By Hannah Klewin
I woke up Monday morning on the 25th in the Mae La refugee camp to the sound of violins squeaking out “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” I got up and found my way to a small room where one of the Bible school students was teaching two other students the violin. After listening for awhile the teacher asked if I could teach his students, he remembered seeing me play the violin at church the day before. I had to laugh because I do not see myself as a good teacher.But I think that has been the theme of this trip for me, being pushed out of my comfort zone to a place where I can completely relay on Christ. I showed them some basic techniques and helped them learn a new song. We laughed a lot and had such a fun time playing together! I walked away feeling like I learned so much more than they did from that experience even though they were looking at me to be the “teacher.” You don’t have to have the nicest things or play perfectly to worship God. Their violins were so weathered and old and cartoon stickers covered large cracks on their violins. But the joy they had learning and playing together was so genuine because they were doing it for God!
After breakfast there was chapel, which is like a 30 minute worship service. Nathan shared his testimony and we sang some songs. It was so beautiful to be singing with 400 students both in our own languages, English and Karen, but together praising the same God!
We said goodbye to the dear students at Mae La Bible School and then squeezed in the bed of two trucks and headed out to Burma. Where there is a small group of believers that the Bible school in Mea La sent an evangelist to lead and encourage the small church. After about an hour of bumpy roads and beautiful jungle scenery, we got to a river where a man with a long canoe waited for us. The first group got in and headed across the river. He then came back and got the rest of us. My violin, all our backpacks and 10 people got in it, we were only about 8 inches above the water! On the other side waited a truck and a couple mopeds. Some hopped in the truck and others doubled up on the mopeds. I got on the back of a moped with one of the locals. We flew down the bumpy dirt path, through a small creek and up some little hills, it was an exciting ride.
We got to a tiny village with a little school and got to hang out with about 50 kids. The kids were all so attentive to us and we were able to teach them songs, tell them about Jesus, listen to them sing and do our drama for them. These children aren’t raised in Christian homes and there are very few Christians in the village. We had the older students go outside and play volleyball and soccer. And the younger students stayed in and played blob tag and duck, duck, goose. At first they were all pretty shy, but soon they warmed up and we had a ton of fun laughing and playing with them!
Before dinner some us went to a fun little pool in the river, it was really neat because 3 of the students came with us. They thought we were hilarious and would laugh at everything we said even though they couldn’t understand it.
We had a huge beautiful dinner prepared for us by some locals. They show so much generosity and hospitality here. Even though they don’t have much and eat so simply, they always make us lots of delicious food. It’s so humbling! After dinner we had a sweet time of singing and sharing with a group of students that evening!
We left the village early the next morning and headed to the town of Umphang. It was about a 5 hour drive on really winding roads through the mountains. But we all got a lot of sleep and enjoyed lot of fun conversions. That night we had a sweet time of worshiping with a small church and got to hear some amazing testimonies! We are now staying at our interpreter’s house. They are a sweet couple who are going to be traveling with us to some more villages the next couple days. I am so excited to see how God will continue to use and grow our team!