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Myanmar Project

October 2015

Dear Friends,
As rainy season here has waned and
the air has cooled slightly, our thoughts
turn to autumn in your half of the world.
While many of you are enjoying the beauty
of Oak , Aspen and Maple foliage, we are
enjoying the blooming of orchids, and
flowering trees. We miss your view of the
season.
In the midst of football games and
raking leaves we hope you have time to
pause for a little Southeast Asian culture.
We are grateful for your letters,
notes, FB messages, emails, texts and
Skype calls. You renew our minds and our
spirits with your friendship.
It is our hope that many of you will
gather to pray for the International Day
of Prayer for the Persecuted Church,
Nov. 1st. There are several websites
dedicated to inform your time of prayer.
Gratefully, Craig & Kara
All gifts toward our work with the people of Myanmar
(Burma) should be sent to: CornerStone International,
P.O. Box 192, Wilmore, KY 40390. Please write
Myanmar Project on the memo line. Additionally, you
may make secure donations online at http://
www.cornerstoneinternational.org/sta-garrison/.
THANK YOU for your generosity towards our family and
the people of Burma!

Last month I (Craig) had the privilege of


facilitating a community development training in
northern Myanmar (Burma) with Partners Relief &
Development. It was a great opportunity to both
teach and learn from a population of people who
are now friends. Each participant came from an
IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp: they have
essentially lost everything as a result of the
ongoing conict in northern Myanmar. Yet, they
havent lost hope.
Our community development training is
based on the book of Nehemiah and, through his
example, the participants began to see their
situation not as what is but what could be with
Gods help and the community working together.
They were an inspiring group.
In the photo above, we were illustrating
the importance of determining the right number
of community decision-makers. The group was
assigned the task of lowering a lightweight strip of
bamboo from shoulder height to the ground,
using only their index ngers. Its a simple task,
but when too many participants are involved, the
opposite result occurs. They had fun trying and
were a little surprised by the outcome!

Yangon
From a Trishaw Drivers Perspective.
A few weeks back I
(Kara) accompanied a friend
to Yangon, Myanmar and
spent the days catching up
with nationals whom we
have partnered with
throughout the years. I also
spent several hours one day
as a tourist. I asked the hotel
receptionist to arrange a taxi
for me and to inform the taxi
driver that I wanted to be
taken to a trishaw driver
willing to give me a 60
minute tour. The
receptionist repeated my
request three times to verify
that she understood me,
then relayed the message
(along with some giggles) to
the hotel taxi driver.

bowed with his face to the


ground. He then stood and
motioned me to view from
several other angles. He
seemed unusually happy to
be there. I assumed it was
his sudden promotion from
trishaw driver to tour guide.

Myint Keng
and his
trishaw.

Unexpectedly, a group
of angry men came over and
started yelling at Myint
Keng. It became apparent
he wasnt welcome as he
showed them my bag and
shoes and gesturing
between the two of us. The
guard said something to me
in Burmese, suggesting I
verify we were together. I
only remember a handful of
Burmese words, but I
remembered: Ah-lone, and
indicated an invisible cord
between us.

The hotel driver took


me to a group of men
standing around next to
their trishaws. I said I wanted
Trishaws or side-cars are three wheeled
In another section, two
a 60 minute tour around the
bicycles with a small seat attached for a
retired monks came down the
neighborhood, knowing a
passenger. It is a hot, slow, precarious and
steps to act as guides as I
uncomfortable form of transportation.
normal trip was only a few
approached. A scolding tone
minutes journey between home
was directed towards Myint
and a market place. I had no destination, just an urge
Keng, so I walked back and stood next to him
to see things from a dierent perspective. That is how
making it awkward to deny him entrance. I
I met Myint Keng.
explained to the guides that I was Christian and was
Myint Keng was a little full of himself,
visiting to better understand their culture. They
demanding two and-a-half days wage. I counter
smiled and nodded, and I thought it odd that I was
oered a dollar less, as culturally expected. I allowed
more welcome than Myint Keng. I wondered if he
him to determine the route. My tour began through
had ever gained entrance previously?
the neighborhood and local market. The vendors
A week later, after pondering and being
elbowed each other and grinned up at me from their
disgusted at the treatment of my new friend, I had a
short-legged stools.
little reality check. Would Myint Keng be welcomed
Then Myint Keng pulled into the thick city
in our churches?
trac and started up a hill, causing a pace slow
I have spent this past year reading through
enough that I thought about getting out and
Isaiah. God instructs us to give more than charity
pushing. I wondered what site was worth the strain.
to those struggling with poverty... He instructs us
We arrived at a Buddhist temple and rather than
to give them our attention. Attention to their
waiting outside as was the norm, he oered to carry
chains of injustice. Attention to their yoke of
my shoes and camera bag. Carrying someone elses
oppression (Isaiah 58).
shoes is a very unusual service.
As we climbed the stairs we faced a super-sized
reclining Buddha. I had visited this lounging gure
years ago. I stayed at a distance and snapped a
picture. I wouldnt have chosen to stop here, but I
observed as Myint Keng remained at a distance and

That day Myint Keng took twice as much time


as he originally agreed to, and I gave him the extra
dollar. Most importantly, I gave him my attention and
my respect.

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