Solar Panels Light the Way for Burmese Church Planters
January 11, 2012
Nearly 99 percent of all remote villages in Burma have no electricity. Because of this, church planters are unable to visit the villagers in the evenings for evangelistic outreach, follow-up or Bible study. But evenings are the only time these hardworking villagers are available since they work and perform their household chores during the daylight hours.
Candles or kerosene lamps are sometimes used after dark, but only under special circumstances, as their cost is very high for these poor villagers. As a result, there is virtually no activity in the evenings. People generally go to bed shortly after sunset.
Indigenous missionaries demonstrate their solar powered light, which gives them enough light to hold evening Bible studies in their house church.
Rev. Kap Hnun told Christian Aid Mission, “I organize evangelistic crusades in remote areas. We hold as many as ten crusades per year. Even if we could afford to buy a generator (approximately one thousand dollars) plus the cost of the necessary gasoline, that still would not work. They are simply too heavy to carry for long distances.
“Most of our crusades are away from the villages so that other people will not be disturbed by our meetings, or tempted to disrupt them. The solar panel Christian Aid provided supplies the light we need to read and preach after dark!
“Another advantage is that they are light weight, which is important as we walk many miles carrying our personal belongings from village to village,” he added.
Solar panel sets that provide enough light for a house church (20 ft X 20 ft) can be obtained for $85. Additional light bulbs and electric wiring adds another $15; hence, the entire cost for one complete solar set with parts is $100.
In addition to the low cost, safety is another factor. Candles and kerosene lamps are very dangerous when ten to twenty people are crowded into a typical bamboo structure. In order to light the room sufficiently, many candles need to be burning. Sparks could easily ignite the entire building in a matter of minutes.
Solar panel sets have already been given to eight of our workers. Their light needs to be taken into thirty more villages.
Brother Lawma is a missionary laboring in the Asho region of Central Myanmar. After receiving a solar panel four months ago, he wrote, “We live in a village where people cannot afford to buy candles on a regular basis, so they are used only in emergency situations. As in most rural villages, people retire for the day rather early. This was hindering my work among the villagers, as I was unable to invite them in for evening prayer or Bible study. Since receiving the solar panel, we have been able to stay up until as late as 11 P.M. having devotions or studying the Word. Because other villagers see the light on in our home, families will drop in for conversation that often ends with a discussion about Jesus Christ. We are now able to hold midweek evening services for those unable to attend on Sundays. Not only this, but I have a cassette player that runs on a battery. I was able to modify the wiring so I can recharge the battery with the solar panel. Now I can listen to Christian tapes, sermons and music. This has really been a blessing to me personally!”
A ministry leader in Burma advised Christian Aid that they still need 30 more solar sets for their church planters. Gifts of $100 each will enable these missionaries to illuminate the Word in 30 more villages. please pray that His Kingdom will be enlarged through these efforts.