Monday, May 2, 2016

Burma Missions Trip 2016 + Pictures - Part 1 of 2

Hi, there!

Welcome to Peculiar on Purpose. Thank you for stopping by; I hope you find what you are looking for, and subscribe while you are here! :)

Well, I went on my very first international missions trip this past month! Wow! I still cannot believe I just did that. But at the same time, it was so right. Kind of like my whole life thus far built up to that. And, sure, bucket showers were hard, and I was happy enough to be rid of my nightly encounters with giant jungle spiders, but I'd go back tomorrow if I could. I left my heart in Burma. Seriously. Part of who I am is still wandering around the market alley-ways of Keng Tung and the dusty roads of Banglim. I'm like half of a misplaced person over here.

Before I went, I read blog posts from other missions trippers, and I thought I understood. I've watched missionary presentations my entire life, and I thought I was compassionate and sympathetic of their cause. No. I had no idea. I had no feelings. And unless you've been in my shoes, you won't completely "get it". You should go. So you can get it. And learn how to love. And sympathize with me.

My feelings have nothing to do with your eagerness to see my pictures, though. So, I blog. I show you where I left the other half of my person.

March 31st - We arrive in Rangoon, Burma (or Yangon, Myanmar. Same place.)

My phone documents this day as follows:

Soaring over China!

Traffic in Rangoon is crazy. Like, they're supposed to drive on the right side of the road... but if there aren't any cars that they can see coming in the left lane, then they'll use all lanes to go the same direction. Then cars start coming towards them again on the left side, and it's a mad scramble to get back to the right side.

Just to clarify, this was across the street from our hotel. NOT our hotel itself.

April 1st - We wake up in Rangoon, then leave for the airport, where we fly to Keng Tung, Shan state, Burma.

I was up early enough to get this shot of the Rangoon skyline, as seen from our hotel window. One of the very few advantages jetlag can loan, I suppose.

(Keng Tung) I watched the chicken cross the road. Never got the chance to ask her why...

These girls were so excited to pick out their very own dolls!

 April 2nd - Keng Tung, the market for breakfast, getting fitted for our formal Jingpaw outfits, and spending time with family in town.

I didn't get too many pictures at the market, but this is a favorite. This woman sold steamed corn. It was good.

Atmosphere in the seamstress's shop.

While there are a large number of Christians in Burma (lots of Kachin are Christian), Buddhism is still rampant. This was a boy asking for money (from us Americans) in the lobby of the hotel (lobbies are open-air).

April 3rd - We chartered a taxi van to drive us the hour up the mountain to Banglim.

We were so blessed to have a big air-conditioned van drive us up those dusty mountains! Most people rode in for the Jubilee on motorcycles, or in trucks like this one.

So many motorcycles came in that they set up this make-shift "parking lot", and even put together a tagging system!

Here is a picture of the bed I shared with four other ladies while we were in Banglim.

April 4th - The start of the Jubilee!!! Oh my goodness. Please, someone, invent a time machine, so I can live it again.

These ladies, along with a team of others, worked while everyone else slept so the church area had these amazing fresh decorations on the front of the platform every day. The one in the picture, if you look closely, is made out of vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, lettuce, etc.). The decorations were changed completely at least two or three times during the course of the week, and it was completely different every time. But always fresh, gorgeous fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Oh, and none of these workers were compensated a dime, either...

For opening ceremonies, everybody decked their Jingpaw silvers, did their hair up, AND...

Janan and I were even asked to dress up and be in the ceremony, too!! How special!! We carried the scissor trays. :)

April 5th & 6th - Jubilee and Manau (Kachin tribal "dance"- marching in a pattern for a couple of hours each day)

This was so special! Many Kachin people never get the chance to participate in a Manau, and I'm not even Kachin, and I was in one! Out of all of the people that came to the Jubilee, even most of them weren't in the Manau.

More pictures for viewing available here!

April 7th & 8th - Final days of the Jubilee

So, for those of you who might not be clear on what 'Jubilee' is (I wasn't when I first heard about it, either), it's a celebration. In the case of this specific Jubilee, it was the 100th anniversary of Banglim becoming a Christian village. In 1915, missionary Ola Hanson led a man by the name of Kumhtung Gum Ja to the Lord, and in 1916, he (Gum Ja) evangelized his entire village. So, being that Banglim is a Christian village, and the people are Kachin (a specific type of Burmese), over 1,800 Kachin Christians from all over Burma (and other countries... like the Untied States...) came and took part in this celebration. Registration cost 1,500 Burmese Kyat. That converts to about $1.50 USD.

I'm not sure exactly what my role would be called, but I helped when I could. I was told to "sa, sa" (go, leave) whenever I tried to help with some things. They didn't want to give me work. But, I took to cleaning up trash, cutting potatoes, washing clothes, carrying heavy things up the hill, stacking and un-stacking chairs, and stuff like that. I was also titled "music sarama gaba" during the Jubilee, and though I tried to renounce my title of being a "big music teacher" as soon as it was given, it clung. I was even placed in the front row of the Music Team group picture (how?!).

Look at this one!! It's so dusty (March-May is summer in Southeast Asia) that they actually water the dirt multiple times throughout the day to keep the dustiness down and the air breathable.

April 9th - Hike to the waterfall and picnic on the rice paddies.

The last meal of Jubilee was served bright and early at the church. After goodbyes, we went hiking all over...

April 10th - This was Sunday morning. We drove back down the mountain to Keng Tung. We went to church and caught up on some rest. That evening, we went to a little café place that the man at the front desk of our hotel recommended. We ran into so many people that we knew! Well, I had just met them that week, of course, but still! How neat it is to be 10,000 miles from home and still running into familiar faces when you go out for dinner!!

April 11th - Sight-seeing and orphanage-visiting in Keng Tung. We spent this day with family going all over the city.

Market atmosphere

A Buddhist temple overlooks Keng Tung. Even though there are Christians, Buddhism still has quite a firm grip.

This is our group. Walking up to the orphanage. *Collective inhale*

Even though all 50 of them sleep in one big room, boys on one side, girls on the other, they still seemed pretty happy to me...

I wrote in my journal after having visited that I was SO happy that there are people willing to care for these children, but my heart breaks that they are all taught to be Buddhist.

A shrine in the kids' common room...

What do all of these precious kids have in common? They all need Jesus. Every last one of them.

And Thailand's a whole 'nother story! Since this only caught you up through April 11th, I did a Part 2 of this post, which chronicled Thailand (and why we went there, since that wasn't the original plan...). You may read that one here. Thank you for reading!! Pray for these people, will you?

If you liked this post, please be sure to read part 2 and my journalings on what God taught me while I was there.

*All content, watermarked or otherwise, is licensed under a creative commons license to Kimberly Snyder. While sharing is encouraged, it is unlawful to crop out watermarks, or pass images off as your own work. If you do pass on to friends, please provide a link back to Thank you for your cooperation!!

A special thanks to my friends for their pictures! This post wouldn't be the same without your generosity! <3 (I can only take credit for the photographs watermarked with my name.)

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