First Living Sound Concert in 27 Years![/four_fifth_last][new_royalslider id=”10″]
World Compassion hosted a Christmas party for young people in Burma featuring Living Sound. This was the first Living Sound team to perform in 27 years! Living Sound is such a huge part of our heritage and has played a large role in bringing the gospel into hostile nations. The timing was right for World Compassion to use Living Sound in Burma this past November.
The event was presented as a “Christmas party” to help the local church we partner with get it approved by the local government officials. Although the locals were approved to have the event, foreigners (that’s us) are not typically allowed to be involved because the church is still restricted in many areas in Burma.
One of the nights some of the local authorities stopped by to see the event. They were friendly and very positive towards the local pastor and our team. The local pastor later told us that this was the first event of its kind ever held in his city to include foreigners. We are always grateful for the shield of God’s favor.
The production also provided a unique hands-on training opportunity for our 40 ministry school students in Burma. These students were responsible for planning, promoting, executing the event and following up with those who gave their lives to Christ. We believe outreaches like this are monumental in equipping these future leaders with hands-on ministry experience in addition to the training they receive through our ABC Bible Curriculum.
The Living Sound two-day event included competitive games, a fashion show, netball tournament (a popular local game much like volleyball but you can only use your feet), dance competition, local food vendors and performances from local Burmese musicians.
The excitement and fulfillment on the faces of these young, future Burmese leaders was incredibly refreshing. Many of them walked the “runway” for the fashion show, sang in the band, or participated in a tug-of-war match.
The afternoon of the netball tournament, the property was full of young men and women to watch the heated competitions. Crowds gathered around the dirt court lined in chalk as they watched the competitors battle it out to move on in the tournament. Kids climbed up on the Living Sound stage and sat on the big speakers in an effort to get a good view of the match.
Later into the evenings, Living Sound would perform familiar songs to the young people and then transition into a time of worship. It was powerful to sense the atmosphere change as the team poured out praise to God.
Despite all the activity that comes with a crowd of people at an outdoor event, the team set the stage for God to move on the hearts of people.
Roughly 600 people came to the two-day event and 56 gave their life to Jesus. The famous missionary Adoniram Judson stated, “It is harder to lead a Buddhist to the Lord than it is to pull an eye tooth from a tiger’s mouth.” In a nation that is 89% Buddhist, the percentage of people who gave their lives to Jesus was encouraging, considering the difficult spiritual atmosphere.
This fun, high energy environment drew young people from the community, providing the local church the opportunity to engage in relationships, present the Gospel message, and follow up with new converts.
The week came with its fair share of challenges as well. As we were launching this initial Living Sound concert on a very small budget, we were limited on the number of musicians we could take and the sound equipment we could rent. The plan was to take three musicians from the United States and partner with one or two more Burmese musicians if needed. Either way, our team was prepared for what they needed to do.
God’s timing is always perfect! For the past several years, as I have prayed and thought about the idea of launching Living Sound again, I’ve always thought it would be made up of musicians from various nations.
As we were meeting with the team for the leadership conference, we discovered that several friends of ours had musical talent we did not know about. After a quick conversation, we realized we had picked up our much needed base player, electric guitarist, and another pianist, who was also a sound engineer, who could help ensure the band sounded as good as possible. By the end of the short discussion, we had a full band from Australia, Finland, Hong Kong and the United States.
What seemed to be a challenge going into the trip, God had already orchestrated an answer to, all while meeting a unique desire of my heart.
Around the time we were in Burma, followers of Buddhism were due to celebrate their “Full Moon” Holiday, but it was canceled due to a tropical weather system and rescheduled to the weekend of our Living Sound event. It may have kept crowds down a bit, but overall the conflict ended up being a positive as it likely kept people who would want to cause problems distracted. I believe our event was light in the darkness of a Buddhist community.
At the end of the week in a meeting with the local pastor, he told us he has decided to begin a special weekly service that will cater more to young people in the community who are not likely to come to a typical church service. Knowing that this event impacted and helped show this local pastor a new way of engaging the young people in his community – resulting in the start of an ongoing indigenous led ministry – made this moment one of the most fulfilling of our entire time in Burma.
We are excited to continue honoring and building upon our rich heritage of music ministry by going under the name “Living Sound.” Please pray with us for God’s wisdom and guidance as we consider what the future holds for this unique and powerful ministry.
Leadership Conference[/four_fifth_last] [new_royalslider id=”9″]
During our week in Burma World Compassion co-hosted a three-day leadership conference with a personal friend of mine, Pastor Todd Powers. The theme of the conference was “Life Giving.” Living Sound helped lead worship while others of us provided practical and inspirational teaching on how to develop a life-giving church culture to over 200 hundred Burmese pastors.
Over the course of the conference, the Living Sound team was able to provide a little teaching and training to a few local Burmese musicians. During breaks at the conference the band would have impromptu “jam sessions” creating a fun, liberating atmosphere that engaged all in attendance.
These pastors sat through three days of powerful teaching that will help them shake off the chains of religion and bring a life giving environment into their churches.
In one of the sessions, during a time where we were praying one-on-one for pastors, two older teenage boys walked in the service. One of them was looking for his mom. Both young men smelled like they had been drinking and looked to have had a rough night. Neither had given their lives to Jesus. Right in the middle of the conference, they approached the alter and gave their lives to Christ. This was a tremendous bonus to an already amazing few days.
The genuine connection the team had with one another and with the Burmese leaders made for a truly life-giving conference. We know those leaders left refreshed and inspired to continue leading their churches to see Burma reached for Christ.
ABC Launches in Burma[/four_fifth_last] [new_royalslider id=”11″]
Pastors attending the leadership conference were also introduced to our ABC Bible Training Curriculum for the very first time. Over the past three years, we have been translating the curriculum and preparing expectantly to for this opportunity. We are ecstatic to finally equip the Burmese Church with ABC!
We had an overwhelming response from 40 different churches who are interested in implementing this church-based discipleship model in their churches. After the announcement of the program, leaders were swarming the table to sign up to learn more about how they can implement an ABC discipleship program in their churches. Just as we have witnessed in China, we believe this program will help strengthen and grow the church throughout Burma. Over the coming months, we expect to distribute ABC to pastors all over this region in Burma!