going about their daily chores, I thought of how hard many people here work just to stay alive. When we arrived in the City of Love I was happily surprised to learn that we were staying at the home of Wai Moo. We visited his home last year and he visited MN in August. Wai Moo’s mother and sister are members of FBC.. His mother was there at his house having come for a visit! She recognized me from First Baptist. It was fun to talk with her and commiserate about the long flight. Wai Moo and his wife have two little girls, 4 years and 9 months, almost the same as my granddaughters.
We are all enjoying instruction time and seeing the students make progress. My grade 10 students have gone from speaking words, to sentences, to writing paragraphs. Saturday afternoon, after returning from City of Love, some of my boys helped me wash the ever-present red dust from the classroom wall so we could display their drawings and writings. A few students are very slowly catching on to expressing their own ideas and being able to ask questions. Can you imagine an education of “Teacher tells, students memorize” all through high school? I am both saddened and angered when I think of how these inquiring minds have been stunted by a cruel dictatorship. Maybe some day Western educators will hold teacher trainings for Asian educators. (A prayer for the future of Myanmar.
Two little girls just popped through the back door, saying “I have come to visit Teacher Cecilia.” And now they are going to practice the dance routine Hnin Nu is teaching to many girls.
We have settled in to living and teaching at the Christian Education Center (CEC), Dawei
Some of us feel the weather is very hot. However, I have finally thawed out from MN winter. Various shades of green vegetation is everywhere and flowers are blooming in brilliant colors. Clothes are drying in the sun on the line outside the back door of the guesthouse
We started teaching on Friday after Opening Ceremony. We taught Saturday as well because of getting a late start. Class sizes started small, but more students have arrived. Hnin Nu has 59 (6th and 7th grade) students which is the largest class. All classes are smaller than last year. We can have time for more student participation. Speaking individually is not part of instruction in schools in Myanmar. Students are already becoming comfortable with speaking to the class. Ready and Aye Aye are enjoying their classes and everyone is trying out new teaching methods
A special visitor came for a short time. You all know him as Pastor Saul Lu. He arranged for a group photo of all students and staff. Have you already seen it on Facebook
Students and teachers are eating very well! Every meal includes many dishes of fresh and steamed vegetables, a soup, pork or chicken or fish, white rice of course, and fresh mango, papaya, and pineapple.
Hser Hser Say and Lwe Sree have told me many times how much they miss GIri.
Thank you for your continued prayers. We couldn’t do this without your support.
It’s Saturday and we celebrated completing our first week of teaching! Tamla Htoo took us sightseeing to some elaborate Buddha shrines in the morning and in the afternoon to Maungmangan Beach on the beautiful Andaman Sea. Today is hot and sultry, but we were driven to the beach in an air-conditioned van. A curvy mountain road, crowded with motorbikes and little trucks carrying passengers in the back, led to the sea resort. Rounded mountains framed one end of the sea. We waded in the warm water, collecting shells and trying not to step on the hundreds of tiny sand crabs. Canoe-shaped fishing boats bobbed in the water. Two on the beach were being prepared to set sail. We were joined by three of the women who work here. After lunch we strolled past the many market stalls and took photos.
Despite the heat and the over-crowded classrooms, the teaching is going well. We are each re-creating our plans daily to meet the students’ needs. They all seem to be learning. They have accepted a style of instruction that requires individual participation instead of straight lecture style. We include some singing in every lesson and we are all amazed by how beautifully the students sing.
We each experienced a day of sickness, but were cared for by our hosts and are ending the week feeling well.
Greetings to all and thank you for your continued prayers.
We have completed our first morning of teaching. The day began with an Opening Ceremony. Hera Htoo, Leadership Director, introduced us to the students and other school leaders. Two hundred ninety students, grades 5 to college. sat quietly on the floor as the school program was explained. The students sang a song they had prepared for us. Although I am the only person here who is not Karen I felt entirely comfortable. People who demonstrate love and hospitality surround us.
After the ceremony Giri, Mishiah, and I each went to a different building to teach our assigned grades: Mishiah– 5th and 6th, Giri – 8th and 9th, and Cecilia 10th. Seventh grade will be taught this afternoon and college in the evening.
The day has warmed, but a breeze blows through the doors on either side of our guesthouse. From the front door I can see the laundry drying on the line behind a little grove of cashew trees. The rooster crows as he struts across the sandy dirt, signaling lunchtime.
Thank you for continued prayer for our good health and energy. We miss you all and pray for our church family in St. Paul.
166th ANNUAL MEETING OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA,
SUNDAY, February 7th 2016
Margaret Lovejoy from the Family Place, offered her appreciation of FBC in the on-going support they have received the past 10 years. She gave a brief summary of what has happened this past year and what plans will take place the upcoming year.
First Burma Christ Church: Pastor Bill reported that FBC will be celebrating their 9th year at FBC in February. They now have an ordained minister: Rev. Mehm Mya Thi.
Alcoholic Anonymous Group: Pastor Bill reported that this group, called Main Idea, is meeting downstairs under the sanctuary 3 times a day, 5 days a week.
Director of Children and Youth: Sheila Ahlbrand reported that the Youth have relocated to the basement under the sanctuary. One of the highlights in working with the youth is that Sheila and a number of the youth have been going to the Hope’s cabin to plan their SS lessons for the coming year. Sheila mentioned they are doing a fantastic job teaching the kids. Geri Johnson suggested each of the persons in training receive a Certification of Appreciation for their dedicated service to the Lord and FBC.
Sheila is also studying at United Theological Seminary and is working toward ordination. FBC will sponsor her as she becomes an ordained minister.
Pastor Bill praised Sheila for her 15 years at FBC and emphasized what a wonderful job she is doing in training the young people.
Investment & Endowment: Ann Fitch went over the year-end report explaining what the cash withdrawal from that fund was for 2015. The total record of withdrawals in 2015 was $117,466.00. The year-end report of account balance is $361,926.27.
2016 Proposed Budget: Wally Johnson presented and explained the proposed budget from the Budget Committee to the Trustees and then from the Trustees to the Congregation for 2016. Wally Johnson made a motion to accept the proposed budget for 2016 as printed. Motion carried