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Voices from Myanmar

Stories from the Field, 7 June 2022

To launch the first ‘Stories from the Field’ for 2022, we invited Grace Chou to share. She has served as a linguist, Bible translation trainer, facilitator, consultant and language program coordinator in Malaysia, Myanmar and other Asia-Pacific countries. She served in Myanmar for 12 years until 2016.

While in Myanmar, she was based in Yangon as it was difficult for foreigners to move about the country. Her work was mainly with ethnic minority groups who already identified as Christian.

Burmese rice meal. Image by Wagaung, Wikimedia Commons

Her love for the country came through clearly as she shared some ‘voices’ of the people:

  • Voice of a friend: she remembers a local lady working as a house helper to another missionary saying that serving the missionaries was serving her people and her country.

  • Voice from the culture: she was puzzled in the early days when her neighbour saw her eating fried rice, and asked “Why aren’t you eating rice?” She wondered, “Isn’t ‘fried rice’ also ‘rice’?”

Fried rice. Image by Wagaung, Wikimedia Commons

She eventually discovered that when someone asked her “Have you eaten rice yet?”, she was being asked if she had eaten a meal consisting of rice with several dishes of food. This would be a main meal cooked for the whole household. On the other hand, ‘fried rice’ was leftover rice fried with peas or lentils and onions, and regarded as only a snack!

  • Voice of those she helped to facilitate: at one point, it was decided that the mother tongue translators of the project should return to live in their home area, and the local church leaders said: “It is our project; we will help our Bible translators.” This enabled the local community to get more involved more in the translation project.

  • Voice of the pastor who had the vision for Bible translation in his language: This is a song he wrote in 2009.

All of our people should praise our father God. Don't forget his kindness. Always remember him. All of our people should read our language. Don't forget our language. Always speak it.

Please continue to pray for the country of Myanmar, the many different ethnic groups, and the difficult situations that many people find themselves in.

This project is being supported by Wycliffe Singapore’s R200 Programme. To find out how you can help support this and other projects, please contact us.

Stories from the Field will be held on the first Tuesday of each month. Get on our mailing list to be notified of future events.

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