Burmese evangelism effort symbolised in sacred tree
by Brenda Stanley
(Daw Tin Tin Myaing)
I met Bishop Barnabas Theaung Hawi and two other bishops from Myanmar, Burma when I came to the Conference as their interpreter. I have learned much about how the Gospel is spread in an economically and technically underdeveloped country like Myanmar.
When the Anglican Communion first called for a Decade of Evangelism, the Province of Myanmar had already formulated the motto: Go, Give, Gather (``thwa, thin, thein'' in Burmese), so the focus was not new to them. With the 1988 Conference imperative the Diocese of Sittwe (Myanmar, Burma) worked even harder at evangelising.
Bishop Barnabas believes evangelists should be enthusiastic, eager and well informed. Each year he organises training sessions for them and for the renewal and spread of the Gospel. Each parish now has an appointed evangelist (there are 32), resulting in a convert a day! To initiate the Decade of Evangelism in Myanmar, Bishop Barnabas grew seedlings of the Eugenia tree and beginning in 1991, 150 evangelism trainees planted the small trees which have now grown tall and full. A special thanksgiving service to mark the decade will be held at 11pm, December 31, 2000, with renewed dedication. Participants will process carrying an Eugenia branch, a Burmese symbol of thanksgiving and confirmed members will recommit to their evangelism efforts for the next century.
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