YMI Connects The Past, Present & Future in Myanmar (Burma)!
Burma, the Land of Famous Baptist Missionary, Adoniram Judson
by Dr. Randy Smith, President/Founder – Youth Ministry International
Adoniram Judson was the first American evangelical missionary to take the Gospel to the enchanting land of Myanmar, which was Burma at the time. This iconic missionary lived an extraordinary life, filled with both suffering and joy. Judson was born in 1788 and died at sea near Burma in 1850. As a college student, he was part of the great “Haystack” revival when he and 4 other seminary students took refuge in a haystack during a thunderstorm, where all 5 dedicated themselves to global missions. The revival spread across many states on the eastern seaboard of the U.S.
Newly married, Judson arrived in Burma in 1813 at the age of 25. The life of Adoniram and his family was extremely hard. Death claimed 2 wives and 6 children during his days as a missionary in Burma. He went through unimaginable persecution, including imprisonment, and torture. He labored preaching the Gospel for 6 years before his FIRST convert in 1819. However, while only reaching about 7,000 for Christ during his 37 years as a missionary, several years after his death, a Burmese government survey reported 210,000 Christians, which at the time was one out of every eight Burmans! Even with Buddhism still being the predominant religion today, Myanmar’s Christian population is currently at 7.8% due in large part to Judson’s work! Judson also translated the first Burmese Bible, which was so accurate that it is still being used to this day. He also created the first Burmese-English dictionary. It is an honor and privilege for YMI to be one of several American missions agencies to follow in Adoniram Judson’s footsteps. YMI will be attempting to reach the youth of Myanmar through our training programs.
Myanmar churches need youth ministry training! Today Myanmar’s total population is 54 million and 53% are under the age of 29. 38%, or 21 million, are between the ages of 10-29. Pop culture is sweeping into this once isolated country, and the evangelical leaders are asking YMI to come and help them train youth leader for their churches so that they can meet this challenge and reach their vast youth population.
The leadership of the Myanmar Evangelical Graduate School of Theology recently (8-24-18) signed a partnership agreement with YMI to begin and teach a Master’s Degree in Youth Ministry, the first of its kind in the history of Myanmar! I, along with YMI’s Asia director, Steve Kaptain, will be traveling to Myanmar in January of 2019 to finalize the plans for the beginning of this new degree program. The program’s goal is to produce at least 10 indigenous professors of youth ministry, who will then begin teaching our Biblical youth ministry principles at other Christian training schools across Myanmar at the bachelors, diploma and certificate levels – “Training the Trainers!” Please pray for our YMI team, the national leaders and new students as we begin this exciting new program as part of the continuing legacy of Adoniram Judson and the several other American missionaries who made such a great sacrifice for the people of Myanmar (Burma)!