Faith as Big as Jackfruit in the Midst of Fragile Times
Matthew 13:31-32 (ESV) He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown, it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
Luke 17:5-6 (ESV) The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Dear Ross Road,
A short while ago, I (Rob) was ready to fly to Thailand on short notice, as the GNIM September wire transfer for Sion & Apem's ministry had been blocked. Twenty-seven souls (Sion & Apem and 25 children) were chewing through their reserves fast, and there was almost nothing left. All they had was faith that God's work would not lack God's supply.
Initially, the reason given by Myanmar for blocking the transfer was that the military junta had ordered the banks to freeze all money transfers coming from western nations. Later the Myanmar bank we transfer to reported that the funds Sion had received exceeded his allowable limit. Praise God that they initiated a full reimbursement.
When I asked Thana (John), our partner in northern Thailand, he was more than willing to help with this problem. He connected with Sion. From there, they had to carefully time the transfer of funds across the border, but they got it done! One thing that greatly helps is that Sion and John could communicate in a Lahu dialect. We have a great deal of trust with both of these men of God. They are working together to build God's Kingdom among the Poor and Oppressed.
We are grateful that the Lord has opened this new way for Sion to receive the funds for his ministry. Pray that this path will stay open and that these ministries will be able to continue to flourish. Like Jackfruit, may they produce HUGE results for God's glory.
*** About Jackfruit: The Jackfruit tree "bears the largest fruit of all trees, reaching as much as 55 kg (120 pounds) in weight, 90 cm (35 inches) in length, and 50 cm (20 inches) in diameter. … The jackfruit is a multiple fruit composed of hundreds to thousands of individual flowers, and the fleshy petals of the unripe fruit are eaten" (Wikipedia).
What Keeps Sion Focused?
I woke up really early Thursday morning with a question on my mind. I went downstairs, made some coffee and opened my computer to see that Sion was online. It was 5:22 AM. "Perfect timing," I thought. After opening with our customary greeting "Mingalarber (hello in Burmese)," I asked Sion:
It takes great faith in God to serve 25 children and be a pastor in your village today. This week I read Hebrews 11 and thought about you and others who are faithful. What gives you this faith? Is it from within your own heart? Is it from your wife Apem? :-) Or is it from seeing a big need and knowing you need to do something about it?
Sion answered (I've edited his grammar a bit to help it flow better):
"Sir, I trust in our Lord Jesus, that He reigns over all the universe and there's nothing impossible in Him. In Matthew, He said whoever do for the least one, it's do to Him. I believe l am doing (this for) the least of Him. That why I trust, He will provide. It's my own vision and that God lead me to doing. And Jesus comment, go and do His disciples. (Fiirst of all) my vision and mission is making disciples and (in the future) sending to them as God leads to, to share His good news and as we could reach to. The second one is caring for the least one (for) Him. It's the vision coming out from my heart that I want to do (this), and and doing (in line with) the gifts God given to me.
It's a really meaningful question to me. ... The top (thing) and the point of the answer for me is, the Calling of God. I have known very well and heard God call me for His ministry. That's why I repented and turned to Him and (will) serve Him with the rest of my life."
Other Fun Facts About Sion
- Ethnicity: Shan Burmese
- Nearly died in 2010 from a critical health issue (At this point in time he promised to serve God with his whole life)
- Speaks 10 languages (by his last count). The most recent one learned is a Lahu dialect that helps him reach far into the opium fields.
- Can weld or repair and build "almost anything" with his own hands.
Please Pray With Us
MYANMAR: For God to keep the way open for our funds to reach Sion & Apem's ministry in Myanmar.
That Sion's vision to make disciples who in turn will make disciples will be fulfilled and that God will keep them safe in the midst of a war-torn country.
THAILAND: Pray that Pia will have the health and strength to meet the many challenges in Phangnga (with the poor) and Ranong (with the Moken Sea Gypsies). That many lives would be changed there for God's glory.
For wisdom in the coming months as John and Ann prepare to set up a new ministry chapter in the Chiang Mai province. In the meantime, that their care for the girls in their "Family of Blessing" will produce great fruit.
For Judy's health, especially as her pain is often very difficult to manage.
For God's wisdom as we explore a possible new partnership in ministry in the Tachileik area and another in Southern Thailand close to where God first birthed our (Rob and Judy's) call to ministry.
THANK YOU FOR BLESSING OUR MINISTRY - Rob & Judy
Your investment helps us counter human trafficking and catalyze community transformation through the Good News of Jesus Christ and this is changing lives!