My Life and Ministry - A God-Given Vision
High up in the cooler north-west regions of Myanmar is the homeland of the Chin people. For hundreds of years these people have lived in this remote and hilly region as animists. They worshipped various spirits of nature and were for from any contact with the message of the one true God. My parents lived their lives in a typical small Chin village. In the late nineteenth century the Gospel of Jesus Christ came to the Chin people via American Baptist missionaries. Thank God that these committed men and women of faith brought that glorious Gospel to my people. My parents were among the first people to accept Jesus as Lord. God has started to pour out His salvation and grace upon my native people. However, the chief of my parent’s village was not at all receptive to the Gospel. He issued an order that exiled all believers from his territory, and that included my parents. With many tears and hard trials my parents left their beloved Chin Hills leaving behind many relatives and friends. They moved to a nearby valley and started to live in a new village. Later, the Baptist mission centers were divided according to certain regions. All of the Chin Hills came under the oversight of the American Baptist Mission and the valley came under the Methodist Mission. All the Christians who live in the valley became Methodists. In his later years my father became a pastor of a local Methodist church in this valley.
In 1955 my father died. My mother was only four months pregnant with me when this happened. When I was 9 years old my mother died leaving only us three children. My elder brother was 16 and my sister was 12. We grew up attending the Sunday School at the Methodist church. The promises of Jesus are precious. I remember one such promise-Jesus said “I will never leave you fatherless.” He was and always will be there for us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is faithful to His Word. He can be depended upon. That is why I can stand today and see the great blessings of God in every area of our life. He has give so much-eternal life, purpose and destiny in God and a beautiful family.
Becoming a Child of God
Although we enjoyed going to Sunday school and listening to the Worldof God we continued to live in sin. There was no real commitment to Jesus. We did not have parents or guardians to watch over us. As time passed we drifted slowly away from God. That is the deceptive nature of sin. It will always lead you away from God. I did not even know where I would go when I died. There was no peace in my heart, I had no answers that seemed to satisfy me.
During my high school days I was studying at a Technical Institute. I had this dream to become an engineer and to become a successful professional. All I wanted was a good and prosperous life. I had many wonderful friends with me from this institute. Life was good without God-or so I thought. However, during a short holiday a tragedy struck. Many students were preparing to go home for their holidays. Along with a few other students, I had decided to stay back in the dormitories. In the afternoon I took my best friend to the railway station and said goodbye. That was the last time I saw him! Terrible news reached my ears that evening - my very best friend had been killed in a horrible
train accident. I was in shock. After this news the Word of God came in its convicting power into my life. It exposed the uncertainty and fear that I had locked up inside me. The word of God says in Mark 8:36 ‘ What if a man owns everything but cannot save his own soul.”
I went through all the dreams that I had planned for my life and found out that even if I could make all those dreams came true and have a good life, I would still be a mortal human being who could die at any time-just as my friend. A big question arose within me “Where would my soul go if I were to die right now?” We must all ask ourselves that question some time. It is a matter of eternal life or eternal death. It that moment I began to realize what Jesus Christ had done on the cross. He came to pay for the penalty for my sin by His death. The Spirit of God was drawing me to Jesus. I repented of my sin and accepted Jesus as my personal Savior on the 1st of November, 1974. From that moment I truly understood His grace. I know I had become a son of the living God! Hallelujah. I did not belong to God because I was a son of pastor, but because I received Jesus Christ according John 1:12. The Word says, “that as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God.” From that very moment I knew I received the eternal life of God in my spirit. I was a new creation in Christ!
Empowered by the Holy Spirit
A year went by as I continued to grow in this new life that Jesus had given me. I then had the privilege to be in a crusade where God wonderfully empowered me with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. This was the promise of the Father as seen in Luke 24:49. Power from on high had entered my soul.
The Burden for Souls
Ever since I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit I began to receive such a strong burden for the lost. This was like a fire on the inside that motivated me to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ from one village to another. Nothing could stop me from preaching in my school or even at the Military Base that was close to our school. His passion for souls was in my heart. Did not Jesus say that we would be witnesses when the power of the Holy Ghost comes upon us. The fires of evangelism were burning in the heart.
His Calling - My Obedience
I found that the more I preached the Gospel the more my enthusiasm and zeal for God grew. Slowly I began to realize that God had a destiny for the life. After much prayer I knew that God had called me into the ministry full-time. In February of 1977 I made a decision to leave the Technical Institute and join in the ministry of Jesus. No longer did I dream of being that successful engineer living the good life. I now dreamt of being a success in the Kingdom of God and living my life for the sake of His call.
My Precious Wife
In His faithfulness the Lord placed me among many senior ministers. These were my many senior ministers. These were my mentors and I learnt many things regarding the Christian life in these early years. In June 1977 I started to serve as a pastor of a church in a small village. The Holy Spirit miraculously manifested Himself in many evening revival meetings. These times of refreshing in the Holy Spirit continued for one year. I served as pastor for two years in this village. God, in His divine plan, brought a beautiful lady called Vung Za Niang into my life. She was a local schoolteacher and a Spirit-filled member of my church We grew closer together and were eventually married in 1979.
Vung Za Niang and I were married on the 4th of August, 1979. God has blessed us with three wonderful children. My daughter, Dim San Lun, Vungh Suan Khai, and my youngest son Zan Sian Mung. My wife and I are both involved in the ministry and we enjoy God’s sweet communion in our family-a family that loves God. I like to call our family the “walking-with-God-family.”
Bible School-His Vision Imparted
After one year of our marriage the Lord opened the door for me to go to one of the Bible schools in India. During those days, our government did not legally allow any issue of a passport for any citizen to go abroad for Bible study. Therefore, illegally, I went to India through the back door for my Bible training. It was a difficult journey walking five days in the woods to get to India. After two years in Bible school I came back to Myanmar and took my wife with me through the same hard five day journey. This was truly a faith adventure for us both. It was not easy at times, yet we persevered because of the call of God on our lives. There were times in which we felt very insecure. We had no passport, no money and no one to sponsor us. Our only hope was to pot our trust in God and wait for His miraculous provision. It was during this time at Bible College that God spoke to me in a vision. He said that “Myanmar shall be a Christ-centered nation.” This was hard for me to believe. My human reasoning fought against it. Present conditions all seemed to support my doubts My natural mind rebelled against the through. Looking at the Christians in the nation of Myanmar we saw that they are such a small minority. Only a handful of people and not many of them have an education. I continued to pray and asked God how this might take place. The Lord answered and said, “
Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.” Over the months and years that have followed the Lord continues to give us the strategy on how to win this nation for Christ. One of the things the Lord clearly showed me was this. The way to shake this nation of Myanmar with the Gospel of Christ is first to shake the capital city. Generally, all capital cities play an important role in areas such as politics, economics and spiritual forces. Part of the first stages to win Myanmar for Christ was to plant a strong church in the capital city with at least ten thousand Christ-centered and Spirit-filled members who are really enthusiastic and have a zeal for the Gospel of Christ. These on-fire believers would then carry the flames of revival all over the nation. Many towns, villages and cities will turn to Christ. When God plants His churches all over the nation then this country will experience a visitation of God. Many thousands will come into a saving knowledge of Christ. God specifically told me not to build on what others have done, but to start a completely new fellowship. Paul said in Romans 15:20 that he strived to preach the Gospel not where Christ was named, lest he should build upon another man’s foundation. I wanted to build upon the strategy, vision and direction that God had spoken into my life.
The Beginning of Ministry by the Work of the Holy Spirit
In 1984, after my wife and I graduated from Southern Asian Bible College, we came back to Myanmar and continued to serve in the same village where I used to minister as a pastor. I did not immediately come down to Yangon (the capital of Myanmar) after I graduated. In 1987, after waiting for three years, I started to share about my vision. Later, a widow who was staying in the outskirts of Yangon heard about the vision and asked us if we would like to start a church in here house. We were so excited about it and started on our journey to Yangon. We left our hometown and had very little money. Half-way on our journey to Yangon we heard the news that the Socialist Government had dismissed all the big currency notes from being recognized as official money. Our money was wiped out overnight! From that moment the little money that we had become just paper, it was of no use any more. I was depressed and started to lose heart, not knowing what to do. That night God spoke to me from Matthew 16:18 where He says “Upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Jesus told me this, “Did I say I will build my church upon money?” and I said, No.” Jesus said that he would build His Church upon the rock” the rock is Jesus Himself. God continued to speak to me and said, “Be in Christ, be in the Lord Jesus Christ and I will build my Church Myself” Moreover, He asked me, “How much money did the apostles have when they first started the early church?” Then I realized Peter and John (in Acts 3) met a cripple man who was out begging at the Temple Gate called Beautiful. When the crippled man asked for some money Peter said, “ Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” The crippled man jumped to his feet and began to walk. Through this miracle five thousand people were saved. The Lord let this touch come into my heart and create faith for His vision. It is not by money that His Church is going to be built, but by knowing how to use the
powerful and anointed name of Jesus. Hallelujah! I was greatly encouraged by His Word many times in respect of these things. Jesus said, “ I will build My Church ... not you.” Finally He said to me, “ Be in Christ, do it in faith and in obedience to whatever I command you to do.” God had taught me through His Word and encouraged our hearts in the midst of a time of confusion. We continued down to Yangon, moving into our destiny in God.
The Birth of the Full Gospel Assembly
On the 13th of September, 1987 the afore mentioned widow and a few other people met for worship in her house. This was the humble beginnings of what is now known as Full Gospel Assembly. Though we were small in the beginning, the anointing of God’s Spirit was with us. In the meeting there were signs and wonders, healings, deliverance from demons and much joy in the Holy Ghost. The manifestations of His Spirit were clearly evident.
Praise on the Inside-Persecution from the Outside
In those early days we all joyfully shouted and praised God with aloud voice. Sometimes the neighbors got angry and threw stones at us. They wanted to get rid of us. They wanted nothing of Jesus or His ways. We could see that they really meant it. They were clearly against what we were doing and several times they surrounded us armed with sticks and stones. I was interrogated many times by the local authorities and had to sign various papers trying to prevent our praise and worship services.
Freedom from Fear
In those days great fear used to come to me every Saturday. Negative thoughts invaded my mind of what might happen during the Church service. One Saturday morning God spoke me through the Holy Spirit. He reminded me of when Jesus said, “ I am sending you out like a sheep among the wolves.” The words Jesus spoke really gave me an understanding that it is natural for the wolves to persecute. They will hunt, attack and even kill the sheep. The Lord kept on reminding me saying,” Did you not say you were willing to pay any price for the cause of the Gospel. Then why are you in fear of things around you now?” These words from the Lord challenged my heart again. I saw my
worthlessness, unfaithfulness and my sinful nature. Circumstances were being Load, not Jesus. I asked the Lord to forgive me of all these things. I rededicated my life as I fell in His presence saying, “Lord, you are without sin yet you took and the stripes and suffered and died for all my sin. Why stripes and suffered and died for all my sin. Why Should I, who was a sinner, be afraid do die for your cause.” Since that day I was miraculously delivered from the fear that had so plagued me.
Our Desperate Need
During this time of much persecution in the outskirts of Yangon we dreamt about moving our church into the downtown area. It would be much more convenient for the people, better transportation, and a more central location. To be able to move the church into an apartment where around 50 people can fit in would cost us 150,000 Kyats. This rental deposit was beyond what we could afford. In those days our Sunday church offering was only around 100 Kyats (30 cents). 150,000 Kyats was a giant mountain to us. BUT GOD IS THE MOVER OF MOUNTAINS- faith in Him would move this financial mountain!
The Church started to fast and pray for ten days, believing that God would do something special. He is able and will meet all our needs. He is Jehovah Jared! After ten days of fasting and prayer we thought we would get what we needed. We did not~ Again, in the second months, we fasted and prayed for a further ten days holdings on to what the Lord said, “Ask and it will be given to you.” No miracle was seen in the second month. We kept on fasting and praying on the first ten days of every month. The third month came and went. Sit! no answer! We continued to pray more aggressively, still keeping our faith in His Word and His ability to supply everything we needed. Still no
breakthrough was seen Though our major financial difficulty was not solved, we were blessed and our faith grew as we fasted and prayed in the presence of the Lord. The fifth month came and went and still no answer! We continued to fast and pray during the sixth month, still no sign or miracle but we had made a decision to pray until we got our prayers answered.
God Miraculous Provision
After our sixth month of prayer and fasting I was invited by a church in Mandalay to come and teach a seminar on Praise and Worship. After the seminar, when I was about to return home, a Baptist family invited me to their house to pray a blessing over them (it was after midnight when we finally finished praying). In return, my host family asked me if they could pray for my needs. I told them about the financial need of the church and they prayed concerning this need. After a time of prayer the father asked me when I needed the money. I said, “Now!” He continued, “After I prayed for you I believe I am to pay this 150,000 Kyats for the church. I don’t have it in cash right now, but I have a house and car that I can sell for the sake of the Gospel. It is not right for the church of Jesus Christ to be in great difficulty.” This true believer asked me to come back after 10 days to collect the money. Ten days later I received the needed money! Hallelujah! Such is our God who is faithful enough to answer and grant His children’s prayers. God provides a way in the wilderness, even in the wilderness of financial lack. He is the God who supplies. That was the first of God’s miraculous provisions and the biggest amount of money I had ever seen in my life. It was a milestone of faith in my life and for the history of the Church. I was overflowing with joy in my heart and praise in my mouth as I took that money home to the Church. Without any delay we immediately rented an apartment for the Church to worship and share the Word of God together. Since that day we were free from any persecution from the neighborhood. One thing we learnt was this there is power in fasting and prayer. This proved to be worth more than receiving even that financial gift.
Monthly Fasting and Prayer
After knowng the sweetness of this powerful fasting and prayer and from our miraculous experience, we could not stop fasting and praying. God births things through prayer and heartfelt dedication to Him. full Gospel Assembly continues to fast and prayer for the first ten days of every month. We also pray for individual needs, whoever asks for prayer, for the church’s needs and for prayer, for the church’s needs and for the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit in an end time revival. Many testimonies of God’s provision and miracles of healing are seen in people’s lives as the fruit of this fasting and prayer. Fasting and prayer has been another way to pull down the anointing and the
presence of God in our church services. Though this fasting and prayer we are strengthened with characteristics such as zeal, unity, enthusiasm, and a love for the Gospel. And this helps our praise and worship to be real with the presence of God in our lives. It is through prayer that this church has grown from 5 members to 1300 members after a thirteen-year journey. It is through prayer that God has blessed this church with more than 401 hard working full time ministers. In the beginning, our fasting and prayer meetings attracted only 4-5 people, but now, many people have come to know the power of fasting and prayer. Every month we have a Women’s fasting and prayer day, a Youth fasting and prayer day every week and whole night prayer service on every second Sunday night. God has blessed this church with prayer warriors to be channels of blessing to other people and for the nation.
Full Gospel Bible Training Center
God has not blessed us only with a living and growing church, but in Hi strategy He gave us a wonderful and prominent Bible school. This has given birth to many warriors for Christ. In 1996, with 28 students, we started the Full Gospel Bible Training Center. This runs a nine-month Diploma Coues. We have seen the increase and blessing of God at this college. In 1997 we had 56 students and in 1998,89 students. 173 students had been graduated from this Bible school and most of them are in the ministry. The college continues to grow and has around an average now of 130 to 1401 students each year. During 1999 we started a second school known as Full Gospel Institute
of Ministry. Here we invite our former first year Bible school students (who have already graduated and working in their own respective ministries) with the objective to train them in more practical courses intensively for a three month period. Over the last two years the Institute of Ministry has been operating we have seen over 80 students graduate. All graduates from these two schools are counting the cost and moving out into from-line ministry. They are
carriers of revival to the nation and are integral to the strategy of the Lord to reach this nation for Jesus.
Mission, Church Planting and Evangelism Teams
Over the past several years we have seen three mission advances from the church to places like Sagaing, Pathein and Myinmu. We thank God for the faithful missionaries and their partnership with us. The Pathein outreach did not work out as planned, but in Sagaging and Myimnu we have seen much fruit and have already planted churches there. Even in these two places; Sagaing and Myinmu, there was no sign of success for three years. Many people have prayed for years for these places. People are now beginning to be receptive to the Gospel and churches are being established.
After recruiting team members from the first year graduates we give them special team training and then send them to plant churches in different locations all over Myanmar. Through these teams churches have been planted in cities and towns such as Kawthaung, Bago, Myitta, Mandalay,Kyaukme,Lashio,Muse,Tantyan,PyinOoLwin,Kankaw,Htoogyi,Latpanhla,Bagan,Yatsouth,Taunggyi,Thipaw,Kalaw,Aungpan,Kalay,Olddalkhai,Nanhnuai, Tahan,Saizaang,Tuisanzaang,Zozaang,Lunmual,Thantwe,Thabyuchaing,Khantee,Myigyina.Besides the church planting teams we have two evangelism teams who are traveling around the nation to help, strengthen and have fellowship with the existing churches and to proclaim the Gospel in places where the Gospel has never been preached. The anointing of God is strongly manifested upon these teams and many great testimonies were through back from places where they ministered.
Our Revival Fire Teams started 3 years ago and now there are 12 church planting and evangelism teams operating throughout the nation. There are still many places and people that need to hear of the Kingdom of God that Kingdom of Love, power and grace. For the last three years our Revival Fire Teams have ministered in many areas, proclaiming the one true God and His new life imparted by the New Birth. This year we
are sending four more teams out to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom and plant churches in needy areas.
We can see people have a hunger for God in their hearts and are more receptive to the Gospel them ever before. By listening to their great testimonies we can see that this nation is ready for revival. The Church Planting and Evangelism Teams are part of our church’s vision and part of the vehicle that God is using to bring His Word to the national. That’s why I see this Bible school as a Training Center for Christ’s Army. The Lord is building His Church!
Every Saturday, ministers from the church and Bible school student regularly evangelize places around Yangon. Many Buddish families have come to a saving knowledge of Christ and have dedicated their lives to Him. This is a real should winning outreach. His grace and favor is upon us.
We have three services on Sunday: Burmese, Chin and English. In the Burmese and Chin services there are so many people that it is beyond what the room can hold. We have had to extend with video and television sets info another room. On Saturdays we have women’s services and youth services.
Full Gospel Assemblies present sanctuary is in one old housing apartment. It is a flat which is located downtown and fits only about 300 people. In the overflow room it will seat around 200. It is our prayer that we can build and worship God on our own private property.
As you know, our vision it to plant many churches all over the nation and to see many souls changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the near future we have plans to build anon orphanage. The land for this has been purchased already. If you have a desire to sow into God’s Kingdom we would like to encourage you that FGA is good fertile ground. Our prayer is that you will also see God’s multiplication in your life.
We give our apperception and thanks to the people in this nation andoverseas who stand together with us for the cause of Jesus Christ. We are one in Him. May God bountifully bless and prosper you.
Thank you for reading our church history. We love you and true you will know Jesus intimately-may He richly bless you.