Missionary Intern Coutney Prater has returned home from 10 amazing weeks in Myanmar.  She has written several posts about her experience, and for those following her blog, you may be interested in the prequel — an amazing 10 day experience in Myanmar last December.  Here’s the first of those entries…

December 6, 2013

By Courtney Prater

Its Friday (23 hours later)… and it’s our first breakfast together in Burma.  Its not your average American breakfast; noodles, rice, grits, soup,and a couple different meats. However having our two feet on the ground felt amazing.

Eric started us off with devotions this morning. His message was very loud and clear to me. I felt like it was for me actually (is that selfish? :). However Eric had just met me, and he was just sharing his journey with us. He wanted to be a missionary since High School (I was envious of that; how could he know so early, I am a college graduate and I am still trying to decide what shampoo works best for my hair). Once college came around for him, he picked a non-Christian University.      “You can plan all you want, but God’s plan will be reality” he said. His choices were not matching up with his prior plans. Eric jumped over hurdles the next few years but he began to hear God whisper things to him more clearly. He told us how chaotic his life had been and how hard it was too hear God’s plan for him. I think this is the part that I felt instantly connected. Sometimes my life is so busy (I’m responsible for that mostly) that I cannot hear anything God wants from me; and that’s the opposite of what I want or need.

After breakfast we were picked up by our driver and we met Ah Dee Che and his wife. I have never met anyone like Ah Dee Che; he was very fascinating. I liked him. He told me one thing after another about Burma. The thing that stuck out the most was the education system. The government wanted to maintain control; therefore it was ideal for them to keep the mind limited. For example; if the students were learning about animals, the teacher would show them a cow, bull, and pig. The test would ask the student to write down three animals….if they wrote down a cat, they would receive a zero. The correct answer would include a cow, bull and pig.

We were headed to Hope when we stopped at the World War II cemetery in Yangon. It was beautiful. A lot of people were there taking pictures. Once we got there they wanted to take pictures with us. It was weird, but flattering. They must have mistook me for Jenn Anisten; that would be my guess anyway 😉     After traveling down a rutted dirt road, we arrived at Hope which we were greeted with roses and happiness. All the kids were running towards us wearing the biggest smiles I have ever witnessed. Why were they so happy to see me? Not that I would ever complain about something like that, but how did I deserve so much love from these precious lives already. They jumped in my heart right then and there.

Joana introduced us to Josiah and his wife, Phoebe. Hands down two of the greatest people in the world (including my side)! We all took our shoes off before entering the house and shared a terrific meal made from scratch by Phoebe. After lunch, I left the adults and searched for all the kids. It wasn’t hard to find them; they were running around everywhere! Not one of them was playing angry birds or NBA2K13, shocking huh? 🙂     I played soccer with the boys. They were pretty good. I wish I could have told them that. However our language barrier kept us from sharing a conversation. I think the quality time I spent with them made up for it though.     I met back up with the group only to be handed off to the volleyball “team” while they took a tour of EBI (Eastern Bible Institute). Which I did not figure out was a college campus until about 7 days later! It looks a lot different than the college campus’ I am used to, but I liked it, a lot! When I said “team” I was referring to the group of students that were playing volleyball for fun. Another group of kids were playing a mixture of hacky sack and volleyball across the field. The ball they were playing with was made out of bamboo. I didn’t dare to join that; maybe next time!