Transformation Among Former Head Hunters in Myanmar


Naga homes in rural Myanmar

In our Training National Trainers program, we have opportunities to reach and transform people in some of the most remote regions of the world.  If we are not able directly train, we train nationals who can travel to remote regions.

This is the beauty of multiplication.  When the pastors we train become passionate about training others, they are spreading their training onto communities that we could never reach or come in contact with.

Below is a powerful update from one of our Regional Directors about the work going on in Myanmar and throughout South East Asia.

(See more of our work in Myanmar and the amazing lengths our trainees will go to take to pass their biblical training on to others.)

New to the Word

Several times in his book, Ezra relates that “the hand of the Lord was upon him.” By this he means that he felt he was doing what God had called him to do—even though it was difficult and sometimes dangerous and discouraging work! Sensing God’s hand upon him Ezra continued in God’s work with confidence, conviction, commitment and courage. In spite of great opposition (cf. Ezra 4), the Temple was rebuilt and the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt. Since the people had abandoned the Law and had intermarried with foreign wives, the work of getting the people back to living according to God’s will was very difficult! In Nehemiah 8, we read of Ezra mounting on a high pulpit so all could see and hear him as he began reading aloud the Law of God. Several men were scattered around the congregation to help the people understand what was being said. After abandoning the Law for so long, it was foreign to them.

Now this story from Ezra and Nehemiah relates to the work of Leadership Resources in Southeast Asia. We are not drawing back a people who have abandoned the Law of God as Ezra did. Rather, we are coming alongside a people who are new Christians. We are training pastors who are new Christians and many of whom have never had any kind of training in the Word of God.

Not Even Headhunters Are Out of God’s Reach

In this letter, I want to focus on our new work in Myanmar (Burma) especially as that is carried out among the Naga tribal people. Most Naga tribesmen live inside India along India’s western border with Myanmar. On the Burmese side of the border lives a much smaller population of some 100,000 Nagas. They live along the Indian border in the west to the Chindwin River in the east.

The Naga are a fierce warrior tribe that a little over 100 years ago were head hunters. Today that custom has disappeared due to prohibition by the Burmese government. Christianity was introduced to the northern region of the Naga villages in the 1960s by missionaries from the Kachin Baptist Church, a local Burmese branch of the Baptist Church in Myanmar. In 1965, a civil war broke out between the Naga tribes and the Kachin tribe. Many Naga believers fled to India for safety to live among fellow tribesmen of India. God used this event to bring the Gospel to the Naga of India. Today a large Christian Church exists in a part of India known as Nagaland! God moves in mysterious ways!

group-photo-of-naga-tnters-lahe-myanmar-2Starting in 1984 the middle region of the Naga villages was reached by missionaries from the Burmese Church of Christ headquartered in Putao in the far north of Myanmar. It is these Naga villages that are being reached by some of the Church of Christ students in our Training National Trainers program.

The Christians of these villages are quite immature in their faith. Pastors in these new churches have had little or no opportunity for training in preaching and teaching the Word of God to their people. One of our pastor/students is leading a group of Church of Christ pastors who are taking our training to these Naga pastors in the middle region of Naga villages.

What a difference training makes

In the past, these uneducated pastors would simply read sermons written by pastors from the Mother Church in Putao. This practice became so common that the congregation would recognize a sermon that was often repeated. Members of the congregation heard these sermons so often that they could recite much of the sermon from memory! When these pastors were taught Expository Preaching, they rejoiced! Now they can prepare their own sermons!

120-groupOur busiest TNT student is Pastor RP of the Church of Christ. He is the one responsible for arranging and carrying out (with the help of other Church of Christ Pastors) this training of Naga pastors and church leaders. He is training two groups of students among the Naga tribe. One group is from the area around the village of Lahe with 25 pastors and church leaders. The other group is made up of pastors and church leaders from the area around the village of Wangdung with 20 pastors and church leaders.

RP travels over difficult trails to get to these remotely located Naga villages. What follows is taken from his report to me of his trip to Wangdung Village.

naga-pastors-and-leaders-in-tnt-sessionI went from Yangon by bus to Mandalay on Jan. 9. From there I flew to Khamti on Jan. 10. The next day I rode by cycle 60 miles with a pastor from Khamti (Pastor Dega). We stayed in Lahe on Sunday and on Monday we rode on to Wangdung (20 miles over winding mountain trails, suspension bridges and through rivers with no bridge). Most of the 20 pastors & church leaders have had no training of any kind. Since the church among the Nagas is relatively young and so remote, the opportunity for training just doesn’t exist—until now with LRI training! Most of these men became pastors because of need, but none were qualified. They need much training in the Word. At the end of the training they thanked the Lord for this training and made sure that we planned to come back. These pastors were so grateful for help in dealing with false teaching that always seems to creep in. I taught until Jan. 25. It took me till Feb. 1 to get back home!”

Praise the Lord for this group of people who are glorifying God by training remote church leaders in the Word!

Learn more about Training National Trainers.

Leadership Resources

Leadership Resources exists to equip and encourage pastors around the world to teach God’s word with God’s heart. Learn more about our work, our approach, and see how your church can make a worldwide difference with God's Word.