By Alan Ch'ng
God loves to demonstrate His strength through ordinary people: people who love Him, people who imitate Christ in the grind of daily life, people who share Christ with family and friends. Sometimes He works through people even when they pass through life’s storms—literally.
On May 2, 2008, powerful cyclone Nargis made landfall in the Buddhist nation of Myanmar. With a storm surge that swept 40 kilometers inland, Nargis destroyed vast areas and killed as many as 138,000 people. One poor village hit hard by the storm was home to a Christian man I’ll call Maung (to protect his identity). Maung was known in the village because he had been leading Bible discussions in his small house.
That story began when a Navigator staff couple helped Maung’s great-niece to become a follower of Jesus. Then, about five years before the cyclone, she shared her faith with Maung. He surrendered his life to Christ and began to share his faith, gathering people in his home. Through Maung’s testimony, his family members started to come to the Lord one-by-one, including five sons and seven daughters.
After the storm, that initial group began to expand dramatically. The whole village had been flattened, except Maung’s house, which only suffered roof damage. The villagers were amazed. Many said to Maung and his family, “Your God must really care for you.”
Today, Maung’s home continues to be the place where three generations of his family, plus about 20 friends, meet regularly for Bible discussions, prayer, discipleship classes, and singing.
The Gospel has continued to spread beyond Maung’s village. One of Maung’s sons wants to open his home for others to know Jesus. Three of Maung’s sons have moved to another village where they are sharing their faith. Two of Maung’s grandsons are active witnesses among their college friends. Nearly 50 people are in the Kingdom because of God’s quiet work through Maung, including friends in nearby villages.
God has been sustaining this group of believers in the midst of many hardships. Two of Maung’s sons died in work accidents, but the hope Jesus provided for Maung’s family was evident to the entire community. Earning a living has not been easy either. Some people in the group had been making trinkets, but business was slow. After much prayer, a large tourist agency in a nearby city liked the group’s work and hired them to provide an ongoing, large supply of tourist gifts. God is providing, and the non-believers in the community are noticing.
This story demonstrates that the generational vision of The Navigators is not just a dream. What started with one person leading a friend to Christ in a village of Myanmar has resulted in more than three generations of followers of Jesus. Even through a devastating storm, God is working out His promises. It starts with a little seed that falls into the earth and dies. It then bears much fruit.
Please pray for the Navigator work in Myanmar. May God continue to advance His Kingdom there, and also through the many ordinary Navigators around the world who carry the Gospel into their relational networks.
Alan Ch’ng is an International Vice President. Before joining the International Executive Team, Alan led our Asia Pacific Region for more than six years. Alan and his wife, Connie, moved to Colorado Springs in April 2013. They have three grown sons.