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Pastor Isaiah in Myanmar

Over the past several years, a church leader from Myanmar, named Pastor Isaiah, has become a key partner for Multiply in Southeast Asia.

On a recent ministry trip in Myanmar, Pastor Isaiah was driving into a city where he was conducting a baptism service with the local church planting team. When they arrived, he turned to one of our long-term workers with Multiply and said, “I’m a little bit nervous about our baptism today. I don’t know what to do. Our new believers are afraid to be baptized.”

During the previous month in the city, a group of new believers had been attacked and severely beaten by another religious group. It was reported that neighbors had seen the new believers being baptized, and had organized the attack. Since then, a group of men had begun to gather in the place where the same believers met on Sunday mornings. The men would drink alcohol and disrupt the meetings, banging on the walls and shouting, “Stop singing!” 

In view of all this, the team was cautious. Pastor Isaiah began to pray about the baptism service that was being planned. He wondered if it was safe to proceed. 

Still unsure, the team nevertheless went ahead and spent the afternoon together with all of the new believers, teaching them from the Scriptures and singing together in preparation for the baptism. 

It was typhoon season. Just as they were ready to proceed with the baptism, the storm grew stronger and they hesitated. They decided to wait for the rains to subside, but the longer they waited the heavier the rains became. They wondered if they should cancel the service. 

As they waited and prayed, suddenly they began to think that God was perhaps presenting them with an opportunity. They realized that no one – no one – would be outside on a day like that! Then they smiled at God’s good plan and announced, “Let’s go to the river!”

Together with the new believers, they laughed as they stumbled down the steep, slippery mud path to the river. Although it seemed crazy to them to be going out in the middle of a typhoon, everyone was happy and praising God. They felt fearless and bold, experiencing the love of God and the strength and courage of the Holy Spirit. There was so much joy! 

There in the river that day, with God as their witness, they sang and prayed and read the Word of God together. Then they professed their love and devotion to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by baptizing the new believers in blinding typhoon rains and amid the swirling, muddy waters of a turbulent river. It was a beautiful day for a baptism.

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