The Bridge to Somewhere

I kept praying each month for a prayer request shared by Pastor Andrew Rem in his monthly reports — we need a new bridge. He ministers in the Delta region of Myanmar and every rain the flood waters rise. The houses are all built on stilts and need a bridge to get from the raised dirt berm that suffices as a single lane road over to the properties where the houses and the church building reside. Every structure in the community needs a bridge over the canal from the berm. Our White Fields partners had been praying for this need expressed by Pastor Rem for some time too.  On my trip to Myanmar in December I was able to visit Pastor Rem and see the bridge.

We explore the bridge and discuss solutions to making a permanent path.

The team discussing solutions to making a permanent bridge.

We were particularly concerned because the water flow also flooded the well at the church. They provide water for all their neighbors, and without a retaining wall protecting the well, it was polluted each time the rains flooded the property. Building the bridge and retaining wall would solve several problems.  I was able to walk across the bamboo bridge but heard the cracking at each step. They also informed me that the flood waters rushing down the canal washed away the banks of the berm so that the bridge would collapse and wash away.

Each step I took caused the bamboo to crack.

Each step I took . . . crack . . . crack.

We explored solutions and visited some of the other houses in the community that had built sturdier bridges. Pastor Rem introduced us to several workmen from the church and a neighbor that works with concrete. Together they shared ideas, and our Field Director shared how some other churches in similar regions had solved the problem. We agreed upon the best plan and determined the cost of the project.

The early stage of building the retaining walls.

The early stage of building the retaining walls.

Through the support and prayers of our partners, we are pleased to show you what the church members accomplished by building a bridge to somewhere.  (This phrase struck me because we’ve probably complained sometime about our tax dollars being used to build a bridge to nowhere, what a waste — this bridge goes somewhere — it now supplies a safe and permanent route to the front door of the church.

The students visited house to house and shared the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The students visited house to house and shared the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The bridge did more than just providing a path to the building. The construction also provided a way to the hearts of the neighbors of the church. It opened a door that allowed sharing the gospel.

During the construction of the bridge, a team of students from the Bible Institute in Yangon conducted an evangelistic campaign in the community. About thirty students and a group of our pastors visited from house to house distributing tracts and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. They shared with families and with individuals.

Sharing a tract with a neighbor interested in knowing more about Jesus

Sharing a tract with a neighbor interested in knowing more about Jesus

Many people had questions about Jesus and the Bible. The team was able to visit everyone in the community and invited them to attend the church. The new bridge was making the community quite aware of the existence of the church. Now the building stood out, and there would be no disruption to services during heavy rains.

The FINISHED Bridge -- Provides a permanent path to the church building and much Thanksgiving to God.

The FINISHED Bridge — Provides a permanent path to the church building and much Thanksgiving to God.

Projects like these greatly encourage the members of the church. They are poor people who have meager income. They share in the offerings from their livelihood with the pastor’s family so that he can spend more of his time ministering to the spiritual needs of their families. But a project like building a bridge seems insurmountable and completely out of reach.

Your support to White Fields Ministry allows us to come alongside and help a church to accomplish a project like this. The answer to their prayer also brings great rejoicing and thanksgiving to God. Your donations created a celebration that brought great joy to the people and wondrous worship for our Lord in the thanksgivings expressed to God. Just like the Apostle Paul shared about the gift from the Corinthian church — because they supplied a gift to benefit the needy saints suffering a famine in Jerusalem — God received much thanksgiving.

For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! [2 Corinthians 9:12-15, ESV]