by Pa Kep, Superintendent of Myanmar FMC
April-June 2016 issue Free Methodist World Missions Pulse
My name is Kep Lian Thang (Pa Kep). I was born into a Christian family. I have five sisters and four brothers. My father was the first Free Methodist pastor and superintendent in Myanmar. I attended Sunday school and worship services weekly. I tried to obey my parents, love my friends and not quarrel. I thought, I am a very good Christian.
One Sunday morning my father (the pastor) came to our Sunday school class and asked each child, “What is your ambition?” Since Myanmar was under the military government, the army leaders had much power and could do what they wanted. I was eager to become a super powerful man like an army captain.
My father laid his hands on us and prayed something like, “Lord, You are the Creator of all creatures. These children are Your children. You know each ambition. Please bless these children. Use them for Your glory and Your kingdom. Amen.”
While attending a one-week Bible camp at age 14, I received Jesus as my Savior. My desire for personal power was gone. I had peace. My ambition was totally changed. I continued my studies through high school, college, university and seminary with the purpose to become a Christian worker. I graduated from seminary the last week of February 2000. I married Htar Par (Nu Htar), a woman with a heart for missions on April 12, 2000.
The FMC of Myanmar held its annual meeting in April 2000 and appointed me to Yangon City to start a church-planting program. But the FMC had no budget for this endeavor – no money for fare, food, rent, etc.
I asked the superintendent (my father), “How can I begin a church-planting program without a budget?” Having lived in Yangon City for my studies, I knew the living standard was high. I told my father, “It is not a good decision. It is like a blind decision.”
My father answered, “This is our meeting decision. We already made the decision with our prayers. So you have a choice. Will you accept and obey, or not? If you do not accept our decision, then you cannot be a good servant in our Free Methodist Church. If you do not obey our decision, God will choose another person to go to Yangon City.”
Htar Par and I decided to follow the church’s decision. We used money from wedding gifts for our honeymoon-mission trip to Yangon City the last week of May.
After a three-day bus trip, we arrived in Yangon City. We stayed with relatives for about one and a half months because we had no money for rent. Htar Par earned a small income by tutoring several high school students; soon we rented a small apartment. We had no furniture. We started church services in July with me and my wife; we took an offering every service. When I preached my wife listened; when she prayed I listened. God was with us. He was faithful.
We invited several Bible students to our Sunday service. From the Sunday offering we bought one chair one week and another chair the next week.
In 2003 we started Light and Life Childcare Center; in 2004 we established Light and Life Boarding School for high school students; and in 2005 we began Light and Life Bible College. Our church now fills a large room. God is at work in people’s lives.
Our missionary journey is not finished and has not always been smooth. We have faced many challenges, such as no properties to rent, complaints from others, lack of finances and also problems with the authorities. But God is good to us. He is faithful. We trust Him, and He is with us always.