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Behind the scenes in Myanmar

I’m in Nashville today speaking at a Youth Specialties conference on the subject of raising up World Changers.  Here’s a report from a group of them – World Racers who we sent to help minister in the aftermath of a cyclone that devastated Myanmar:   Imagine 75% of your county&…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I’m in Nashville today speaking at a Youth Specialties conference on the subject of raising up World Changers.  Here’s a report from a group of them – World Racers who we sent to help minister in the aftermath of a cyclone that devastated Myanmar:
Imagine 75% of your county 
wiped out.  We heard
stories of mothers losing the majority of their families and individuals
clinging to coconut trees for hours to survive. As their families were stripped
from their lives, also was the feeling and vision of hope.
Currently, life in the Delta is in survival mode. Every day they wait for rice bags to arrive, rebuild bamboo homes, and relocate orphans due to lack of
space.  The rice fields are still soaking in salt water and much of the
cattle were lost during the storm.  Food is scarce and children go to
school under UNICEF tarps.

Getting there involved an arduous journey.  The
road to the delta was long, hot, bumpy and wearying. At one point the
ancient van ground to a halt after a particularly jarring rut. “Ah, we get out and push,” said our translator. So we got out and pushed the van. It started again, we hopped in, and went, chuckling, on our World Race way.

Fifteen hours over the bumpiest, most potholed
roads – not a single minute went by without
braking hard or bouncing over a huge hole brought us to the city of
LaButta, the largest city in the Irrawaddy Delta. Cyclone
Nargis hit the area in May 2008, devastating villages all around and
killing about 130,000 people.
We weren’t supposed to be there.


Only Burmese government officials and a few NGOs were allowed to go into the delta. Aid workers only.  No tourists.

Until we arrived.

The road to LaButta is lined with the remnants of wooden houses (in the
States they would have been called shacks) that had been blown away by
Some were still being lived in, with tarps over their bamboo-woven roofs. Many were in shambles on the ground.

Team member Katie Rowland described the following stop along the way: “I hopped out of the van once to find somewhere off the road to
relieve myself, and found myself literally on top of another destroyed
house. Suddenly I noticed an older woman sitting in the rubble of the
house. “Minglaba,” I said, greeting her in Burmese. Bamboo rods and
woven mats were scattered over the old site, and all that was still
standing was a huge water jar, the kind you find outside most village
houses in Southeast Asia. The woman kindly pointed me to the back of
the once-house, where larger bushes would hide me from any passers-by.”


Once we arrived, we linked up with a local church.  Since Cyclone
Nargis hit, the church has grown with 70 new people
giving their lives to Christ. Formerly, most of the church members had
been Buddhist. But they’ve found hope in Jesus that they never found in
As they meet in a wooden shack and pray on woven straw mats, they’re defying their government, which endorses Buddhism.

In a wooden shack on woven mats the body of Christ rises to its
knees and cries out in prayer. Fervency and desperation mark their
cries as they clasp their hands in front of their chests, or hold them
open to God, asking Him to bring His KINGDOM to their country. To

While there, here is what we heard:
Thousands of orphans crying for their lost families
Bells ringing as the Buddhist celebrate another traditional holiday

Government officials telling locals to stay away from foreigners (esp. Americans)

Survivors’ hunger pains,

A child’s scream as another is taken to become a child soldier,

Fear of man in the sound of silence,

A mother’s broken heart shatters as she sees no future for her family.

Their hearts are begging for hope.  Will you help us help the people of Myanmar rebuild their church? They say it will cost $8000.  Please join us. The People of Myanmar need YOU!  Please help us help those who were devastated by the cyclone last spring…

Send checks to:

Adventures in Missions

PO Box 534470

Atlanta, GA 30353-4470

 Write checks out to “Adventures in Missions” and in the ‘for’ line write “World Race Ministry – Myanmar.”

If you prefer, you may click here to donate online through AIM’s secure
website.  Please indicate “World Race Ministry – Myanmar” in the box.


  • Hi Seth,

    I was reflecting for some reason today about our intersecting work experiences at the old Institute For International Development (now Opportunity International)and the passion you showed a quarter century ago for the poor. We both had it even when better judgement would have had us not ordering a pitcher of beer with lunch. 🙂 I am thankful that fire has not been quenched by the vagaries of life, the temptations of ministry work or the natural dangers of living in a fallen world.

    Your report again reveals your heart. I’m reminded of the story of General William Booth (founder of The Salvation Army) who when asked about the direction for that fledging ministry which is now a billion dollar enterprise he answered with one word-“Others!”

    You have his heart and I’m so glad you are soon to be a thirty year friend.

    Much love,


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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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