We shook our heads at the sight of thousands of dollars of sound equipment being loaded into the fragile canoes. It was crazy!

But looking across the fast-flowing river dividing Thailand and Myanmar, we knew it was worth the risk. This was a beachhead moment. There were thousands of unreached Buddhists in Myanmar who had yet to hear the Gospel.

Our goal was to reach the southern villages where church planters had reported seeing the Holy Spirit moving. It was to be our first Christmas outreach, and news had already spread through all the surrounding villages.

Sending the national team across, the rest of us drove back for more supplies and Christmas presents. Then we loaded those supplies onto yet another rickety boat, set to face the high waves of the Andaman Sea, before driving back up to the official border crossing. There we came to a police check point where we were delayed for hours while they reviewed pastor Isaiah’s paperwork. In the end we were told, “The foreigners must turn back. This is a Brown Zone; no foreigners allowed.” With great disappointment, I watched our truck load of supplies and Christmas gifts drive on without us, waving to pastor Isaiah. He and the team were heading into a battleground.

Discouragement hit the team hard, as that first night they were not even allowed into the village. When they finally entered and began to set up, the man who controlled the electricity kept demanding more and more money, then spitefully cut the power. Undaunted, Isaiah handed out tickets for the Christmas party that was to take place the second night. The local police chief, hired to protect our team, warned that some Buddhist leaders planned to stir up trouble, waiting for Isaiah to say something against Buddhism so that they could have him arrested and shut down the outreach.

However, the night of the event Isaiah spoke boldly with love and welcome to the hundreds who attended, and his accusers were silenced. And as he shared his testimony, over two hundred people responded in prayer to receive Christ! In all, our teams hosted sixteen evangelistic outreach events during the Christmas season, with almost five thousand people hearing about the saving love of Jesus. And almost half of them responded to the message, and made a commitment to follow Jesus as their Saviour!

By Louise Sinclair-Peters