reading room

Cuppa with Nancy: Through the Valley of the Shadow

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” Psalm 23:4

Today’s cuppa is an organic black tea from Yunnan Province in SW China. It tastes like fall, rich and satisfying, with hints of smoke and dried peaches. Both the tea and the quiet hour are restorative. Rays of sunshine highlight the green, gold and garnet leaves of our dogwood trees. It’s ironic...the same frost that blighted some of our landscape plants has coaxed the deeper, more glorious hues of the dogwoods. Thank you, Lord, for giving us seasons in nature and in life. Thank you that your mercies are new for me this day and everyday.

Elizabeth and Ko Kyi at a church celebration meal

Elizabeth and Ko Kyi at a church celebration meal

Elizabeth and her husband Ko Kyi have led Firefall International/s Reading Room outreach for a few years in Myanmar. Their son is in grade school, a very outstanding and sensitive little boy.

About three months ago, they were blessed to welcome baby Rachel into their family. She was delivered by cesarean birth in total health. However, the next three days for Elizabeth were a journey through the valley of the shadow of death.

Her heart rate began racing, her oxygen rate fell to less than 70 and her blood pressure soared to 175/140. She was terrified. The doctors took her baby from her. Most frightening to Elizabeth was the stream of estranged relatives (on account of her conversion to faith in Jesus) who lined up to visit her at the hospital. She knew they were coming to pay their respects before her death. She cried out from her heart, “Lord, save me, save me!” She heard nothing in response, but knew her husband and others were praying. She waited in the shadow.

Meanwhile, the doctor asked Ko Kyi to prepare his heart that Elizabeth might not make it, saying they had done all they could. At first, he was overcome with sorrow at the thought of losing her and raising their two children alone. As he waited in prayer, a peace settled on his heart and he began to thank God for her salvation and the realization that if she did die, they would be reunited in heaven. “I had an assurance and a hope”, he said. “I also realized my mother put her life at risk in giving birth to me. I determined to share my thanks to her.”

On a Saturday evening in my home, Pastor David sent a photo of Elizabeth with Rachel shortly after the birth. The baby looked lovely, but as I studied Elizabeth’s swollen face, I knew in my spirit that her life was in grave danger. I began to pray fervently and with tears over the next two days. The local church in Myanmar prayed without ceasing.

Gradually Elizabeth’s vitals began to stabilize. She was restored to full health! A recent scan of her heart confirmed this.

Holding precious little Rachel (her Burmese name means Snow Emerald)

Holding precious little Rachel (her Burmese name means Snow Emerald)

Elizabeth-and-Rachel.jpg

Three weeks ago, I had the joy of holding their chunky, beautiful daughter and hearing them recount the story of their miracle.

When asked what was different in her life since these events, she shared two things:

  1. A new gratitude for life. “When my eyes open each morning, I thank God for this, that I am still alive today, because of His protection and grace.”

  2. A resolve to live for Jesus with all her strength. “I realize the time is short in this life. Every day is a gift.”

May this story of Elizabeth’s miracle touch your heart with conviction and encouragement today.

Gratefully,

Nancy




Back to School Blessings at the Reading Room

The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them. Mark 10:13-16 (The Message)

The school schedule in Myanmar is different than ours. School begins the first of June and runs through February.

Last month, thanks to your giving, we welcomed 25 students to the school we are holding in the Reading Room. Some of the students are walking up to 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) each way to pursue their education.

back to school at reading rooom.jpg

Pastor David and our two teachers went shopping for a year's worth of supplies for these poor Buddhist children's education. They were each supplied with raincoats, food carriers, a basket, books, pens and pencils, erasers, rulers, stationery boxes and curriculum books. The teachers were grateful to add markers, whiteboards, registration books and teacher support materials to the classroom space.

These items were furnished from your giving to Firefall International. THANK YOU!

Pastor David wrote:

"The joy the children experienced could not be expressed in words. Most of the students have never had such supplies in their lives. I was able to share about the love of Jesus for a few minutes and pray for them. We hope this will impact their family members and parents too. Thank you for helping us share the love of Jesus with these Buddhist families."
back to school at reading room 2.jpg

Your prayers and giving sustain this project and so much more. Use the button below if you would like to contribute to this project.

We are grateful for you, Firefall partners. Our family in heaven will be large and varied and joyful to meet! Eternity will reveal the "ripple effect" of our investment in the lives of these students. Let us pray their hearts will open to the love of Jesus for them.

Reading Room Update

A Morning to Treasure

Our schedule was overbooked with preparations for the upcoming football outreaches and Eagles Team practices. Pastor David and I agreed on a quick drop-in at the Reading Room before a lunch meeting.

The Spanish Team accompanied us. As the van approached the Reading Room, we heard the sounds of laughter and pleasant conversation. In a recently constructed "lean to" addition, Reading Room Host Ko Gyi was teaching English phrases to 20 high school students in a very animated way. These neighborhood students are on summer break now. His kindness and enthusiasm set the stage for a great learning atmosphere. We lingered a few minutes, then moved inside the Reading Room proper.

Reading Room hostess Elizabeth teaching

Reading Room hostess Elizabeth teaching

Host Ko Gyi is an engaging teacher of mathematics and English

Host Ko Gyi is an engaging teacher of mathematics and English

To my great joy, I saw four tables full of little boys and girls also learning English! Hostess Elizabeth had brilliantly transformed the space from a library to a pleasant classroom. The children were attentive and focused on their important work. Due to poverty, these neighborhood children have no way to attend regular school. The government schools are overcrowded and understaffed with one teacher to 50 or 60 students. There is a shortage of textbooks. For these 34 students and their parents, this makeshift classroom is a literal lifeline for their future. The fact they are learning not only Burmese grammar but also English gives them a great advantage.

Elizabeth has a quiet grace and authority about her, coupled with a mother's heart for the children. She and her husband are investing in the future of each of these children while demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by their character and work ethic. They are born teachers and lovely disciples of Jesus.

Pastor David gives a new textbook to one of our 34 students

Pastor David gives a new textbook to one of our 34 students

I experienced many rewarding moments while on this recent trip, but I will never forget the beauty of the students learning in an atmosphere of Christian love. Every dollar invested in this creative outreach is reaping maximum goodwill in the neighborhood while lifting children and teens through loving, quality instruction.

Host couple shares their favorite aspects of serving in the Reading Room in Myanmar.

Please pray:

1. For Ko Gyi and Elizabeth as they tirelessly serve the community by hosting the Reading Room and teaching

2. Open hearts to the demonstrated love of Jesus, both students and their families.

"Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." -Matthew 5:16

Month of Harvest: Reading Room in Myanmar

Connecting Community through Books & Conversation

It's the third week in our Month of Harvest campaign, and we've got a great story to share about a creative outreach that Firefall has been funding since day one.

Three and a half years ago, we partnered with Pastor David and House of Glory Church in a creative vision to lift their city through the establishment of a reading room. We rented a small room, bought books, tables, chairs and some tea making equipment. We held a party to launch this gift to the community. Pastor David selected a key woman, full of the love of Jesus, gracious and a woman of books, to be the hostess of the room. To our great joy, this "God idea" has developed in most amazing ways. 

Military wives visit Reading Room

Military wives visit Reading Room

Here's how it works, The Burmese people love to read and drink tea together, talking about what they are reading. The people are avid readers. Sadly, Pastor David's city has no lending  library facility as we would know. We outgrew the small room quite early on and rented a much larger place, with room for many more books and an outside seating area for community discussions about good literature, hosted by Pastor David on Saturday afternoons. During these sessions, he takes off his pastor "hat" and puts on his "reading man" hat, facilitating lively discussions with Buddhist military officers, monks, medical doctor, politicians and anyone else who wishes to pay the one dollar membership to join the Reading Room.

We now have nearly 900 members. Sometimes the topic is a Burmese novel, sometimes it is world religions. At this time, Pastor David is well equipped to answer their questions about the person of Jesus Christ. If someone wants to know more about this Jesus, Pastor David or church members will meet them at their home or at a public tea shop to share further. We keep the Reading Room a neutral zone, there to lift the community and serve the many members from all walks of life. This concept has worked well. 

Storytelling competition hosted by Reading Room

Storytelling competition hosted by Reading Room

The room has been the site of storytelling and speech competitions for school children. A national news team brought their cameras and interviewed Pastor David and the hostess. Goodwill is growing between community leaders and Pastor David, thanks to this unique outreach. Some are contacting him to ask more about this Jesus.

Recently, a man of influence met with David in a tea shop to learn more about Jesus. After three months of talking, he shared his desire to follow Jesus all the days of his life. Then he asked about water baptism. He destroyed the many idols his family had worshipped for decades. Recently, David had the joy of baptizing this man and his son. They are now members of House of Glory…all because of the reading room.

Tea Shop fellowship enhanced thanks to Reading Room

Tea Shop fellowship enhanced thanks to Reading Room

How can you help the reading room?

monthofharvest-29.png

 

Are you a book lover or fellow reader who would like to see this outreach continue to flourish? Help us keep the Reading Room and other projects growing by donating to our October goal of raising $50,000.

We're 29% there, but we need your help to continue the work you have helped us start in nations like Myanmar. Use the button below to give and find specific prayer points below.

Prayer Requests for the Reading Room

  • Continued favor with the community, growing relationships with the members, hungry hearts open to the news of Jesus Christ
  • A desktop computer, printer and shelf 
  • Monthly funds to supply daily newspapers, weekly journals and monthly magazines to serve the members more fully

Read the first and second Month of Harvest blogs!