At the core of the ministries of Hope Myanmar Partnership is the education of local men and women so that they can share the gospel message with their compatriates.
In Yangon, a small bible school trains around 30 students. These students are usually from poor families in remote areas of Myanmar, and are keenly studying towards their Bachelor of Theology. HMP provides simple accomodation and food for them, and does not charge them any fees for tuition – they simply could not afford it.
Almost all graduates return to the remote areas – some to their home towns, some to other parts of the country – to work as evangelists, pastors, Sunday school teachers or carers.
A church service is also held each week in Yangon for the students as well as others from the local community.
‘Blossom’ was initiated by Lincoln’s wife, Leah in 2005. Blossom is a preschool in suburban Yangon providing education for around 50 children from the poorest of families in the area. Blossom is a community-based school, with families contributing through sharing materials, food and clothing and assisting the teachers.
HMP also works with a number of orphanages in the area. Lincoln’s wife Leah leads a team that helps to educate orphanage workers, providing them with skills and knowledge in areas such as early childhood development, child psychology, hygiene, as well as teaching handicraft and activities.
HMP runs a boarding house in the remote village of Mindon, caring and providing for children from poor families that cannot afford to house and educate them. The boarding house provides accomodation and helps them to attend a school nearby. It presently has 12 children, but there is a hope to accomodate up to 40 chidren in the future.
A similar boarding house has also been established in an even more remote area in southern Chin state. There is also a need here to educate the children, as local schools struggle to attract teachers.
Outreach and Mission
This is a goal towards which all activities are directed. HMP currently supports pastors and evangelists in Mindon, southern and northern Chin state, and in Yangon. There are also many more opportunities – the people are there and ready to serve, but they do not have the money to support themselves while they preach and teach. HMP aims to increase its financial support to allow more graduates to serve in remote areas.
Community Welfare & Relief
In 2008 Leah negotiated with Yangon Children’s Hospital to run a daily play therapy program. Each day two HMP staff spend five hours playing with the children using toys and craft. HMP hires a room in the hospital and has also been involved with families of the children, encouraging them to seek treatment and assisting in payment for health care. In a country where health care is a privilege and sickness is shameful, these children may have gone without treatment and suffered their illness hidden away in their family’s home.
As a compassionate organisation with many contacts throughout Myanmar, HMP plays a role in disaster relief. During floods in May & September 2007 HMP provided shelter, rice and clothing to families in need. Following Cyclone Nargis in Myay 2008, HMP sent staff and students into remote cyclone affected regions carrying food and aid to badly affected villages and assisting in the clean-up of bodies and water reservoirs. In August 2008 HMP sent clothing and money to the famine affected Chin State, which authorities had ignored.
You might imagine most and aid relief coming from the government or larger international non-government organisations following disasters of such devastating scale. However as the authorities remain suspicious of ‘outside’ influence and prejudice against many ethnic groups in Myanmar, small organisations such as HMP that use local people, become key players in disaster relief.