Destroyed by Fire, Rebuilding with Hope

Dear Friend,

There is an urgent situation in Myanmar that I want to share with you. This past November, an explosion and fire led to the gutting of our Voice of Prophecy Bible School in Yangon, Myanmar.

It was a Sunday afternoon, and thankfully only one of the technicians, Saw Ka Paw Moo, was working in the office. He was sitting at his desk when the air conditioning unit mounted high on the wall suddenly exploded. Saw ran outside and grabbed a fire extinguisher, returning to spray the unit. But the fire was already in the ceiling, so he sprayed that, too. The ceiling was covered in insulation foam, and the burning foam fell on him, severely burning his arm and hand.

This was tragic, but thankfully, Saw recovered after treatment and much prayer. However, the Bible School with its large stockpile of Bible lessons and materials was destroyed. Other equipment destroyed included the hand-recorded record-keeping system, two laptops, a printer, copier and scanner, furniture, tables and chairs, and the phone system.

We have been working to restore the Bible School in Yangon. Thankfully, the laptops have been replaced, and while a printer, copier and phone system are still needed (our workers are giving their own personal cell phone numbers to the students who ring them at all hours of the day and night!), by far the greatest loss has been the Bible lessons.

Our Bible School in Myanmar has been one of the busiest—for a non-Christian country— since its humble beginnings 60 years ago—yes, one of our oldest schools! Before the fire, it had grown to fulfill more than 2,500 requests per year, and had one of the highest completion rates at 1,500 per year. It offered a total of six different study courses, with the most popular being the Discover Bible Guides (26 lessons) and Health & Longevity (18 lessons).

A few of the lessons survived with some scorching on the edges, but no complete sets remain. Our workers trim the edges as much as possible so that at least some lessons can still be used, but the situation is dire as our dear brothers and sisters cannot properly fulfill the requests that come in.

While this has been a tragedy, sometimes God uses circumstances to push us in the right direction, closing options to prompt us to move forward where He wants us to go. And I think this is one such occasion. Let me explain.

The Bible lessons we were using in Myanmar were very old Voice of Prophecy lessons. We had been planning to update these lessons, and the fire has now made this a top priority. We are now working to create brand-new Discover lessons in the Burmese language. We are moving forward with a sense of urgency, not only because of the immediate need, but because we also sense that time is running out and God is pushing us—and all those willing to do something for Him—to move forward by faith and proclaim the gospel message with urgency!

Our Bible School workers trim the edges from scorched lessons that survived the fire— but no complete sets remain. The immediate need right now is to reprint a limited number of the old lessons and refurbish the Bible School with the bare essentials. Kurt Johnson, our VOP Bible School director, said, “We are upgrading the design and
content of the Myanmar Bible lessons. This is needed and will take a few months to accomplish, but if we don’t print lessons immediately, the Bible School will not be able to function.”

This comes at a crucial time, when the Bible School was planning to reach the students in our schools with the Bible lessons. 

I promised our brethren in Myanmar that I would present this need to our Voice of Prophecy supporters, because we can always count on your help. That’s why I’m appealing to you this month in a special way to help our Bible School continue to be a shining light in a country that still knows so little about Jesus. The immediate needs are as follows:

  • Limited reprint of the old lessons: $18,000
  • Purchase of printer/scanner/copier: $800
  • Two years of telephone service for the Bible School: $240
  • Cost to rewrite and redesign the lessons: $50,000

We are moving forward by faith with this unexpected expense. God has led the Voice of Prophecy Bible School from its very beginning, and we know He doesn’t make mistakes. Millions have studied these lessons and given their lives to Christ as a result. We choose to see this as an opportunity to reach a broader number of people with the good news that Jesus is coming soon! This setback that Satan meant for harm is really a setup
for a better comeback to reach Myanmar for Jesus! 

Please prayerfully consider supporting this project. You will be making an eternal difference in Myanmar.

Your brother in ministry,

Shawn Boonstra

P.S. We are facing an urgent need after the tragic explosion and fire that destroyed our Bible School in Myanmar. New lessons need to be printed even as we work on updating the studies in the Burmese language. Please consider a special gift to help restore the Bible School and print the urgently needed lessons so the work of God’s Word in Myanmar continues uninterrupted. We are moving forward by faith with this unexpected expense. With your support, the urgently needed work of God’s Word in Myanmar will continue uninterrupted.