Hundreds attend NAD Myanmar Convention in Indiana
During the first weekend of June 2019, almost 600 people from across the U.S. gathered for the bi-annual North American Division’s Myanmar Multi-lingual Convention held at Timber Ridge Camp in Spencer, Indiana. Organized by Samuel Ngala, an Indiana pastor and church planter, speakers included John Kitevski, evangelist, elder, and one of the leaders at Gateway Congregations in Melbourne, Australia; Tony Anobile, North American Division (NAD) Multilingual Ministries; Rahel Wells, Andrews University Religion professor; Charlie Thompson, Youth department director; Terri Saelee, coordinator for the NAD’s Adventist Refugee and Immigrant Ministries (ARIM); and Bill Wells and Julia Aitken O’Carey of ASAP Ministries.
Nine different language groups from Myanmar (previously known as Burma) were present at the convention, along with visitors who represented Africa, Australia, South America, and Asia. Hymns were sung, sermons preached, and prayers offered up throughout the weekend. As a result, there were five baptisms of young people who chose to dedicate their lives to the Lord.
The number of refugees in the Lake Union has grown significantly. Just 10 years ago, there were no Myanmar congregations in the Lake Union. Today there are 10! Organizers shared that there is an urgent need for laborers within the Lake Union. This year, there were two initiatives at the convention designed to bring spiritual revival and equip laborers with tools needed to continue the work within the refugee groups.
A Critical Time
“To bring this initiative full circle, one cannot ignore the grim history of what the people from Myanmar experienced,” said organizers. “Underneath the smiling faces are a people group who have experienced rampant ethnic strife and civil wars from their homeland.”
“The government is intentionally doing an ethnic cleansing,” said Terri Saelee, Ministry Special project coordinator of Refugee & Immigrant for the North American Division. “They are purposely ridding their country of those who do not hold the three Bs, which are people of Bamar-descent, Burmese-speaking, and Buddhist.”