BY MATT SAUDER
I’m sitting here in the airport in Yangon, Myanmar, waiting to depart. I am filled with great sorrow and a burden for the world. I’ve seen the great poverty that floods the streets of Myanmar, and I’ve seen the extreme oppression of religions and politics during my time here. To be a Christian in Myanmar is not easy. Yet, I’ve also seen a light … a great light of hope in the darkness. I’ve seen a side to Myanmar that most do not see. I see this beautiful hope. I’ve seen churches that are working hard to provide education, care and love to children and college students. I’ve seen the Spirit of the Living God shine brightly in neighborhoods clouded by the haze of the evil one. I’ve seen Christian leaders who are bringing good news of great joy to the people. I’ve seen a place of great hope for a great future. I have a burden in my heart for the people of Myanmar – a beautiful country filled with rich resources whose people will learn this truth: someday every knee will bow in Myanmar and every tongue will confess in Burmese that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. Amen.
I was given the amazing opportunity to travel this past December and January to both Thailand and Myanmar for VISA Ministries’ Global Studies Intensive (GSI). I visited many places and even had the chance to ride an elephant. But the best part was meeting and becoming friends with 40 Christians who came from 13 different countries from around the world. I learned so much about ministry and faith from our conversations. On top of that we had world-class teaching from great leaders around the world. What an amazing opportunity this was. I sat and soaked it all in. I heard people talk about true persecution that happens almost every week. I sat in awe as I heard stories that could make you just cry. God taught me a lesson in being bold. He taught me a lesson in living out my faith. I was given a new passion for sharing the Gospel … a new passion for missions.
I gained a better understanding of Asia, and I saw a glimpse of my family’s future, as we soon will be moving to the Philippines as missionaries. Most of all, I acquired a burden. A deep burden that sits at the bottom of my stomach. A deep burden for the people of the world. A burden to love more than I ever thought I could love. I also saw that in the midst of darkness there is a light – a great light of hope. I plan to make a difference. I plan to share the light. I plan to shine it bright. I plan to not let it be extinguished. I am a Christian, and I am on a mission: to shine the light of Jesus to the world. The great light of hope in the darkness.