( 1861 – 2001 )


Sai Htwe Maung

First Edition
August 2007


This book is dedicated to my beloved parents
Saya Hsaw and Daw Nyunt.



Praise be to God our Heavenly Father!

In the year 2000, at Great Commission Institute Training in TaungGyi, a young lady wept when
she heard that we had tried to unite Shan Churches all over Shan States to form Shan Baptist
Convention but failed. She said that no one had told her, including many young people, about our effort
and work among Shan Churches, needless to say about the work of missionaries one hundred years ago.
She thought that no one had tried to do anything for the betterment of Shan Churches except their
pastors in their own Churches for their own congregations. It prompted me to write this book to let all
the Shan Churches and Christian workers who are involved with missions among the Shan to know the
history of Shan Churches since the beginning in 1861.
History is a record description of the past events. The historians write the events without bias so
that the readers get the truth of the past. The Bible tells us the truth. The writers of the books in the
Bible have written the true story about Adam, Abraham, Jacob, David, Peter and Paul etc. both sides of
their life without prejudice. However not every one wants the truth to be told. Pharisees hated Jesus
because He spoke and taught the truth. In writing history of Shan Churches in Burma the real story and
the truth must be told otherwise it will not be a history.
My purpose of writing this book is to let the people see the works done by missionaries,
evangelists, pastors and Christian workers among the Shan in 140 years, to appreciate their dedications
and sacrifices, to follow their footsteps in good direction, to learn the lessons and strive forward for
perfection in the future Shan missions. Nothing in the book is personal. I have no intention of hurting or
discrediting any one, any Church, any association, any convention or any denomination who have been
serving God faithfully and honestly.
Undoubtedly there will be two kinds of reactions to this book. One will appreciate for writing
and telling the truth and revealing success and accomplishment, the weaknesses and failure in our
missions, in our leaders and our Churches so that the future Shan leaders and workers who work in
Shan missions and Churches will be able to improve and achieve successful ministries. Another
reaction will be disappointment and anger for telling the truth and revealing the weakness and failure in
our missions, our leaders and our Churches. I wish the readers would read this book with open mind
and sincere heart so that we can learn the lessons and strive forward for the betterment of our Shan
Churches and missions in the future.

Sai Htwe Maung
April 2007
United States of America



The Baptist mission has started among the Shan in Burma (Myanmar) in 1861 by missionaries
from Baptist Missionary Union of United States. They continued their missions in the Shan States until
1966 when Burmese military government asked all foreigners to leave the country after military coup.
There are many difficulties in evangelizing the Shan because of their long and old traditional
cultural background and belief. Knowing the past missionary endeavor among the Shan is very
important to make changes if necessary, to improve and strive forward for the successful missions in
the future. The main source of information and references to this writing are the letters of
missionaries, reports from Baptist Missionary Union, Baptist Missionary Magazine, Burma Baptist
Convention Annual Meeting Records, Minutes of the meetings from Shan Churches and associations,
corresponding letters, field research and personal experience.
Chapter one of the book is about the Shan people, their ancient kingdoms, their states, their
culture and their religion. Chapter two is about the beginning of Baptist mission in Burma, in Shan
people, the most famous missionary Rev. Josiah Nelson Cushing who translated Bible to Shan
language, the establishment of first mission field in HsiPaw, second mission field in MunogNai, the
third mission field in NamKham and the fourth mission field in KengTung and subsequent
development. Chapter three is about the challenges in twenty-first century and the chapter four is about
how we develop a project to meet the challenges. Chapter five is about the effort in ministry
development in translating Shan Bible into new Shan writing system, publishing new Shan Hymnbook
and broadcasting gospel in radio to the Shan. Chapter six is the analysis make on the past and present
situation in Shan Churches and missions. The biography, corresponding letters and reports from Shan
Churches, leaders and associations are included in appendix. Because of inadequate resources and
references, I admit that this writing is not a comprehensive history about the Shan Churches but this is
the true facts and writing.


Preface III
Introduction IV


The Origin of Shan 1
The Ancient Kingdoms 2
Their Migration 3
Their Present Settlement 3
Shan States in Burma 4
Climate and Natural Resources 4
Political History 5
The Shan States Under British (1887-1948) 5
PangLong Agreement 6
Agreement 6
Signatories of PangLong agreement 7
Independence of Burma and Shan SaoPha 7
Culture and custom 8
Language 8
Literature 10
Shan Calendar & New Year 12
Festivals 12
Hospitality 14
Tattooing 14
Sickness and Medicine 15
Making Covenant 16
Cultivation and Farming 16
Method of Farming 16
Handicrafts 17
Food 17
Cooking 18
Dress and Costume 18
Martial Art 19
Use of Bamboo 19
Shan House 19
Newborn and Naming a Child 20
Maternity Period 21
Shan Name 22
Education 23
Family 24
Courting 24
Marriage and Divorce 25
Class of People 26
Music and Dancing 26
Market-day 27
Funeral 27
Behavior 29
Religion 29
The Belief in Creation 30
Spirit Worship 30
Superstition 31
Monk-hood 31


Baptist Mission To The Shan People Of Burma 32
Pioneer Baptist Missionaries to Burma 32
Shan Are Overlooked 33
Baptist Mission to The Shan 33
Shan Mission in Toungoo 33
The Beginning 34
Deep inquirers and new Believer 34
Survey of the Year 35
The First Chapel 35
Opposition 36
School 36
The First Shan Convert 36
Shan Buddhist Teacher 36
First Theological Training 37
Preparation for travel to Shan Country 37
Manuscript in Shan 38
Choosing Language 38
Source of Teacher 38
The Last report from Bixby 38
Rev. Josiah Nelson Cushing 39
Arrival Of Cushing 39
Shan Teacher refused to Teach 40
First Visit to Shan Country 40
Shan works continued in Rangoon 41
Bhamo Mission Station 41
Printing Shan Bible and other Literature 42
The First Shan Hymnbook 43
The Four Gospel 43
Shan Literature 43
The First Shan Church in Toungoo 43
Teaching at Rangoon Baptist College 44
Shan Believers in Mobyai and Genuine New Life 44
Cushing’s Future Plan for Shan Mission 44

Mission Fields In Shan States 44
The First Mission Field, HsiPaw (1889) 45
Medical Work 45
School 45
Evangelistic Work 46
Bazaar Meeting 46
Jail Meeting 46
Bible Class 46
Church 47
Getting SaoPha’s Support 47
The Second Mission Field, MuongNai (1892) 48
Cushing’s visit to MuongNai 48
Mission Field Established 48
MuognNai Church 49
Evangelistic Work 51
Conversation between Missionary and Buddhist Monk 52
Medical Work 53
School 54
Letter of Dr. Henderson regarding Shan Work 54
The Third Mission Field, NamKham (1893) 55
First Shan Convert 60
ShweLi Vellay Baptist High School 60
Evangelistic Bazaar Meeting 61
NamKham Hospital 61
Prayer Services and Bible Study 63
Evangelism 63
The Fourth Mission Field, KengTung (1901) 63
Early Mission Work 66
Evangelistic Work 67
First Shan Convert 69
Mission Compound 70
The First Shan Church 70
KengTung Hospital 71
Statistic 1963 72
Mission School 73
Mass Baptism 73
Evangelist Training 74
Bible School Graduates 74
ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission 76
Churches and their Pastors 76
Member Churches in 1945 76
Member Churches in 1992 76
Statistic in 1958 77
Membership in 1992 77
The First Executive Board Members in 1945 78
Executive Board Members in 1961 78
Report in 1962 79
Local People helping Foreign Missionaries in the Past 80
Those who served in ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission 80
Women Association 80
NamKham Bible Training School 81
Bible School Graduates in One Century 81
The Unity of Churches 82
Pastoral Council 82
Report in the year 2000 82
Training 82
Evangelism 82
Development 82
Mission Fields 82
Future Planning 83
The First Shan Church in ShweLi 83
NongSanKone Shan Baptist Church 83
Fond Memory of Rev. Ai Pan 84
SeLan Shan Baptist Church 84
Those who served as Pastors 85
Those who served as Assistant Pastors 85
MuSe Shan Baptist Church 85
Fond Memory of Rev. Kham Maung 86
Those who served with Rev. Kham Maung 1915-1976 86
Those who served as Pastors 86
Baptized Members in year 2000 87
Historical photos 87
Eastern Shan State Baptist Association 91
The First Executive Board Members 91
Development 91
Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention 91
Preparation for Formation of ESSSBC 92
Recognition of Convention 92
The First Executive Board Members 92
Shan Churches in Eastern Shan State in 1988 and their Pastors 93
Report in the year 2000 93
The Evangelists supported by Asian Outreach in 1999 93
Future Planning 94
KanNaLone Shan Baptist Church 94
Church Growth 94
Those who served as Pastors 95
Activities 95
One Sunday at KanNaLone 96
Statistic in 2001 96
Report from HIV/AIDS project 96
WanMon Shan Baptist Church MuongYawng 97
Church 97
The Resettlement Project 98
Middle School 98
Notable Achievement 98
Report from MuongYawng Shan Baptist Conference 2001 98
Member Churches 99
MuongYang Shan Baptist Church 99
School 99
Church 99
Seven Services on Sunday 100
Eastern Shan State Baptist Mission Centenary Celebration 100
Theme 100
Preparation and Celebration 100
Detailed Program 101
Testimony from Celebration 103
Historical Photos 104


Burma Baptist Convention 109
Original Constitution 109
Cooperating Bodies 110
Burma Baptist Convention and Shan Churches 110
Shan Churches in Burma by E.E Sowards, 1954 111
Formation of Shan Baptist Convention 112
Initiation 112
Beginning 113
First Effort 113
Second Effort 114
New Direction or Diversion 116
Third Effort 117


The Vision 119
Vision in Action 119
Meeting Shan Churches’ Leaders 120
Support from Burma Baptist Convention 120
Goal # 1 Training 121
Sending Students to Seminaries and Bible Schools 121
Training Leaders 123
Great Commission Institute (GCI) 124
Curriculum 124
Three-level Programs 124
The First Shan GCI, Maesai, Thailand 125
Preparation 125
Venue 125
Faculty 126
Subject 126
Report from Jean Harper 126
Testimonies from Trainees 128
Second Shan GCI, TaungGyi 129
Report from Jean Harper 129
Evaluation 132
Dedication 132
Speeches at Graduation Service 132
Lesson learned reported by Sai Htwe Maung 135
Third Shan GCI, KengTung 136
Trainers 137
Report from Takashi 137
Participants 137
Venue 138
Teaching 138
Visit to Tribal Village 139
New Footsoldiers of Christ 139
Budget 140
Testimonies 140
Fourth Shan GCI, MayMyo 143
Preparation 143
Report from Franklin 145
Participants 145
Curriculum 146
Faculty 146
Interpreters 146
Daily Schedule 147
Evening Ministry 147
Special Report from Sai Htwe Maung 147
Testimonies 148
Fifth Shan GCI, Yangon 149
Trainers and Subjects 149
Sixth Shan GCI, Yangon 150
Trainers 150
Trainees 150
Programs 150
Difficulty 152
Testimonies 152
Seventh Shan GCI, TaungGyi 152
Subjects taught 153
Eighth Shan GCI, KengTung 153
Report from Takashi 154
Total Shan Evangelists Trained 155
New Life and New Hope 155
Goal # 2 Evangelism 156
Goal # 3 Church Planting 157
Shan Village Setting 158
Spying (exploration) 158
Christian Village 159
Individual and Family Conversion 169
New Christian Challenge 169
Difficult Church Planting 160
Power of Holy Spirit 160
Dedication and Sacrifice 160
Holistic Approach 160
Identification 161
Building Church Building 161
Problems 161
The Questions Remain 162
Conclusion on Twenty-first Century Shan Mission Project 162


Shan Bible
New Testament 163
Old Testament 163
Shan Bible Centenary Celebration 164
New Shan Bible Translation 166
Beginning of New Shan Bible Translation 166
Shan Bible Translation Workshop 166
Disagreement and Resignation 168
Comments on Genesis 168
New Translation Published in 1994 169
New Shan Bible Published in 2002 170
Concerns 170
Rewriting Cushing Shan Bible 176
Shan Hymnbook 176
Shan Gospel Radio Broadcast 177
15 minutes to 45 minutes daily 178
Programming 179
Chinese-Shan (DaiMao) Program 179
Khamti Shan Program 180
Effectiveness 180
Testimonies from Listeners 180
Audio Visual Production 182
Shan Christian Literature and Publication 182
Historical Photos 183


Analysis On Shan Churches And Missions 190
1. Workers in the Harvest of Shanland 191
2. Response to Gospel 193
3. Commitment and Sacrifice 195
4. Opposition to Christianity 198
5. Religion, Tradition, Superstition 200
6. Shan National Culture and Christian Practices 202
7. Festivals 204
8. Academic Education of Leaders 206
9. Backslider and Exclusion 207
10. Water Baptism 208
11. Bazaar Preaching 211
12. Charity Work and Social Concern 212
13. Church Activity and Program 213
14. Church Growth 215
15. Church Building 216
16. Evangelism 218
17. Support 222
18. Friendship 224
19. School 226
20. Religion of Poor and Outcasts 227
21. Leadership Quality 228
22. Language and Literature 231
23. Poverty and Faithfulness 233
24. Denominationalism 235
25. Missions is Mandatory 237
26. Village Leader 238
27. Discipleship 239
28. Power of Holy Spirit 240
29. Unity 242
30. Association and Convention 243
31. Dignities, Credibility and Character of Leaders 245
32. Christian Suffering 246
33. Correspondence and Communication 248
34. Transportation and Traveling 249
35. Written Record 250
36. Understanding 251
37. Donation and Offering 252
38. Participation and Cooperation 253
49. Meeting and Fellowship 254
40. Jealousy and Selfishness 255
41. Dictatorial Control 256
42. Pride 257
43. Responsibility 258
44. Bible Reading and Bible Study 259
45. Prayer Life 260
46. Training 261
47. Praise and Worship 262
48. Christian Literature 263
49. Translation and Publication 264
50. Audio-visual Production 265
51. Spiritual Revival 266
52. Theological Seminary 267


Eastern Shan State 270
Southern Shan State 270
Northern Shan State 270
Summary 271
Hope for the Future Shan Missions 271
Words of Thanks 274


Moses Homan Bixby (1827-1901) 275
Josiah Nelson Cushing (1840-1905) 276
Ellen Winsor (Mrs. Cushing) 278
Kham Maung (1881-1976) 279
Ai Pan (1897-1980) 280
Sai Stephen (1953-2000) 281
Sai Htwe Maung 282
Corresponding Letters and Reports regarding Shan Mission Work (1978-2001) 283
1978-1980 283
1981-1983 290
1984-1986 295
1987-1989 302
1990-1992 303
1993-1995 309
1996-1998 319
1999-2001 351
Asian Reports 368
Asian Report 1987 Nov/Dec 369
Asian Report 1990 July 371
Asian Report 1993 Mar/Apr 372
Asian Report 1993 Nov/Dec 373
Asian Report 1994 Feb 375
Asian Report 1995 May/June 376
Asian Report 1996 Mar/Apr 378
Asian Report 1998 May/June 380
Asian Report 1998 Easter 380
Asian Report 1998 Nov/Dec 380
Asian Report 1999 Jan/Feb 381
Asian Report 1999 Mar/Apr 381
Asian Report 1999 May/June 383
Asian Report 1999 Sep/Oct 383
Asian Report 1999 Nov/Dec 383
Asian Report 2000 Jan/Feb 385
Asian Report 2000 May/June 386
Asian Report 2000 July/Aug 386
Asian Report 2000 Nov/Dec 387
Special Report 2001 Feb 387
Asian Report 2001 Mar/Apr 388
Special Report 2001 Apr/May 389
Special Report 2001 Apr 390
Special Report 2001 May 392
Special Report 2001 June 393
Asian Report 2001 Jul/Aug 394
Foreign and other Nationals who served as Missionaries to the Shan 395
Foreign and other Nationals who served as Medical Missionaries 396
Mission Stations for the Shan 396

R.I.P 397
Shan people and their culture 1


SHAN is the Burman appellation for those races who call themselves Tai (÷. ÷. ÷. ÷.).
They are probably the most numerous and widely diffused Indo-Chinese race and occupy the valleys
and plateau of the broad belt of mountainous country that leaves the Himalayas and trends
Southeasterly between Burma proper on the west and China, Assam and Cambodia on the east, to the
Gulf of Siam.

The Origin of Shan

Tai are people of mainland Southeast Asia, including:
The Thai or Siamese (in central and southern Thailand),
The Lao (in Laos and northern Thailand),
The Shan (in northeast Myanmar @ Burma),
The Dai (in Yunnan province, China, Myanmar, Laos, northern Thailand and Vietnam) and
The Tai (in northern Vietnam).

Some historians claim that Tai people are, in BC 3000, the inhabitants of Asia, central part of
the land now known as China.
Rev. William C. Dodd, a Christian missionary, stated that the Tai
settled in the land now known as China before Chinese arrived, based on Chinese annals of 2200 BC.

The history of contact between the Tai and Han (Chinese) peoples dated back to 109 BC, when
Emperor Wu Di of the Han Dynasty set up Yizhou Prefecture in southwestern Yi (the name used to
signify the minority areas of what are now Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces). The Tai, in
subsequent years, sent tribute to the Han court in Luoyang, among the emissaries were musicians and
acrobats. The Han court gave gold seals to the Tai ambassadors and their chieftain the title “Great
Captain.” According to Chinese documents of the ninth century, the Tai had a fairly well developed
agriculture. They used oxen and elephants to till the land, grew large quantities of rice and had built an
extensive irrigation system. They used kapok for weaving, panned salt and made weapons of metal.
They plated their teeth with gold and silver.

According to Chinese annals, the “Ta Muong” (Great Muong) lived in the northwestern part
of Szechwan province, in western central China, even before Chinese migrated from the west. Ta
Muong would have been the ancestors of the “Ai Lao” or “Tai” race known as Pa, Pa Lao or PaYi in
China who later founded the powerful “Nan Chao Kingdom” in Yunnan province. In BC 1558 the Tai
had spread over a vast territory almost across the whole width of modern China. Tai have never been
called Chinese, nor claimed to have any ethnic links with the Chinese race. Throughout Chinese
historical records the Chinese name for the Tai has constantly been changed.
According to American
Missionary Rev. William W. Cochrane, Tai means Free.
Sometimes it is also written as Dai when refer
to Tai in China. The Dai ethnic group in China, with a population of about 1.2 million, mainly lives in
Dehong Dai-Jingpo Autonomous Region and Xishuangbanna (SipSongPanNa), which mean twelve

Rev. J. N. Cushing, D. D. Boston, American Baptist Missionary Union 1893, p3
History of Tai and Tai Country by Khoe Sean, (Shan) Published by Mok Ko Soi Leng Printing Press, Yangon, 1996 p1
The Tai Race, by William Clifton Dodd, published by Torch 1932, p5
http://www.china.org.cn/e-groups/shaoshu/shao-2-dai.htm, Apr 21, 2006
Tai Groups of Thailand by Joachim Schliesinger, Published by White Lotus, 2001, Vol 1, pp20-21
The Shans by W.W. Cochrane, published by Government Printing, Burma, 1915, Vol I, p15
Shan people and their culture 2
productive rice fields, Autonomous Prefecture, in the southern part of Yunnan province. The main Dai
groups in China are Dai Lu, Dai Nua and Dai Mao. According to Travel China Guide, Dai is the name
of the nationality, which means “freedom”.
Tai or Shan is now used as a generic word to cover the
whole race spelled by French as Thay. The name is said to mean “The Free” or “Free Men.”
Why do
they call themselves “Tai” or “Free” or “Freedom” or “Freemen”? Most likely, according to the history
of Tai people, they were under attack many times by many groups such as Monkhmer, Mongol and
Chinese for centuries. Their Kingdoms had been destroyed Kingdom by Kingdom. They were dispersed
to many places in Southeast Asia because of war. They ended up “people without country” in other
countries such as China, Burma, India and Vietnam and became a minority group of people in those
countries. They would long for freedom. The great Tai race, who number today about 100 million, had
established numerous Kingdoms and States in the past and still govern the two nations of Thailand and
Laos. Tai people consider Thailand and Laos as Tai countries existing today.

Why Tai are also called Shan? One of the suppositions concerning the origin of the name
“Shan” ¸.=., is that, it derived from the word “Siam” (Hsian, Sein), which designates to a group of
mountainous people who migrated from Yunnan in the 6
century AD. Siam means agriculture or
cultivating. Most probably because they were people of farming. Another supposition is, when Kublai
Khan and his Mongol army conquered Nan Chao Kingdom in AD 1253 a second wave of Tai migrating
down south into many areas of Southeast Asia. Some migrating Tai became mercenaries for the Khmer
armies in the early 13
century AD as it was depicted in the walls of Angkor Wat. In those days the
Khmer called Tai as Syam, the word derived from Sunskrit meaning golden or yellow. The Tai at that
time had a yellow or golden skin color. Shan can be a corrupt word of Syam, a name given to Kshatriya
(warriors) (those warriors were said to be Shan) who were on duty for the Khmer Empire. A third
supposition suggests that Shan were the people named after the “Great Mountain Ranges of China”
from where they had migrated. Shan in Chinese is “mountain” or “hill”.

Tai in Burma are called Shan. But Shan always call themselves Tai ¸÷., . Shan population in
Burma is about 5 million (10% of Burma total population)

The Ancient Kingdoms

Shan had their country and ruled by King since BC 2000 up to 16
Century AD when the last Shan
kingdom was overthrown by Burman King Anawrata. There were nine Shan kingdoms recorded in
early history.
1. Tsu Kingdom ¸.., (BC 2000 - BC 222)
2. Ai Lao Kingdom (....., (AD 47 - AD 225)
3. Nan Chao Kingdom ¸ ..=·, (AD 649 - AD 1252)
4. Muong Mao Lone Kingdom ¸..., (AD 764 - AD 1252)
5. Yonok Kingdom ¸..==¸., (AD 773 - AD 1080)
6. SipSongPanNa ¸....=.=¸., (AD 1180 - AD 1292)
7. Waisali Kingdom ¸.÷=.=..., (AD 1227 - AD 1838)
8. Sukhothai ¸.÷., (AD 1238 - AD 1350)
9. Muong Mao Kingdom ¸..., (AD 1311 - AD 1604)
Muong Mao Kingdom was the last kingdom of Shan.

http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/nationality/Dai/ Apr 21,2006
Shan at home by Leslie Milne, published by White Lotus Co.; February 200, p208
Tai group of Thailand by Joachim Schliesinger, published by White Lotus, 2001, Vol 1, p19
Shan Magazine, published by Shan Cultural Committee, Yangon, Vol.2, 1997 p64 (Shan language)
1996 Myanmar Government Information, published by Myanmar Government
Shan people and their culture 3
The Kings of MuongMao were:
Hsu Kan Hpa ¸...=,¸, (AD 1311 - AD 1364) (founder of Muong Mao)
Hsu Pem Hpa ¸.,¸, ¸·,¸, (AD 1364 - AD 1366)
Hsu Wak Hpa ¸...,¸, ¸.=÷., (AD 1366 - AD 1367)
Hsu Hzun Hpa ¸.·=,¸, ¸=.,¸, (AD 1367 - AD 1368)
Hsu Hom Hpa ¸.¸,¸, ¸.=...¸., (AD 1367 - AD 1371)
Hsu Yap Hpa ¸..,¸, ¸÷...., (AD 1371)
Hsu Hum Hpa ¸._,¸, (AD 1372 - AD 1405)
Hsu Ke Hpa ¸..,¸, (AD 1405 - AD 1420)

Their Migration

The first migration of Shan was said to be taken place in 1
century BC when wars in central
China drove many Tai people from that area. Those people moved South founded ancient Shan cities
such as “MuongMao” ¸ ..., “MuongNai” (.=.., “HsenWi” (.=, and “HsiPaw” (..¸,. All of
them are in Burma today. The second migration took place in 6
century AD from the mountain of
Yunnan. They followed “Nam Mao River” (= .., (ShweLi River) to the South and settled in the
valleys and regions surrounding the river. Some continued west into Thailand. A second branch went
north following the Brahmaputra River into Northern Assam, India. These three groups of Tai migrants
were; Tai Ahom (Assam), Siam (Thailand) and Shan (Shan State), came to regard themselves as
“Free People.”

Their Present Settlement

Shan live in Burma, China, India, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam under different names but
always one and the same people in different countries. Tai people in Burma are called Shan. There are
five million Shan in Burma. Their land is called Shan State. Shan people in Burma are also known as
Tai Lone, Tai Lai, Dai Nua, Dai Mao, Tai Dome, Tai Ding, Tai Sa, Tai La, Tai Wan, Tai Hume, Tai
Lamm, Tai Kwan, Dai Lu, Tai Sam Tao, Tai An, Tai Khun, Tai Ngam, Tai Hai Ya, Tai Yang, Tai Loi,
Tai Leng, Tai Khamti.
In China about ten million Shan live in Yunnan, Hainan and Canton. They are known as Dai.
There are three main Tai groups in China such as Dai Nua, Dai Mao and Dai Lu. Other Tai groups in
China are known as Dai Yangze, Dai Nam (Sue Dai) or Dai Nung, Dai Lai, Dai Lone, Dai Chaung, Dai
Doi, Dai Lung, Dai Kai Hua Jen, Tuo Law or Pa Yi, Pu Tai, Pu Naung, Pu Man, Pu Yu, Pu Chia, Pu
En, Pu Yai, Pu Sui, Dai Ching, Dai Pa, Dai Tu Jen, Dai Doi, Dai Tho, Dai Hakkas, Dai Ong Be, Dai Li
or Dai Lo.
In India Tai live in Assam State. They are known as Tai Ahom or Tai Assam or Tai Khamti.
In Lao they are known as Lao-Tai, include local groups such as Black Tai (Tai Dam) (Dai Lum)
and Red Tai (Tai Deng) (Tai Leng) and Tai Nua.
In Thailand they are known as Tai Yai, literally means Great Tai.
In Vietnam they are known as Black Tai ¸÷., and White Tai (Tai Khao) ¸÷..., numbering
about five hundred thousand. Some other Tai in Vietnam are; Tai Tho ¸÷.÷,, Tai Nung
¸÷.=.,, Tai To Tis ¸÷.÷÷÷,, Tai Yang or Tai Nhang ¸÷.... ÷.=..,, Tai Leng ¸÷.,, Tai
Pong Toa ¸÷...÷,, Dai Lu ¸÷.,.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the estimate total number of Tai in the late 20
century is about
75,760,000 (including 45,060,000 Thai in Thailand, 3,020,000 Laotians in Laos, 3,710,000 Shan in

12, Oct 5,2006
Shan people and their culture 4
Burma, 21,180,000 Dai in China, and about 2,790,000 Tai in Vietnam.)
(Tai in India, Assam State,
are not included in this statistic)

Shan State in Burma

Map of Burma Map of Shan States in Burma

Climate and Natural Resources
The lands where the Shan live today are called Shan States. There are three seasons in a year;
summer, raining and winter. Normally summer begins in March and ends in June, raining season begins
in July and ends in October and winter begins in November and ends in February. Shan States has the
most pleasant weather in Burma.
There are rich natural resources in Shan States. The most produced agricultural product of the
Shan States is rice. Other important agricultural products include tea, cigar wrapping leaf, coffee,
orange, potato, tomato and cabbage, garlic, indigo, wheat, strawberry, pear, pineapple, cotton, tobacco
and a variety of vegetable. Among forest products, teak is the most important product. The principal
cottage industry in the Shan States are weaving product. Shan do not grow opium. The mining
resources in Shan States produce jade, silver, lead, gold, copper, iron, wolfram, tin, tungsten,
manganese, nickel, coal, antimony, mica, marble and zinc. It is even called “God’s Own Country”

The most famous mines in Shan States are;
NamTu Mine
YaTaNaTheinKe Mine
HaeMawSai Mine
HaeGalaw Mine
HaeLoiMa Mine
HinKao Mine
HtanPaiNgak Mine

www.Encyclopaedia Britannica\ Tai\ March, 6, 2003.
History of Tai and Tai Country by Khoe Sean (Shan) published by Mok Ko Soi Leng Printing Press, Yangon, 1996, pp120
Shan people and their culture 5
The great silver mine in NamTu (Bawdwin) was supposed to be the second largest in the
There are forests in the areas with an altitude of 3,000 feet above sea level in Shan States.
Bamboo grows naturally in the forests with trees such as Kyun (teak), Pyingadoe, Padauk, In, Kanyin
and other hardwood. Shan States have over 2,000,000 acres of forest reserve, over 1.5 million acres of
cultivated areas consisting of over 500,000 acres for paddy and crops cultivation, about 200,000 acres
for hill-side cultivation, over 8,000 acres of land formed by the process of silting for cultivation and
over 200,000 acres for gardens.

Political History

After the last Shan Kingdom, Muong Mao Kingdom, was overthrown by Burman King in AD
1560 Shan fragmented countries were governed by SaoPha (Shan chief) appointed by Burman King.
Burman King allowed SaoPha to rule their regions but they had to pay allegiance to the Burman central
court. From the middle of 19
century onwards the Burman authority imposed greater control through
the stationing of military officers, sitke or bhomu, to impose regular payments of allegiance to the
central treasury.
The holder of the authority over the town was known as MyoSa (literally means town
eater). MyoSa was assigned to collect revenues on behalf of Burman king.

In AD 1765 there were 12 Shan territories.
AD 1782-1819 there were 188 towns and 5,885 villages in Shan territories.
Before Second World War there were 14 SaoPha ruling Shan territories.
AD 1824-26; First Anglo-Burmese war ended with the “Treaty of Yandabo”, according to which
Burma ceded the Arakan coastal strip between Chittagong and Cape Negrais to British India.
AD 1852 Britain annexed lower Burma, including Rangoon, following the second Anglo-Burmese war.
The defeat of the Burman troops in the second Anglo-Burmese war led to more significant political and
administrative changes.
AD 1885-86; Britain captured Mandalay after a brief battle and Burma became a province of British
India. Mandalay fell and King ThiBaw and his queen SuPhaYaLat were taken to Ratanagir near
Britain annexed Shan States in 1887. The Shan States were administered separately from Burma with

The Shan States under British (1887-1948)
After annexation of Shan countries by British in 1887 the British sought to govern Shan
countries and its people by SaoPha. SaoPha had to acknowledge British supremacy, maintain peace and
not oppress their subjects. Between 1887 and 1895 the SaoPha pledged their allegiance to the British
crown and their domains were placed under the supervision of British Assistant Superintendents.

The formal administrative entity known as the “Federated Shan States” was not created until
1922. Under British government, the 40 Shan States were combined and then divided into three general
sections: the Northern Shan State, the Southern Shan State and the Eastern Shan State; altogether they
formed the “Federated Shan State”. Federated Shan State was formed under British colony on October
1, 1922. There are three Shan States until today. All these Shan States gained independence on January
4, 1948 together with other States but they all are now under Burma Military Government since 1962.

A study of Baptist work in the Shan State by E.E. Sowards, published by Burma Baptist Press, Rangoon, 1954, p2
The State in Burma by Robert H. Taylor, published by University of Hawaii Press , April 1988, p22-23
Ibid pp 26-27
Ibid pp91-94
Shan people and their culture 6
PangLong Agreement
¸._ .., ¸._ .., ¸._ .., ¸._ ..,
Before meeting with General Aung San, all the Shan leaders and peoples of the Shan States got
together to adopt the Shan Flag and the National Anthem. February 7, 1947 was marked as Shan
National Day. A conference held at PangLong, Southern Shan State, attended by General Aung San,
members of the Executive Council of the Governor of Burma, all SaoPha and representatives of the
Shan States, Kachin Hills and Chin Hills on February 10, 1947.
General Aung San explained to the Shan SaoPha that he was going to London very soon and
asking for independence. He also wanted Shan States to be independence at the same time.
Members of the conference believed that freedom would be more speedily achieved by the cooperation
of Shan, Kachin and Chin with the Interim Burmese Government.


(I) A representative of the Hill Peoples, selected by the Governor on the recommendation of
representatives of the Supreme Council of the United Hill Peoples, shall be appointed a Counselor to
the Governor to deal with the Frontier Areas.
(II) The said Counselor shall also be appointed a member of the Governor's Executive Council without
portfolio, and the subject of Frontier Areas brought within the purview of the Executive Council by
constitutional convention as in the case of Defence and External Affairs. The Counselor for Frontier
Areas shall be given executive authority by similar means.
(III) The said Counselor shall be assisted by two Deputy Counselors representing races of which he is
not a member. While the two Deputy Counselors should deal in the first instance with the affairs of the
respective areas and the Counselor with all the remaining parts of the Frontier Areas, they should by
Constitutional Convention act on the principle of joint responsibility.
(IV) While the Counselor in his capacity of Member of the Executive Council will be the only
representative of the Frontier Areas on the Council, the Deputy Counselor(s) shall be entitled to attend
meetings of the Council when subjects pertaining to the Frontier Areas are discussed.
(V) Though the Governor’s Executive Council will be augmented as agreed above, it will not operate in
respect of the Frontier Areas in any manner which would deprive any portion of these Areas of the
autonomy which it now enjoys in internal administration. Full autonomy in internal administration for
the Frontier Areas is accepted in principle.
(VI) Though the question of demarcating and establishing a separate Kachin State within a Unified
Burma is one which must be relegated for decision by the Constituent Assembly, it is agreed that such a
State is desirable. As first step towards this end, the Counselor for Frontier Areas and the Deputy
Counselors shall be consulted in the administration of such areas in the Myitkyina and the Bhamo
District as are Part 2 Scheduled Areas under the Government of Burma Act of 1935.
(VII) Citizens of the Frontier Areas shall enjoy rights and privileges which are regarded as fundamental
in democratic countries.
(VIII) The arrangements accepted in this Agreement are without prejudice to the financial autonomy
now vested in the Federated Shan States.
(IX) The arrangements accepted in this Agreement are without prejudice to the financial assistance
which the Kachin Hills and the Chin Hills are entitled to receive from the revenues of Burma and the
Executive Council will examine with the Frontier Areas Counselor and Deputy Counselor(s) the
feasibility of adopting for the Kachin Hills and the Chin Hills financial arrangements similar to those
between Burma and the Federated Shan States

http://www.shanland.org/resources/history/panglong_agreement.htm, October 20, 2006
In remembrance of General Aung San by Thek Ka To Ne Win, 1995 p110 (in Burmese)
Hugh Tinker's Burma: The Struggle for Independence 1944-1948 (Vol. II) London, HMSO 1984 pp404-405
Shan people and their culture 7
Signatories of PangLong agreement
The 23 signatories of the PangLong Agreement were consisted of 14 Shan, 5 Kachin, 3 Chin and 1
One from Burman Committee,
(1) General Aung San
Five from Kachin Committee,
(1) Samma Duwa Sinwa Naw (rep. from MyitKyiNa)
(2) Duwa Zau Rip (rep. from MyitKyiNa)
(3) Dingra Tang (rep. from MyitKyiNa)
(4) Duwa Zau Lawn (rep. from WanMaw a.k.a BhaMo)
(5) Labang Grong (rep. from WanMaw a.k.a BhaMo)
Three from Chin Committee,
(1) U Hlur Hmung (rep. from FaLam)
(2) U Thaung Za Khup. (rep. from TidDim)
(3) U Kio Mang. (rep. from HaKa)
Fourteen from Shan Committee,
(1) Khun Pan Sing. (SaoPha Lone of TawngPeng State)
(2) Sao Shwe Thaike (SaoPha Lone of YawngHwe State)
(3) Sao Hom Hpa. (SaoPha Lone of North HsenWi State)
(4) Sao Num. (SaoPha Lone of LaiKha State)
(5) Sao Sam Htun (SaoPha Lone of MuongPawn State)
(6) Sao Htun E (SaoPha Lone of HsaMongHkam State)
(7) U Phyu (rep. of HsaHtung Saophalong)
(8) U Khun Pung (SPFL) (Shan People Freedom League)
(9) U Tin E (SPFL)
(10) U Kya Bu (SPFL)
(11) Sao Yape Hpa (SPFL)
(12) U Htun Myint (SPFL)
(13) U Khun Saw (SPFL)
(14) U Khun Htee (PangLong) (SPFL)

Based on this foundation, the Union of Burma was established.
February 12, 1947, the day of the signing of the agreement, is marked as Union Day.

Independence of Burma and Shan SaoPha ¸ ·,¸ , ¸ ·,¸ , ¸ ·,¸ , ¸ ·,¸ ,

Shan States together with Burma proper, gained independence from British on January 4, 1948
and formed Union of Burma. The first President of Union of Burma was Sao Shwe Thaike, ¸·.¡÷.,
Shan SaoPha of YaungHwe.
In the past a Muong ¸ ., (Territory) was governed by a hereditary chief called “SaoPha”
¸·,¸, literary means “Lord of the Sky.” The political and geographical situation of the Shan States
changed in 1886 when Burma became British colony. The Shan States with other “Hill States” were
allowed to remain autonomous, which meant that in the Shan States the SaoPha would still rule over
their States or Muongs. The British Government respected and recognized the authority of the Shan
SaoPha. Small States were absorbed into bigger ones, old States dismantled and new ones formed. A

http://www.shareholderpower.com/unionday.htm, November 21, 2006
Shan people and their culture 8
SaoPha’s salary was depending on a fixed fraction of the State revenue. Thus, a SaoPha with a bigger
and more prosperous State earned a salary higher than one with a smaller and less prosperous State.
About thirty-five per cent of the revenue was contributed to the Central Government and the rest was
used for State Administration.
Before World War II, the Shan had been content to be ruled by the SaoPha. After the war
SaoPha found themselves having to deal with activists in their own States, some were anti-SaoPha and
others anti-British. The people’s demonstrations were putting pressure on the SaoPha to relinquish the
power. In 1958 the SaoPha agreed to the demand of the temporary military government led by General
Ne Win and relinquish their power and hereditary rights. No more ruling SaoPha since 1958.

Culture and Custom

Shan have their own language, literature, belief, dress, festivals and practices, which they
proudly called “Shan culture.” However it is difficult to say whether it is an “Authentic Shan Culture”
or “Buddhist Practices.” For instance, the novice ordination festival ¸...., normally held in March
is, as claimed by the Shan, a Shan culture. It fact it is a Buddhist customs to make their sons becoming
monks for a month in monastery to obtain merit for better future. Since Shan people have adopted
Buddhism for almost two thousand years, all Buddhist practices have naturally and automatically
become their culture. Buddhist festivals, activities and practices are sometime identified or assumed or
considered or claimed as Shan culture.
Sometime they call it “Buddhist Shan Culture.” Shan people
claim that Buddhism is Shan religion, Shan are Buddhists and Buddhism is Shan culture. People have
been identified with religion. Thus it makes Shan very difficult to become Christian or belong to other
The questions are:
* Is Buddhism Shan religion?
* Where does Buddhism come from?
* Is culture a religion?
* Is religion a culture?
* Is Buddhism Shan culture?
* Can religion become culture or part of the culture or foundation of culture?
* How can a Shan become Christian without abandoning their culture?
* How can a Shan continuing participating in Shan cultural activities when he becomes
Christian since their culture are Buddhist practices?
These questions are very important for the Shan, Shan Christians and missionaries who work
among the Shan. There are many Buddhist rites, which Shan have been adopting and practicing for
centuries as their culture. They follow them and use them in their daily personal, social and community
life. They have a unique way in celebrating festivals, giving name to a child, courting and marriages,
dedication of new home, dead and burial, etc. which Shan Christians called it “Buddhist practices.”

The Tai people in different countries and places still have many words in common although
changes in dialect and accents. There are common languages and terms among Tai, Thai, Lao, Shan,
Dai and Tai Ahom in spite of their separation for hundreds of years. For instance they all call “rice” as
“kao” ¸.,, and the “spirit” as “Phe” ¸.,, “water” as “namm” ¸=, The number, one ¸=,, two ¸.,,
three ¸..,, four ¸.,, five ¸¸¸,, six ¸_..,, seven ¸·÷.,, eight ¸÷,, nine ¸.,, ten ¸.., are the same. They
also have similar dress and same method of cooking, dressing, life style and common food. Shan

History of Tai and Tai Country by Khoe Sean, published by Mok Ko Soi Leng Printing Press, Yangon, 1996, p99
Shan people and their culture 9
language belongs to the Tai linguistic group, which also includes the Thai, Lao and Zhuang

Shan language is different from other languages in Burma. In their own language the Shan call
themselves Tai ¸÷., and their country Muong Tai ¸.÷., and their language Tai language ¸...÷.,. The
Tai languages are a subgroup of the Tai Kadai language family.
Six Central Tai Languages
1. Southern Zhuang (China)
2. Eastern Zhuang (China)
3. Man Cao Lan (Vietnam)
4. Nung (Vietnam)
5. Tày (Tho) (Vietnam)
6. Ts'ün-Lao (Vietnam)
One Northwestern Tai Language
1. Turung (India)
Four Northern Tai Languages
1. Northern Zhuang (China)
2. Nhang (Vietnam)
3. Bouyei (Buyi) (China)
4. Tai Mène (Laos)
Thirty-two Southwestern Tai Languages
1. Tai Ya (China)
2. Tai Dam (Vietnam)
3. Northern Thai (Lanna, Thai Yuan) (Thailand, Laos)
4. Phuan (Thailand)
5. Thai Song (Thailand)
6. Thai (Thailand)
7. Tai Hang Tong (Vietnam)
8. Tai Dón (Vietnam)
9. Tai Daeng (Vietnam)
10. Tay Tac (Vietnam)
11. Thu Lao (Vietnam)
12. Lao (Laos)
13. Nyaw (Thailand)
14. Phu Thai (Thailand)
15. Isan (Northeastern Thai) (Thailand, Laos)
16. Ahom (India - extinct. Modern Assamese is Indo-European.)
17. Aiton (India)
18. Lü (Lue, Tai Lue) (China, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar)
19. Khamti (India, Myanmar)
20. Khün (Myanmar)
21. Khamyang (India)
22. Phake (India)
23. Shan (Myanmar)
24. Tai Nüa (China, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos)
25. Pu Ko (Laos)
26. Pa Di (China)

http://www.ethnologue.com/show_iso639.asp?code=Tai, January, 3, 2006
Shan people and their culture 10
27. Southern Thai (Pak Thai) (Thailand)
28. Tai Thanh (Vietnam)
29. Tày Sa Pa (Vietnam)
30. Tai Long (Laos)
31. Tai Hongjin (China)
32. Yong (Thailand)
Other Tai Languages
Kuan (Laos)
Rien (Laos)
Tay Khang (Laos)
Tai Pao (Laos)
Tai Do (Vietnam)

Shan language is a tonal language and written in a circular script called Shan script. Every
variation in the voice and tone such as low tone, high tone, medium tone, short tone, long tone,
intermediate tone makes differences in meaning. Altogether there are six basic tones; some have three
variations according to whether the mouth is wide opened, closed or partially closed. Apart from what
Rev. J. N. Cushing calls opened, closed and intermediate tones, there are eight distinct inflexions of the
voice in pronouncing words in the Lao dialect, seven in the Khamti, and six in the Shan of Burma. The
language, in all its known dialects, is rich and abounding in synonyms.

Shan have their own literature. King AbiYaZa of DaKong (later renamed YanGon) ¸÷¸.,
created Shan script from Sanskrit in AD 483. In the beginning there were 54 letters. Tai Ahom in India
are still using this script today. It’s called “Leik To Ngok.”
In AD 723-748 the King of Nan Chao said that the character was not beautiful and he changed it into
more square character and also abandoned some letter that were not commonly used. Dai in China are
still using this script today.
In AD 1283 the king of Sukotai (Thai), King Rama Kamhaeng, created new script by mixing up the
round script which was created by King AbiYaZa and the square script which was created by King Nan
Chao. It is still used in Thailand and Laos today.
In AD 1416, the King of HsenWi, Sao Kham Kai Hpa, changed the letter of Shan to another new
rounded script. It is now called “Old Shan script” in Burma. Most of the Shan books were written with
this script. The old writing system of the Shan has problem in reading, pronouncing and understanding.
One of the Shan Christian missionaries wrote the story of the prodigal son in Shan; “Father, I have
sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son, make me as one of
thy hired servants.” But the Shan boy read the story as; “Father, I have sinned against heaven and
before thee and am no more worthy to be called thy son, make me as one of thy baby elephants.” The
words “hired servant” ¸ .·, and “baby elephant” ¸.·, have the same writing in old Shan writing,
but can be read in different tone and get different meaning. It should be correctly read as “zann” ¸·.,
with normal and long tone instead of “zan” ¸·., with short and high tone. Another writing
¸.¸.==..÷.., “What to use to prick out the thorn?” the boy read; “Nun from NamKham will
marry San Maung” ¸.¸.==...÷...,. Because of the tone of the word, “thorn” becomes
“Nun” and “what to use to prick out” becomes “will marry San Maung.” What a difference! The two
words “wife” and “mother” are also written in the same word ¸., in old writing. One has high tone and
other has normal tone. If one read with the wrong tone, “wife” will become “mother” or “mother” will
become “wife.” Another example; the word (.¸) (Ka) can give seven meanings such as; leg ¸.¸,, or
Shan people and their culture 11
frame suspended over fire place ¸.¸,, or slave ¸.¸,, or thatch ¸.¸.,, or gossip ¸.¸,, or branch of a tree ¸.¸,,
depends on the tone. More interestingly the word “kein” (.) can give ten different meaning, depend on
the tone make on reading the word, such as; Ginger plant ¸.,, Time ¸.,, Mr ¸..,, Chopping block ¸.,,
Shelf ¸.,, Stretch out ¸. ,, Tough ¸.,, Tax ¸.,, Small dried pieces of bamboo ¸.,, Woven map for
drying ¸..,. Since there are no tone marks and special characters in old Shan script the reader can
misread, mispronounce and get wrong meaning. Shan Bible was translated and written by Rev. J.N.
Cushing in 1892 with this old writing system.
In 1940, Sao Hsai Muong and Shan literary committee created new Shan script and writing
system by adding some tone marks and new characters to make the letter more accurate in writing and
reading. It is now called “New Shan Script.” The old writing system was used in Shan literature for
more than four hundred years until new writing system was fully developed in 1958. Shan-English and
English-Shan dictionary were produced by Rev. J. N. Cushing in 1881 and revised by H.W. Mix, in
January 1914. Revised version of Cushing’s Shan-English dictionary in new Shan script was done by
Sao Tern Moeng and published in 1995. Shan dictionary was written by Gant Kham Sung Sum and
published in December 2001.

(Sample Of Old Shan Writing)

(Sample Of New Shan Writing)
·_.¸.=·¸..=..¸..÷...÷¸÷¸÷÷=.¸.·=÷ .·.=.¸..¡.÷=.·==..¸

There are 18 alphabets in old writing system and 20 in new Shan writing system. Some use two
more alphabets in new system. There are 20 initial consonants, 10 plain vowels, 12 diphthongs and 6
tone marks in new Shan writing system.
Regretfully Shan literatures are not allowed to be taught in public schools in Shan States. All
public schools are government schools. Nowadays younger generation prefer reading Burmese instead
of Shan because of the following reasons.
They do not have a chance of learning Shan at school.
They learn Burmese at school and know only Burmese well.
They know Burmese better than Shan.
There are very few books written in Shan.
Very few educational books or interesting books written in Shan.
No educational books such as science, medicine, engineering, arts, agriculture, and mining are written
or translated in Shan.
. . ·
. ¡ ÷ ÷
. ÷ =
· . ,
. ¸
¸ .
Twenty Shan alphabets in new system
Shan people and their culture 12
Shan Calendar and New Year
The Shan have their own calendar since ancient days started in AD 638. There are books in Tai
script for calculating solar and lunar eclipses.
First Waxing Moon of the First Lunar Month, Lern Seign, ¸=·=.=, is considered Shan New
Year Day according to Shan Calendar. There are three supposing reasons about the existence of Shan
New Year.
1. The Shan Kingdom of Muong Mao was founded in 450 Buddhist Era (BE).
2. The Abbot of Man Hai, SeLan, had written that in the year 450 BE there was the assembly of 150
learned Buddhist monks where they re-wrote the three divisions of Buddha’s doctrine (i.e. the Buddhist
3. Sao Khun Sai @ Sao Khun Hong, the son of the King of Muong T’sen (modern Yunnan) ¸..=,
with his four followers went to fetch the Buddha’s doctrine in the land of Phar Tang Phar Taw and
returned home in the 450 BE in the time of new harvest.
That is why Shan calendar year (÷.) is based on the 450 BE.
The Shan year is equal to Buddhist calendar year (Burmese year) minus 450 years.
For example, 2545 (Buddhist year) - 450 = 2095 (Shan year) = AD 2001

Shan are festival loving people. For the Shan life is meaningless without festival. There are festivals all
year round in Shan States. Traditional ceremonies take place throughout the year. Most of these
festivals are related to Buddhist calendar and very similar to Burman’s festivals.
Mid December – Mid January ( =· ,
Shan New Year day (=·=.=, celebration in early December.
Moe-Byae Festival. Full-moon day of Pyatho (Moe-byae, Shan State) 3-day festival ending
January 1. The traditional crossbow contest is the main highlight of this festival.
During cold winter months, after the rice has all been harvested from the field, people make
stuffing-cooking rice (khao lam mok) (... ) inside bamboo sticks and cook it by putting
under burning charcoals. People also make sticky rice cake (khao boak) (..). If it is mixed
with sesame seeds it is called Khao Tam Nga ¸.÷¸.,.
Mid January – Mid February ( =. )
The people celebrate the tradition of Khao Ya Goo (..¸.) by giving out red sticky rice
parcels. They make it with steaming sticky rice and mixing it with sugar cane, coconut and
peanuts. They take the rice cakes to the temple to make offerings and also give them out to their
friends and neighbors.
Mid February – Mid March ( =.. )
Baw-gyo Festival. 10
waxing day of Tabaung (Hsibaw, Shan State) 5-day ceremony ending
Mar 1. There are boat races on Dote-hta-wa-di river.
Monkhood festival or novitation ceremony (Poi Sang Long) (....) which is the ordination
of young Shan boys as novice.
Mid March – Mid April ( =. )
Pindaya Cave Pagoda Festival. 11
waxing day of Tabaung (Pindaya, Shan State)
5-day ceremony ending March 19. This is a typical Taungyo pagoda festival where different
ethnic minorities can be seen celebrating in their colorful garb.
Pindaya Shwe Oo Min Pagoda Festival (Pindaya, Shan State) in Pindaya, about 45 km, North of
Kalaw, around the full moon day of Tabaung. During the festival time thousands of devotees
throng to the cave to pay homage.
Shan people and their culture 13
The water-splashing festival (Swan Nam) (..=.= ......=) during which time the people
splashing water to one another and to Buddha statute, prepare sticky rice food wrapped in
banana leave ¸.÷.¡, and make offerings to earn merit for the Buddhist New Year. Shan
people claim this festival as Shan culture but Shan Christians in Burma see it as a Buddhist
festival and do not allow its members to join festival.
Mid April – Mid May ( =¸¸ )
Watering the Sacred Bo Tree Festival or Kason Festival held on the Kasone full moon day on
the Buddhist calendar, the event marks the commemoration of the Buddha's birthday by pouring
water onto the scared Bo tree, under which Guadama attained enlightenment and became the
Taung-yo Torchlight Procession Festival in Pindaya, Shan State.
The festival of Sand Pagoda (Poi Kong Mu) ( .......) takes place during which time the
people collect sand and take it to the temples to make little Kong Mu (pagoda) in the temple
grounds during the time of the full moon and they all join together to make merit.
Mid May – Mid June ( =_.. )
The people make offerings to the village spirits at various sites throughout the area.
Mid June – Mid July - ( =·÷. ,
Nayone Festival of Tipitaka.
The festival of offering alms (Poi Kap Som) (.....) is held to make offerings of specially
prepared food to the older people who are spending the Buddhist Lent months in the temples.
Mid July – Mid August ( =÷ ,
Dhama Sakya Day. This day commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon to his five disciples.
The Waso Festival, commemorating the Buddha’s first sermon, this festival also marks the
beginning of Buddhist Lent. Monks are given new robes and other requirements to tide them
through the months ahead.
Mid August - Mid September ( =. )
Phaung Daw Oo Festival and Thadingyut Festival of light is held for 3 weeks during
September/October. It is the biggest event in the Shan States. It is also a celebrations to mark the
end of the Lent season. In the evening people make processions carrying hand made castle like
structures to the temples or else place them outside their homes to bring merit to their families.
During these ceremonies there are music and dancing. The dancing is done by dancers dressed
up as mythological creatures such as the mythological half-bird-half-human (ginaree) ¸=., and
the mythological yak ¸÷ ., which is held by two dancers, rather like a pantomime horse.
Mid September – Mid October ( =.. ,
The festival of Hen Som Go Ja (¸.....¸.·¸) (..¸.¸ ...¸) is celebrated in
commemorating of the welcoming the Buddha coming back from heaven where he went to visit
his mother during the Lent season. It is held to make offerings to deceased relatives who have
already passed away.
Mid October – Mid November ¸ =...÷. ,
InLe Festival. 1
waxing day of Thidingyut (Inlay, Shan State) 18-day festival. Four Buddha
statues are ceremoniously tugged clockwise around the lake on the royal barge by leg-rowing
boats. They return home on 3
waning day. Leg-rowing boat races are held throughout the
Mid November – Mid December ¸ =... )
Tazaungdaing (Tazaungdine) Festival is held over 3 days in mid November and is another
festival of light. A spectacular fire-balloon competition is held in conjunction with the festival.
Shan people and their culture 14
These huge balloons are made of local Shan paper or rags, and are of different sizes and shapes,
some human, some animal, some just fanciful products of imagination.

Shan are very hospitable people. They always open the doors of their home to visitors, passerby
or strangers. Even though they have never met or known each other before they offer a place to rest or
stay for a night or two or even for a week. They believe that taking care of the guest is good deed and
can earn great merit. At least the visitors or strangers are offered a cup of cold water or hot green tea
when they come into the house. Stranger who has happened to be at home at mealtime is always invited
to the table. When a stranger comes after mealtime, the visitor is always asked if he has had his meal. If
not yet, the host use to prepare meal for the visitor.
Leslie Milne said, “A poor Buddhist nun whom I thus treated, she was so grateful that for days
she supplied me and my servants with vegetables and fruit. Her gratitude also taking embarrassing form
of coming to say her prayers – presumably for me – in my bed room when I was dressing.”
A small bamboo stand on the side of the road covered with a tiny thatched roof shading water
pot is a common scene in Shan village. Women and girls use to fill the water pots with water every day.
The water is freely available for passerby. They have been taught that a cup of cold water given to tired
and thirsty wayfarers brings much reward in the future life.

Tattooing proper had been practiced in most parts of the world though it was rare among
populations with the dark skin color and absent from most of China (at least in recent centuries).
Various people believed that tattooed designs could provide magical charm, protection against sickness
or misfortune. Some considered tattooing could make people having power, free from evil and danger.
Some might even think as a beauty. Some tattoo were useful as identity of a person’s race, rank, status,
or membership in a group. Tattoos had also been found on Egyptian and Nubian mummies dating from
about 2000 BC. After the advent of Christianity, tattooing was forbidden in Europe but it persisted in
the middle east and in other parts of the world.
Tattooing was a culture that existed in the Shan for centuries since they were in mainland
(China). Shan believed that, because of wars, they were going to be separated from one another and
scattered all over the world. In order to be able to recognize one another in the future they started
tattooing one another as an identification mark. That’s why tattoo can be found on the body of Shan,
Tai Ahom, Thai, and Laotians.
It is somehow an identification of the Shan race. Whenever people see
tattoo on his body he is recognized and accepted as a person belong to Shan race. A Shan boy was
considered to have reached manhood when he has been tattooed. When a boy reached the age of 11 or
12, the earliest age, a tattoo artist was invited to tattoo his body and limbs with designs of animals,
flowers, geometric patterns or the Tai written script.

In the past all male must have tattoo. Without tattoo he was not considered a matured man or
brave man but considered as immature and coward. Women did not like a man who had no tattoo.
There was a saying, “Yellow leg, get back away from our fields, otherwise our spirit of the field will
flee.” In those days a man with no tattoo can hardly find a wife. Some tattooed from neck to ankle
covering the whole body. Some only had tattoo on arms and small tattoo on the chest and back. The
tattooing instrument is a single split needle set in a heavy brass socket or a few needles tightly tied
together. No ink but the bile from the gall of bear was used in tattooing the skin. Women seldom

History of Tai and Tai Country by Khoe Sean, published by Mok Ko Soi Leng Printing Press, Yangon 1996, p96
China’s Minority Nationalities edited by Ma Yin, published by Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1994 p265
Shan people and their culture 15
tattooed unless they were crossed in love.
Tattooing is still practicing now but many young
generations have abandoned it.

Sickness and Medicine
In the old days traditionally Shan believed that there were ninety-six diseases affecting the body
of human. Shan used to blame Phe (spirit) for their sickness and disease. Shan used many herbs as
medicines in treating diseases extensively for hundred of years since they use to live in the forest, hill
and jungle without knowledge of western medicine. They used to go into the jungle, the field and find
the medicinal leaves and roots for treating ailment. Sometimes they spend days in the jungle to find
herbs. They had many formulas in making herbal medicine. Some of the animal parts and bones were
also used as medicines. They knew how to identify between eatable food and poisonous food. They
sometimes made use of poisonous food to create poison in catching wild animals.
Sometimes the barks of certain trees were boiled and given to the sick as remedy to certain
disease. Sometimes bark was pounded between stones and dry powder was used to sprinkle on wounds
for healing. Sores and wounds were sometimes bathed with kerosene oil and alcohol. Shan recognized
the fact that some diseases might be contagious or infectious and they burned the clothes of any person
who had died of such disease. If a serious epidemic occurs in a village the sick were often left to the
care of by a few old people and the other inhabitants left their homes and build huts for themselves in
the jungle and lived there until they thought the danger was over. If the epidemic had been very severe
many died in the village, people deserted their village and rebuilt new village on new site. Epidemics
were sometimes thought to be caused by certain bad spirits. Offerings were placed for those bad spirits
at the road side to feed them and appease them not to strike the village. A pole with a swivel attached
was also erected close to a path so that the demon might be caught as it passed by.
Massage was a general relief and cure for all complaints and it was as often done with the feet
on the back and thigh and with the hands on the neck and arms. For snakebite a string was tightly tied
above the wound. After some one had sucked the poison out from the wound, a paste made of pounded
spiders was laid upon the bite. They believed it counteracted the poison. Opium was commonly used as
local application to relieve pain. The flesh of bats was considered good for asthma but it must be
thoroughly cooked. Bones of tigers grounded into powder were given as a tonic to any one recovering
from a severe illness to restore strength. The claws of bear were used as charms against sickness.
Scraping on the leg or arm with the tusk of a wild boar was considered a cure for stiffness or
rheumatism of joints. The claws of tiger or leopard were in great demand for charms to make children
brave. The powdered horn of a rhinoceros was one of the most expensive remedies for all diseases.
Tiger flesh dried in the sun, powdered, and eaten by small children could prevent them from having fits
or convulsions. Tiger’s bones soup was good for dropsy, beriberi and other swelling diseases. Shan also
used western and Chinese medicines whenever available.
Some believed that the seat of life changing its position from day to day. It might be in the hand
today and tomorrow in the head and the next day in the arm. That was very serious if someone
happened to cut his foot when the seat of life was visiting the foot. He was most certain to die. Some
healers used to ask the time and date of birth of the sufferer before giving treatment because some
treatment depends on the day and the time of the birth of patient. Shan, in the past, had no knowledge of
surgery. A favorite practice, when all other remedies failed to bring relief, was to puncture the skin of
the patient with a hot needle to let out the blood and the evil spirit would leave. It is easy to win
confidence of the people if one knows something about medicine and can help the people in illness.

Shan at home by Leslie Milne, published by White Lotus Co.; February 2001, p68
Ibid p. xviii
Shan people and their culture 16
Making Covenant
In the old days keeping promises was a very serious matter for Shan people. Agreements were
sometimes sealed in a curious manner. One custom of keeping or making promise was “drinking water
of faithfulness.” The promise was repeated verbally over water, which was stirred with a dagger or the
point of a sword and the water was then drunk, half by one man and half by the other, both calling on
heaven and earth to witness the agreement. Another way was by writing an agreement, and then burn it
and the ashes were sprinkled on water and each man swallowed half, saying before he drinks, “May I
become very ill or die in a violent death if I do not hold good this writing.” A common oath was, “May
I become a beast in my next life”
They use to swear to sky or pit when making verbal promise.

Cultivation and Farming
Shan people like living on high plateau and places where there are plenty of water. Farming was
their main occupation. Rice was the staple food. Shan used buffalos in ploughing rice field and used
cows in pulling the cart. Before starting farming a stone of the spirit was place in the middle of the field
until harvest time. After harvest a small portion of the crops was offered to the stone and then stone was
brought back home. In the old days, rice grown by family was for family consumption only. However
nowadays farmers are making money by selling rice from their field. They kept the rice enough for
their family for the whole year before another harvest. Apart from growing rice Shan also grew
vegetables and fruits.
Life began early in Shan village. The women rose up at cockcrow early morning before dawn to
prepare the rice for the morning meal. The thud, thud, thud sound of pounding paddy in the kitchen
about five o’clock in the morning was just like a sound that makes a wonderful alarm clock for the
whole village. The men folks rose up a little later. They ate breakfast, took tools and departed from the
house for the whole day work in the field or jungle and returned home at sunset. They paddock the
buffaloes or cows they had tended the whole day in lower ground of the house, took bath, ate their
evening meal, and retired to bed or puffing tobacco and drinking a cup of green tea or alcohol, talking
and chatting round the flickering fire for a while before going to bed. They used to talk about the
buffaloes, cows, or water in the field. Economic or politic were not common topics. They cooked late
and ate late in the evening. Usually dinner time started at 9 PM and finished at 10 PM.

Method of Farming
Tai people group was the first in history to plant rice and use a furrow to plough.
The seeds of
rice are first of all soaked in water until it sprouts and then sown in small nurseries previously prepared
by ploughing. At the end of thirty days they were pulled out from the soil with the root attached and
transplanted into the field, which was previously ploughed and filled with water. The seedlings were set
one foot apart in straight lines. It’s back aching work to bend down and plant the plants all day long in
the field but impromptu folk songs sung by planters helped them pass the time and pain. Sometimes it
became enjoyable moment.
Both men and women helped in planting. They worked all morning till sunset with a short break
for meal during the day. They wore big hats usually made of bamboo cover, was tied tightly under their
chin to prevent from falling off the head. The big hat acted as umbrella and protect their head and body
from the sun and rain. Some covered their back with a coat made of leaves to protect them from the
rain. They did not stop working even though it was raining. They wrapped their lunch from home in
banana leave and brought it to the field. They ate cold meal without reheating. Planting time usually
ended in July. In November the waving grains turned golden as it was ripen and ready for harvest. The

Shan at home by Leslie Milne, published by White Lotus Co.; February 2001, p146
http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/nationality/Dai/ March 29, 2006
Shan people and their culture 17
most enjoyable time was harvest time. The reaping began in November or even as late as December.
The grains were cut by sickle and the swathes were tied together to make sheaves. The sheaves were
then heaped up to make the large stacks. After reaping was over the sheaves were left in stacks for two
or three weeks before threshing. Threshing was usually done by hands but if there was a large quantity
it was thrashed by buffaloes by stamping round and round through the paddy as it lied in heaps on the
threshing floor covered with bamboo mat. After thrashing the oxen carried the grain from the field to
the village in large baskets, two baskets on each ox. Paddy was stored in big bamboo baskets, which
were seven or eight feet high, tightly plastered inside and outside with clay to prevent from insects and
rats. The rice of the first ears that were threshed was cooked by steaming and carried to the monastery
and offered to the monks as an offering.
Empty rice fields after harvest were used again for planting either sugarcane or paddy. Shan also
cultivate various spices and seasonings such as onions, garlic, lemon grass, white and black pepper,
fennel, basil, chilies, coriander, horseradish, roselle, parsley and mint. Shan also raise pigs, cattle,
poultry, ducks and elephants. Hunting is another traditional activity for the Shan with crossbows,
snares, bamboo traps, stone slings or gun.

Shan are skillful in handy craft especially in gold, silver, metal, ivory and weaving. With
migration moving southwards to their present locations in Burma, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam they
added some forms of Khmer and Indian influence to their own traditional inventory. Therefore, Tai
textiles fall into two groups; original and supplemental textiles. The former grouping includes clothing,
decorative, religious and utilitarian textiles. Besides skill in silk weaving, Tai are also excellent basket
weavers using strings of bamboo. A wide range of containers, baskets and traps of different sizes for
different purposes are produced.

The main food of Shan is rice. Shan people like sticky rice and all kind of cakes made of sticky
rice. There are many verity of sticky rice cake such as Kao Boak ¸..,, Kao Kep ¸..,, Kao Bong
¸..,, Kao Lum Mok ¸...,, Kao Dum Kao ¸.÷.¡,, Kao Soi ¸...,, Kao Sian ¸..=,, Kao
Muong ¸.,, Kao Moon Ho ¸.=._, Kao Dum ¸.÷, etc.
Other favorite foods for Shan are; Toa Noa (Soya bean) ¸÷=,, Toa Fu Phet (spicy Toa Fu)
¸÷...÷,, Phak Soum (Pickled leaves) ¸....,, Phak Kat Saw (stew mustard leaves) ¸.....÷.·¸.,,
Lo (Bamboo shoot) ¸,, Phak Keng (boiled leaves) ¸....,, Phak Kam (pea plant) ¸......,, Bak
(Pumkin) ¸..,, Dean (Cucumber) ¸÷, Pa Heng (Dry fish) ¸¸¸,, Noua Heng (Dry beaf) ¸=¸,,
Mixed vegetable ¸.¸,, Eatable tree leaves ¸¸÷,, Nam Pit (Pounded eggplant in chilli pepper) ¸= .÷,,
Noe Sa (meat-salad) ¸= .¸,, Pa Soum (sour-fish) ¸¸., kong Soum (Sour prawn) ¸..,, Noe
Soum (Sour meat) ¸=.,, Pa Zi (BBQ fish) ¸¸·,, Noe Zi (BBQ meat) ¸=·,, Pa Moke (Baked fish)
¸¸.,, Bamboo-worm ¸ , and other eatable larva are also Shan favorite food. Shan do not like oily
food. Shan like drinking tea (green-tea). All visitors were offered green tea at any occasion. Drinking
alcohol is not a Shan culture but they use to drink during eating meal, at festival and celebration. Sour
and spicy foods are also Shan favorite.
Elderly Shan, male and female alike, were found of chewing betel leave. The reason of chewing
betel leaves was that they believed betel leave could make a person speak well, weightily, respectfully
and effectively. Before chewing it they had to break away both ends of the betel leave because they
believed that there was a spirit watching over betel leave.

Tai Groups of Thailand by Joachim Schliesinger, published White Lotus Press, 2001, Vol 1, p118
Shan people and their culture 18
Tai have a typical common methods in cooking such as;
Cook with boiling water in opened pot (. .·¸.)
Cook meat or vegetable in a covered big pot ( .)
Cook meat or vegetable in a covered small pot (.)
Mixed salad with any condiment by chopping up uncooked food and mixing it with meat as the main
ingredient (..¸)
Cooked by baking under the hot charcoal or ashes (.......)
Cook in a bamboo place in the fire. (.)
Cooked by steam (=)
Prepared dishes by pounding (÷=...÷)
Prepared by keeping it sour or fermented (.=)
Roasted on the fire or barbecued (· )
Cook without any thing added (÷¸)
Cooked by frying (....)
Stew food, cook slowly and long on medium heat, simmer (.)
Soaked in liquid and eat (·)
Dip in liquid and eat (·)
Mixed, knead together with any condiment, commonly with sour vinegar, and eat()
Keep in cold condition and allow it to become solid or coagulated and eat (÷)

Dress and Costume
Knitting and weaving are the skill of Shan since 2000 years ago. They knitted and weaved their
own clothes and made cloths. The original unique Tai style, its designs, patterns and technical skill
were seen in the clothing originally consisting of a woman’s skirt called “sint” ¸.=, and man’s
loincloth, hip wrapper long trouser. Shan trousers are very wide and often they are made with the seat
so near the ankles that they look like a shirt. The national dress of the Shan is a little bit different among
the Shan living in different areas. They use to wear it on special occasion like Shan national day,
ceremonial and festival time. The traditional woman sint is made up of three bands, a waistband
¸_.=,, body ¸÷, and lower border ¸¸..=,, joined at waistband, mostly woven separately and
patterned with different motifs. The body of sint has the broadest weft dimension. Traditionally, women
wear tight-sleeved short dresses and sint. Unmarried young ladies use to wear flowers in their hair and
dress in colorful shiny dress. The elder women wear a dark-blue skirt and black turban. Many women
wear a silk girdle around their waists and wind their long hair into a bun at the back of their head, fixing
it with a single beautiful crescent-moon-shaped comb. Men wear collarless tight-sleeved short jackets,
with the opening at the front and long baggy trousers in light brown color. They wind white or yellow
turban around their head. Men used to wear head-dress (turban), a bag sling on the shoulder and a
sword on the other shoulder all the time. The Shan were famous for their gold and silver chased work.
Beautifully designed gold and silver ornaments, bracelets, necklaces, and jewel-headed cylinders in
their earlaps were worn by the wealthier classes. Nowadays many Shan become more Burmanized and
wear Burmese longyi. They wear their national costume at special occasion only.

Martial Art
Martial art (...=) is also one of Shan cultures. Most of the young men learn martial art from
their expert master. Parents encourage children to learn Shan martial art in sword, rod, rope and hands
for self-defense but military government prohibits it. Old people who have learned the art used to pass
Shan people and their culture 19
on to younger generation secretly. Shan martial art is not for offensive but for self-defense purpose.
Many modern young men do not know Shan martial art anymore because of suppression and lack of
trainer-master. Some masters were persecuted for teaching martial art to young people. Some people
learned secretly at night in the dark either under small gasoline lamp or moonlight fearing of being seen
and arrested by authority. The master usually did not teach all the methods and secret of the art to the
learners. They used to keep at least one skill without giving to the learners for fearing that the learners
would rebel against them or attack them. Shan martial art was very similar to Chinese martial art Wu
Su. Men use to dance and show of their martial art skill during festive celebration.

Use of Bamboo
Shan use bamboo very extensively. There are more than one hundred species of bamboo in
Shanland. Bamboos are grown naturally in the forest and easily available. It is very useful in daily life
of Shan. From the skin to the inner most part of the bamboo nothing was left wasted. A house could be
built without a single nail but all from bamboo. No less than one hundred things can be made from
bamboo. For instance; water jar, rice bowl, cooking utensils, basket, boxes, storage burns, arrow, bow,
fishing rod, snare, robe, wall, written pad, cutting, spear, trap, boat, bridge etc. Woods are also used in
building houses but it is more expensive and many people cannot afford it. Slips of bamboo twisted into
string are used in fastening things. Wooden nails are used in fixing poles.
Shan are very particular when cutting bamboo. A propitious day is chosen, and the bamboos are
cut on a waning moon. When they carry bamboo from the jungle to the village they always carry it with
the root-end facing the jungle so that any evil spirit, which possibly dwells in the bamboo, will be able
to make good escape from the bamboo before reaching the village. On an average a Shan house built
with bamboo can last ten years but the thatch roof needs to be replaced every two years. Bamboo is
never used as firewood unless it has been splintered to small pieces or powder and dried up.

Shan House
Villagers and neighbors use to help one another in building a house. It was a very common
practice. It showed unity, community spirit, love and concern to one another. No pay was given but
meals were offered to those who helped build the house. Normally it took only a few days to build a
house by the whole village. Shan did not build their house casually. They asked time and day of the
birth of the owner (year is not important) and choose the right day and time to start building the house.
They believed if the house were built on the wrong day, not in accordance with the birth of the owner, it
would give the residents many problems, troubles and even calamities. If the builder was going to build
contrary to the day of the birth of the owner, more sacrifices had to be offered to the spirits to content
the spirits before building a house.

It had a peculiar of regularity and neatness. The ends of the Shan houses invariably facing north
and south and the edges of the roofs, leaf or thatch were being accurately trimmed.
Typical Shan
house had two storeys built of bamboo with thatch roof or leaves of teak. The wall, the floor, the pillar,
table, chair and everything in the house were usually made of bamboo. Long grasses were naturally
grown on the hillside in the forest. Such long dry grasses called thatch ¸.¸., were used in roofing the
house. Upper storey of the house was fenced with bamboo wall. There were bedrooms walled with
bamboo and a fireplace made of clay put in the middle of the sitting room. The flooring of the upper
storey of the house was also made of bamboo, supported by posts forked at the top to carry the floor
beams on which rest the bamboo joints for supporting the planking. The upper floor was built about six

Shan at home by Leslie Milne, published by White Lotus Co.; February 2001, p. xiv
A Thousand Miles on an Elephant in Shan States by Holt Samuel Hallett, published by W. Blackwood and sons , 1890,
Shan people and their culture 20
feet off the ground to avoid the ravages of white ants. The interior was divided into two, a living room
and a bedroom, with an open veranda in front particularly shaded by a fan-shaped roof, and reached by
rickety steps set about eighteen inches apart. The floor and the walls were made of plaited bamboo.
There was no chimney and the smoke found its way out through cracks in the bamboo wall or thatched
Mats and cushions, pillows and blankets were usually piled up in a corner at day time and set up
on the floor at night to sleep. Simple mat made of fine strips of bamboo or of a species of rush served as
mattresses in summer and were replaced by home made cotton mattresses in the colder months. The
posts of the walls were arranged in sets of three, five or seven as odd numbers bring luck. The post that
was believed to be occupied by the spirits “Phe” ¸., was on the east side next to the corner post nearest
the door. The guardian spirits of the house were supposed to occupy the portion of this post above the
floor, malignant or evil spirits.
The spaces between each set of posts had specific names. The door of
the house and the verandah was almost always at the south end. Some may put a charm on top of the
main door to prevent entry of evil spirit. The lower part of the house was open, no wall, but pillars
exposed to tie up cows or water buffalos. Animals such as buffalo, cow, pig and chicken were placed
under the house in the lower storey. Shan had the most amazing belief that buffaloes tied up for the
night beneath the house was good for the protection against mosquitoes because mosquitoes were
attracted to the buffaloes rather than the inmates of the house. Lower compartment was also used as
storage compartment for wood, rice or tobacco leaves. There was a step from ground to up stair
ascending to verandah. Verandah was very useful for the family. They could sit and relax, had a
meeting, dry up the clothes, doing washing, combing hair or even taking a bath on verandah.
Shan used to have home dedication ceremony before moving into the new house. No one was
allowed to live in the house before dedication. It was a celebration and a feast. Monks and elders were
invited to say blessing and neighbors and friends were invited to celebrate with meal. At the same time
people carried blankets, pillows, mats and other household things to the new house. When the owner of
the house arrived to take possession he was welcomed by an old man, who said, “May your home be
free from all misfortunes, may you never have anxiety or sickness, may no danger come near you and
may your life be full of happiness.” After new home dedication, the fire was lit in the entrance room
and it was not allowed to go out for seven days and seven nights. There was a high shelves built in the
sitting room called “God’s Shelf.” Nothing except the Buddhist scripture, Buddha idol and flower’s
pots were allowed to put on the shelf. Those who did not have Buddha idol put the picture of the monk
or pagoda instead.

Newborn and Naming a Child
In the old days Shan women bore the child by themselves through natural process since there
was no hospital. The mother or a wise woman (untrained but experienced midwife) used to give the
necessary help at an infant’s birth. If labor was slow and difficult the helper gently massage the
abdomen to assist delivery and warm water was given to the mother to drink. The warm water was not
heated on the fire in the usual way but by dropping hot stones into it. This method of boiling the water
was never done in normal circumstances unless the water was to be used for medicinal purposes. The
umbilical cord of the baby was severed by a piece of newly cut bamboo skin, which had been sharpened
for cutting. During the birth the husband did not stay in the room. He was, however, closed at hand to
take care of placenta and umbilical cord after birth. The father first washed placenta and umbilical cord
gently, then rolled them in a banana leaf, placed them with care in a deep hole, which he had been just
dug under the steps of the house and buried the placenta under the earth. It was believed that by doing

A Thousand Miles on an Elephant in Shan States by Holt Samuel Hallett, published by W. Blackwood and sons, 1890,
Shan people and their culture 21
this way it was very important for the future health and happiness of the child. It was also important
that the father should wear a smiling face while he was digging the hole and depositing the banana leaf
and its contents. If he, at that time, looked angry, the child would be cursed with a bad temper when
grew up. Burying the afterbirth under the steps of the house was also believed to bring more children to
the family. If a child was born with the umbilical cord rounded his neck it was considered a sign of
great good fortune. They believed that a baby that was born with moles on any part of the body except
under the eye was thought lucky. It was considered fortunate to be born with two thumbs on the same
hand. After the child was born the father and mother sleep in separate rooms for two to three months. A
boy would bring more gladness into the family than a girl, as all Shan believed that a man stands on a
higher stage of existence than woman.

The mother washed baby every day with clean and warm water, nursed the baby carefully and
breast-feed the baby every time when the baby cried. There was no set time for baby feeding. A
newborn child was usually given name when a child was one month old. It was a ceremony with eating,
singing, dancing and also blessing. The parents made a feast and invited their friends to be present. The
food was cooked by the wise woman or helper who helped the mother when baby was born since the
mother was not allowed to cook during one month of maternity period. When the guests arrived they
went first to a large earthenware pot, which was filled with fresh water and into it they dropped their
presents, usually a silver coin, sometimes rupees and even gold. Then they made nice little speeches to
the parents saying, “May you live to see his children’s children and may his merit be greater than ten
hundred thousand moons and suns.” When all the guests had arrived and all the presents had been
dropped into the pot the water from it was poured over the baby. The wise woman put the money into
the child’s hands saying, “Now you are a full month old, may you be healthy and happy and free from
the ninety-six diseases.” Then the mother washed the hands of the wise woman and the baby was ready
to receive the name. An old man or woman wound a white thread seven times round the child’s wrist
and told him the name that had been chosen for him. It was believed that a white thread keeps baby safe
from evil spirits. Seven was a lucky number. The coins given to the child were pierced and hung on a
silver chain, which baby wore around his neck till he/she was six or seven years old. If the coins were
too many for the chain some of them were given to silversmith who made them into anklets or bracelets
for the child to wear. The first hair, which was cut off, was very carefully kept. It was put into a little
bag and hung round the neck of the baby as a sure charm to prevent him from crying in the middle of
the night. If the child was ill, the bag with the cut hair was soaked in water and the water from it was
used to wash baby’s little body or he might have to drink it as a soothing draught.

If a woman was not able to have a child because of barren she was a deplorable state. It showed
that either husband or wife or both had been sadly lacking in merit in previous lives. Shan were baby
lovers. Cruelty to infant or children was rare. Infanticide in any form was practically unknown.

Maternity Period
After giving birth, mother had to stay in the room with the baby for one month without leaving
the room. She must dress up herself with warm clothes from head to toe to prevent from exposing to
cold. A man usually did not go into the room within the first month after delivery because they believed
that a man may loose his “spiritual power” if he went into the room who had just given birth to a baby.
Mother of the baby was expected not to do any domestic work for thirty days. She did not even cook for
her own meal. She was considered unclean during the month. Her mother or sister or other people

Shan at home by Leslie Milne, published by White Lotus Co.; February 2001, p31
Ibid pp36-37
Ibid p31
Shan people and their culture 22
cooked for her and her husband. Shan woman who had many children seldom looked old and wrinkled
because of quiet and rest time for one month after giving birth.

Mother was given plenty of boiled vegetable and egg during maternity period believing that she
could produce more and healthy milk for the baby. A great ceremonial washing must be done for
purification after one month. The process of purification was as follows:
The mother and father, the baby, wise woman and friend who helped delivered the baby, together went
to a running stream. First the mother bathed herself from head to toe, standing in water, she washed her
long hair for the first time in one month carefully and thoroughly. Then she washed her baby and
poured water over the hair of her husband and the wise woman. Now she was purified and considered
clean and may offer bananas and rice to the monastery and resume her normal household duties again.

Shan Name
The name could be any name given by the parents or the elder as they desired. They do not have
family surname. Sometimes the date and time of birth were taken into consideration in giving name.
The name could be completely different from parents’ name. For instance, the father’s name is Kham
Zet and the mother’s name is Seng Li. The child name can be Yuet Ngen. Yuet Ngen is the real name.
Apart from the real name a person may have a prefix before the real name.
The prefix can be the followings depend on position, class, age, etc.
Sao ¸·,, Khun ¸.=,, Nang ¸=..,, Sai ¸·..,, Maung ¸,, Saya ¸_.¸,, Kein ¸..,, Lone ¸.,, Paw ¸.¸,,
Mae ¸,, Pa ¸¸,, Nei ¸= ..,, Ya ¸.¸,, Nong ¸=,, Pi ¸,, Pu ¸,, etc.
For example;
“Kham Zet” is a real name.
“Sao Kham Zet” indicates that he is from a royal family.
“Khun Kham Zet” also indicates that he is from royal family.
“Nang Seng Kio” indicates that Seng Kio is a woman from royal family. However in modern time
Nang is commonly used in the name of the ladies just to indicate that she is from Shan race, not
necessarily from royal family. Nang can be assumed as racial surname for Shan girls.
“Sai Kham Zet” indicates that he is adult young person from Shan race. Sai can be assumed as racial
surname for adult boys. It sometimes also means elder brother.
“Maung” is a common prefix Burmese name meaning young man. Since Shan has become more
Burmanized the use of Burmese prefix is quite common.
“Saya Kham Zet” means Kham Zet is a teacher.
“Kein Kham Zet” means Kham Zet is an adult and respected person.
“Lone Kham Zet” means Kham Zet is an elderly person.
“Paw Kham Zet” means Kham Zet is respected as a father.
“Mae Kham Zet” means Kham Zet is a lady and also respectfully as a mother.
“Pa Kham Zet” means Kham Zet is an elderly mother.
“Nei Kham Zet” also means Kham Zet is old lady.
“Ya Kham Zet” means Kham Zet is an old lady.
“Nong Sai” means younger brother and “Nong Ying” means younger sister.
“Pi Sai” means elder brother and “Pi Nang” means elder sister.
“Pu Kham Zet” means Kham Zet is an old man.
“Khu Kham Zet” means Kham Zet is an expert.

Almost all the name of the Shan people has the meaning. Many Shan male use to have the name
in precious metal such as Seng ¸., (diamond), Kham ¸.., (gold), Ngein ¸=., (silver) and the high

Shan at home by Leslie Milne, published by White Lotus Co.; February 2001, p34
Shan people and their culture 23
things like Sun ¸=., (Wan), Leaun ¸=, (moon), Lao ¸., (star), etc. Shan seldom change their
names in normal circumstances. Some Shan young men may change their names after their monk-hood
with the prefix “Hsang” ¸·..=·..,.
Common traditional name among the Shan were used by serial among siblings.
As for male;
Ai ¸.., (eldest son),
Yee ¸., (second son),
Hsam ¸.., (third son),
Hsai ¸., (fourth son),
Ngo ¸, (fifth son),
Nok ¸=., (sixth son),
Nu ¸=, (seventh son),
Noi ¸=, (eighth son),
Lah ¸¸, (ninth son),
Lun ¸=., (youngest or last),
Koi ¸., (youngest or last),

As for female;
Ye ¸.., (eldest daughter),
Ee ¸., (second),
Ahm ¸.., (third),
Ei ¸., (fourth),
O ¸., (fifth),
Ok ¸.., (sixth),
Et ¸.÷, (seventh),
Laik ¸., (eighth),
Lah ¸¸, (ninth),
Lun ¸=., (youngest or last),
Koi ¸., (youngest or last).
In the old days, mother usually pierced baby’s ears when she was a few weeks old. A thread,
one or two small threads, was first left in the hole. The hole was made larger and larger year by year
until a small roll of cloth could be inserted. Later ornament such as silver, gold or ruby earring could be
In the old days, education was considered only for boys. Girls were not encouraged to go to
school to get education because family either needed their help at home or considered a loss and a
waste when a girl got marriage and became house wife. That’s why women seldom had education. Girls
usually started helping mother doing house works as young as six. Housewife had to stay at home, take
care of the children, wash clothes, clean the house and cook for the family. There was a common
practice to send young boys to the monastery to learn to read and write Shan and chant Buddhist
scriptures, as a form of schooling. Some of them became monks while most of them returned to secular
life after a certain period of time in monastery. While staying in monastery the boys had to do all kinds
of hard work and the villagers had to bear all the financial burden of the monastery.
There was a
Buddhist monastery in almost all villages. In the past Shan could only learn basic education from
monastery. Christian missionaries later provided better and higher education in mission schools.
Nowadays, boys and girls alike are competing in higher education because people understand the value
of education. Some of the Shan are highly educated locally and abroad. But regretfully many Shan do
not know how to read and write their own literature because they do have opportunity of learning at
school. Teaching Shan at government schools is not allowed. There are no more mission schools,
private schools in Burma since 1963. All private schools were nationalized by Burmese Military
A Buddhist writer claimed, “Teaching Shan literature to Shan people is not only aiming to let
the people know the literature but also to make them become good people of Buddhism.”
lessons included in the textbook used in learning Shan are Buddhist stories and teachings. The

China’s Minority Nationalities edited by Ma Yin, published by Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1994 p265
‘Teacher’s hand book’ published in 1997 in Shan language by Mok Ko Soi Leng Printing Press, Yangon. p17
Shan people and their culture 24
questions are also on the Buddhist teaching.
It is very difficult for Shan Christian students and
students from other faiths to use Shan textbook in learning Shan.

Family tie is very important in Shan. They use to have big family. A single child in a family is
very rare. They use to live together with parents until or unless they got marriage and wanted to live by
themselves. Children respect their parents very much. Sometimes the parents do not want the married
children to leave. They build houses in their compound for them or give them rooms to live together in
their home. The son seldom goes to live with his wife’s parents (.=.¡) but wife use to live with son’s
parents. Going to live with wife’s parents after getting marriage is considered as poor or low status of
the man and it is looked down by society.
Family always dine together round the table. Children never eat before the parents and elders
have eaten. Fish, pork, beef, bamboo-shoots, vegetables, and curry in the pot or banana leave were laid
on the bamboo table which was about two feet in diameter and one feet high. They use to have five to
six varieties of dishes on the table. After the family has gathered round the table the pot of steamed rice
is served separately to each person by passing the pot. Members take up the rice, roll it in their hand in
lumps and eat with curry or dishes.
It’s a beauty to the family when all the family members go to the festival together. Families are
united in community. They use to join together in building houses, making or repairing roads, digging
well or water drainage in all development of the village and community. Sometime they even defense
and guard their village and community together for security and well being of the dwellers. Usually the
chief of the village has power and authority over community. In many places the Buddhist monk has
the authority over the village.

In the old days courting among young stars started as early as the age of twelve. When a boy
came to a girl’s home and wanted to meet, have a chat or courting with the girl, it depended very much
on the favor of the girl’s parents. Parents had influence, authority and control over children very much.
Children also listened and respected parents’ opinion. When parents did not like the boy meeting their
daughter they use to say, “She is not at home” or “She is not free to meet you at the moment” or “She is
already in bed” etc, even though she was at home and available. But when the parents of the girl liked
the boy they usually gave favor and asked the boy to come in and take a seat and they would call the
girl to come and see the visitor. Usually boy came to girl’s home only in the evening because they all
had to work in rice field at daytime. The meeting or courting usually took place at home in front of the
parents while the girl was weaving. The boy use to bring something to do at girl’s home such as plying
strings or cutting strips of bamboo while chatting or courting the girls. When their conversation was
serious the parents use to go away, leave them alone and give them privacy to talk. Parents always
wished that their children would have good husband and good wife. Parents use to ask about their
family and background history of the boy or girl before giving a green light. Holding hand, hugging or
kissing before they became fiancé is very rare. Rape was extremely rare. Meeting or courting secretly
was considered as wrongdoing. The courting sometimes also took place at the market, on the road to the
market or home, in rice field while working in the field or at the well when girls were fetching the
water. The language used during courting was different from ordinary conversation. They use to start
with talking about the moon, the star, the flower, the river, the valley, the mountain, the stream, the bird
etc. to express their interest and love. They never directly say “I love you.” For those who knew how to
read and write, they wrote love letter “Leik Kao” (..) (green letter). These were usually written in
poetry, by himself or by a professional letter-writer. He did not send letter to the girl if she did not read.

Teacher’s hand book’ published in 1997 in Shan language by Mok Ko Soi Leng Printing Press, Yangon. p87
Shan people and their culture 25
Instead when he paid his evening visits, he brought the letters with him and read or sang them to her,
throwing as much meaning and sentiment in his voice as much as possible. The girl, of course, was the
subject of the poems, which in many lines and rhymes told her that she walked as gracefully as a duck
swims, her face was like the full moon shining in the night, the palms of her small hands and the soles
of her tripping feet were pink as lotus flowers etc. Here is a short love song;

Thou fairest and best, more precious than rubies, Thou choice of my heart, I pray thee now listen, while
I weave in fit measures, and smooth-flowing cadence, my tender sweet song. Thy form is so graceful, as
tall, and as slender, as the finely wrought bow of the skilful archer, Thy dark heavy eyebrows shade
eyes of a doe, in rich pastures feeding. Thy skin is as soft as the jacket thou weariest, made, fair one, by
thee of the finest of silk. If now in thy youth to any thou leanest, bend quickly towards me, the
industrious peasant, who thy rice-bowl will keep full of rice of the sweetest, the fruit of my labor and
hard-handed toil. Hark! I will tell thee, as the flame of love kindleth. How ardent my passion, thou
choice of my soul! If in a great pool, I should see thee there drowning, I in it would plunge, most
reckless of life, or if in a deep well thou shouldest fall tripping, I would rush to thy rescue, as no other
man. It is fate that our stars must come in conjunction, like Sam-law and U-pym, the lovers who dwell
in the sky. So harken I pray, and make thy decision, then early we’ll set, the glad wedding-day.

They seldom proposed verbally because of shame and fear. Some expressed their love and
feeling through song in courting. They sang song responsively to and fro one another and passing their
message. The songs were not pre-written on paper. The wording came out naturally instantly as they
sang. They could sing for hours. Some could even sing the whole night till morning or morning till
night. They could get dating through the song. Not many Shan could sing such love song nowadays.

Marriage and Divorce
In the old days Shan woman used to marry at young age as early as sixteen. Man married at any
age after sixteen but often waited until eighteen or twenty. Usually it was considered proper and
matched if husband was older and taller than wife. Even though parents wanted to see their children get
good husband and good wife they rarely tried to force their children to marry against their will.
However getting approval from parents for marriage was very important. Some boys and girls had to
savage their love relationship because of parents’ disapproval. Some ran away with their fiancé when
they could not convince their parents and did not want to savage their love-relationship. Sometimes
parents cut relationship with their daughter who ran away with the man whom they didn’t approve but
soon forgave and restored relationship. Matchmaking was also quite common and done when the
parents did not want their son or daughter getting marriage with the one they didn’t like.
Normally when a boy fell in love with a girl and wanted to get marriage he must tell his parents
and asked them to go to the girl’s parents and asked her parents’ permission to get marriage. The boy’s
parents would then assign one or two or three people, on their behalf, to go to the girl’s home and ask
for permission to allow the boy to get marriage with their daughter. If the girl’s parent liked the boy and
wanted their daughter to get marriage with him they may ask for “body-money” (.¸.., to pay to the
girl’s parent to get permission. Sometimes they bargained for days or weeks and sometimes the
marriage had to be abandoned because of disagreement on body-money. Sometime body-money was
too high and the parents of the boy could not afford. Sometime cattle and other material were also
included in body-money.
On wedding day when the bridegroom came to the bride’s home to take the bride, parents
usually sent out the bride with tears. Elders and parents gave blessing to the new couple before they

Shan at home by Leslie Milne, published by White Lotus Co.; February 2001, p71 (Poem was translated by Rev. W.W.
Shan people and their culture 26
leave home. Normally the wedding ceremony lasted for three days; pre-wedding day, wedding-day and
post-wedding day. Usually young people from the village did all the cooking and celebration. The
wedding expenses were usually born by the parents of bridegroom. Getting marriage with sibling or
closely related relative was not allowed and was condemned by society. The children born in the family
were a strong binding between father and mother. If wife did not bear children the husband sometimes
took second wife. This may cause the first wife to get a divorce. More often first wife did not object and
willing to live on good terms with the second wife. If there were children born by second wife, the first
wife looked on them as her own and was very fond of them. Both women and men among the Shan
could divorce each other at will but divorces without deplorable cause were looked upon with
disapproval by the society. Polyandry was unknown. A woman giving birth without marriage was very
much looked down by society. Single parent was shameful.

Class of People
In the old days, people were divided into two classes; high-class and low-class. SaoPha (chief),
traders, goldsmith, and farmers belonged to high-class people. Fishermen, hunters and butchers
belonged to low-class people and they were not allowed to live together with high-class people in the
same village. They had to have their own village. Nowadays there is no such discrimination any more.
Husband is usually doing leading role in the family. Wife must not be the head of the family or decision
maker. If wife plays a leading role or holding the string on husband the community look down on the
Music and Dancing
Shan love freedom and happiness. They are very sociable people. They used to sing and dance
at every festival and celebration. Without singing, beating gong, mong, cymbal and dancing, they do
not consider it “festival.” The way of dancing is unique. There are different kind of dances such as Ka
Nok ¸.¸=.,, Ka Doe ¸.¸÷.,, Ka Lai ¸.¸..,, Ka Seng ¸.¸..,, Ka Mong Seung ¸.¸...,, Ka Gong
Kon Yau ¸.¸..=..., and Ka Mong ¸.¸.,, depend on the rhythm, beat and style of gong, mong and
They used to dance together in group as party dance. According to the legendary story bird-
dancing (Nok) and deer-dancing (Doe) (.¸=..¸÷.) in the month of October is a celebration of the
light festival based on the story of the spirits of the people and animals welcoming the return of Buddha
after his preaching and thanksgiving to his mother and other spirit in spiritual world. This dancing of
Nok and Doe is in fact a Buddhist belief and religious in nature but it is claimed to be Shan cultural
dance. In the past women did not dance in religious ceremony but only men did. Nowadays men and
women are dancing together. Each small village has at least one band of gong, mong and cymbal and
people march with it from the surrounding districts to attend any great festival in other village. The men
and women form a large circle in front of the monastery around gong-mong band and they dance
together all daylong far into the night. The performance is a very serious and solemn affair. When the
dancers grow tired they give a weird shout in unison “hei” as a signal for the music to cease and the
dancing will pause. As soon as one circle of men ceases dancing, another circle is ready to begin when
gong, mong and cymbal start. The players of gong, mong and cymbal are also changed. After dancing
they go into the temple and pray.
There are different Kind of gongs (drum) ¸.,
- Gong Kon Yau ¸..=..., - Gong Kun Pot ¸..=÷. ..=¸, - Gong Ket ¸..÷,
- Gong Lone ¸., - Gong On ¸..=, - Gong Bu Sa ( ..·¸.) - Gong Tat ( .÷÷.)
- Gong Muong Seing ( . ...) - Gong Zai ( . ·.) - Gong Kum ( .. .) - Gong Nam ( .=)
- Gong Sae ¸...,

Shan Magazine 1997, Shan Literary and cultural committee, University of Yangon, p96
Shan people and their culture 27
There are different kind of mongs made of bronze in different sizes, 10 to 40 centimeters in
diameter, 5 to 7 pieces in one set. It produces different sound in harmony. Gong, mong and cymbal
must be played together. Shan never play single instrument without combination of three during festive
celebration. Shan are also fond of flute especially reed flute. Reed flute gives a beautiful sound. Reed
flute music from Yunnan is very popular. There are different kind of flutes.
- Pi Nam Tao (made of a gourd and reeds) ¸=÷, - Pi Leao (made of one reed) ¸,
- Pi Lume (made of bamboo) ¸.,
There are different kind of string instruments.
- Ding Kup Na ¸÷..=¸, - Ding Sam Sai ¸÷...., - Ding Oh ¸÷.,
Folk songs are usually sung by a solo person without musical accompaniment. But sometime it
is accompanied by flute or violin. There is no folk song for group singing. Most of the musical
instruments are made of bamboo, goblet, clay, single or multiple string instruments.

Market-day is the day when people from different villages and small towns come to one place in
one village or town to sell and buy goods on every fifth day. It is called fifth-day-bazaar. It is a happy
and festive like occasion. This fifth-day-bazaar is rotating from village to village giving a chance to the
village to be the host of the bazaar day. Buying and selling goods are very good on market-day. It is a
chance of meeting different people from different places not only to trade and exchange goods it is also
a chance for young people of having a chance of seeing, meeting and courting girls from other villages.
The village boys and girls usually talk and make friend on the way to and from market, even in the
market. Young people use to make a date to meet on market-day. Business people talk about business,
farmers talk about farming and politicians talk about politic in the market. The center of the village
becomes a forum where every subject is discussed among the people. Missionaries to the Shan, century
ago, used to set up a tent and preach gospel in the market on market-day. People from other village who
do not have relative or friend at the village use to spend the night at market place or zayat on the eve of
market-day, which is called market-day-eve. Shan never seem to confuse or forget the different date
and day. People who make paper or hats or earthenware, who weave cloth or work in silver-smith are
trying to dispose of their wares on market-day. Profit earned on market-day is almost triple to normal
day. All Shan try to be in their own village on market-day.
It is surprising that without any calendar or newspaper to refer to, on that special day people
began to arrive early from the hills and outlying villages. Others who have to walk thirty or forty miles
prefer to arrive on the previous evening so that they may rest and sleep before the business day begins.
Traders carry their goods on their shoulders in two baskets of the same weight, nicely balanced
suspended from each end of a bamboo pole. There are plenty of vegetables and fruits in Shan bazaars.
In the meat-market, which is served only by men, pork, fish, beef and chicken, frogs and sometimes
venison are sold. Live cows, buffalos, pigs and horses are also sold on market-day. Some foreign
imported goods are also available. The market is open to the sky and the people sit on tiny bamboo
stools under the shade of their big hats or yellow paper umbrellas.

When a person died the deceased body had to be bathed with clean water, dressed with a new or
clean dress, put into coffin and kept in home until burial. If died by accident the dead body was worn
with a cloth, which was sparked with fire. In old time a corpse was dressed with the opening of the
jacket at the back believing that the spirit of the deceased goes out from the back of the body. They
believed that the spirit of the deceased remains on earth for three days after death. Shan did not cremate
their dead except the dead body of monk. The thumbs of the dead were tied together and the big toes
were also tied together with thread before burial.
Shan people and their culture 28
At funeral home, people got together to express their sympathy and sorrow with bereaved
family. Family members usually cried out loud with songs of moaning to express their sorrow and grief.
If the family members did not know how to cry with such special song of moaning they used to hire
professional moaner to moan in song on their behalf. Keeping the body at funeral parlor was not a
common practice because it was considered as degrading the dignity of the family and decease. The tent
was put up in front of the house, meals were cooked and offered to the people who came to the funeral.
People played card and gambled at funeral house and the tax were sometimes collected and used in
funeral expenses. In fact the general purpose of allowing people to play card at funeral house was not
for gambling but to allow the people, who stay with the bereaved family in order to warm the house, to
spend time together the whole day and night without boring. Monks were invited to recite the scripture
and held the service at home before burial. The body was buried in the ground. For those who had the
money a small pagoda was erected on the tomb of the dead. Special alms offerings were done on the
third day and seventh day for the good of the spirit of the dead. One month after death alms were
offered again on behalf of the dead believing that those alms would push the spirit of the dead into the
better life. The body was carried in a coffin directly from home to cemetery. Usually four men carried
the coffin. The man whose wife was pregnant was not allowed to carry the coffin for fearing that the
spirit of the dead may affect the baby in the womb of the wife.
If unmarried woman died it was a custom to knock the bier or the coffin against a tree on the
way to the burial ground. By doing so it was hope that in her next life she would not have the
misfortune to die unmarried again. The funeral procession was lead by the monks and followed
immediately by all the men who had accompanied the procession but women did not follow as far as to
the graveyard. At the burial-ground, the monks repeated sentences from the Buddhist scriptures during
the final recitation. An earthenware bottle full of water was brought forward and as the words were said
it was slowly emptied drop by drop onto the ground beside the open grave. When the water bottle was
emptied the coffin was lowered into the ground. Sometimes it was raised again and lowered again seven
times. When it descended for the last time a rope which had been placed with one end in the grave was
pulled out with a jerk in the direction of the north to help the spirit of the dead began his journey to
Mount Meru, the great spirit mountain, which lied north of the world.
The death of a Shan woman with her unborn child in the womb was the greatest misfortune. It
was believed that the spirit of the dead woman would become a malignant ghost who may return to
haunt her husband’s home and torment the husband unless precautions were taken to keep her spirit
away. When the bodies of the deceases were being removed from the house, part of the mat wall in the
side of the house was taken down and the bodies of dead woman and her baby were lowered to the
ground through the aperture. The hole through which the bodies had passed through was immediately
filled with new mats so that the ghost may not know how to return. When any person had been killed by
lightning the body of the decease was not placed in a coffin but wrapped in a fine mat. The grave was
dug in the form of a well and the corpse was placed in it in a standing position. The clothes left by the
one who died of a natural death may later be worn by relatives or friends but clothes of those persons
who were killed by murder, lightning, suicide or accident were generally buried with the body.

The funeral of the monk was very much different from funeral of lay people. It was a festive
like occasion. There was a game of “tuck of war” between two groups of people, pulling the cottage,
which carried the body of the deceased, in opposite direction for hours before cremation. The meaning
of tuck of war was the fight between spirits and men. Finally the body of the monk was burnt on the
pile of wood as cremation.

Shan at home by Leslie Milne, published by White Lotus Co.; February 2001, pp 93-94
Ibid p152
Shan people and their culture 29
Some behaviors are considered rude and some are polite in Shan culture.
Rude Polite
Shouting to parents and elders.

Speak softly and respectfully to parents and
Calling parents by their names.
e.g. John, Mary,
Calling parents “Father” and “Mother” without
their names.
Response to others’ call with disrespectful voice
Response to others’ call with respectful voice
“Yes” ..¸
Call the people not by name.
e.g. “Hey Guy”
Call the people by name.
e.g. Hey John!
Do not call the people by position.
e.g. John, Mary
Call the people by their position.
e.g Uncle John, Aunty Mary
Touching the head of the elderly people Ask for permission before touching the head of
elderly people
Touching the turban of the elders Ask the permission before touching
Hitting the head Avoid hitting head
Eating food before parents or elders have started
Wait until the parents or elders have started
eating or unless parents and elders give
permission to eat first
Sitting before parents and elders have seated Wait until parents or elder have seated or unless
parents or elders give permission to sit first
Passing in front of the parents or elders without
bending the body low
Bend the body low and pass slowly in front of
the parents and elders
Giving thing with one hand Giving thing with both hands
Receiving thing with one hand Receiving thing with both hands
Shank hand with one hand Shan hand with both hands
Pointing things with foot Never use foot to point the thing
Putting foot on the table before others Never put the foot on the table before others
Putting foot at the level of head of the others Never put the foot at the same level of the other
people’s head
Not taking off the shoes or sandals before
entering the house
Please take off your shoes or sandals before
entering the house unless the host has given
permission to do so.
Cutting nail inside the house in front of the
Avoid cutting nail inside the house in front of
Putting Holy Book on the ground Keep the Holy Book on higher place
Sitting or stepping over the Holy Book Never sit on or step over the Holy Book
Stepping over other people Avoid stepping over the other people. Ask
permission before doing it.


Shan adopted Buddhism since AD 71. Later Shan have adopted Theravada Buddhism from Burmans.
Theravada is one of the eighteen Nikāya schools that formed early in the history of Buddhism. These
developed in India during the century subsequent to the death of the Buddha. Almost all Shan are
Buddhists. That is why they use to say, “Shan are Buddhist.” They believe that right thinking, ritual
Shan people and their culture 30
sacrifices, and self-denial will enable the soul to reach nibanna (a state of eternal bliss). They also teach
reincarnation and each person’s future well being is determined by his behavior (deeds) in previous life.
Fate of a person depends on merit (karma ..) he’s gained in the past life. All intentional actions, good
or bad, will lead to future result. Thinking of doing bad thing is also bad karma. Good action is referred
as Kusala ¸..,. Bad action is Akusala ¸.¸..,. It brings fortune by giving alms to monks and
listening to sermons from monks. People usually give in hope of getting return. Large gift is more
auspicious than small gift. If a person has nothing to give he can act auspiciously by simply rejoicing at
other person’s giving by expressing Sadhu ¸.¸÷, (meaning it is good). Past Karma also offers perhaps
the only religiously satisfactory explanation of the suffering of the people who have done nothing to
deserve it in this life. Whatever happen people always point to Karma. In Mahayana tradition, merit is
often transferred to all sentient beings. The basic Buddhist teachings are “Four Noble Truth” and “Holy
Eight Fold Paths.”

The Four Noble Truths;
Suffering, Origin of suffering, Nibanna, Holy Eight Fold Paths
The Holy Eight Fold Paths;
Right view or right understanding, Right thought, Right speech, Right action,
Right livelihood, Right effort, Right mindfulness, Right concentration

The Belief in Creation
Shan believe that this present world is incalculably old. Hundreds of thousands of years before
our world was created there were other worlds existed. After many years each world was destroyed and
formed again. This world in which we now live will also be destroyed by fire and will again be
renewed. There are different versions of the creation. When our present world first came into existence
it was covered with water. At first the water was shallow but in time it grew deeper becoming a great
deep sea, which rose higher and higher until it almost reached the heavens. The breath of the gods made
the first men and women live. When the breath of the gods is taken from us we die. In all, counting
insects, reptiles, birds and beasts there are 100,000,000 creatures.

Spirit Worship
Even though Shan declare that they are Buddhists, they also believe in many kind of spirits.
Some spirits are believed to be benevolent, good and helpful but others are considered as wicked, evil
and harmful. When a person is being accused of possessing evil spirit, he must be exorcised by
witchdoctor by beating and sometimes a man died of beating. Evil spirit possessed are driven out from
village and excommunicated from society. People look down on the family members and relatives of
the one being accused of possessing evil spirit. They consider them as defiled and outcasts. Sometime
spiritual witchdoctors are invited to exorcise the spirit by paying large sum of money and offering.
When witchdoctor failed to exorcise the spirit they use to come to Christian pastor for help.
Shan also believed that human beings are watched over by 32 kinds of spirits because there are
32 stages of lives. There are many spirits, both good and evils, every where in trees, ponds, streams,
rocks, ravines, caves, high cliffs, jungle, village and town, rice field. Good things come from good
spirits. Diseases and sickness come from evil spirits. Shan believe that good spirits watch over fruit
trees and crops but they are not as strong as the evil spirits that destroy the harvests. The most fearful
spirit is Phe Hong ¸._, There are no spirits with the power to do both good and evil. The good spirits
are altogether good and the bad are altogether bad, powerful or weak. Although theoretically a man or a
woman is rewarded for good deeds or suffers for the bad deeds of previous life, still there is a strong
Shan people and their culture 31
feeling that an appeal, in time of trouble, may be made to spirits to stop the trouble. The offering to the
spirits is like giving a bribe, which may persuade the spirits to put off the evil day.

Shan are also superstitious. Various amulets can be found belonging to Shan people. Most of
these amulets are worn around the neck, arm, wrists and ankles, each one with its specific function for
protection against the evils or as a talisman for good luck. Nearly all these superstitious symbols have
previously received the blessing from the monks or witchdoctor otherwise they usually would not be
considered effective and powerful. Some also believe in astrologer. Full-moon day and last day of the
waning moon are considered as Sabbath day and people must avoid making noise and working in the
field. When violated the Sabbath the people may encounter with disasters. Whatever happen to them
they consider it as the consequences of karma. Good karma brings good things and bad karma brings
bad things. Man does not go under the rope, which hangs woman’s skirt (.=) or women’s underwear.
Going under such rope causes the down grading of man’s spiritual power. Shan strongly believe that
their identity does not perish when they die. When a child is born, parents always wonder where a
child’s life was in his last life. They believe that the spirits of the dead may go for ages to heaven or hell
but more often they are reborn on earth. They believe that the spirit returns willingly to its own human
family, so a child may have in it the spirit of its dead brother or sister or father or grandmother or some
other ancestor who died before he was born.
Shan do not sleep with head directing to the North
because they believed that it will lessen their fortune. They sleep with head directing to the East.

Shan believe that a dream can be a revelation or omen. Sometimes a dreamer may go to
astrologer or magician and pay a sum of money and offering for interpretation of the dream and
solution. In the old days Shan believed that all diseases were either because of disturbances of the body
by the four elements such as wind, fire, earth and water, or by some kind of force or power that were
not understood by the people and caused by evil spirit. The former cases were treated with traditional
medicine. The diseases of the second category were treated by mediums or by witchdoctors or shamans
or spirit-doctors. If a child was sick at young age it was considered as “born on the wrong date.” In
order to remedy the sickness a child had to be sold to other and bought back. In some cases some even
buried the child in the ground for a while, left only the head of the child above ground, and dig him/her
out from the pit so that the sickness would be healed.

When a boy is about 8 year old, the parents use to send him to monastery to be in the monk-
hood for one month. This is the celebration of novice ordination. The candidate-novice has his head
shaven bold by a senior monk and wrapped with head-cloth and donned a prince-like garment and put
on valuable jewels and gems and ride on a horse or carried over the shoulders of a man and parading
through the city to the monastery accompanied by gong-mong music. It is usually held in March-May.
Once the boy has entered monk-hood for a month he has accomplished his Buddhist sacred duty. He
also gets monk name. The parents and people have to bow down before him and pay homage to him
when he is wearing the yellow robe during the monk-hood.

Shan at home by Leslie Milne, published by White Lotus Co.; February 2001, p109
Ibid p110
A Thousand Miles on an Elephant in Shan States by Holt Samuel Hallett, published by W. Blackwood and sons, 1890,
Baptist mission among the Shan 32


Baptist mission to Burma was in the beginning not aiming to the hill tribes but to Burmans.
British Missionary Dr. Felix Carey (eldest son of William Carey) had served as missionary
doctor in Burma in 1807 before Adoniram Judson arrived. For Felix life in Rangoon was difficult. Felix
won favor by vaccinating Burmese people, including the Maywoon’s family, but food items were
scarce and it was difficult to learn Burmese. Felix Carey lost both his wife and mother in 1808.

In July 1813, when Felix Carey was in Ava, two young Americans, Adoniram Judson and his
wife Ann, tempest-tossed and fleeing before the persecution of the East India Company, found shelter
in the Mission House at Rangoon. Judson was one of a band of divinity students of the Congregational
Church of New England, whose zeal had almost compelled the institution of the American Board of
Foreign Missions. He, his wife, and colleague Rice had become Baptists by conviction on their way to
Serampore, to the brotherhood of which they had been commended. Carey and his colleagues made it
“a point to guard against obtruding on missionary brethren of different sentiments any conversation
relative to baptism;” but Judson himself sent a note to Carey requesting baptism by immersion. Felix
Carey’s medical and linguistic skill so commended him to the king that he was loaded with honors and
sent as Burmese ambassador to the Governor-General in 1814, when he withdrew from the Christian

Pioneer Baptist Missionaries to Burma

Adoniram Judson was born in Massachusetts in 1788. In 1810 Adoniram Judson, with three
others, offered himself for missionary work to the General Association of the Congregational Church.
As a result the American Board for Foreign Missions was founded. After being ordained for the
Congregational Church, on February 19, 1812, young Adoniram Judson, and his bride of seven days,
Ann Haseltine Judson, set sail for India, supported by the first American Board for Foreign Missions.
But on that voyage, Judson saw the teaching of immersion as the mode of baptism in the Bible.
Conscientiously and courageously, he cut off his support under the Congregational board until a Baptist
board could be founded to support him. He and his companions eventually reached Calcutta in 1812,
where soon afterwards he became a Baptist. On September 6, 1812, Judson and his wife were baptized
by Rev. Ward in Calcutta. The East India Company having refused him permission to work in India, he
arrived Rangoon, Burma, on July 13, 1813, where one of the English missionaries, Mr. Carey had
already begun missionary work since 1807. When the American Baptists heard of Judson’s change of
views, they determined to support him and founded the society, which was known as the American
Baptist Missionary Union. The English missionaries in Rangoon then handed over their work to
By 1816 Judson had prepared the Gospel of Matthew in Burmese, following up short tracts
“accommodated to the optics of a Burman.” He finished the translation of Matthew on May 20, 1817
and the whole Bible on January 13, 1834. After nearly six years in Burma, on June 27, 1819, Judson
baptized Moung Naw, his first Burman convert. At the end of seven years Judson had baptized 10
Burmese converts. He died on April 12, 1850 died at sea. That evening in greatest silence, broken only
by the voice of the captain, his body was lowered on the larboard side into the Indian Ocean, even
without a prayer.

Felix Carey: A Tiger Tamed. published by Hooghly, West Bengal, S. K. Chaterjee, 1991. pp24-25
http://www.biblebelievers.com/carey/Carey7.html November 20, 2006
http://www.burmesebible.com/b/adoniram_judson_by_fred_barlow.htm November 20, 2006
Baptist mission among the Shan 33
In 1852 there were 62 missionaries, male and female, in Burma. The number of baptized
members belong to Baptist mission in 1911 were: Burmese 3,182; Karen 54,799; Kachin 371; Chin
1,011; Shan 338; Talaing 308; Muhso 9,343; Tamil 465; others 579, making a total of 70,396.
Adoniram Judson did not involved with the Shan. But he did mention the Shan first in a list of
the peoples of Burma he represented as he was calling for help in his letter written from Rangoon in
Shan were Overlooked
When Eugenio Kincaid and his wife were in Ava (Mandalay) in 1833-1836 he wrote that a
missionary would find a wide field of labor among the Shan. About the time that letter arrived in
Moulmain, Burma, the missionary force there had been strengthened beyond the needs of the local
work even though Judson was eager to extend to wider fields. No missionary came to the Shan until
Rev. Moses Homan Bixby said in his letter on April 12, 1861 from Rangoon, “For the forty-nine
years during which missions have been in the Burman empire but the Shan were wholly overlooked.
Nothing was done for their moral or intellectual improvement. Just at the time however when the hands
of the persecuting Burmese are raised against them for their oppression the Christian people of mother
hemisphere have been adopting measures to send them the light of the gospel by the hands of a
missionary of the cross. Every philanthropist will heartily wish success to this new Christian

Baptist Mission to the Shan

In 1853 Rev. Moses Homan Bixby was appointed by American Baptist Missionary Union as a
missionary to Burma. He was married to Miss. Susan Dow on November 7, 1849. After a brief service
of three years in Moulmain, Burma, he was compelled to return to America because of the failing health
of his wife. Susan Dow did not long survive after arrival in America.
Bixby was again selected on first Sunday of December 1860 as missionary to the Shan and sent
to Burma again. He left for Burma taking with him as his new companion and helper Miss. Laura A.
Gage who was principal of the New Hampton Ladies’ Seminary. They arrived Rangoon on March 23,
1861. Rangoon was not Shan State but a capital city of Burma. His plan was to bring good news of
salvation to the Shan people. As it was not
possible at that time to enter Shanland, Bixby
settled at Toungoo.

Shan Mission in Toungoo
When Bixby arrived Rangoon many Shan
came from Shan country and took refuge at
Toungoo because of Burman King’s pressure.
Bixby reported on March 29, 1861 from
Rangoon, “Almost immediately on our arrival it
was announced to me that the Shan were coming
over into the British possessions by thousands.
We learn from Toungoo that on account of some
warlike disturbance in the Shan country ten
thousand people have come down to the vicinity
of Toungoo and that the Commissioner has
encouraged them to settle there by furnishing

The Baptist Missionary Magazine, 1862
The Shan Mission by Rev. J.N Cushing, D.D. Boston, American Baptist Missionary Union Magazine, 1893, p11
Drawing of Shan mission house in Toungoo
Baptist mission among the Shan 34
them land. Should they do so, what a field of labor will at once are opened to me! What does this mean?
May we not think that God has sent them to meet us by the way? And does it not indicate that we have
been moved to commence the Shan Mission at the right time?” Toungoo was not a Shanland. But the
Shan were there as refugees. Wasn’t it a divine plan? No foreigner was allowed to travel to Shan
country at that time without special pass from Burman King. It was reported in April that ten thousand
Shan refugees were in Toungoo. Bixby said in his letter dated April 12, 1861, “Can it be possible that
the event of our arrival in this country to establish a Shan mission and the arrival of ten of thousand
Shan at the very place where we had thought to take up abode and where we can dwell with safety
could occur at the very same time and the hand of God not be in it? But why should I question this? We
will not be faithless but believing. We will thank God and take courage.” God sent people to
The beginning
Bixby quickly moved to Toungoo on May 8, 1861 and started working among the Shan
refugees. He gave his first report from Toungoo on June 18, 1861, “I find substantially correct. The
Shan tribes have come down en mass with their SaoPha (chief) and the bulk of them have settled on the
site of the old town DinGaWadDie about seven miles from the city of Toungoo. The harvest before me
is indeed great but what can I say of the laborers? As I stand on the border of this broad harvest-field
and look over it I am overwhelmed with a sense of the magnitude of the work and when I turn my eyes
to a single sickle my heart sinks within me. Can one reaper garner such a harvest?”
Immediately Bixby thought he could not do the work alone. He developed plan to reach out to
the Shan by studying Shan language, preaching to the Shan in Burmese language as he had learned
Burmese few years ago in Moulmain and many of the Shan understood Burmese. He occupied zayat

every day and preached the gospel, opened a chapel for regular Sunday services and preached house to
house. He baptized the first Burmese woman believer on the third Sunday of August 1861 together with
eight Karen. In the beginning Bixby did not believe that she was a genuine seeker. But later he was
convinced that she was a genuine believer when she walked one mile every alternate day to study the
Bible with Mrs. Bixby. It was unusually quick to have a Burmese woman baptized within three months.
When Adoniram Judson worked among Burmese in 1813, he got the first Burmese baptized in six
years. Despite that Bixby was a missionary assigned to the Shan he got Burmese believer first.

Deep inquirers and new believer
Bixby reported in his letter dated November 5, 1861 that when he was passing through the
bazaar a man asked him whether he was Jesus Christ’s teacher and told him about the gospel he read
from the book entitled “Glad Tidings.” A few days later this man asked a bout a tract called “Tree of
Life.” Next day Bixby took a good selection of tracts and went to the bazaar. In the market he saw
many people gathering around him asking for tracts. He gave all the tracts to them and preached to
them the gospel until he was exhausted. When he came back home from bazaar he saw several young
men waiting for him at his home. One of the young men asked for baptism immediately. Who was this
man? His name was Maung Dyne, a native of Arrakan. He was a government officer. He wept over his
sins and heartily confessed them to God and said, “My shame is all gone and I am bold to speak for
Christ. My sins are all forgiven through Christ and my soul is very light and happy. Now, teacher, I
want to be baptized so that the world and all my friends may know that I am a Christian.” He was then
taken to Dr. Mason and Rev. Cross to examine him. He was confirmed and baptized one week later. He
later offered himself to superintend in the building of a chapel for the Shan and Burman and he
contributed forty rupees to aid the work. Furthermore he preached boldly wherever he went. Bixby said,
“The Shan were very friendly and some listened well but none as yet believed.”

Temporary shelter for travelers
Baptist mission among the Shan 35
Survey of a year
One year after arrival in Toungoo, Bixby reported in his letter dated May 8, 1862, “A year is a
brief apace of time a hand’s breadth in the measure of a man’s life. But in the active life of a missionary
it is no inconsiderable portion. The average life of a minister of the gospel at home is said to be less
than twenty years. How important then is a year in the life of a missionary! And when we consider what
a year may bring forth, what evils may be averted, what hopes may be generated, what multitudes saved
from unending woe bow vastly important the brief apace becomes! The Shan of time becomes an
eternity of interest. The man is yet unborn who duly weighs an hour. The year has been draught with
hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, conflicts and victories, deep depressions sinking almost to despair
and exaltations riving almost to ecstasy. It has been a year of severe and incessant toil, unalleviated by
changes of seasons, places and associations, but augmented by isolation and dull monotony. It has been
a year of very great trial. The god of this world awakened from his century sleep seems conscious that
new territory is invaded that another taco is about to be taken from him by the stronger than the strong
man’s arm and he has been ready to dispute every inch of the ground. Our trials have been various and
peculiar. Missionaries love to share their good things with others but their sorrows are too sacred to be
revealed. The people are overwhelmed with joy when they hear of a great victory but how little do they
know how little can they know what heart rending anguish was necessary to the achievement. The
sunny side of missionary life may be seen and rejoiced in at home but the shady side is too deeply
shaded to be seen at so great a distance. One only can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but
this is enough. The past year, with the Shan Mission has been distinguished by no very great
achievements. We have made only an earnest beginning. We could seem to see God’s hand leading the
wandering Shan to our very door and to hear his voice saying, ‘Take these rude children and educate
them for me and I will give thee thy wages.’”
Bixby expressed that the first year of his mission work in Toungoo was a period of testing and
trial. Even though Bixby’s main target was the Shan, no Shan yet had accepted Jesus Christ in the first
year. Bixby was trying to get a chapel or zayat to have a regular meeting. He said that his dwelling
home could not be used as a place of worship and a dwelling home was never suited especially in this
country to such a purpose. Shan did not feel holy to worship God at home since they were accustomed
to worship Buddha at monastery. Month after month he tried to get a zayat or a place to build one but
The first chapel
Bixby reported in his letter dated May 8, 1862 that finally he succeeded in getting a site, an old
dilapidated pagoda site, which the British Deputy Commissioner had given him. He engaged carpenters
and hired men to saw the timber with the intention of putting up a small chapel at a cost of four hundred
rupees. But later he found out that the site was not very favorable and he had not received adequate
funds. He then abandoned the plan and tried to get another favorable site. He was able to make an
exchange with the Tsit-kai, the highest Burman official, by paying him 150 rupees, making the price of
another land, including some trees, total 250 rupees. The land was big enough for a mission house and a
chapel. He did not hesitate to make the exchange though it took all his money. He started the work at
once and trusted in Him for the means. Accordingly Bixby borrowed money, on his own responsibility,
and set carpenters to work. He then made known his wants to the brethren of Moulmain, Rangoon and
Calcutta. In a few weeks the funds began to come in just in time to meet the demands. Within one
month Bixby and friends were holding meetings in the new chapel. The cost of the building including
land, furniture, etc. was 2,000 rupees that were all provided, except about 300 rupees. Bixby reported in
his letter dated January 18, 1863 that the first Shan and Burmese Church of Toungoo was consecrated
at Lau-koke-ta-ya at five o’clock on January 18, 1863. About one hundred people gathered around and
Bixby preached “Jesus and the resurrection.”
Bixby reported on March 25, 1863 that there were thirty members in the Church where two
years ago there was not one disciple to call Jesus blessed. Bixby reported on May 8, 1863 that an
Baptist mission among the Shan 36
influential man was found guilty of polygamy as he had taken the second wife. After receiving
instruction on the subject but he refused to put her away he was excluded from the Church. He reported
on August 10, 1864 that Maung Wyne was also excluded because of bigamy. Another believer was
found of gambling and excluded from the Church. However the Church grew. Two more Churches
were planted. Seven people from five tribes were baptized and there were about one hundred members
in three Churches in 1864.
Bixby reported in his letter dated October 25, 1862 that public sentiment, which was powerful
for good or evil everywhere acted strongly against Christianity. The fear of ridicule kept back many for
a time. The abusive language seized people and dragged them upon the ground. If it was known that a
man was an inquirer to Christianity he became at once an object of persecution and scorn. A Burman
was a hero who came out boldly to despise Jesus. The cross was an offence everywhere but to some it
was the power of God and the wisdom of God unto salvation. An effort had been made directly by the
Buddhist priests and others to separate wives from their husbands whom Bixby had baptized with the
hope of leading them to abandon their faith.

Bixby reported on October 25, 1862 that school was one of the most important and successful
ministries in mission. Mrs. Bixby received boys and girls, young men and young women at school.
When Miss. Marston came the girls were recommended to go to her and she had about twenty scholars
all girls and women. Mrs. Bixby’s school increased until it was found necessary to have an assistant
teacher but there was no fund.
The first Shan convert
Bixby reported on October 25, 1862 that the SaoPha of NanTok placed his eldest son, a young
man of about twenty-one years, to be educated by Bixby but requested not to make him a Christian.
Bixby told him that he had no power to make Christian, God alone could do, but it was their duty to
teach him about Jesus. If he could not allow them to teach him about Jesus then it was of no use to
make him his pupil. He would not force him to worship Jesus contrary to his convictions and he would
not baptize him if he did not ask for it. Then the SaoPha said, “Very well. Take him and be to him as a
father.” When he was first instructed in the scriptures he soon became so fond of the Bible as to prefer
it to other studies. After a few weeks, one Monday morning, he came to Bixby to talk about the sermon
he heard at the chapel. He said, “Teacher, idols are not God. The eternal God, He alone is God. What
must I do to worship Him?” Then Bixby told him if he would worship God, he must believe in His Son.
Within a week he appeared to have received the Lord Jesus as his Savior. He talked freely about the
true God and the only Savior to the Shan who came. The next Sunday his father came to see Bixby and
Bixby persuaded him to attend worship service. SaoPha consented reluctantly but listened attentively.
His son told him that he had received the doctrine of the true God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then
SaoPha said, “If you believe in Him, continue to worship Him. I shall not yet change my religion.”
SaoPha’s son Oung Myat was baptized on October 1, 1862.

He was the first Shan convert in Toungoo, one year four months and twenty two days after
Bixby’s mission among the Shan. His wife was also baptized on February 1, 1863. On January 18,
1863, five Shan and two Burman were also baptized. On November 30, 1863, three more Shan
Shan Buddhist teacher
Bixby reported on January 6, 1863 that Leing Ta Ka, a Shan man, was one of the most stubborn
Buddhists teachers he had ever met. He possessed great influence over the people of the village. Bixby
offered him as high as fifteen rupees per month to teach at his school but he declined. But one day he

Letter from Bixby, December 1, 1863, Toungoo.
Baptist mission among the Shan 37
said to Bixby, “The foreign doctor was very unlike the Shan and Burmese doctors. He would go miles
by day or night to give medicine without charge while Burmese and Shan doctors refused to go or give
medicine without money paid in advance.” Later he accepted to be a teacher at Bixby’s school but
refused to attend worship service. However, his heart, by dying love compelled at length yielded to the
claims of Christ, he was clothed and in his right mind rejoicing with exceeding joy. He had given out
word before his conversion that he knew the teacher to be the friend of the Shan and recommended
them to call and see Bixby at his house. When he became fully convinced of the truth of Christianity he
went from house to house exhorting the people to turn from their idols and embrace true God and the
only Savior. He was the means of the conversion of several souls before he was baptized.

First theological training
Bixby reported in February 1863 that he knew the importance of training locals and used them
in evangelizing their own people. Bixby said that there were more men longing for the work of mission.
He had taken six Shan, six Burman and fourteen mountaineers into the service on trial as student-
preachers. The method of instruction was sending them directly to the field. Each evening or in some
portion of the day a scripture lesson was given. Study, prayer, praise, preaching were the works of each
day. Bixby called it a “Live Theological Seminary.” The models were the disciples and the Lord, on job
training. Bixby said, “The effect of going before and telling the assistants how to preach, how to pray,
how to praise by exalting the redeemer over redeemed is wonderfully inspiring. They use to go together
but separate into twos to reach a larger number but they were careful to get together often so that they
may not lose their sympathy or the power of united prayer. A bed of live coals separated in many parts
would soon become pale and dead but by keeping together each lends to others its heat and glow.
Sometimes when jealousy developed among the preaching band immediately the power was gone and
every man became a dead weight to the spirit. But when repented the current sympathy was restored
and every man became a wing to waft heavenward.”

Preparation for travel to Shan country
Since Toungoo was not a Shan country and the Shan in Toungoo were only refugees from Shan
country, Bixby was very eager to visit Shan country where Shan people lived. On December 1, 1863
Bixby reported, “I am now ready for the journey and leave in a few days. I take with me as preachers
Maung Pho Maung and Maung Shwa Ong, Maung Carn and Maung Oung Myat (Shan), Plaipan and
another Karen. The country is up heaving with civil strife and overrun with lawless bands of thieves
and robbers. The flesh sometimes shrinks from the fearful ordeal but so strong is my conviction that
God bids me go in His name. I shall go forth joyfully and take whatever befalls me as a part of my
Father’s preordained plan both for my redemption and the redemption of the Shan. If I fall in the
attempt you will not call it rashness in me, you who have given your sons to the demons, war, - you
who live in the midst of carnage and blood. If I fall into the hands of banditti and you never hear of me
again, you will not refuse to send others to the same place - you who advocate the filling up of the
thrice thinned ranks of a death-stricken army. If I fall from the jungle fever, which sweeps in potential
blast, over these tropical plains, you will not neglect to fill the vacancy - you who send your sons into
the rice swamps, dank and low and leave them there to die. Whatever the loss in life may be, whatever
the cost in cash, you will not count it too dear a price, you who have been disciplined in sacrifice and
have sacrificed your blood and your gold without reserve, in a glorious yet temporal cause. I go forth
not knowing what will befall me there but I have this assurance this consolation that whatever it may be
it will be for the redemption of the Shan that though the pioneer fall in death he will rise again not only
at the last day but even now he will rise with some fruitful seeds multiplied many folds in the good
soldiers who’s waiting not far a draft will rush forward to fill the vacancy.”
Bixby was very uncertain

The Baptist Missionary Magazine, May 1864, pp129-133
Baptist mission among the Shan 38
about his first trip to Shan country. However he was committed and determined to go whatever the
price he had to pay.
Manuscripts in Shan
It was important to have manuscripts in Shan to hand out to the Shan during their trip so that the
Shan could read and study the word. One manuscript spelling book and one manuscript vocabulary
were translated in Shan before the trip. Religious books and tracts such as “The Catechism and View”
“The Golden Balance” “The Way to Heaven” “Investigator” and “Glad Tiding”, all translated into

Choosing language
Bixby had opinion that since there were many languages and dialects spoken in the country, it
was utterly impracticable, if not impossible, to produce the writing of these numerous tribes, twenty of
whom he had some knowledge of within the field assigned to him alone. If the Bible were going to be
translated and printed in these numerous languages, when would the people have the Bible? It was
manifested there should be one language, which they could all meet. Should it be the Sgau Karen? No.
The Sgau was one of many Karen dialects belonging to only a small branch of the great Karen family.
The Pwo Karen must have their separate Bible and books and apparatus. Thousands of rupees had
already been expended in printing books in Bghai and there was as yet only a small beginning. Where
should all this money come from? Where could they find the men to make all these translations? It need
not be done. It should not be done. One language would do for all. If any exception should be made it
should be the Shan, which was a written language, equal in purity, power and extend to Burmese and
was used extensively beyond the Burmese-Shan States.

Bixby reported on June 28, 1861, “I would confine all my labors to the Burmese language. Most
of the Shan whom I have met are unable to read any language but can speak both Shan and Burmese.
Let them be taught to read the Burmese and then they will have access to the scriptures and many other
useful books. If I were to open a school for the Shan in Toungoo, I would use Burmese language only.
But in the Shan country, little or nothing could be done without Shan language.” Bixby opined that the
Burmese Bible should be used for all people groups except the Shan. He would also teach the Shan to
read Burmese so that they could use Burmese Bible, which was already available. Shan Bible was not
available until 1892.
Source of teachers
Bixby had opinion that the preachers and teachers of any people must come mainly from
themselves and the great work of foreign teachers should be called into the field and guide in their
workmen who have sprung from their own flocks. The Burman should have Burman, the Shan should
have Shan, the Karen should have Karen, and the Geckhos should have Geckhos for their teachers.
Therefore Bixby selected several young men from their villages and brought them to Toungoo with him
from his second tour. Not one of them had ever been to Toungoo or to school before and had any of
them been baptized. Later fourteen of them asked for baptism and six baptized.

The last report from Bixby
We have seen eighteen letters and reports written by Bixby to mission board during his
missionary work among the Shan in Toungoo for seven years. Bixby suffered from impaired health that
compelled him to return to America. Before he returned he gave the following last report in 1868.
“In the heart of Toungoo city, in the center of a large population, there is a Christian chapel
where the gospel is preached to the representatives of various tribes every Lord’s day both in English
and Burmese. As some of the fruits of this service thirty Shan have been baptized, two of whom are
preachers and twenty Burman, four of them are preachers. Of the English congregation there are now

American Missionary Union 50
Annual Report, July 1864, p211
Letter Of Moses Homan Bixby, July 25, 1864. Toungoo. The Missionary Magazine, Feb. 1865, p40
Letter Of Moses Homan Bixby, 25 July 1864, The Missionary Magazine, Feb. 1865, p40
Baptist mission among the Shan 39
several applicants for baptism. The chapel is also the center of several Churches on the mountains
where many strangers both Christians and heathens hear the gospel in the course of the year. It is also
the home of a school in the care of Miss. Gage and of a Sunday school in the care of Rev. Cushing. It is
the center of the work and the influence of the Shan Mission, which includes the Burman as well so far
as Toungoo is concerned. The Burmese preaching is done by Maung Po Maung, Maung Oo, others and
myself. The English preaching is done by brethren Bunker, Cushing and myself. God has put His seal
upon this chapel and it has been a Bethel to many souls. In September I baptized eight Europeans
among the number was our own dear daughter Jeanie. She is now twelve years old, speaks and reads
Burmese fluently and loves to tell the little children of the great love of Jesus. She is therefore already a
missionary. I have since baptized three non-commissioned officers. These Europeans form a branch of
the Toungoo Church, which is made up of the representatives of several nationalities. We try to preach
the gospel to every creature and some are given to us from all the races and tribes to whom we have had
access. I have just returned from a month’s tour upon the mountains in which I visited six chapels and
several villages where there are no chapels, preaching the gospel, confirming the Churches, counseling
the assistants and baptizing believers. I baptized thirteen at KyahMaine, among them the chief of the
district and the chief of the village. The LaPetIng people are building a new chapel and there are several
candidates for baptism. We have assistants already in the field who speak Geckho, Harshwie, Padoung,
Shan and Burmese. I have never wavered in my belief that it is God’s purpose to introduce the gospel to
the Shan tribes through these mountaineers. Every year the word advances and bids fair to get a
foothold in the Shan territory.”

Rev. Moses Homan Bixby returned to America in May and arrived America in July 1869. Mrs.
Bixby remained in Toungoo and continued mission work until 1870 mid summer and left for United
States. After recovery Bixby continued serving the Lord until he died in Providence, March 20, 1901,
aged 73 years and 7 months. Even though Bixby was commissioned to work among the Shan he
worked among many other groups in Toungoo such as Burman, Thoungthoo, Karen, Geckho and
British officials. No Shan congregation was formed in Toungoo during Bixby’s term.

Rev. Josiah Nelson Cushing and Shan Mission

Cushing is the most famous missionary to Burma second to Adoniram Judson.
Cushing was born in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, northeast of Providence, Rhode Island on May 4,
1840. He was prepared for college at the Pierce Academy, Middleboro, Massachusetts and entered
Brown University in the class of 1862. After his graduation he went directly to Newton Theological
Institute and completed the full course of the study. The year before he completed his college course he
united by letter with the First Baptist Church in Providence. After completing his seminary course he
was ordained to the Christian ministry by the same Church in 1865.
In 1865 he offered himself to the American Baptist Missionary Union as a candidate for the
foreign field and was presented at the annual meeting held that year in St. Louis, as a missionary. He
was retained at the seminary as instructor in the Hebrew department for one year and in 1866 he sailed
for Burma being designated to the Shan tribes to take up a work, which had been recently begun by
Rev. Moses Homan Bixby.
Arrival of Cushing
Rev. and Mrs. Cushing with Miss. Gage, under appointment for the mission to the Shan, sailed
for Burma in October 1866. They reached Rangoon in November. They joined Toungoo Shan Mission
in March 1867. Cushing had a very difficult and trying task before them in the acquisition of the
language. Cushing studied Shan without learning Burmese. Instead of approaching it through the
medium of Burmese or acquiring the Burmese first as other missionaries had done, they determined to

54th Annual Report, July, 1868, American Baptist Missionary Union, p242
Baptist mission among the Shan 40
make a direct onset and by dint of patience and persistent industry they found the way into its hidden
treasures. Without the suggestions of a pioneer, without grammar, without dictionary, with nothing but
their own eyes, ears and tongues and aided by the eyes, ears and tongues of native teachers, they went
to work by adding sign to sign and sound to sound, moved slowly but a towards their destination. At the
end of six months they could see that progress had been made. At the end of a year they had advanced
so far that they were sure of complete success.

Shan teacher refused to teach
Cushing relied heavily on Shan teacher who would teach him Shan language and Shan
literature. But after eleven months Shan teacher was frightened away by Burmese Buddhist priests.
Suddenly he ceased helping and sent word to Cushing that he should fall into hell if he taught him any
longer. Previously he had related a dream to Cushing that a Phe (spirit), which was the guardian of his
family, came to him in a dream, telling him that if he aided Cushing he would certainly fall into hell.
The teacher had a sore eye at the time. This, the Buddhist priest said, was a sign, which the Phe had
sent. The poor man was sincere in this account but mistook the dream of his disturbed mind for
supernatural revelations. Cushing said, “I have this comfort that the man knows the way of salvation
fully. He could write as good a prayer as any of the Shan Christians. Knowing the truth he cannot run
away from it. Wherever he goes his mind must carry it. I pray that it may trouble him until he is willing
to find peace in Jesus only.”
Some tracts had been translated during the year. Two “Catechism” and
the “Call,” had been printed and a third “Catechism” and “View of the Christian Religion,” was passing
to the press in 1867.
First visit to Shan country
Cushing entered courageously into the difficult and dangerous task of visiting the people in their
homes and carrying to them the knowledge of the Christian religion, with Toungoo as his headquarters,
extending his tours farther and farther into the wild and untraversed country inhabited by the Shan.
It was necessary to obtain royal pass in order to travel to Shan country. The royal pass could
only be obtained from Burman King in Mandalay. In 1867 Cushing and Rose spent three weeks in
Mandalay to get royal pass. The pass was written on a narrow strip of palm leaf about four feet long and
carried in a bamboo covered with a red cloth. The very sight of that red-cloth-covered bamboo was
enough to secure the respect of the people. The royal pass was even more important than anticipated. It
was simply indispensable to their success. Without a pass they could not have traveled through the
country, they would not have been allowed to preach and give tract. In November 1867 Cushing and
Rev. Rose make tour of Shan States via Bhamo seeking a new base of operations for Shan Mission and
test practicability of establishing a station for the Burman, even though they were assigned for the Shan
they also looked for opportunity of working among the other people. They carried no large books but
had one pony loaded entirely with a good assortment of tracts. The number of Shan who could read
Burmese was comparatively small but the number of Shan who could speak and understand Burmese
was large. They journeyed through ten Shan States. They were always respectfully and kindly received
by Shan SaoPha. Rev. Rose reported, “We felt the utmost freedom on all these occasions and with all
the simplicity and plainness we could try to make known the true God and Savior and the one only way
of escape from sin and hell and arriving at the peaceful land of sinless immortality. Never once we were
insulated or treated rudely. The people listened with attention and treated us with respect and often with
kindness. Objections would sometimes be raised mostly by Burman officials, messengers or others.
These Burman would often ask questions, raise objections, or jump into an argument, as much for the
purpose of displaying, before the Shan courts, their stock of sacred Gaudama lore as for defending

The Shan Mission by Rev. J.N. Cushing, D.D. Boston, American Baptist Missionary Union, 1893, p12
Letter From Mr. Cushing, May 28, 1868. Toungoo.
The Missionary Magazine, Vol. XLVIII, November 1868, No. XI, p418
Baptist mission among the Shan 41
Gaudama’s religion. But the success of these self-complacent gentlemen was such as to render them
quiet after a few brief encounters.”

No Christian teachers had ever gone through this country before. Shan people for the first time
had heard of the Eternal God. Many hundreds of tracts making known Christ the Savior are scattered all
along and hundreds had been carried to towns and cities far away from the road they traveled. In 1868
Cushing crossed the mountains to MoByai and was kindly received by SaoPha, but having received
partial sunstroke, he was carried back on a lifter by Padoungs, furnished by the MoByai prince. In early
1869, Cushing accompanied by his wife made another trip to the Shanland. Passing northward into
upper Burma as far as Yemèthin, and then turning eastward across the mountain ranges, they visited
MuongNai, the largest Shan town west of the Salwen and the headquarters of the Burman military
occupation. As this was the first visit of a white lady to that region, native curiosity and attention were
excessive. In November 1869, Mr. and Mrs. Cushing started a five months journey from Toungoo to
Shanland again. Revisiting MuongNai, they went northeasterly, crossed the Salwen, and by a route
hitherto untraversed by a white person, reached KengTung, which was the capital of a large
principality, situated a short distance from the borders of Yunnan. At KengTung they were received
with unusual cordiality by the Shan prince and princess, who were persons of great intelligence, and
were desirous of more frequent intercourse and trade with foreigners. Wherever they went the people
gathered around them and many listened attentively to the story of the cross. Several thousand tracts
were distributed and seed sown. They returned to Toungoo in April 1870 after five months of travel.

Shan work continued in Rangoon
In March 1871, Cushing moved to Rangoon and established the headquarters of his work till the
way into the Shan country may be opened. In the vicinity of Rangoon, large numbers of Shan were
found, their villages being scattered here and there around Rangoon. Many Chinese-Shan (Dai Nua)
had settled down there. Cushing and his native assistants had repeatedly visited the Shan villages and
some interesting cases of inquiry had occurred. Two had been baptized. (Some Shan villages still exist
around Rangoon area until today.) During four months of the rainy season a small school was taught
under the care of Mrs. Cushing. The attendance was irregular, varying from nine up to twenty and
more, the irregularity being occasioned by the opposition of Shan Buddhist priests, who intimidated the
children and their parents. Two of the pupils gave evidence of having become disciples of Christ.
Cushing continued with unabated enthusiasm in the study of the Shan language and the preparation of
elementary works. Two additional Shan tracts and a spelling book had been printed during the rains.
The gospel of Matthew in Shan was printed in 1872. From time to time many of the Shan villages in the
vicinity of Rangoon were visited and a few were Baptized.
Rev. and Mrs. Cushing returned to America in 1874, on account of broken health, and again
returned to Burma in October 1876. After returning from America Cushing visited Toungoo and
Bhamo. Cushing arrived Bhamo on December 22, 1876. In January 1880, Rev. and Mrs. Cushing again
took up their residence at Rangoon to be near the printing press, but Mrs. Cushing’s serious ill health
compelled her to return to America in July.

Bhamo Mission Station

Bhamo was first visited by Rev. A. Talor Rose in March 1868. Even though Cushing joined
Rose on the first mission trip to the north, Cushing could not get to Bhamo but returned to Toungoo
after three months trip leaving Rose to continue to Bhamo.
For the first time Cushing arrived Bhamo on December 22, 1876 after returning from America
in October 1876. He was very interested in Bhamo work and proposed to remain in Bhamo till a new

Letter from Mr. Rose, The Missionary Magazine, Vol. XLVIII, November 1868, No. XI, p27
Baptist mission among the Shan 42
man could be sent out to relieve him. Mrs. Cushing then returned to Toungoo and looked after the
interests of the work. Mr. Lyon and Mr. Freiday, with their wives, left America for Bhamo mission
field. The party accompanied by Cushing traveled to Mandalay and then to Bhamo, arrived in Bhamo
on February 13, 1877. Soon after arrival Cushing and Lyon planned to visit Ka-Khyen (Kachin)
Mountains in order that Lyon might become acquainted with his future field of labor among Kachin.
But when the time arrived for them to go, Lyon was attacked by fever. As the fever did not seem
serious it was deemed best for them to proceeded with the new Karen preachers to the mountains and
locate a man for Lyon to follow a week later. After a week, Lyon was too ill to go to the mountains.
Cushing then returned to the city to see Lyon. After another week Cushing started for the annual fair at
Shwaypaugyoon about thirty miles from Bhamo. Shortly after his arrival at the fair he received a
message calling him to return to Bhamo on account of Lyon’s severe illness. Three days after his return
to Bhamo, Mr. Lyon passed away quietly into the land of rest on March 15, leaving behind a perpetual
benediction to those who knew him in the memory of his gentle Christian life. It was a mysterious
providence that the first Kachin missionary should lay down his life in sight of the mountains where he
longed to preach the love of Christ.
After one year, Cushing reported from Bhamo that through the kindness of the China Inland
Missionaries, a zayat on the main street, which had been occupied by them, was placed at his disposal.
This continued to be his home. The land Mr. Rose selected the previous year was the most desirable
place in the city and determined to obtain it for mission. Unfortunately it was under the control of the
Sit-ke (Burman officer), who proved to be the most persistent opponent in his attempt. Near the close of
the first five months the Worn (governor) who had shown a polite indifference hitherto became very
friendly and through his kindness half of the land which Cushing desired was secured together with the
bamboo house while the other was occupied by the native preachers. During the rainy season, since
travel was not possible, Cushing revised again the entire Shan dictionary and added a considerable
number of words, principally, words peculiar to the northern Shan. He prepared also a “Handbook of
the Shan Language” and translated the Epistle of James. He spent several hours a day on Kachin
language study.
Cushing handed Bhamo mission to Rev. Freiday and returned to Toungoo in May 1877. In the
year 1884, Rev. Freiday closed the work at Bhamo when Chinese attacked and destroyed Bhamo in
December 1883. Early in August 1885, Mrs. Freiday left Rangoon for America via Calcutta. Bhamo
mission field was not for the Shan only but there was a department called Shan Department under
Bhamo mission. Later Bhamo mission field became the first mission station to Kachin tribe. On March
24, 1877, a young Shan man, Sau Lake, was baptized in Bhamo. He was the first Shan baptized in
Northern Shan.
Printing Shan Bible and other Literature

Rev. Cushing’s main ministry to the Shan was translating the Bible to Shan language and
producing Shan grammar and dictionary. Since Cushing had moved to Rangoon and concentrated on
Shan Bible translation he was able to finish and printing of the New Testament was completed in
November 1882.
Cushing reported that he revised the Gospels, Acts and Romans but the result of the
revision would not appear until there was another edition of the New Testament. In 1887, Cushing
began the revision and printing of the Shan New Testament. The revision was completed towards the
close of the rains. Third edition of New Testament was done in 1903. Cushing reported that he had
finished translating Psalms, Proverbs, Leviticus and the first fifteen chapters of Numbers in 1882.

69th Annual Report, July 1883, American Baptist Missionary Union, pp58-59
Baptist mission among the Shan 43
Translation of Old Testament was finished in January 1885.
The revision of the Old Testament was
completed in October 1889 and Old Testament was printed in 1891.

The first Shan Hymnbook
In May 1877, Cushing left Bhamo for Toungoo accompanied with Mrs. Lyon whose husband
passed away in March. At Toungoo he immediately began a revision of Shan Gospels, Acts and Shan
dictionary, which was completed in November 1876. In August 1878 Cushing went to Rangoon to
attend to the long delayed Shan printing process. In November 1878 a small Shan hymnbook, the
Gospel of Mark, most of Acts and fifty-six pages of Shan dictionary were printed.

He left Rangoon with Rev. and Mrs. W.H. Roberts on December 14, 1879 and went to
Mandalay where they remained until December 31 and started for Bhamo. Cushing and Roberts arrived
Bhamo on January 12, 1879. Mrs. Cushing spent most of the year at Toungoo caring as best she could
for the mission work there. She had two Bible-women and a small school under her care.

The four gospels
Because of poor health Cushing returned to America for a year and returned to Burma again in
December 1879. Rev. Mix came to Toungoo to relieve Cushing so that Cushing would move to
Rangoon to work on translation. Just before leaving Toungoo, Cushing had the privilege of baptizing
six. He arrived at Rangoon with his family on February 1, 1880 and immediately began printing. The
Four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in Shan were printed of a uniform size.

Shan literature
In 1880, after thirteen years of language study, Cushing was able to finish Elementary
Handbook of the Shan Language, 8 volumes, 121 pages and printed at the expense of the English
Government. It was designed as a help to persons desiring to learn the Shan language. In 1881 a Shan
and English dictionary was printed.
In 1887, Shan grammar was revised, enlarged and republished.
The Shan Handbook was also revised, enlarged and had sixty-four pages.

The First Shan Church in Toungoo

A Burman-Shan Church was formed in Toungoo in January 1863 just one year after Bixby
arrived. Burman-Shan Church comprised of Shan and Burmans. But only Burmese language was used
in Church service making Shan uncomfortable and wanting to have their own congregation using Shan
language. Early in the year of 1882, the Shan withdrew from the “Burman-Shan Church” and formed a
Church by themselves.
After Cushing arrival from Rangoon on temporary visit to Toungoo when Rev.
Mix was going back to America because of poor health, the organization of the Shan Church was
completed. Cushing was a real support to the Shan. Besides regular services in town, weekly meetings
at the outstation of Kundaugone were re-established and several visits made to Hluah-binzark, the other
outstation where there were some attentive listeners. Miss. Rockwood arrived Toungoo in 1880 and
took charge the boys’ school on the Shan compound since the departure of Mrs. Mix.
Miss. Rockwood had typhoid fever and after a few days’ illness she passed away to the better land in
August 1882. Cushing baptized six Shan at Shan Church in 1888 on his short visit to Toungoo.

“The Shan Mission” `By Rev. J. N. Cushing, D. D. Boston, American Baptist Missionary Union 1893, p19
Rev. Dr. Cushing, Josiah Nelson. D. D, Ph. D. By Henry Melville King (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication
Society, 1907) p15
65th Annual Report, July 1879, American Baptist Missionary Union, pp27-29
67th Annual Report, July 1881, American Baptist Missionary Union, pp55-65
68th Annual Report, July 1882, American Baptist Missionary Union, pp54-55
Baptist mission among the Shan 44
Teaching at Rangoon Baptist College

In April 1887, Rev. and Mrs. Packer returned to America and Cushing was considered to take
charge of the Rangoon Baptist College for one term. Rev. Cross and elder agreed to assist him in giving
instruction in the higher departments and each of them took two recitations although one of the
recitations of the latter was discontinued after a time. The term began May 16 and closed Oct. 14. More
than eighty names of pupils were enrolled but the average attendance was between sixty and seventy.
There was no exhibition of race feeling although the pupils were made up of Karen, Burman, Shan and
Chinese. Three under teachers, a Eurasian, a Burman and a Shan had charge of the lower of the school.

Shan Believers in Mobyai and Genuine New Life

Rev. Case sent a Shan preacher to MoByai, the most southern part of Shan States. The people of
the district were pleased to see him and the people listened well to his preaching. A Shan who gladly
listened to the message when Rev. Case and team were there two years ago became Christian and had
done considerable preaching of his own accord. He was soon after baptized, remained with Rev. Case
and studying the scriptures. The three Shan preachers, this man and another helpers, were instructed in
the Bible for considerable time during the rains about five hours a week. They studied the two Epistles
to Timothy and the Gospel of Mark.
In Toungoo, Mong Hswang attended the Shan services from time to time at LetKhokeBin. After
a while, he acknowledged his belief in the truth of Christianity but declared that he could not be
baptized because he was not ready to abandon all the heathen festivals and customs. A year later he
married the widow of Kong Warra who was a Christian woman. Then he ceased to attend heathen
festivals and walked as exemplary an outward life as Christian but he would not make a profession of
Christianity by baptism. A year later his wife died. This event was sanctified to him and he determined
that he would perform his duty and openly associate himself with the disciples of Christ. He asked for
baptism after a long knowledge of Christian truth and with a full understanding of all that was involved
in the confession to Christ before the world. He was baptized on December 19, 1886.

Cushing’s Future Plan for Shan Mission

Cushing had written a letter on January 17, 1887 suggesting the future Shan mission.
1. Let all the efforts be directed to settling missionaries in Shanland at HsiPaw, MuongNai, KengTung
and LeGya or some places near it. Possibly NyounGyuay or MoByai would be better but that could be
determined later. The home of the Shan Mission should be Shanland.
2. Just as soon as it becomes possible to occupy Shan, let Shan-work in lower Burma as a department of
Shan labor ceased. The abandonment of direct Shan-work in lower Burma must not be hasty and
abrupt, but hereafter everything has reference to the occupation Shanland at the earliest opportunity.
According to Cushing’s advice the Shan-work in Toungoo was faded out and the staffs for
Shan-work were slowly transferred to other new stations in Shan country.

Mission Fields In Shan States
Missionaries started their missions by opening mission fields in various places in Shan States.
They stationed at the mission fields and did the missionary works among the Shan through medical
services, educations and evangelistic works. Missionaries to the Shan had established four mission
fields in Shan States and one in Kachin State.

Baptist mission among the Shan 45
The First Mission Field, HsiPaw (1889)

HsiPaw was one of the capitals of the Northern principality of Shan States under SaoPha
control. Rev. Cushing first visited HsiPaw in the year 1868. Cushing reported on January 1, 1887 that it
was impossible to visit any of the Shan principalities on account of the unsettled relations of all the
princes to the English Government so that Cushing and Mr. Calder had to stay in Mandalay. Toward the
close of the month the HsiPaw SaoPha, who had been helped by Dr. Cushing when he had difficulties
with the British government in Rangoon, arrived in Mandalay. He recognized Cushing by acquaintance
of former years and he very cordially gave repeated invitation to Cushing to come and live in HsiPaw.
He also offered some of his children as his pupils if I would establish a school there. Thus early in 1890
Cushing escorted Dr. and Mrs. M. B. Kirkpatrick to HsiPaw, and opened a new station. Dr. Kirkpatrick,
although suffering from a sickness, which he knew it would take his life, persisted in working in
HsiPaw as long as he could. Rev. Dr. M. B. Kirkpatrick, M.D. died on February 10, 1915 and was
buried in the Christian cemetery in HsiPaw. Dr. and Mrs. Leeds arrived in HsiPaw on Saturday, March
26, 1890. That was the first mission station to be established in the Shan country. Hospital and school
were later opened. SaoPha of HsiPaw donated land and money for the missions. The hospital also
received some financial support from government.

Hospital preaching, Bible training, Sunday school, bazaar preaching, jail meeting and
distributing gospel tracts were their main ministries conducted by missionaries. Mr. W.C. Lambert was
the first missionary to be murdered in HsiPaw by a thief on May 23, 1895 early morning. He was a
dedicated schoolteacher.
Medical work
SaoPha, as a chief and head of the community, knew the importance of health care for the
people. He supported missionaries in their medical work by giving them land, money and helping them
build the hospital. In financial support, since the mission board could not give all, SaoPha gave rupees
500, British Chief Commissioner gave rupees 500 and rupees 500 received from the government
because the hospital had also cared for many government employees. SaoPha had given the logs and
about twenty men sawing lumber and twenty carpenters at work on the frame and the coolies had the
postholes all dug. The patients came from many villages near and some had come from very distant
places. SaoPha and other members of their families were among the patients.
Dr. Leeds reported in 1904 that the population in HsiPaw was 4,000. The average mortality rate
was 65%. They made two extensive tours in January and February and preached gospel to Shan people.
Preachers had regular meeting at appointed time and places to preach the gospel to the public. There
were 3 baptized, 2 restored, 2 deaths, 2 exclusions and 52 students enrolled at school in a year. The
system of bribery was so inwrought into the nature of the people that they did not look upon it as wrong
doing. A total of 1,346 out-patients, 20 in-patients, 165 visits, and 15 operations under chloroform were
performed. Receipts rupees 334 in a year. A new brick hospital was built in 1903 costing $ 4,500 which
was raised locally.
It was reported in 1895 by Dr. Kirkpatrick, “There are forty-two pupils enrolled, thirteen from
Christian families and twenty-nine from heathen families. We have the joy of seeing those who come
regularly taking a real interest in Bible study. After being a few months in school they ask for a New
Testament to take home with them and then we feel hopeful for the next thing would be the question
what must I do to be saved? I have baptized eight from the school, the last one being our eldest son.”

The Baptist work among the Shan by Dr. Ai Lun and Rev. E.E. Sowards, p354
81st Annual Report, 1895, Baptist Missionary Union, pp44-45
Baptist mission among the Shan 46
In 1904 the school had the highest enrolment of fifty-two, three teachers and five classes. Two
schoolboys were baptized. An Anglo-vernacular Buddhist school with three teachers was opened in
HsiPaw due to the efforts of the Society for the Propagation of Buddhism in Burma.

Evangelistic works
Dr. Kirkpatrick reported in 1893, “There were 306 gospel meetings and 4,791 people attended.
There were interesting services in the jail every day at the request of the SaoPha. The attendance and
interest were steadily increasing at the bazaar meetings at BweGyo, the outstation. In April, two parties
started out from HsiPaw on evangelistic tours. One party, consisting of our best evangelist and two of
the oldest and most zealous Christian boys, went towards the south. They stopped several days at
YatSauk where they were well received. One day they went to the palace and had a very interesting
service. The SaoPha seemed much interested. From there they went to MuongNai via NyaunGywe,
MuongSawk, TaungGyi, HoPong and NaungPawn. They were gone nearly two months and preached in
nearly sixty large towns and bazaars. The second party often started at daybreak going to a village for
breakfast and two or three hours of preaching the gospel and practicing medicine. At most places they
had not heard of the Christian religion but they were anxious to get English medicines. Then we would
go on to another village to spend the night. Our first night was spent at DahDay, a large Shan town. The
headman came with a present of fruit and firewood and called the people to the zayat for the evening
service. The large zayat was full and many stood outside where they could hear. Doubtless many came
from curiosity but some evidently became deeply interested for they stayed till nearly midnight
listening and asking questions and some had come to HsiPaw for tracts and to ask more questions. This
experience was repeated nearly every day. It took us about five hours to climb up the steep mountain
path and as it was very warm and there was no water on the way we were weary and thirsty. I shall
never forget how the headman came out to meet me at the entrance of the village and his followers
brought me water in a large silver cup and a bunch of plantains. Each one of our party, as they came up
to the entrance, was given water and fruit.”

“Soon a great crowd gathered at the zayat our evangelists spent all of the afternoon and well on
to midnight preaching to the people. The Palong did not have written language. All who could read,
read Shan. Most of the men and some of the women spoke Shan. They spent several days at NamKham.
One day they had preaching in the big bazaar, Sunday morning had a service for Christians at Brother
Cochrane’s new house when several people who profess conversion related their experience. They were
gone a little more than a month, preached at about thirty villages besides stopping over at NamKham
and the two capital cities NamSan and HsenWi.”
Rev. W.M. Young arrived HsiPaw in May 1895, five days after Lambert’s death. He baptized
two converts in October 1895 and three from the school in January 1896. Two others in the school have
requested baptism and several outsiders are asking baptism. The general interest seemed to be growing,
the attendance at bazaar meeting was lighter than usual but the house-to-house work continued about
the same and the outlook for schoolwork was much brighter. The preachers had regularly, at appointed
intervals, held meetings in the five places where they had public preaching. Also in the surrounding
villages regular preaching visits had been made. In the town visitation was also carried on. At the
funerals of acquaintances was a good opportunity to preach whenever possible. In 1904 there were
three baptized, two restored, two deaths and two exclusions from the Church.

1. Bazaar meeting
Kirkpatrick reported in 1895, “We have kept up the bazaar meetings at both BawGyo and the
HsiPaw bazaars. At each place we have had good zayats, which are well filled all day on bazaar days.
These people come in from all of the surrounding villages and in this way a knowledge of the Christian

The Baptist Missionary Magazine 1895, pp44-45
Baptist mission among the Shan 47
religion is being spread all over this part of the country. At these meetings many tracts and books and
portions of scripture are sold and given away and we often have people coming back after many months
to ask us questions and to get more books.”

2. Jail meeting
By request of SaoPha, jail meeting held every day except Sunday. For one hour the prisoners
were called together from their work and listen to the gospel message. Several professed conversion
and all seem to appreciate our kindness in looking after them.

3. Bible class
During rainy season travel was very difficult. The missionaries did not waste the time and
organized Bible classes. Preachers, teachers, Bible women and others had regularly attended with full
interest. The average attendance was thirteen.

Rev. Cochrane reported that in 1899 there was 1 Church, 42 members and 2 added by baptism
in HsiPaw. The native Church at HsiPaw raised its pastor’s salary (forty-five rupees per month) in full
during the year and had a good balance over. In 1911 Miss. Slater had been caring for the work during
the absence of Rev. Cochrane on furlough. She reported four baptisms and a Church of 65 members.
Mrs. Kirkpatrick had written and translated hymns and had a tract printed. One man who had
been a Christian for many years, worked as an assistant preacher, never owned a New Testament until
he came to HsiPaw. Sunday services were well attended and the people were learning how to give for
the work of the Church. Since the Church was organized about nine months the collections had
amounted to rupees 200. Almost every member gave at least one tenth of their income and some even
gave more. Dr. & Mrs. Kirkpatrick were the only Europeans in the city. Regretfully, today, there is no
Shan Church in HsiPaw. Hospital and school were also taken over by government. HsiPaw mission
field closed in 1922.
Getting SaoPha’s support
Kirkpatrick reported, “The SaoPha continues to be very kind and helpful. He gives land, money
for medical and schoolwork, all the logs for the chapel and assists us in every way he can. On
Christmas day we had a double wedding in the chapel and gave the SaoPha and some of his ministers
an invitation. They all came and seemed much interested and impressed by the wedding ceremony.
Before leaving the chapel the SaoPha gave each of the grooms a large silver betel-nut box, and to each
of the brides he gave a ruby and diamond ring. To each child in the school he gave rupees 3 and to me
he gave a bag of rupees 200 for mission work. I doubt if any other station of our society has ever had so
much help from the native ruler as we have had here. We do not forget that it is the living God who
giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”

Kirkpatrick reported in 1895, “I was going to HsenWi to see SaoPha and I felt sure if Brother
Cochrane would go with us so that he could get from SaoPha the land he needed for school and chapel
in NamKham. He finally decided to go with us. Mrs. Cochrane bravely offered to stay with the few
natives for ten days in NamKham when he would be gone. It was a great sacrifice on her part willingly
given for Jesus’ sake. We were four days on the road and at every stopping place we had a good
number of listeners and patients.”

“Last year I was able to do something for SaoPha, which he had not forgotten. He came to see
us as soon as we arrived and was very cordial and attentive all the time we were in his city. He was
pleased to hear that a mission was being started at NamKham and readily gave Brother Cochrane an

The Baptist Missionary Magazine 1895 44-45
The Baptist Missionary Magazine 1895, 44-45
Ibid pp44-45
Baptist mission among the Shan 48
order for as much unoccupied land as he wanted for mission use. At the same time he wanted to know
when we could come to his city to begin mission work. He asked us to look over the whole city and
select the most desirable site for a mission compound and he would have it marked and reserved for us.
We gladly accepted his offer and selected a fine knoll, which will be near the new palace. From this
knoll one could see all over the city. I counted twenty-three villages in sight. This is a very important
field about midway between HsiPaw and NamKham and ought to be occupied at once while the SaoPha
is so friendly and ready to help. At both NamKham and HsenWi timber is very scarce and poor. Only
jungle wood and probably all permanent buildings at both places must be made of brick. We spent one
bazaar day here in HsenWi and had crowds of listeners till the rain came on. The SaoPha invited us to
the palace for one service. The large room was crowded and great interest was manifested by some.”

NamKham was then under HsenWi SaoPha control.

The Second Mission Field, MuongNai (1892)
(23 Years to establish mission field in Southern Shan State)

MuongNai was the first mission field in Southern Shan State and the second in Shan country.
MuongNai city was under SaoPha control with about 650 houses in 1893. It was one of the most
powerful Shan States under SaoPha. It was 240 miles away from Rangoon but it would take a month to
travel to that place by train from Rangoon to ThaZi then by horse or elephant or bullock cart or on foot
to MuongNai. It was a city full of pagodas and monasteries. MuongNai situated in a valley in which
Malaria had long been a problem and also the fatal black-water fever.

Cushing’s visit to MuongNai
According to Rev. Rose’s record Rev. & Mrs. Cushing visited MuongNai in 1868-1869.
Wherever they went the people gathered around them and many listened attentively to the story of the
cross. Several thousand tracts were distributed and seed sown from which they may hope for fruit in
coming time.
It was reported that Mr. Kelley, a man of rare linguistic ability and earnest devotion,
joined the mission early in 1872, entering enthusiastically upon his work he acquired a sufficient hold
upon the Shan language in nine months to preach very creditable sermons in the chapel in Shan
language at Toungoo before he left with Rev. Cushing for a trip to Shanland in December 1872. On
January 1, 1873, when almost within a day’s journey to their destination, the city of MuongNai, he was
drowned in a small lake called Nong Saweet (Lake Saweet). The tragedy of such missionary or
missionary children got drowned in the late was not uncommon in history of Shan mission. A
missionary drowned in Toungoo and a missionary’s son drowned in ShweLi. Lakes are in fact the
natural swimming pool of the Shan. Rev. Cushing visited MuongNai every two years after his first visit
and tried to establish Shan mission field there in 1887.

Mission field established
However mission field in MuongNai was not established until 1892 by Dr. and Mrs. W. C.
Griggs and Mrs. Huldah Mix. It took 23 years to establish mission field after first visit by Rev.
Cushing. William Marcus Young, American missionary from Nebraska, came to Burma in 1892,
perhaps under the auspices of the Boston Missionary Society.
It was reported that Rev. and Mrs.
W.M. Young left Toungoo on February 13, 1893 and reached MuongNai on March 14. Dr. Griggs then
returned to America two days after their arrival. In June, Mrs. Young experienced a violent attack of
dysentery, with recurring attacks at intervals afterwards so that for three months Rev. Young suffered

Ibid pp44-45
56th Annual Report, July 1870, American Baptist Missionary Union, p247
http://mercury.soas.ac.uk/wadict/young_family.html#_edn1 March 1, 2006
Baptist mission among the Shan 49
great anxiety on her account. In September she began to improve and for the last five months they had
been in excellent health to study language. In 1893 Dr. and Mrs. Albert Haley Henderson arrived in
MuongNai to begin their forty years of medical, evangelistic, and educational work. For a time Dr. and
Mrs. Henderson had charge of the medical work, Rev. Wilbur W. Cochrane had the Church and
evangelistic work, and Mrs. Mix taught in the school and managed the home for abandoned children
and orphans. Thra Bla Paw, a Bassein Karen, with the help of his wife Naw Bessie, became pastor of
the MuongNai Church, releasing the missionary for field work.
In 1903 Mrs. Henderson fell victim to the dreaded black-water fever and barely survived.
Doctors recommended her to return to the Unite States, but Dr. Henderson suggested removal to
TaungGyi, a more healthful location. Dr. Henderson made the hundred mile trip to MuongNai on a
bicycle, taking about two days each way. When missionary doctors were no longer available for
resident medical work in MuongNai, national doctors including Dr. Lao Htin, Dr. Ah Pon and Dr. Ohn
Shwe took charge. In 1936, Dr. Ohn Shwe was killed by a drunken man while he was trying to protect
him from further assault to his own wife. When the murderer was condemned, Daw Kyi Pyu, Dr. Ohn
Shwe’s wife, pled for murderer’s life, as she was sure Dr. Ohn Shwe would have done the same, and
the death sentence was commuted. Daw Kyi Pyu stayed on in MuongNai until her children's health
made it necessary to return to Lower Burma.
Mrs. Alexander worked in the MuongNai school for eight years (1917-1925). When the mission
finances were so depleted by the great depression in 1929, both the school and the medical work were
turned over to the local government. World War II brought destruction to the buildings in MuongNai,
but the Church had been rebuilt and the congregation continued as part of the Southern Shan State
Baptist Association.

MuongNai Church
The first convert in MuongNai
mission field, according to oral tradition,
was Moe San @ Hta. It was reported in
1892 that there were 33 members and a
bamboo chapel was built. It’s a surprise to
see such big group of members in the
Church within the first year. Thra Bla Paw, a
Karen from Bassein, with the help of his
wife Naw Bessie, became the first pastor of
the MuongNai Church.
Rev. Young reported in 1892, “We
have regular Sunday service all the year,
though the attendance has been light. The
native Christians meet every evening for prayer and often from five to twenty outsiders meet with us
and thus we have a chance for preaching. We have no organized Sunday school but Mrs. Mix has
taught the school children nearly every Sunday and often quite a number of others have been into the
meetings. On August 13, we organized a Church of ten members, all native helpers. The Church
contribution up to December 31 is rupees 107.93. I have done very little jungle work as I have had
neither the time nor men qualified for this service.”

Dr. Henderson and Mrs. Mix reported in 1892, “The Church during the year has voted to choose
and support its own pastor to meet the expense of which each member has cheerfully promised one-
tenth of their income. This with the contributions of the missionaries a little more than covers the

Report from Rev. W.M. Young and wife, A.H. Henderson, M.D., and wife, Mrs. H.W. Mix, 80th Annual Report, 1894,
American Baptist Missionary Union, p271
New MuongNai Church building as seen in Year 2000
Baptist mission among the Shan 50
salary. There are three Sunday school classes, an adult male, an adult female and a children class. We
expect to add a Bible class for the Christians. There is room for a good deal of improvement here.”

It was reported by Dr. & Mrs. Henderson, Dr. Robert Harper, and Mrs. H.W. Mix in 1898, “Our
Church here has almost doubled its membership by baptism. Our gain has been ten by baptism and one
by restoration (our only backslider); five baptized from the school, two through treatment at the hospital
and three from the heathen on the compound. There still remain five or six who say they intend to be
baptized but I do not feel that these are all Christians. Our Sunday school is doing thoroughly good
work but is now ready for better organization.”

Dr. and Mrs. Henderson, Dr. and Mrs. Robert Harper and Mrs. H. W. Mix reported in 1899,
“The spirit and condition of the Church were never better. Briefly the lines on which we have advanced
are: the establishment of a Wednesday evening prayer meeting down town, formal election of Church
officers and a monthly officers’ meeting, the vote to erect a Church guesthouse for the use of people
from a distance who come for instruction, a daily thanks offering of rice from many. This is brought in
on Sunday and the proceeds applied to famine relief in India. In Sunday school the adoption of the
international lessons illustrated by blackboard drawings was used. In this line I must acknowledge the
kind help of the English political officer, Mr. Gordon, on several occasions. Through his energy we
now have interstate postal communication. With the help of our contributions, as members of the
Church, the pastor has been supported and a good balance left in hand. This has been the case every
year since 1894. Bazaar and town meetings are doing good steady work.”

MuongNai Church had 33 members in 1892 and 60 members in 1903. Over seventy-five Shan
Christians regularly attended Church services. In 1904 there was a baptism of twelve converts added to
the Church and three expulsions from the Church. In 1930 Dr. Henderson wrote, “There is a fine spirit
of consecration that does one good to feel and touch about 80 usually attend the monthly communion
service and the Churches themselves are beginning to shoulder the financial responsibility for the
evangelistic work of the field.”

World War II brought destruction to the buildings in MuongNai. After World War II, a new
church building was dedicated in 1950. The brick church building seen in year 2000 was dedicated in
1969. Hla Tin became preacher of MuongNai Church on March 15, 1960. In the year 2000, there were
105 baptized members. MuongNai Church is now a Burmese-speaking Church consists of different
racial groups. The members of the Church increased from 33 in 1892 to 105 in year 2000. Only 72 new
believers gained in 108 years. All these believers were not the Shan. In the 1930’s because of the
depression in the United States, drastic curtailment of the work in Burma had to be made. The Bible
Churchmen's Missionary Society, a British organization, was prepared to take over work in the
Southern Shan States. Small hospitals were established at PangLong, a few miles north of LoiLem, and
at LangKho, within twenty miles southeast of MuongNai. Local Baptist Churches retain their
connections with local Baptist organizations, but the major responsibility for evangelistic work among
the non-Christian Shan of the Southern Shan State was relinquished by the Baptists. The LoiLem
compound was swept clear of all buildings by the end of the war, but the local Church soon put up a
small church building. A Shan pastor Saya Si La, and his wife Daw Miriam, a trained nurse, had served
many years.
Why is it so difficult to evangelize Shan in MuongNai? What are the obstacles for them to
believe in Christ and become Christians? We have seen 10 people baptized in 1893 just one year after
mission field started. If this rate has been continuing, the membership might have been 1,113 in the
year 2000. When I visited MuongNai Church in June 2000, the old pastor was seriously ill and
hospitalized in Yangon hospital. A Karen young man was temporarily taking care of the Church. About

82nd Annual Report, 1896, American Baptist Missionary Union, p287
84th Annual Report, 1898, American Baptist Missionary Union, p102
86th Annual Report, 1900, American Baptist Missionary Union,
117th Annual Report, 1931, American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society, pp76-77
Baptist mission among the Shan 51
30 people came to our revival meeting. At the beginning of our teaching program, a man came to me,
greeted me, seated next to me and wept acrimoniously. I did not know who he was and why he wept.
He said, “I am very happy to see you coming to us and teaching us. I am very happy to see you serving
Him tirelessly. I am also feeling very sorry for myself and my failure.” I later discovered that he was
one of the first graduates who graduated from Saya Ai Pan Bible School in NamKham in 1956. But he
did not serve the Lord in ministry ever since graduating from training.
The first Shan Church in Southern Shan State is now becoming a Burmese Church. Shan
language is no longer used in worship service.

Evangelistic work
Rev. W.M. Young and wife, Dr. A.H. Henderson and wife and Mrs. H.W. Mix reported in 1894,
“Many have come to the house during the entire year, and so very much preaching has been done in
that way. Much personal and house-to-house work has been done all the year in the city. The most
promising work has been the bazaar meetings on general bazaar days, i.e., every fifth day. Henderson
built a zayat in the bazaar at a cost of rupees 160, money raised in the Church collections and his own
contributions. The attendance at the bazaar meetings has always been good, seldom if ever below 100,
with an average attendance of about 200. The after part of the meetings is always devoted to personal
effort. These have been by far the most hopeful meetings held during the year. We have been unable to
sell books, but tracts have been distributed freely, also some portions of the New Testament. Men who
reside in other states quite distant often call for tracts so the seed is being scattered. We have received
no one by baptism during the year, some have applied but were put off and our hopes were destroyed
by the after walk of some of them. One I think we will baptize soon. The great need in the work is more
native helpers. I have but four men, three of them had to acquire the language but they can do good
work now in Shan. We ought to have at least ten men and two Bible-women for the work at present but
there are no resources to draw from. The only chance for recruits for the present is to get Karen and let
them study the language here. I am very anxious to get some more men.”

Rev. Young reported, “Our bazaar meetings, which from the first were the most hopeful
meetings, are still growing in interest and greatly to our surprise and joy the attendance continues about
the same ranging from 150 to 250 in attendance but the attention is better and most of the people seem
to be more anxious to learn. They inquire more freely about Christian doctrines.”

Dr. Henderson reported, “Our health, up to the present time, has been excellent. The work here
is sowing seed but we sow in great hope while superstition and idolatry meet us everywhere yet the
promises of our Master are sure. We meet the grossest superstition at every turn, once or twice we have
found them saying charms over their medicine. One old man who had been relieved when we went to
speak to him about God said he did not know God but he would worship me for he thought I must be
Even though Shan claimed to be Buddhist they were very superstitious and believed in all kind
of spirits. Rev. Young reported on September 6, 1894, “I think we will have our first baptism next
Sunday. We may postpone a little longer. The candidate has been asking baptism for four months and
has been quite active in speaking and preaching. I am in hope that he will be a good worker and in case
he proves faithful he will be quite a help to the work as he speaks quite well and has a good command
of Shan, Burmese and Thoungthoo languages. We have no Thoungthoo preacher and we need one very
much for most of the villages in the hills here are Thoungthoo. The villages on the plains are all

Dr. Henderson reported in 1895, “Some persons profess to have heard from one of the Phe
(spirits) saying that there was so much of this Jesus Christ being preached all over that they (the Phe)

80th Annual Report, 1894, American Baptist Missionary Union, p271
Report from Rev. W. M. Young, MuongNai, April 26, 1894, p23
Report from A.H. Henderson, M.D. MuongNai, July 4, 1894, p419
Report from Rev. W.M. Young, MuongNai, Sept. 6, 1894, p542
Baptist mission among the Shan 52
were going to leave the place. Two of the idols also feel it so keenly that they are said to be sweating
from the same cause. Of course they are horribly superstitious. Everything they cannot understand is
ascribed to Phe. They are a lovable people, good-natured and often gentle, refined and grateful. In
talking to the SaoPha or some others in the city one forgets for a while that this is a heathen for he has
an innate delicacy, which commands respect. It will need some courage for the first one to come out for

Dr. Henderson reported in 1896, “The general outlook of the field is very encouraging. Our
bazaar congregations are only about one-fourth or one-fifth as large as at first but this is not surprising.
It is due to two causes; first the novelty has worn off and their curiosity is largely satisfied; second our
services are entirely carried on in broken Shan a fact that we realize more and more as we learn enough
of the language to know the mistakes. Indeed it begins to be a marvel to me that any noticeable progress
has been made with teachers so imperfectly equipped. That progress has been made is a most
encouraging sign and we praise God for owning our feeble efforts. At present five or six give very
hopeful evidences of conversion.”

Dr. Henderson reported in 1912 that at the Christmas entertainment, which the Christians of
MuongNai themselves managed with such skill, the rulers of the town the prince and his wives all
attended. During the celebrations in honor of the coronation of the prince Christians were the only
people invited into the prince’s palace where they were entertained with refreshments.
Dr. Henderson
said, “What are the results of our ten years’ work? Perhaps the best of all is that God has given us the
hearts of the people. Both prince and pauper have many times asked us never to leave them. We have
also about thirty baptized converts some of whom have become helpful evangelists. Besides these many
who never were baptized have died professing faith in Christ.”

In 1914 Dr. H. C. Gibbens wrote that regular preaching services were maintained at MuongNai
and LoiLem. At MuongNai he had five regular proper meetings every week. A special feature of his
work had been the preaching in the public bazaar. In referring to his baptism he called attention to a
most impressive fact in missionary experience. Nearly all who were baptized came from those who
lived near and this seems to be the rule each year. First despise then pity and then embrace was quite
true of the converts won from heathenism. Those who were reached as a general rule seem to be the
people who first became acquainted with the missionary by daily intimate contact and then attend the
services after which they generally became Christians.

Conversation between missionary (M) and Buddhist monk (BM)

M: “We are here with the purpose of helping in whatever way we can. We do the best that we know in
the light of Western medical knowledge”
BM: “Your religious teachings are also different from ours and also puzzling from all that I have heard
of them. It is said that you worship a god strange to us. Is this so?”
M: There is but one God, the God who loves the Shan as He does the Christians, the God of the
universe, who is the Father of us all. It is He whom we worship.”
BM: “I have also heard that there is a man named Jesus whom you worship, and that you believe that
we are idols worshipers because we do homage before statutes which are representations of the Buddha.
Is it true, and do you not then believe in the truths left to the world by Gautama, the Buddha?”
M: “We have respect for the great rules of kindness, brotherly love, and purity, left behind by the
Buddha. You, learned monk, will know that my knowledge of your language is still far from adequate

81st Annual Report, 1895, American Baptist Missionary Union, pp44-45
82nd Annual Report, 1896, American Baptist Missionary Union, p50
98th Annual Report, 1912, American Baptist Missionary Union, p63
The Baptist Missionary Magazine March 1905, p96
100th Annual Report, 1914, American Baptist Missionary Union, pp339-340
Bamboo Hospital, published by Davis 1961, p72
Baptist mission among the Shan 53
even for daily needs, let alone for more difficult matters of religious faith and philosophy. You will
forgive me I am sure if my speech is halting and if through ignorance I do not use the proper horrific
term in addressing you.” “We believe in God, the creator of universe, who is the Father of all mankind.
To us, He is the Heavenly Father as real as our earthly parents. Jesus Christ, concerning whom you
asked, Son of the Heavenly Father, was sent to earth by God to show us the way to a good life here, and
life everlasting after death, which may be achieved through faith in Him and living as He has taught
us.” Missionary took a small Shan translation of the Gospel of John and said, “Here it is said much
more clearly than I am able to say it in your language. You may read of the life, death, and resurrection
of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in your language. Will you not do me the honor of
accepting it as my gift?”
BM: “I thank you Saya (Teacher). I shall read it soon. There are other things also which puzzle us about
you. Is it true that you Christians have no fear of the evil spirits which so trouble us, and your God
considers women of as great worth as men?”
M: “Both are true. We know that the Spirit of God is everywhere, and this frees us of the fear of evil
spirits, and of that of being reborn in a form lower than we now have. Our Bible tells us that God
created human being, male and female with equal honor to each, and that He has given us the hope of
life everlasting instead of the nothingness of nirvana. It also teaches us that life on earth may be joyful,
instead of filled with the negative despair which so afflicts the life of your people, as they seek
constantly to achieve merit through innumerable rules.”
BM: “It is very strange Saya, but I shall remember what you have said. May you be at peace.”

The above dialogue between Dr. Henderson and a Buddhist monk gives us a clear method of sharing
gospel to the Buddhist. There was no sense of argument but exchange of belief. The conversation
followed by giving a gospel tracts or Bible.

Medical work
Medical services were offered by Dr. Henderson from his bamboo hospital. Dr. Henderson
reported in 1894, “The medical work promises to do nicely and become a most useful auxiliary in the
spread of the gospel. There are some prejudice against English medicine which it will take time to
break down but I think we will win our way fairly easily. Already there have been one or two rather
important cases where we have succeeded after the native doctors had failed, which has had quite a
good influence. As the natives attribute many of their ailments to the influence of the Phe (evil spirits)
medical work will, I hope, bear directly against this superstition.” Dr. Henderson reported in 1895,
“The medical work is very encouraging although the government grant is refused and the SaoPha’s
promise is a promise still. I am determined to try and bring this department to a self-supporting footing
as far as medicines are concerned. Why should we use mission money to distribute medicines to
wealthy persons here or to those who are ready enough to call in and pay a quack to those who know
nothing at all? I shall ask for no grant this year from the board and what I run short I will try and save
from transport allowance so supplying myself with medicines.”

Dr. Henderson reported in 1900, “In our medical work full records have not been kept but I find
for eight months an attendance of 1,582 and about 200 out cases a month. For the hospital we usually
have from four to ten in at a time probably an average of five new cases a month. Five or six of the
patients when convalescent have learned to read. The receipts for medicine show a gain every year and
we expect soon to cover our drug bill. The people now far more readily come to the hospital and submit
to surgical operations. Three or four opium eaters have been cured and this fact has also been noised

Letter from A. H. Henderson, April 22, 1895, MuongNai. The Baptist Missionary Magazine P466
85th Annual Report, 1899, American Baptist Missionary Union, p68
Baptist mission among the Shan 54
In 1903 Mrs. Henderson fell victim to the dreaded black-water fever and was barely survived.
During her serious sickness a Hindu postmaster came and gave her fresh cow milk in a shining brass
urn and said, “This is to help give mem-sahib strength. It is from my best cow, which I milked myself.
It is pure. Tell mem-sahib we are praying for her.” Another Buddhist woman came and gave a live hen
with its feet tied together saying, “Please take this to Mama Loonge (Big Sister). I think the great
Buddha would approve killing this chicken for Mama Loonge. I have been flattening it for days. I go to
the temple to beseech the Buddha to make Mama Loonge well.” Every day messengers from
Mahadiwee (SaoPha’s wife) came to take the news about Mrs. Henderson’s health and offered papaya
and apple from SaoPha’s garden. SaoPha sent a note saying, “I ordered all the priests in our Buddhist
temples to say continuous special prayer for Mama Loonge’s recovery.” How much the people of other
faiths love the missionaries! A Mission Hospital was built in 1910 by Dr. Robert Harper. Dr. Howard
Clinton Gibbens came to work in MuongNai in 1910. When missionary doctors were no longer
available for resident medical work in MuongNai, national doctors including Dr. Lao Htin, Dr. Ah Pon
and Dr. Ohn Shwe served in medical missions.

It was reported by Rev. Young in 1894, “The work has been temporarily retarded by the
unchristian walk of one of the teachers that I discharged in November and later a teacher in the school
falling into sin that necessitated her exclusion from the Church. The effect however seems less
damaging than we had feared.”
A Mission School was built in MuongNai in May 1906 by Dr.
Henderson and helped by Mrs. Mix. Mrs. Alexander worked at MuongNai school for eight years (1917-
1925) When the mission finances were so depleted by the great depression in 1929, both the school and
the medical work were turned over to the local government. Maung Maung opened Burmese School in
1923. Daw Mi Lone opened Anglo-Burmese Girls’ School in 1924. After World War II, Saya Dwe
Myat, Saya Judson Aung, Saya Than Pe, Saya Sein Pe, Saya John Thet Gyi, Saya Aung Thwin, Ms.
Christopher Sin, Saya Maung Maung and Saya Kyaw Hla continued school ministry. Today there is no
more mission hospital or mission school in MuongNai.

Letter of Dr. Henderson Regarding Question On Shan-work in MuongNai,
August 13, 1936.
One suggestion is that perhaps they ought to abandon the whole of the Shan work. Except for
the sadness of it that does not affect us here in MuongNai for we are already abandoned. We are
carrying on with what we can put in the contributions from local Christians and others who see the need
and believe in the work. Things are growing and there is a great need to encourage of which I hope to
have time to speak.
The argument is that the Shan have come in so slowly that it may be the wisest thing to turn to
other more responsive races. One wonders if such an argument is fair. It is true that they have come in,
for the most part slowly. But I am going to ask you to put yourselves in their place and try to see how
you would feel. Supposing you had been continually in the same place, shut away from the world
currents with all their suggestion of improvements and progress for 2000 years, with no other place for
your thoughts to rest except in the past, would it be fair to blame you for being conservative? Would it
be just to expect all such influences to be changed in 40 years?
This place in MuongNai has been in existence since before Christ. Do you wonder that at first
we were constantly met, when we urged new things, by reaction “That is not our custom.” We are here
only in the second generation but we rarely hear it now. Again, supposing that your forefathers, to
untold generations, had been born under a government under which they never felt that their souls were
their own but where any such thought of individual rights and judgment would have seemed out of the

81st Annual Report, 1895, American Baptist Missionary Union, p295
Baptist mission among the Shan 55
question, the stars in their courses ordained that you should always submit and never think for yourself,
would it be fair to expect that in 40 years the basic nature of a race would change and that you would be
one of the many who would leap up and decide that you would break with old traditions and public
sentiment? Those are the conditions under which the Shan have been born and grown for hundreds of
years. In forty years we have seen such changes that we are amazed. I’d rather think that when we get
to heaven I would meet many who will come forward to thank us for bringing them the message. They
do not show on the Church books but this is the sort of thing I mean. I met a man going on the road one
day and accosting him I asked if he were going to the bazaar. “Yes” he said and I asked again, “Are
you going to the meeting?” Again he answered, “Yes” and then looking at me he added, “I always go.
You see I can’t read but I go to listen to what the men say and then I go home and try to do it.” I met
another man in his village and after getting into conversation I asked if he worshipped God. He said,
“Yes” and I asked “Which God?” He answered “The God you preach about in the bazaar. I asked
“Jesus?” and he said, “Yes.” Then I asked if he worshipped the idols and he said, “Yes.” “Oh” I said
“you should not do that” and he looked up in surprise and asked, “shouldn’t I?” “I thought that was the
way but if it is not I will not worship them anymore.” It never occurred to these men that they should
make any break and if they had they would almost certainly have been driven from their village.
Perhaps I was wrong in suggesting that they should but I think I will find many such people who have
died unknown believers in Jesus and his beautiful message. The younger people, who were children,
perhaps unborn, when we came, are now in charge of the work. One said about a month ago after I had
told them that people in America were discouraged because the Shan came in so slowly, “If they could
have seen what I have seen I do not think they would be discouraged.” And he went on to tell of the
eagerness to hear which they had found in some villages where the people followed them around from
place to place even till late at night to hear what they said. Or another man born in the mission here
who is now the pastor. He went to another town about 25 miles away and preached in the bazaar.

The Third Mission Field, NamKham (1893)

Rev. and Mrs. J.A. Freiday were the first missionaries to visit and preach gospel to Shan in
NamKham in 1880, after traveling three days from Bhamo. 13 years after the first visit to NamKham by
Rev. Freiday, NamKham mission field was finally opened in 1893 by Rev. Cochrane who moved from
Bhamo mission field to NamKham. Most of the Shan missionaries in NamKham were doctors. Among
them were Dr. M. B. Kirkpatrick, his son Dr. C. A. Kirkpatrick, Dr. Robin Hrasu, Dr. Walter
Rittenhouse, Dr. Robert Harper, Dr. Gordon Seagrave and Dr. Grace Seagrave.
Rev. W.W. Cochrane reported in March 1894,
“At the beginning of 1894 NamKham began to call itself a station. It is too young to
have a history. I can only record its birth. We are living at present - my two Shan
preachers with their wives and myself - in our own hired house. One of these men is
capable, earnest and always at it. The other is a young man (Ing Tha) of some promise
from ThaTon. It is quite a stretch of the imagination to dignify him thus early as a
preacher. I speak rather of what he is striving for and bids fair to be. Their wives are
helpful in evangelistic work. There are already two applicants for baptism, good, hopeful
cases, both of them they are now receiving daily instruction in the word.”

Cochrane reported on December 29, 1894,
“The three converts are doing well. The young man, our first fruit was married
last night to a good-looking, highly respectable Shan girl. She was perfectly willing to
have the ceremony performed according to Christian custom and seemed to enjoy the
change of style. I read to them in Shan appropriate passages of scripture, and Ing Tha

Burman-Shan Mission, Bhamo, The Baptist Missionary Magazine 1894, p418
Baptist mission among the Shan 56
explained clearly the privileges and duties of Christian marriage. As I have written
elsewhere three others are interested and will become disciples, I think during the
present year. It is well to hold them as catechumens for a while though I do not require
them to know too much before they are received for baptism. There is not a better
location or a brighter outlook in the Shan States. The borderline between English and
Chinese territory, the NamMow, usually called here the NamKhamRiver splits the
valley lengthwise, it is definitely settled with treaty right to build a direct road to Bhamo
across Chinese soil.”

Cochrane reported in 1895,
“The attitude of the people toward the mission is doubtless the same as that of the
other stations in Shanland. We are welcomed anywhere and everywhere and receive a
respectful hearing. I cannot say that the people are eager for the gospel here, I am very
thankful that they listen at all. During the year past such large numbers have come to see
us as to give ample opportunity for evangelistic work without jungle traveling. Of the
three baptized during the year, two are doing well. The other has lately shown some
traits that are not the out-cropping of absolute perfection. I think the root of the matter is
in him but it will require, before the green leaves appear, a great deal of patient tending.
There are two or three others who look favorably upon the Christian religion but are not
converts. Our location is admirable, central, high, dry and healthful. I am improving the
compound (ten acres) as fast as limited means allow. I am repairing an old watercourse
by which a mountain stream will be made to wend its gentle course through the
compound. The expense is trifling. I hope and expect that it will settle forever the
question of a well and furnish water besides for gardening an occupation that boarding
pupils can be put at for amusement and recreation. As there is no special haste about
fencing the compound I shall set out bamboo quite close together and grow my ‘garden
wall.’ Such a fence cannot rot and the surplus growth will work in handily in homes for
native helpers. The great needs at this station are:
(1) A medical missionary
(2) Unpretentious but permanent buildings
(3) More native helpers
“As to plenitude of people the third factor mentioned in location NamKham is an ideal
or if not an ideal certainly a unique station not less than seventy-five villages within an
easy day’s tramp, averaging according to official statement fifty-two houses to the
village with as many more villages but a trifle smaller within as easy a tramp of a second
day. Within a march of four or five days this number can be multiplied by three. I have
not seen the other desirable locations of Shanland. I am satisfied in pitching my tent and
journeying no farther.”

“An absence of nearly six months, not due either in Mrs. Cochrane’s case or my
own to the climate of NamKham, brought everything to a standstill. We began anew on
our return, middle of December, where we began a year before, health improved,
courage good and prospect pleasing. Our expectations were faithful friends, new and
better helpers have been secured through kindness of Dr. Bunker and Rev. Young. The
people welcome us kindly and listen respectfully. Boarding pupils are coming in slowly
three yesterday our largest haul for any one-day. I hope this year to get ahead of where
we left off last we are even now. A recent change in MyoTsas, (local rulers) will be a
help to us. The present incumbrance is accommodating and friendly though not

Rev. W.W. Cochrane, NamKham, Dec. 8, 1894, The Baptist Missionary Magazine, p78
81st Annual Report, 1895, American Baptist Missionary Union, p299
Baptist mission among the Shan 57
materially assisting he does not openly oppose our work. He kindly gave me permission
yesterday to build a preaching zayat close by our large bazaar, a work that has been
sadly neglected hitherto from lack of suitable helpers. I aim to close the present financial
year with twenty boarding pupils in school and much returns from faithful evangelistic
work as the Master may see fit to give.”

Dr. Kirkpatrick reported from HsiPaw in 1895,
“NamKham is one of the many large towns in the ShweLi valley, Northern Shan State,
on the border between Burma and China. It was under control of HsenWi SaoPha. The
people in the valley are mostly Shan. The people on the hills are mostly Palong and
Kachin. Both tribes know Shan so that most of them can be reached by a Shan

Cochrane reported on September 14, 1896,
“We expect to organize a native Church here soon with probably not far from twenty
members. We shall aim to raise the pastor’s salary at least from the start. In truth I told
Dr. Kirkpatrick that I did not favor the organization of a local Church until it would
pledge itself to support its own pastor. It is better to wait and start right. This station was
never in so prosperous a condition as it is now bazaar meetings thronged, little school
growing, helpers increasing and permanent buildings in view.”

Dr. Kirkpatrick reported in May 1898,
“At December 1898 communion service there were thirty-five people to sit around the
Lord’s table. From October the Church pays the pastor’s salary twenty rupees per month.
The past year has been one of seed sowing and quiet but we believe healthy growth. We
have been able to keep up all departments of the work but not to make as much advance
as we hoped, first for lack of appropriations; secondly for lack of helpers. Only by the
help of some generous specific donations we were able to keep on our present staff of
native helpers. The appropriations for the coming year are sufficient and we have the
prospect of more native helpers soon.” “I submit that it is not for the best interest of the
work, nor economy for the society, nor for the good of the missionary on the field to
have but one missionary family for a station in these far frontier fields. Here, where we
are more isolated than any other station in Burma, for we are four days from the nearest
post office or telegraph office we are entirely alone. Before coming here I was promised
an associate within a year if possible. Now nearly four years have gone and I have
neither seen nor heard anything of any one on the way. During the year ten have been
baptized and one member of the Church has died leaving the present membership thirty-
nine. There are six other Christians here who have not yet brought their letters so that all
we have forty-five. Some have asked for baptism and doubtless will be received at the
next Church meeting. Our work has mostly been in the vicinity of NamKham and our
two outstations but we have made some jungle trips. Our chapel is well filled at the
Sunday services. I had forty-six in the adult Bible class last Sunday. The prayer meeting
for workers at half past six every morning has been a great help and blessing. The
meetings held each bazaar day in a large zayat in the bazaar are well attended. Estimate
the average attendance is nearly one thousand many being traders and people from a
distance which we reach in no other way. The attendance at the gospel meetings at the
hospital both morning and afternoon is good while more than five thousand patients have
received treatment and about six thousand prescriptions have been dispensed. The
hospital assistant is a Karen man and a very earnest Christian. He makes many visits

82nd Annual Report, 1896, American Baptist Missionary Union, pp289-290
The Baptist Missionary Magazine 1895, pp44-45
Letter from Rev. W. W. Cochrane, NamKham, Sept. 14, 1896, The Baptist Missionary Magazine, Dec. 1896, p577
Baptist mission among the Shan 58
among the people. Our Bible-women have been faithful and as a result more than half of
the adults baptized are women. The school is growing slowly, for we are careful to admit
only such as give promise of making useful helpers. All above twelve years of age are
Christians. The oldest boy, a Kachin, is beginning to be very helpful by preaching in
Kachin at the bazaar meetings. We have two young men in the Theological Seminary at
Insein. As usual we had a daily training class for all of the native workers and any other
Christians who would come during the rainy season. We spent about two hours a day in
Bible study and prayer. Our hope for the evangelization of the Shan is in training on the
field Shan converts for the work.”
Dr. Kirkpatrick reported in 1899,
“The past year has been the most trying in all my experience as a missionary. The three
senior native preachers have been dismissed and excluded from the Church. One Bible
woman died and another has gone to work in her old home at Bassein. Three Christian
women have died. Two students from the theological seminary have left their studies
and gone into secular work and one of them has taken a heathen wife. The anti-foreign
feeling and persecution of Christians is worse than ever before. On account of the
hostility of the native officials all of the children have left the school at SeLan, our most
promising outstation, and twice within the year in connection with a Chinese and Kachin
from over the Chinese boundary have the Shan officials in NamKham planned to ‘wipe
out’ the mission and all foreigners. The raids were not made and we were not disturbed.
The English officials have recently had a consultation with the Chinese officials and the
Chinese are to pay Rupees 26,300 for recent depredations. Doubtless this will have a
salutary effect. We saw one European in NamKham in over eleven months.
During the
year two girls from the school were baptized and some other pupils, we think, are
Christians. Seven were baptized at SeLan. A prominent businessman and leader among
the Buddhists were baptized at NamKham and others are asking for baptism. We have
been alone in distant frontier stations for eleven years. Promised an associate many times
especially since coming to NamKham but no one has come yet. Our hearts were made
glad on New Year’s Day by the announcement of the appointment of Dr. Harper for
NamKham also for the promise of some good native helpers to come to us in January.
The prospect was never so bright for NamKham.”

Dr. Kirkpatrick reported for the year 1902,
“The year 1902 has been one of growth and encouragement. In January we secured the
services of a Karen hospital assistant who came to us at two-thirds the salary he was
receiving from government because he wanted to work for Jesus. He has proved to be
skilful, faithful and an earnest Christian. In February two Bible-women from Mrs.
Rose’s Bible school came to help us. They have been faithful in the study of the
language and are already doing good work. In May two Karen preachers from Insein
Theological Seminary were added to our band of workers. They have made wonderful
progress in the language and in six months were able to help in bazaar meetings and in
the work in the district. On May 22, Dr. Harper arrived in NamKham and from the first
of June took over the medical work. I was very ill in July and September and his
presence was a great help to me personally as well as to the work in general. October 1, I
made over to Dr. Harper all the appropriations and the general care of the work. From
that time as a rule one of us has been out in the district. During the year our staff of
workers has been increased, the school has made progress, a day school has been opened

85th Annual Report, 1899, American Baptist Missionary Union, p69
85th Annual Report, 1899, American Baptist Missionary Union, p69
Baptist mission among the Shan 59
in NamKham, buildings have been added to our plant, much work has been done in the
district and twelve persons have been baptized.”

Dr. M.B. Kirkpatrick returned to America because of failing health and Dr. Harper arrived NamKham
to take over medical work. Dr. Harper gave his first report in 1903, “The past year has been one of
satisfaction and regret; of satisfaction because I believe I am where the Lord called me and because of
His continued blessing and presence; of regret because MuongNai and I have parted and because I have
been in ill health and unable to do much work for a part of the year. The feeling of gratitude for the
privilege of service in this distant needy station is great. The people here need the gospel and they give
better attention to the preaching than the southern Shan. Since my arrival in NamKham last May I have
given most of my time to the medical work and although that department of our work is by no means as
satisfactory as the medical work in MuongNai yet there is encouragement. I hope to see a marked
improvement during the present year. I was also able to devote a good share of my time to the study of
the language and to make a few short trips among the Shan, Palong and Kachin to the northeast and was
fortunate enough to find, on my first tour, a fairly well timbered piece of country within two days’
march of NamKham. I made arrangements with the headman of this district to cut and square enough
posts for a new school building and place them beside the river so they could be floated down to
NamKham. I have now all the timber needed on the ground and hope to have this building completed
before the end of March. The posts and material for a new hospital are also in sight but how far I can
push that work before the rains is not certain. I am hoping to get a hospital building completed this year
and will do so if there is money sufficient after completing the school. Since Dr. and Mrs. Kirkpatrick’s
departure my work is greatly increased but good health and plenty of work are a rich blessing when one
is alone and far from social life.”
In 1903 there was one Church, 52 members and 12 baptized.
Dr. Harper reported in 1904,
“The year under review calls for praise and thankfulness for the way God has
made his ways known and for the work which he has permitted us to do. Shortly after
Dr. Kirkpatrick left an uprising between the Shan and Kachin of MongMow, China, took
place and I was called to treat the wounded Shan but fearing the Kachin might think I
was taking side with the Shan against them I refused to go and invited them to bring
their wounded to NamKham. This action met with the hearty approval of the
superintendent when he was here last month. The medical work has given much
encouragement. Seven lithotomy cases from distant villages came for treatment before
the new hospital was built and all saved one recovered. One successful case of cataract,
one Colles’ fracture and one fracture of the upper third of the femur were treated,
besides a number of cases of fever, dysentery, conjunctivitis, etc. Some advance was
made towards self-support and $59 was received for drugs. The evangelistic work has
been that of sowing. Many of the distant states have been visited and the large villages in
the plain have had several visits from the teachers and the bazaar meetings have been
fairly well attended. A teachers’ Bible class was carried on through the rains and proved
a rich blessing to both the teachers and myself. A new school and a hospital have been
completed and I feel greatly encouraged as I look upon what was considered almost
impossibility a little over a year ago. I have also a new school and church well on
towards completion at our outstation, SeLan. This church building and school is the gift
of the Baptist Church of Bethlehem, Pa., and is to be called the “Bethlehem Mission
Church.” Five have asked for baptism but it seems best that they should wait till they
know more intelligently what it means to be a Christian. One of our best workers went to
KengTung to help Rev. Young. Four died, six were excluded and one restored.”

89th Annual Report, 1903, American Baptist Missionary Union, p103
89th Annual Report, 1903, American Baptist Missionary Union, p103
90th Annual Report, 1904, American Baptist Missionary Union, p93
Baptist mission among the Shan 60
At first the Shan missionaries at NamKham were responsible for the Kachin work. But in 1906 a
separate missionary was appointed for the Kachin work. However, occasionally one missionary family
had to serve both language groups. The hospital served Shan, Kachin, Chinese, and other races on an
equal basis. In 1914 separate Shan and Kachin Churches were organized and in 1919 the schools for
Shan and Kachin became separate too. It was reported in 1916 that the Christians have increased from
sixty-seven to seventy-six. From 1922, Dr. and Mrs. Gordon Seagrave served in NamKham until World
War II forced their evacuation from Burma. They gave the longest continuous service to the NamKham
mission. New buildings were constructed, using the cobblestones from the NamZaLe and NamYaKau
and better equipments were added. The Nurses’ Training Class trained young women from wide areas
of Upper Burma for good service to the country and people. In 1942, there were about five hundred
Shan Christian in the ShweLi Valley, and a firm foundation had been built. The war brought trials and
testing to the Shan Christians. When the Japanese occupied the ShweLi Valley, they mistook the Shan
pastor in SeLan, Saya Paw Kham, for Chinese and murdered him and his son. Immediately the rumor
spread that the Japanese would persecute and kill Shan Christians, and many of them evacuated to the
jungle with only what they could carry with them. They built bamboo chapels for their worship
services. In spite of the dangers, Christmas 1942 was celebrated by the ShweLi Valley Christians with
Shan Buddhist and Japanese guests. Their experience led to the formation of the ShweLi Valley Baptist
Association on December 24, 1945, with Saya Ai Pan, pastor of the Church at NamKham, as President,
and Saya Kham Yee as Secretary.
Dr. Seagrave had resigned from mission service in 1942 to join the medical Corps of the United
States Army. His American friends organized an independent, non-denominational agency to operate
the hospital in NamKham along with an Advisory Committee of local leaders. The American Baptist
Foreign Mission Society leased the NamKham Hospital compound and buildings to this agency at a
very nominal rate. The ShweLi Valley did not escape the general insecurity of the post-war and post
independence periods. NamKham was occupied for a time in 1950 by insurgent forces, and they took
personnel and medical supplies with them when driven out by Government troops.

First Shan convert
On December 28, 1894, Rev. Cochrane said, “The three converts are doing well. The young
man, our first fruit, was married last night to a good-looking, highly respectable Shan girl. She was
perfectly willing to have the ceremony performed according to Christian custom and seemed to enjoy
the change of style.”
The names of those three converts were not mentioned in the report. We don’t
know who they were. By oral tradition Kham Maung was the first Shan convert in ShweLi when he was
baptized at the age of 15. Kham Maung was ordained on March 5, 1924.

ShweLi Valley Baptist High School
NamKham Mission School began in February 1893 with a teacher and twelve pupils. In May
the number of students increased to eighteen, ten day-pupils and eight boarders. They studied the Bible
the first hour every morning. During the first year five of the pupils had been baptized. They were
expected to become preachers, teachers and Bible-women in the future.
Dr. Hanson conducted a combined boarding school for Shan and Kachin. He also took charge of
the girl boarders on the Kachin compound and Dr. C. A. Kirkpatrick took charge of the boy boarders on
the Shan compound. Dr. Kirkpatrick had also established a day school for Shan in the town of
NamKham. Saya Sam Pwa arrived in NamKham in 1901 and worked as schoolteacher until he passed
away in 1942. Saya Htun Pyu and Saya Tha Dun arrived NamKham in 1912 to teach at school. In 1914
the increase of Shan and Kachin girls in the school making 22 in all. There was such dire need of a
girls’ dormitory that they could not let the opportunity pass. When the board were unable to give rupees

Report from Rev. W.W. Cochrane, NamKham, Dec. 8, 1894, The Baptist Missionary Magazine, p78
Baptist mission among the Shan 61
1,500 they applied to Government for a building grant and received rupees 1,000. Ms. Anderson was
sent to NamKham from American Baptist Mission in 1937 to oversee education and Church work. The
school was nationalized by military government in 1963.

Evangelistic bazaar meetings
The large zayat in the bazaar was thronged with thousand of people from the surrounding
villages on fifth-day-bazaar day. It was a great opportunity of preaching gospel and distributing tracts to
multitude of people in the bazaar. People from different towns and villages came to the bazaar. It was
just like a festival or carnival. Zayat was usually put up near the bazaar to give a temporary shelter to
the people. The preachers were faithful in proclaiming the gospel message in zayat. The meetings were
also held in other bazaars as much as possible. The preachers, schoolteachers and at times, even school
students, conducting preaching services at the zayat. Fifth-day-bazaar was rotating among NamKham,
SeLan and MuSe.
NamKham Hospital
NamKham Hospital began in 1893. Dr. M.B.
Kirkpatrick, Dr. Robert Harper, Dr. C.A. Kirkpatrick Jr, Dr.
Rittenhouse, Dr. Robin Hrasu, Dr. Gordon Seagrave, Dr.
Grace Seagrave, Dr. Ah Pon and Dr. Ai Lun had served as
missionary doctors. The hospital was not only treating
patients it also held the gospel meeting six days in a week.
The record for the first six months showed 3,396 had
attended the meetings and 3,785 patients had been treated,
about 200 at their homes and 4,389 prescriptions had been
The first missionary doctor to serve at NamKham
hospital was Dr. M.B. Kirkpatrick in 1896. Dr. Harper
arrived NamKham and took over medical work from
Kirkpatrick on June 1, 1902. New hospital was completed in
1904. The nursing training program in NamKham hospital
was very famous in the country. The hospital services were
so successful that many patients from the Burma proper and
China came to seek treatment.
Dr. C.A. Kirkpatrick Junior arrived ShweLi Valley in
1913. Dr. Gordon Seagrave arrived NamKham in 1922. He worked very hard on medical mission,
education and evangelism. Dr. Ah Pon came to help NamKham Hospital in 1927. It was reported in
1930 by Dr. Seagrave, “NamKham welcomed the first American nurse ever seen here. With this
addition to the staff we hope to obtain government recognition to the hospital as training school for
nurses and midwives. We have sixteen in training now. One is running a small hospital and dispensary
of her own fifty miles away and reports indicates that she is proving great blessing to the people of her
section who have never had medical aid of any sort before. All the girls who have graduated or under
training are Christians and impact are quite apparent to the patients. The Christian influence of the
hospital cannot be measured. We are now building a new hospital, which is being financed by
Woodword Avenue Church of Detroit in memory of Dr. Harper. We expect this new building with
large ward space, administrative room, dispensary and private room to be worth memorial well fitted to
carry on a worthwhile task.”

Dr. Robert Harper Memorial Hospital was built in NamKham in 1930. It was built of smooth
stones collected from NamZaLe and NamYaKau. Kham Ye was appointed the head of the laborers

116th Annual report, 1930, American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society, p100
Dr. Seagrave seen in front of Thatch
church building in 1935
Baptist mission among the Shan 62
during building process. A worker was paid Kyat 2 for one day work. Pu Pao and Ai Kham were the
drivers of the truck. Ye Hton, one of the workers who laid the stones and helped built the hospital, is the
only man still alive at the time of interview on March 13, 2003. Dr. Robin Hrasu arrived NamKham in
1935. Starting from 1937 Dr. Seagrave did not involve in Church work and education any more but he
put more effort on hospital work. During World War II in 1942, Dr. Gordon Seagrave, a chain-smoking
missionary and humanitarian surgeon known to the Burmese who often had trouble with Anglo names
pronounced “Dr. Cigarette” left NamKham to India with his nineteen nurses.

Dr. Robert Harper Memorial Hospital as seen in 2003

Nurses in front of NamKham Hospital in 1960

After World War II, Dr. Gordon Seagrave returned from India as Lt. Col. and served in hospital
work until he was arrested by Burmese government in 1950. During his absence his sister Dr. Grace
Seagrave came to serve in NamKham hospital. She worked until her untimely death in 1951. Dr. Ai
Lun, the first Shan Christian medical doctor trained from Lucknow, India, resigned from government
service from LaShio and came to help NamKham hospital in 1951. He was sent to study in U.S.A for
one year in 1956 under Dr. Radvin at Upenn. Then he came back from U.S.A to work at NamKham
Hospital in 1957. He resigned from NamKham hospital in 1960 and went for private practice. Dr.

http://www.worldwar2history.info/Burma/Road.html, March 1, 2006
Baptist mission among the Shan 63
Gordon Seagrave, after being released from jail in 1958 returned to serve in NamKham hospital until he
passed away on March 28, 1965. He had served for 43 years at NamKham hospital. The hospital was
nationalized by military government in 1963.

Prayer services and Bible study
There was a strong group of believers having various activities even in the first year of mission
work. In 1893, there was a sunrise prayer meeting every day and evening worship at missionary house
where there were twenty-five to forty people present. On Lord’s day there was a prayer and praise
service at 8 A.M, sermon by pastor at 11 A.M, Sunday school at 12 o’clock and women meeting at 3
P.M, also home fellowship at the house of one of the recent converts. This pattern of services have been
followed until today. Some Shan Churches have seven services on Sunday. Bible study was conducted
at school, hospital and Church. School offered Bible study one hour every day. During rainy season,
there was a one and half hour daily Bible study class for all Christian workers from hospital and school.

Dr. Kirkpatrick reported in 1893 that during the year, 10 had been baptized and had membership
39. There were 46 in the adult Bible class on Sunday. 3 baptized in 1894, 12 baptized in 1902, 10
baptized in 1904. It was reported in 1957 that the evangelistic campaign group usually stayed on late
into the night and illustrated various aspects of religion, education, health and agriculture by giving
talks with filmstrips from Rev. L.A. Crain, Director of Christian Audiovisual at Mandalay. Rev. E.E.
Sowards, with courtesy of the United States Information Service, Rangoon, procured the projector for
the work. The Shan Buddhists were really interested in seeing as well as hearing about the love of Lord
Jesus Christ through film. Outreach mission to Chinese and Palong also began.

The Fourth Mission Field, KengTung (1901)
(31 years to establish a mission field)

KengTung was the capital city of Eastern Shan State and the KengTung Royal Government (a
monarchy) was strong and open-minded enough to allow other religions to be established within
The chief of Shan territory was SaoPha. He has all power and authority over the people and
territory. An official census made in 1900 revealed that the population of the city was 10,257 with a
total of 40,000 for the city and adjoining villages. The entire district numbered about 190,000 people.
The native people, the Hkun, are like the Shan and the people of Siam, a branch of the great Tai people.
Their language is freely allied with the Shan of Burma, which indeed is giving promise of freely
supplanting it.
All Shan SaoPha were Buddhists. Without their permission or approval it was not
easy, if not impossible, for a foreign missionary to do missionary works in their territories. The SaoPha
of KengTung was very exceptionally open-minded enough to allow foreign missionary to do the work
in KengTung.
Rev. & Mrs. Cushing first visited KengTung in January 1870. They were warmly welcomed by
KengTung SaoPha.
Rev. & Mrs. Cushing traveled 52 days, not by car but by horse, elephant, ox-cart
and on foot, from MuongNai to KengTung. A comfortable house was furnished for their residence
during their stay in KengTung and every evening, except Sunday evening, an entertainment (Shan
Peacock dance) was given to Rev. & Mrs. Cushing. In some of those entertainments, the manners and
customs of the Kah-Kwees (Lahu Shi), Kah-kaus, Moo-seur, Le-Wa and other tribes occupying the
mountains were sent forth by representatives of the races summoned by SaoPha for the purpose. Rev. &

ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission, NamKham, N.S.S, Report for the year 1956-57 ending July 31, 1957
Tai in Southeast Asia published by Teeraparb Lohitkun, 1995, p38
Reported by Rev. W.M. Young and Mrs. Young, 90
American Baptist Missionary Union Annual Report, p96
“The Shan Mission” By Rev. J. N. Cushing, D. D. Boston, American Baptist Missionary Union, 1893, p12
Baptist mission among the Shan 64
Mrs. Cushing were the first foreign missionaries to be in KengTung, the Eastern Shan territory. They
preached good news in bazaar, sang Christian songs and distributed gospel tracts to the people.
Interestingly enough to ask what kind of song they sang? We don’t know whether they sang song in
Shan or in English. If they sang in English no body would understand. Most likely they might have
sung songs in Shan that they had translated. They also distributed gospel tracts written in Shan, which
Cushing had translated. Cushing had learned Shan language and literature and managed to speak, read
and write well within four years. Rev. and Mrs. Cushing spent eleven days in KengTung.
19 years after the first visit by Rev. & Mrs. Cushing, another American missionary Rev. W.W.
Cochrane left HsiPaw mission field to visit KengTung via MuongNai in 1889. KengTung mission field
was not yet opened at that time. It was an exploratory visit. We do not know why it took 19 years to
have another missionary’s visit to KengTung. 10 years after W.W. Cochrane’s visit, a third missionary
Dr. Henderson visited KengTung again in 1899 as exploratory and evangelistic trip. Two years later, in
1901, Rev. & Mrs. William Marcus Young and some Karen missionaries arrived KengTung to start a
new mission field after serving in MuongNai since 1892. By the permission of KengTung’s SaoPha
they were allowed to preach gospel in bazaar on market-day. The gathering places for the people in
those days were only at market place, zayat and Buddhist monastery. KengTung mission field
eventually opened in 1901, thirty-one years after Dr. Cushing’s first visit.
Rev. Young reported in 1900,
“I have been in Burma too short a time to make a report. We arrived December 3
in Rangoon (returning from furlough). The month since my arrival was spent in
purchasing an outfit and the preliminary work for the long journey to KengTung, three
hundred and sixty one miles beyond the railway’s end. Thirty-seven days by regular
stages will be required for making the trip. When I left Boston I expected to go to
KengTung alone but later decided that it was not good for man to be alone. So Mrs.
Young is going with me. She has had several years’ experience as a teacher and is a
decided help to the work. The journey, thus far, has been a very pleasant one. We are
now at MuongNai, where we remain about one week arranging for transport and visiting
the field of my first labors in Burma. There has been a wonderful change here since we
arrived the jungle from the compounds eight years ago. I do hope to see as strong a plant
in KengTung before I have to take another furlough. So far as I am able to gather
information the outlook for KengTung is very hopeful. The chief political officer for the
Southern Shan State has promised whatever aid the government can render in opening
the work. The chief military officer at KengTung is a very active Christian and a warm
friend of missions so the prospect is good. The improvement in the roads in Shan land
has been very rapid in the last six years. KengTung will be much more accessible in two
or three years than it is now. All things considered it seems an opportune time for
opening the work. The cost of transporting goods from the railroad to KengTung is
heavy but this will become better each year. I will write descriptive letter after I reach
the field and get work started. I am greatly pleased with the outlook of the work at
MuongNai also the general grow and development of the Southern Shan State.”

Rev. and Mrs. William M. Young who had served in HsiPaw and MuongNai in the past established
mission field in KengTung in 1901. Rev. Young reported in 1903, “There is one Church with 4
members and one baptism. The past year has been one of the seed sowing and foundation work. I am
sorry that we cannot report greater results. The year opened with bright anticipations that Dr. Harper
would arrive early in the year as an associate worker to open the hospital work at once and that he
would also bring reinforcements of native workers. We soon learned however that he was to go to

KengTung, 1900, Reported by Rev. W.M. Young and Mrs. Young, 90
American Baptist Missionary Union Annual
Report, p96

Baptist mission among the Shan 65
NamKham till after the rains. Our working force has been small all the year and in March part of the
workers of the previous year returned to lower Burma, and one preacher went to MuongNai for his
family thus we were entirely without helpers for one month. In April and May we secured some helpers
but not sufficient to properly equip the work. I had hoped to open work among the hill people but lack
of helpers has prevented this. We have been able to preach to large numbers of the hill people at the
bazaar meetings but so far have not been able to visit their villages. At the bazaar meetings the
attendance and attention has been almost invariably good and a fair interest is developed in the house-
to-house work. We have had frequent services in two of the bazaars in the valley outside the city and a
goodly number of villages have been visited. The work, however, has centered in and about the city. In
June, I received by baptism the first fruit of the field. This first convert had to endure severe persecution
but he has proved a steadfast and earnest man. For several months opposition was very strong. The
priests who at first seemed very friendly became openly hostile as soon as active work was begun. The
opposition now seems to be dying out. There has been a decided turn for the better during the last two
months and at present the outlook is decidedly hopeful. We have a somewhat better working force, but
not sufficient to meet the urgent needs. There has been a little teaching but no regular schoolwork the
past year. I hope we can fully open this work very soon. We expected that Dr. Harper would reach us
by January 1903, but circumstances made it necessary for him to remain permanently at NamKham. We
are still in hopes that before the rains an associate may reach us for opening the medical work. At the
latest a family should not fail to be sent out in the early autumn. The hospital work will be of vital
importance to all departments of work. The field gives a magnificent opening for medical effort. While
the results, thus far, have been small, thousands have heard the word. We have bazaar meetings in the
city three days out of five, besides the meetings in outside bazaars and house-to-house work. The work
in the bazaars has been hampered somewhat as we have no preaching zayat and so far I have been
unable to secure a good site for building a zayat. The hill people are very friendly and I have no doubt
that a large ingathering of souls would soon follow the opening of active work in the villages in the
hills. I still hope to get some men in training for the work early in the year. A marked interest has been
shown in one of the villages of northern Shan. Several have professed to believe that Christ is the true
God but the opposition has kept them from taking a firm stand. Some of them were told they would die
in three days if they became Christians.” “The attendance and attention was good during the time of
strongest opposition and now as the opposition is giving way the interest seems to be deepening. Satan
is powerfully entrenched here and the early converts will have to face bitter opposition. The Khun are
very conceited, bigoted and superstitious. The northern Shan are slaves to custom, but purer in morals,
and more accessible to the gospel. It is a joy to preach the gospel in the midst of so dense spiritual
The survey report in 1906, “Shan found in all valleys wherever paddy land is found, in other
words, in all the valleys of the State, there will be found Shan. Tribal must trade in Shan bazaars.
70,000 tribal, 120,000 Shan, Kaw 29,652 most depraved.” “Tai Lu attaches an interest, out of
proportion, to their numbers from the fact that our Presbyterian brethren claim that they can all read.
They are found chiefly around the country of MuongLem in China. Some of them have been baptized
and one of the evangelists now employed by Rev. Young is a Tai Lu man.” “Regarding the best
language to use for work among hill peoples the expense that reducing the languages to writing is not
justified by the numbers at present known. In the meantime converts from all the tribes so far as
possible may well study the Shan language and literature in the school already opened and in others that
may be opened for them. We find that the children from the hill tribes now in school learn to read Shan
literature easily and well. It will undoubtedly be found best to make use of the Shan as the common
literary language for all the tribes. (comparing Karen Christians who learn Burmese) In the same way
by adopting the Shan as a literary language the converts from the hill tribes might become an equally
efficient agency in the evangelizing of the Shan.” “A bad fire raged in KengTung burning out the every
heart of the city. The bazaar, all the shops in the place and about four hundred houses were destroyed
Baptist mission among the Shan 66
including the mission preaching zayat. The Presbyterian mission lost more heavily than ours. The fire
caused by the lamp of the opium smoker who went to sleep without extinguishing the light. Three
people lost their lives.”

There is no Shan Presbyterian Church till today.

Early Mission Work
Rev. & Mrs. W.M. Young and their team had started mission works among the Shan, Lahu, Wa,
MuhSo and Lolo hill tribe people as soon as they began mission field in 1901. Shan were strong
Buddhist. Rev. Young spoke Shan and did most of his work in that language. The great ingathering into
Christianity had not been from the Shan who were Buddhists but from the border tribes who were
Animists. It was reported in 1915 that Rev. Young had been doing the work among the tribes alone
where three men were needed. In the interests of mission comity an attempt was made at a joint
conference of representatives of the Baptist and Presbyterian designing a definite portion to each body.
With the assistance of the Presbyterians it was hoped that the whole field may be developed a task,
which the Baptists alone had not had the men or the resources to accomplish. Rev. Young though
speaking Shan had his time occupied in work for the Muhso, Lahu, Wa and Lolo tribes of the
KengTung field who were coming en mass towards Christianity. Referring to the shortage of
missionaries Dr. Henderson wrote, “We think and write of intensive development but actually grow
weaker and weaker every year.” The mission works included evangelism, hospital and education. In
1927 the Lahu and Shan work were separated.
Ai Noi was a son of Buddhist village headman. He was trained to be the Buddhist priest,
spending 8 years in Buddhist monastery. As a priest he wore saffron-colored robes. One day he felt ill,
so that he went to the hospital and was treated by Dr. Henderson. Before giving medicine Dr.
Henderson said, “Would you like me to pray to the God of this pill?” Ai Noi answered, “Certainly, for
it costs no more for the prayer.” Dr. Henderson folded his hands together in an attitude of prayer and
prayed for the recovery of Ai Noi. A few days later, Ai Noi saw another Buddhist priest walking
through the village and he asked, “Where are you going?” the priest answered, “I am going to the
hospital for medicine.” Ai Noi said, “You have no need to go to the hospital. I know what to do.” Ai
Noi asked the priest to sit down and he folded his hands together as he had seen Dr. Henderson did and
he prayed word-for-word the prayer he had heard from Dr. Henderson. This fellow priest also recovered
from illness. Because of this experience Ai Noi began to believe in the Christian God.
He was the first
Hkun convert.
Rev. Raymond Bates Buker and his wife went to KengTung in 1934 for evangelistic and
educational work. In May he reported having made a twenty-two days tour of 225 miles by motor and
200 miles on foot, visiting over a dozen villages. In June he reported another trip of 130 miles all on
foot. Shan baptism on the KengTung field averaged more than one hundred per year. On a Sunday in
April 1939 forty-two Shan were baptized at one time, a record for Baptist work among the Shan. In
1941, there were 130 baptisms and more than twenty were waiting for baptism. Literacy among new
workers was increased by holding one-week Bible classes in which adults were taught to read. In March
1939 Rev. Buker reported that about 800 persons had enrolled in such classes, held in eleven places.
One of his reports contains this sentence: “Why do we say that they are slow to accept when so many
have never been told?" (Burma News, June 1934, p. 83) Unfortunately the coming of World War II to
Burma brought an abrupt halt when missionaries were evacuated to India and all help from abroad was
cut off. Under the Japanese occupation KengTung was attached to Thailand and was occupied by Thai
troops. By the end of the war extensive damage had been done to buildings on the mission compound in

90th Annual Report, American Baptist Missionary Union, p96
Against the clock by Eric S. Fife, pp132-133
Baptist mission among the Shan 67
Ray Buker worked mainly among Tai Hkun. He learned Hkun and translated Gospel of John
and Mark into Hkun language in 1935 with the help of Ai Noi who was native Hkun. When Ray and Ai
Noi arrived in a strange village they were welcomed into the house of the headman of the village. Ray
would erect his mosquito net and eat whatever food was offered to them by the hospitable Tai chief.
After eating, the elders would gather around the fire with the young people on the fringes and the
women on the outer ring. Ai Noi knew no English or any of the dialects which Ray was familiar. After
eating, Ai Noi would say, “The big teacher will now teach you.” Then, Ray would give a brief message
using little vocabulary he had learned. After Ray finished Ai Noi would speak enlarging Ray’s simple
message. He would discuss with the elders for hours. The people loved it and he would preach for three
or four hours, deep into the night, night after night. Ray learned oral language from Ai Noi.
Ai Noi used to say, “People do not come to see a doctor until they are sick. When these people
are in trouble they will turn to us then they will be more responsive to the message we have to give
them about Jesus Christ.” He would say, “I told you last time how you could avoid trouble following
Jesus.” “Now listen to me carefully and do not forget the lessons that I teach you and Jesus will keep
you out of trouble and difficulties.” Ray spent 200 nights of the year away from home working in the
villages of KengTung State. Ray had translated a number of hymns into various languages and some
had been set to native tune. In ’50 and ’60 the only hymns that many local Christians learned to sing
were set to Western-style music that was utterly alien to the local population. Rev. and Mrs. Vincent
Young were compelled to leave Bana (SipSongPanNa), China, in 1949 and came to live in mission
compound in KengTung where they supervised the reconstruction of the church and hospital buildings.
John Po, Karen missionary, arrived KengTung as a Burma Baptist Convention’s representative in 1957
and acted as school principal until 1959. Under leadership of John Po primary schools were opened in
MuongYawng and MuongYang. The medical and education ministries were very successful, helpful
and effective in reaching the people with the gospel. He worked with Saw Khin, Ai Chein, Ya Kup,
Philip, Ai Chit and Seng Tip in mission work.
Shwe Wah, a young novitiate in a Buddhist monastery in KengTung when Cushing visited there
in 1870, later became Cushing’s chief helper in translating the Bible into Shan. Cushing paid high
tribute to him for his ability and sacrificial spirit. Even though the primary objective of having mission
field in KengTung was reaching the Shan people, the end result was getting many other hill tribes
coming to the Lord.

1. Evangelistic work
Missionary started preaching gospel in bazaar meeting and house-to-house meeting. For several
months after the mission field started the opposition was very strong. The priests who at first seemed
very friendly became openly hostile as soon as active work was begun. Several had professed to believe
that Christ was the true God but the opposition had kept them from taking a firm stand. Some of them
were told they would die in three days if they became Christians.
It was reported in 1907 that Rev. W.M. Young had cut the cords from the wrists of hundreds of
people and had baptized 110 and hundreds more have professed faith. The cords worn on the wrist,
ankle or neck were the symbols of spirit charm. It was reported in 1916 that 13,654 converts have been
baptized from MuhSo, Lahu, Wa and Lolo tribes, some of whom dwelled across the Chinese border.
They were animist. Shan were Buddhist. Rev. Young reported in 1911 the baptism of almost an entire
small Ahka village and of forty Wa who came from the extreme northern part of the field in China. The
total number of baptisms for the year was 936 and the membership of KengTung mission field was
9,800 in 1911.
It was a great achievement to get 13,654 converts in 16 years. However they were not Shan.
Most of them were hill tribes. There were occasions mentioned about Shan baptized. 9 Shan baptized in
1935 in MehHok, 14 Shan baptized in 1938 in KengTung, 42 Shan baptized in April 1939. It was
reported in 1916 that the missionary efforts among the Shan who were intense Buddhists had been
Baptist mission among the Shan 68
characterized by a slow ingathering
of converts. Part of this had been
due to small number of
missionaries engaged in the work.
It was reported on March 26, 1935
by Rev. Ray Buker that Buddhist
monks and lepers baptized. Two
Buddhist priests faithfully go out
on foot to evangelize with
missionary receiving no
remuneration. Buker traveled 250
miles journey in June visited 20
Shan and 5 Lahu villages, 102
hours spent traveling in one month.
Interest shown near Chinese border
where no Shan believers exist.
Previous year Buker passed out a
few Hkun catechisms at
MuongPyat to the men literate in
that dialect resulting in Nan Hsam
believing and being baptized in
February 1936. Nam Hsam was ex-Buddhist monk and expert in Hkun literature. He believed in Christ
after being healed by Dr. Buker for his skin disease. All family members believed at the same time.
It was reported on August 10, 1937 by Buker that in MuongPyat woman with two daughters
awaited baptism. Some months ago they were driven out from their village because they were accused
of evil-spirit possession. Both daughters married to Christian men. In 1954 there was a flourishing Shan
Church in KengTung with a Christian village, WanKanNa, had approximately 100 houses just outside
KengTung. There seemed small prospect of obtaining a doctor for the hospital in KengTung. An
evangelistic family for the Eastern Shan State was on the urgency list but so far there was no immediate
candidate in sight. Rev. Young went home on furlough in 1954 and could not return to Burma because
Burmese government refused him re-entry. When there was no missionary in KengTung, the
responsibility for general supervision of the Christian work fell upon Thra Aung din, a graduate of
Burma Divinity School, and the representative of Burma Baptist Convention. After he was transferred
to the Northern Lahu-Wa mission field in 1957, Rev. John Po became the Field Superintendent of the
KengTung Shan mission field for the Convention. He was loyally supported by his wife Naw Thein
Tin, a trained nurse. In spite of the difficulties and dangers of communications, he had been able to visit
some of the Shan village Churches so long isolated. In January 1961 he baptized 28 Shan in the village
of MuongYang, near the Chinese border. With the literacy rate only about 30% among the Shan
Christians on the field, it was surprising that the Churches had shown so much spiritual vitality through
years of isolation.
In 1978, Sai Stephen, director of evangelism department of Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist
Association led an evangelistic team of 13 members to many villages for 30 days. During that trip 15
people accepted the Lord and baptized. From April 4 to May 10, 1980, an evangelistic team led by Sai
Stephen traveled to MuongYang, MuongKan, MuongPyat, MuongYawng, DaLi and TaChiLeik. The
journey was difficult. Sometimes there was no car, no food and they had to go on foot without food.
They preached and witnessed to many people in many villages. During the trip 6 people baptized. Some
members of evangelistic team, including Sai Stephen, got infected with Malaria and had to be treated in
hospital in KengTung. Sai Stephen worked very hard and traveled a lot in the field. He was away from
home on evangelistic trip when his mother passed away at home. Sometimes he traveled alone by
Rev. William Marcus Young, Mrs. Alta Dell Marcus Young,
Harold Marcus Young, Vincent Marcus Young

Baptist mission among the Shan 69
motorcycle for many days. He fell from motorcycle many times because of the rough road. In 1991 he
drove his small motorcycle from KengTung to TaChiLeik, about 100 miles, to meet with me at Maesai.
He got accident on the road and his motorcycle was badly damaged. I got his motorbike repaired before
returning to KengTung. Later in 1993, Asian Outreach bought him a motorbike to use in 21
Shan Mission Project.

Rev. Ray Buker, Dr. Richard Buker and their families

Joint mission with Burma Baptist Convention was proposed by Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist
Association in 1985. However since there was no reply from BBC new mission fields were started by
themselves. There were 8 new believers in 1988 in MuongPyin new mission field. Another evangelistic
trip was led by Sai Stephen from March 17 to April 24 in 1987 with 13 members to many villages.

2. First Shan convert
A Shan young man named Phak Ka Sai had, for the first time, heard the gospel from Rev.
Cushing in 1870, when he was 25 years old. After Rev. Cushing left KengTung, Phak Ka Sai never had
a chance of hearing gospel again. Phak Ka Sai would have had studied at Buddhist monastery because
he knew how to read Shan. In those days learning Shan literature was only available at Buddhist
monastery usually taught by monks. Phak Ka Sai accepted the Lord and baptized on June 1, 1902 in the
hand of Rev. William Marcus Young. He was the first Shan convert in Eastern Shan State. After
becoming Christian he abandoned Shan traditions such as Shan New Year celebration, other Shan
festivals, playing gong-mong-cymbal musical instrument and refused to join in cultural dancing in
festivals and celebration because they were considered as heathen. He was then excommunicated by his
Buddhist friends and community and was driven out from his village because of his new faith. This first
convert had to endure severe persecution but he had proved a steadfast and earnest man. Phak Ka Sai
could not live in the village with Buddhist neighbors and community. He left the village and went to
live with American missionaries in mission compound.

Burma Baptist Chronicle Book I by Maung Shwe Wa, Book II edited by Genevieve Sowards and Erville Sowards, p362
Baptist mission among the Shan 70
We are still facing such problems in 21

century. Sometimes we have to relocate our new
Shan believers and find a new place for them to
live. We sometimes have to establish new
village for new believers. How can we make it
possible for Christians and Buddhists to live
together without discrimination? Shan believers
are labeled by Buddhist Shan as “American
Shan” because when Shan believe in Christ and
become Christians they abandoned all Shan
traditions and practices and follow Christian
practices, which Shan Buddhists see it as
“American culture.” One year later Phak Ka
Sai’s daughter Nang Seng also baptized. Nang
Seng was the first woman convert in Eastern
Shan State. She later married to Thra Doo Paw,
a Karen missionary, who came along with Rev.
W.M. Young to KengTung. Phak Ka Sai and his
daughter lived in mission compound, helped
missionaries and learned the Bible from
missionaries. Phak Ka Sai later became
preacher. He led many Shan people to Christ.
He passed away in 1921 because of Malaria.
During his time of service the ministry among the
Shan in KengTung was very successful but after his death Shan believers were left behind as orphans
and the ministry declined. Some Churches did not even have pastors. Some lay leaders who were
literates but theologically un-trained had to preach, lead the service on Sunday and take care of the
Church. It was reported in 1904 that there was one Church, seven members and one baptism.

3. Mission compound
The mission compound was very large. There was a school, a church building, hospital and staff
quarter in the compound. How could Dr. Gibbens get such a big land from SaoPha? I was told, “One
day Dr. Gibbens went to see KengTung’s SaoPha and asked for land to build hospital and school.
SaoPha said “I’ll give you the land as big as you can measure by a cow skin.” How big is a cow skin?
Dr. Gibbens was so cleaver. He cut out dry cow skin into small threads and fixed them together. Then it
came out to be a long cow skin. He measured it by that cow skin and got acres of land.”

The first Shan Church
The first temporary chapel was built in KengTung in 1902. It had four members including the
first convert Phak Ka Sai. The first church building, NaungPha Church, was built of woods in mission
compound in 1922. It was completely destroyed during the war. Another new NaungPha church
building was built of bricks in 1936 under leadership of Rev. Ray Buker.
NaungPha Church was
multiracial Church consisted of Burmese, Shan, Lahu and Wa. Sometimes three to four languages were
used during Sunday worship service and lasted about four hours. It was reported in 1937 that there were
only 25 Christians in NaungPha Church in 1927. The church building is now belonged to Wa Baptist
Association when the properties in mission compound were divided to different racial groups.

As interviewed with Rev. Seng Tip on March 1, 2003
As interviewed with Rev. Ah Yai who was baptized by Rev. Ray Buker in 1938 on March 6, 2003
Portrait of the first believer “Pha Ka Sai”
Baptist mission among the Shan 71
KanNaLone church building was built in 1951 under leadership of San Lu. It was Shan-
speaking Church. It helped solve the problem of long worship service at NaungPha Church due to
multi-languages. The first pastor of KanNaLone Church was recorded as Rev. Po Hla. As reported in
1927 by Telford, in the absence of the pastor of Shan Church, San Lu conducted the religious services.
He also taught Sunday school class and he had, on different occasions, gone to KengTung market to
preach the gospel to his fellow Shan. He even had conversations with SaoPha about Christianity. The
SaoPha was a staunch Buddhist. San Lu had a likable personality. Two storeys Phak Ka Sai memorial
hall was built in 2001 in KanNaLone Shan Baptist Church compound. It is useful for further activities
of the Church. There are six rooms for Sunday school and a big assembly hall upstairs.

KengTung Hospital
Medical work began with the arrival of Dr. and Mrs. Howard Clinton Gibbons in 1903, and a
hospital building was completed. After three years of service he moved to MuongNai and Dr. Robert
Harper arrived KengTung in 1907. Dr. Robert Harper worked in KengTung from 1907 till 1915. He
also started mission school. There were many gaps in missionary terms, especially in medical work. Dr.
Henderson’s son Ralph, came out for three years, Miss. Elva Jenkins had the medical work for two
years, while Miss. Gladys Riggs greatly improved the school. Dr. and Mrs. Max D. Miles served in
KengTung from 1925 to 1931. Dr. Richard Buker served from 1926-1940. Dr. Richard Buker was very
much involved in medical work among leprosy patients. He built hospital and started nursing training.
In 1929 report, he had treated 20,684 patients, done 82 surgical operations, seen 370 in-patients and
trained 17 nurses. Miss. Elva O Jenkins and Miss. C.E. Henderson also helped hospital work from 1930
to 1934.

Dr. Richard Buker and hospital staffs

The Shan work in KengTung took on new life with the coming of the Ray Buker in 1934 after
serving their first term in Bana, Pangwai and Mong Mong. In 1936, Saw Khin arrived KengTung to
serve in hospital. She was the first Shan nurse to serve along side Dr. Buker. She married to Ba Hein in
1937 and lived in mission compound until World War II. After World War II she moved to KanNaLone
and started Shan fellowship with few Shan believers. Dr. Richard Buker treated many people with
leprosy in KengTung free of charge. Dr. Richard Buker started a training course for “nurse-
compounders” for men. The dispensary gave 20,000 treatments, the hospital had about 400 in-patients,
and about 1,000 leprosy patients were under treatment in villages scattered over KengTung State. Dr.
Buker made long trips to villages, examining hundreds of people, to find the dread disease in its early
Baptist mission among the Shan 72
stages. The American Leprosy Missions gave financial help to this work. It was reported in 1931 by Dr.
Buker that a class of seven students studying medicine in KengTung Hospital. KengTung hospital was
not only treating patients it also giving training and education in medicine to local people. When Dr.
Buker went on furlough in 1940 and Dr. Lao Htin Po took over the medical work. All hospital and
school ministries stopped during World War II. All missionaries left for India by plane from
NamKham. The Louis Hastings Memorial Hospital in KengTung was destroyed during World Wart II.
Dr. & Mrs. Keith Dahlberg arrived KengTung in 1957 and reopened the hospital in 1958. Dr. Dahlberg
reported on August 31, 1958 that the clinic had handled (mostly in July and August) 1,690 patient,
1,020 new patients and 14 minor surgery done. KengTung Christian Hospital had grown to an
institution equipped and staffed to handle major surgical, medical and obstetric cases. Dr. Dahlberg
worked day and night twenty-four hours on call all days. In addition to his duties at the hospital he had
to look after the leprosy work with a staff of two, one for Church work and the other for going round
the 15 leper villages distributing medicines and reporting conditions prevailing in the leper villages.
Dr. Saline Aung Thaik, Chin doctor, arrived in 1962 when Dr. Dahlberg was on furlough. It was
reported in 1963 that the hospital had Christian (all Baptist but one Catholic) workers working under
the guidance of BBC. The main aim and object was to show the love of Christ by giving help to the
poor and needy and to go and give help to neglected areas. When Dr. Keith Dahlberg left in April 1962
they felt lonely but with daily guidance and strength from God they were able to continue the work.
Due to greater ministry to the needy and poor they were in financial difficulty but God answered prayer
and they found enough help to meet their need. Under care of the hospital were 18 villages of
segregated lepers looked after by only two workers who had to travel a vast area in the hilly part of the
country. With the help of American Leprosy Mission Inc. they could distribute free anti-leprosy drugs
and other general medicines, support 3 to 4 leper students in primary and middle classes and 3 primary
schools with one teacher each in 3 leper villages. Another source of help was the BBC Relief
Committee. They had received blankets and clothing from Churches for the lepers. Though the hospital
was a separate unit in KengTung field it was in no way independent but was in constant co-operation
with Churches and Committees of the BBC and Burma Council of Churches. They received much co-
operation and help from the field Secretary Rev. John Po as he was in touch with the people for more
than 5 years. There were much to be done for the leprosy villages promoting the co-operative work
other than helping with many gifts so that the strength and ability of the local Churches could be used to
promote the life of the Church of that area. Though there had been progress in the past there was also
much to worry about and much to pray for. As for the hospital the financial situation was not very
strong and daily income to the hospital hardly meets the need to pay for salaries, maintenance and
miscellaneous expenses and the purchase of medicines for hospital use. As for the staff some had
resigned and some would probably be leaving at the end of the year after long service in this area. They
needed more native people for this work. There was language difficulty as at least four different dialects
were used in everyday work. Two nurse-aids had been selected for further training. Above all they
needed more national doctors in this area, better still, people from this area who would like to serve this
vast area.
Statistics – January 1963 – July 1963
80-bedded hospital; 1 National Doctor,
Out patient department; 2,628 attendance,
1 Missionary nursing superintendent,
In-patients; 321, Daily Census average; 11.6,
1 Business Manager, 4 qualified nurses (including Midwives)
Buildings; 2 quarters, 4 Trained nurses from Yedwinyegan, 1 nurses’ home
2 houses for leprosy; 2 Aid nurses, 1 Lab/Xray assistant, 1 Cook; 5 Menials, including night watchmen

Baptist mission among the Shan 73
Mission School
Mission school was started in 1904 by Dr. H.C. Gibbens. Mr. Antisdel had to abandon his work
at KengTung and proceed to America in 1912 because of poor health. The pupils were from six
different tribes but the examinations were conducted in Shan, which was the common language for all.
A rudimentary normal department for the training of teachers had been opened and industrial training in
carpentry, masonry, seed sowing, laundering, cooking, care of animals and housework were given. San
Lu was the head master of the school in 1927. He got his training in the Methodist School, Rangoon,
and Baptist School in TaungGyi. San Lu could speak and teach in languages such as Shan, Burmese,
Lahu and English. The children came from non-Christian Shan, Burmese, Chinese and Indian families.
Those boys and girls while in school lived in a Christian atmosphere and they carried back to their
homes Christian influences, which helped to dispel misunderstanding their parents had about mission
work. Apparently it seemed essential that, in work for the Shan, confidence and friendship had first
been established as a basis of approach for the Gospel message. San Lu had won many friends among
the parents of his pupils. He was quick to note the absence of a student and he promptly found out by a
personal visit to the home and the reason for a student’s absence. His interest and enthusiasm for the
success of each individual pupil inspired the parents to show more interest in the education of their
San Lu had gathered to the school a fine company of boys and girls who paid monthly fees for
their education. There was the SaoPha’s school in town where free education was given but despite this
competition many parents preferred to send their children to the mission school where both the teaching
and the discipline were better. Even SaoPha sent some of his children to mission school. In the absence
of the pastor of Shan Church, San Lu conducted the religious services. He also taught a Sunday school
class and he had, on different occasions, gone to the KengTung market to preach the Gospel to his
fellow Shan. He even had conversations with the SaoPha about the Christian religion. The SaoPha was
a staunch Buddhist. San Lu had a likable personality and he was a great Christian leader among the
Shan. San Lu was honored by the prime minister of Burma, U Nu, as Mahathraesethu San Lu, as
minister of transportation in 1953.
His memorial hall was built in KanNaLone Shan Baptist Church,
Aung Din, Saw Maung and Saw Ka Le Htoo also arrived KengTung and helped Rev. Young in
mission school until 1956. New school building was started in 1959. School was teaching up to six
standard in 1962. The school had become a High School and the headmaster was David Hsam. All the
teachers were Christians except one. A children hostel was built in mission compound in 1978 with 22
students. There were 28 students in 1988. The objective of having this hostel was to give opportunity to
hill tribe children to have opportunity of continuing learning in KengTung and to produce future
Christian leadership. Twelve of them were children from leprosy villages. Now there are two children
hostels under Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention. Hostels accept children from primary to
high school. A kindergarten was started in KanNaLone Church in 1981 with 60 children and 3 teachers.
It increased to 85 children and 4 teachers in 1985. In 1988, the number of kindergartens increased to 7
in 7 Churches under ESSSBA.

Mass Baptism
Whenever some one believed in Christ water Baptism was conducted to accept him or her as a
member of the Church. According to Baptist practices baptism was conducted on Sunday. Sometimes a
large group of people baptized at the same time. Noticeably mass baptism use to be taken place during
big and special occasions.

As interview with David Hsam, February 23, 2003
Baptist mission among the Shan 74

For instance 218 people baptized when Churches
in Eastern Shan State celebrating 65
Shan State Baptist Mission Celebration in
KanNaLone from April 4 to 7, 1968.
165 baptized on April 7, 1978 during Annual
General Meeting of E.S.S Shan Baptist
68 people baptized during Shan Bible Centenary
Celebration held in MuongYang in 1985 from 11
to 14 April.
58 people baptized in 1987 when silver jubilee of
TaChiLeik Church was held in TaChiLeik from
April 2 to 5.
168 baptized in KengTung on March 31, 2001
when Eastern Shan Churches celebrating Eastern
Shan State Baptist Mission Centenary.
Why do people want to be baptized on such special occasion? Who are those baptized on these
special occasions? Very few people baptized in normal circumstances. Almost all the people baptized
on such special occasions are second generation Christians. One of the purposes of baptizing on such
special occasion is; a happy moment to be baptized together with friends and easy to remember the date
of their baptism. Should we have special occasions more often so that more people will be baptized?
Should we change the attitude of baptizing only at special occasion? Many Shan Churches do not
organize water baptism on regular basis. A senior pastor said, “We conduct baptism only twice a year at
Easter and Christmas.”
Evangelist training
As we have set up a 21
Century Shan Mission Project to produce 201 evangelists in the year 2001, a
three-months-evangelist-training course was introduced in 1990 in KengTung to produce more
evangelists in Eastern Shan State under leadership of Rev. Sai Stephen. This is the first training course
of its kind ever conducted aiming to produce more Shan evangelists. 15 people attended the first
program. Before attending the training all trainees have to give a promise of serving in mission for at
least 2 years after graduation. Nevertheless most of them are serving until today. Most of them are
being ordained.
The first GCI for Eastern Shan Churches was conducted in KengTung from December 1 to 13,
1997. Trainers came from different countries. 40 attended, including 31 Shan and 9 Wa. The expense
was Kyat 520,000 paid by GCI team. Lessons such as Power Theology, Ministry Planning, How to
study the Bible, Leadership, Church Planting, Pastoral Ministry, Prayer, Christian Family, Evangelism,
Praise and Worship, and Child Evangelism were taught. Second GCI was conducted in KengTung in
February 2001. 42 students from Wa tribe, Lahu tribe, Shan tribe and a couple more from different
tribes attended.
Bible School graduates
There is no “Shan Bible School” in Shan States. All Shan students have to go to study at
Burmese or Karen or Lisu or English Bible School in Insein, MayMyo or TaungGyi. The first Shan
Christians graduated from Bible School since mission field opened in KengTung in 1901 were Sai
Philip, Sai Hsam and Sai Seng in 1961 from TaungGyi Bible School. Between 1961-1980, 6 attended
TaungGyi Bible School, 6 attended Insein Myanmar Seminary and 2 attended Myanmar Institute of
Theology in Insein. Only 14 young people went to Bible school in 19 years. Under 21
Century Shan
Mission Project 19 students were sent to Bible schools in 1984 including 5 from Eastern Shan State. It
168 believers baptized in the muddy river

Baptist mission among the Shan 75
was a surprise to Bible Schools in Insein to see such big number of Shan students attending Bible
Schools in one year. Normally the Bible Schools seldom have one Shan student in a year.
Sai Myint Lay was the first student from Eastern Shan State to graduate from Myanmar Institute
of Theology in 1969 with B.Th degree. He served as General Secretary of Eastern Shan State Shan
Baptist Conference for one year and moved to LaShio in 1971. There he got marriage to a Shan woman
and had two sons. He later got addicted to heroin and completely left the ministry. He was rehabilitated
and returned to serve in Burma Baptist Convention drug rehabilitation department in 1980. He was then
sent to Hong Kong in 1982 by BBC to study drug rehabilitation program at Wu Oi Drug Rehabilitation
Center for two months. He spent one month staying at my home. We had an opportunity of discussing
about Shan missions. Sai Myint Lay went back to Burma in January 1983 and got involved with Shan
mission work again. He left BBC and went back to serve Eastern Shan State Baptist Convention as full-
time secretary in 1986. He later married to a Kachin woman on May 19, 1989. He had severe
motorcycle accident in 1992 and damaged his right shoulder. He was sent to New Haven. CT, USA, by
BBC, in 1996 for a few months study tour. After returning from U.S.A. he had a severe sickness and
was admitted to hospital. He passed away on September 3, 1997 in Yangon.
Sai Stephen was a second Shan student from Eastern Shan State to graduate from Myanmar
Institute of Theology in 1977 with B.Th degree. He served the Lord as pastor of Calvary Baptist
Church, NaungPha, KengTung, since graduated from Bible School until he served full-time as Assistant
Director of 21
Century Shan Mission Project in 1992 responsible for Eastern Shan State. He also
served as General Secretary of Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention since its inception from
1997 to 1999. He was the pioneer of formation of Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention. He was
sent to New Haven, CT, USA, by Myanmar Baptist Convention for study tour from September 1999 to
May 2000. He returned to Myanmar in June 2000. He unexpectedly got stroke and passed away on July
12, 2000 in KengTung. I had an opportunity of talking to him by phone from Yangon two days before
he passed away while I was conducting Shan GCI in Yangon. It was a shock to Shan Churches. I was
able to go to KengTung and joined his funeral service on July 17.

Bible School gradates in one century (1901-2001)

Name Diploma School Remark
1. Naw Mi L.Th MICT (deceased)
2. Philip L.Th TaungGyi Bible School
3. Sai Hsam L.Th TaungGyi BS
4. Sai Seng L.Th TaungGyi BS (deceased)
5. Shwe Pui L.Th MICT
6. Seng Tip L.Th MICT
7. Myint Lay B.Th MIT (deceased)
8. Stephen B.Th MIT (deceased)
9. Kham Yung L.Th MICT
10. Seng Arm L.Th MICT
11. Stephen Ping L.Th MICT
12. Kya Yung L.Th MICT
13. Khin Htun Hein L.Th MICT
14. May San Oo B.Th MIT
15. Zan Leng B.Th MIT
16. Myint Myint Pyu B.Th MIT
17. Tha Han M.Div MIT
18. Saw Tip Lao B.R.E MIT

As reported in 2001 at E.S.S. Centenary by Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention
Baptist mission among the Shan 76
19. Htun Kyaw B.Th Po Karen Bible School
20. Seng Hom B.Th Lisu Bible School
21. Mu Ran B.Th Lisu Bible School
21 Shan from Eastern Shan State graduated from Bible School and Theological Seminary in 100 years.

ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission

ShweLi Valley is a beautiful valley between Burma and China comprising of three townships;
NamKham, SeLan and MuSe. The Churches from three towns united and formed an association named
after the valley. “ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission” on December 24, 1945.
It was reported in 1957 that there were three main objectives.
1. To share the glad tidings and the love of Jesus Christ to our neighbors, the Shan Buddhists of whom
need to be saved.
2. To open schools for Buddhist children who can be taught to read the Holy Bible as well as sing
gospel hymns. To teach them how to pray Lord’s Prayer.
3. To reach the hearts of our Buddhist brethren with ministry of healing. The NamKham Hospital is
doing to achieve this end hope. Dispensaries in the hills with nurse-evangelists in order to minister to
Chinese and Palong population.

Churches and their pastors in 1933
1. Baptist Church in NamKham Hospital, (Stone Church) Pastor Rev. Htun Pyu,
2. NongSanKone Shan Baptist Church (Thatch Church), Pastor Rev. Ai Pan,
3. SeLan Shan Baptist Church, Pastor Saya Paw Kham,
4. MuSe Shan Baptist Church, Pastor Rev. Kham Maung.

Member Churches in 1945
1. NongSanKone Shan Baptist Church (Thatch Church)
2. SeLan Shan Baptist Church
3. MuSe Shan Baptist Church
4. First NamKham Church (Stone Church)

Member Churches in 1992
1. NongSanKone Shan Baptist Church (S.B.C), NamKham.
2. MyoMa S.B.C, NamKham.
3. ManPon S.B.C.
4. SeLan S.B.C.
5. MuSe S.B.C.
6. MuongPa S.B.C.
7. LaShio S.B.C.
8. MuongKut S.B.C.
9. MuongMyit S.B.C.
10. TaKwan Chinese B.C.
11. NamKham Chinese B.C.
12. MaSawPin Chinese B.C.
13. PanSaeSanKa B.C.
Out of thirteen, nine are Shan-speaking Churches. 10 new Churches are added in 47 years.
Baptist mission among the Shan 77
Statistic in 1958
The number of Churches under ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission were 5, total number of
Baptized Christians were 768 (women 474, men 295), the number of Sunday Schools were 5 with 880
students, of whom 178 were girls and 157 were boys, the number of C.E. Societies were 4 with 558
members, of whom 804 were girls and 249 were boys, the number of Christian Women Societies were
4 with over 200 members and one roving woman evangelist and the number of mission primary schools
were 4 with 284 pupils, among whom were 125 girls and 109 boys. Teacher-Evangelists; 5 women and
2 men.
Total number of Baptisms given during 1958-59 were 142, of whom 85 were men and 57 were
women, total number of Chinese and Lisu families won from Animism were 8 families with 17
members and total number of Buddhist families won to Christ during 1958-59 were 14 families with 44
Membership in 1992

Baptized Members All
NongSanKone 562 1042
MyoMa 114 282
SeLan 60 100
MuSe 400 1000
LaShio 100 240
MuongKut 54 138
Muong Pa 23 86
MuomgMyit 20 36
ManPon 26 42
Total 1359 1964

1,359 baptized in one hundred years. The membership in 1954 was 666. Most of them are second
generation Christians.

It was reported in 1954,
“The Baptists have a strong and varied work in the Northern Shan State. The
ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission is one of the strongest Shan Baptist fields in
Burma, with Churches at NamKham, SeLan and MuSe. This work has shown a vigorous
growth doubling in numbers in the last ten years. In addition to work among the Shan
full-time evangelists are employed for work among the Chinese and Palong. A Bible
Training School at NamKham was started in January 1953 with seven students. The
Shan Bible Training School at NamKham is designed to meet a local need and is not
well situated for work for the whole Shan States. Vigorous evangelistic work is carried
out in villages near NamKham and very cordial relations are maintained with the Kachin
Baptist. The NamKham Hospital is essentially an integral part of the mission work in the
ShweLi Valley although at present it is not under mission control. The ShweLi Valley
Baptist High School, on the hospital compound, is also a part of the general Christian

In 1958 there were 9 full-time teacher-evangelists preaching gospel not only among Shan Buddhists but
also Palong, Lisu and the domicile hill Chinese.

ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission, NamKham, N.S.S. Report for the year 1956-57 ending July 31, 1957
A Study of Baptist Work in the Shan States By E.E. Sowards, published by Burma Baptist Mission, Rangoon, 1954, p2
Baptist mission among the Shan 78
The first Executive Board Members in 1945
Chairman & Treasurer; Rev. Ai Pan

Secretary; Saya Kham Yee

Members; Rev. Kham Maung
Saya Ai Hmoon
Saya Hsaw

Saya Hsai

Executive Board Members in 1961
1. President Dr. Ai Lun
2. Vice-President: Saya Ai Hmoon
3. General Secretary Saya Aung Htun Shwe
4. Assoc: Secretary: Saya Kham Yee
5. Treasurer: Mrs. Saya Pan.
6. Auditors: (1) Saya Hsaw, (2) Sayama Daw Kham Paun

Representatives from MuSe Shan Baptist Church
1. Rev. Kham Maung (Pastor)
2. Saya Chit Pwe (Secretary)
3. Saya Hsaw
4. Saya Po Myit
5. Pan Aung (Village Head)
6. Dr. Ai Lun
7. Yawt Kham
8. Paw Thein Shwe
9. Mrs. Ai Lun
10. Sayama Daw Am Paw
11. Sayama Martha
12. Mrs. Kham Maung
Representatives from NamKham Shan Baptist Church
1. Rev. Ai Pan (Pastor)
2. Paw Htawnt
3. Saya Kham Yee (Secretary)
4. Mai Seng
5. Saya Aung Htun Shwe
6. Saya Maung Htun
7. Saya Law San
8. Paw Sha Mwe La (Village Head)
9. Mrs. Saya Pan
10. Mrs. John
Representatives from SeLan Shan Baptist Church
1. Saya Ai Hmoon (Pastor)
2. Paw Maung Kham
3. Paw Sam La (Village Head)
4. Sayama Daw Seng Maung

(Rev. Aung Htun Shwe’s father)
(Rev. Thein Aung Kham’s father)
(Rev. Dr. Sai Htwe Maung’s father)
(Rev. Dr. Sai Htwe Maung’s uncle)
Baptist mission among the Shan 79
5. Sayama Mary
6. Paw Htun Hla
7. Yar Ai Poi
Representatives from Women’s Association
1. Mrs. Saya Pan
2. Mrs. Kham Yee
Representatives from Christian Endeavor Society
1. Saya Maung Htun
2. Saya Chit Hla
With religious movies loaned from Christian Audio-Visual Center of the Burma Christian
Council in Mandalay, thousands of Christians and non-Christians were reached with the gospel. 10
Buddhist families and 2 animist families had been won to Christ in 1960.
There were five primary schools under ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission in 1961; Primary
School in MuSe, SeLan, NamKham, TaGown and ManPang. They were recognized by the government.

Report in 1962 By Aung Htun Shwe, General Secretary
(a) Contributed Kyat 600 annually to the BBC
(b) Help one Insein Seminary Student with Kyat 250 annually
(c) Helped TaungGyi Bible School with Kyat 100 annually
(d) Have three primary schools and the teachers doing evangelistic work during free time.
(e) Carried out the “Christian Home” emphasis program in 1962 especially in MuSe and SeLan
(f) Appointed a Palong Christian worker Saya Tu Jar in July 1962.
Note: This appointment was planned in the beginning of 1955.
(g) Bible Assembly from 1-6 April 1962.
(h) Have started a tonic-so-fa Shan Hymnbook.

The First NamKham Baptist Church has totally out of relationship from the Association. Saya
Aung Htun and Saya Sam have taken indefinite leave due to personal reasons. TaKun Chinese school is
without a teacher. MuongPon pastor has been expelled from the Church on question of his inability to
upkeep the Church’s regulations.

Glimpses of the Churches
There is improvement in NamKham Church. NamKham Chinese Baptist Church, though
without a pastor, is doing well. SaLu Church is also doing well. MuSe Church under the old pastor is
striving for improvement. The Chinese Churches on the hill, though without a shepherd, are doing well

The Aspiration of the Association
1. To strive for a Shan State Baptist Convention.
2. To start a new village called Bethany village, 91 miles from LaShio.
Reasons for having a new village;
1. To enlarge our mission field.
2. To support the material needs of the members.
3. To give jobs to the unemployed.

This Hymnbook has never been published
Baptist mission among the Shan 80
Note: (Bethany village was established but a few years later it was abandoned)
It was reported in 1963 that together with Kachin Baptist Association “Northern Shan State Baptist
Mission Society” had been formed and doing work together among the Buddhists.

In 1969 some members of SeLan Church moved to LaShio and some members of NamKham Church
moved to NaKan and MuongNai. Thus the number of member of the Churches in ShweLi reduced to
In 1973 there were 1 conference, 5 Churches (including new Myoma Church) and 1,103 members.

Local people helping foreign missionaries in the past
Dr. Htun Oo for medical work, Rev. Ai Man, Rev. Htun Pyu, Rev. Tha Dun, Saya Kham Maung, Saya
Sam Pwa, Saya Thar Dwe, Saya Hsam, Saya Law Wu, Saya Ai The, Saya Ai Pan, Sayama Aye La,
Sayama Daw Ahm Htoun, Sayama Daw Ae Khan, Sayama Daw Ahm On, Sayama Daw Oh and
Sayama Daw Rosy in mission work. Sayama Yeo Shwe was sent to MawPint as missionary in 1954.
Rev. Htun Pyu passed away on November 20, 1958 after serving 56 years.

Those who served in ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission

Rev. Ai Pan; as Chairman for 16 years, as Secretary for 1 year and Treasurer for 12 years and Principal
of TaungGyi Bible School for 4 years.
Rev. Kham Yee; as Chairman for 8 years and Secretary for 15 years.
Dr. Ai Lun; as Chairman for 4 years.
Saya Hsaw; as Chairman for 3 years.
Saya Yee Poi; as Chairman for 3 years.
Saya Chit Pwai; as Chairman for 2 years.
Sayama Martha; as Chairman for 6 years and as Treasurer for 14 years.
Rev. Thein Aung Kham; as Chairman for 7 years.
Sayama Aye Hla; as Treasurer for 5 years.
Rev. Aung Htun Shwe; as Secretary for 10 years.
Rev. Shwe Htun; as Secretary for 13 years.
Sayama Kham Pong; as Treasurer for 2 years.
Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha; as Secretary for 9 years.
Daw Mae Htay Yin; as Treasurer for 2 years.
Sai Tha Han; as Treasurer for 7 years.

Women association

The wives of missionaries were the founders of the ShweLi Women Association. They used to organize
women group and taught them Bible, theology, sewing, baking, cooking methods and skill.
Women Associations from NamKham, SeLan and MuSe came to SeLan during Summer Women’s
Bible Study Seminar and formed “ShweLi Shan Baptist Women Association” on April 4, 1958.
The first Chairman of the association was Daw Aye Hla,
Vice-Chairman; Sayama Arm On,
Secretary; Sayama Kham Pong,
Vice Secretary; Sayama Saw Tin,
Treasurer; Sayama Agner,
The women association was strong and active. They had their own finance and ministries. They could
even appoint Saya Kham Ye as their full-time pastor.

ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission Annual Report, 1962 - 63
As reported in 1992 by ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission
As reported by ShweLi Shan Baptist on October 29, 2001, NamKham.
Baptist mission among the Shan 81
NamKham Bible Training School
A Bible Training School at NamKham started in January 1953 with seven students. It was
designed to meet a local need but was not well situated for work for the whole Shan State. This Bible
Training School was the first Bible school to be taught in Shan language.

Rev. Ai Pan conducted three years program (1953-1956).
There was no more Bible School established in ShweLi Valley ever since 1956 when Rev. Ai Pan was
recruited to TaungGyi Bible School. They are planning to have a Bible School in MuSe in 2004.
Graduates in 1956 from NamKham Bible School
1. Maung Su 2. Yee Poi 3. Htun Hla, 4. Ai Seng Hton 5. Hsam
6. Ai Kaw 7. Aung Htun
Out of seven graduates only three, Maung Su, Aung Htun and Yee Poi served in full-time ministry.

Bible School graduates in one century (1893-1992)
43 people graduated from Bible Schools and Seminaries in one hundred years.
1. Maung Su (NamKham Bible School)
2. Yee Poi (NamKham Bible School)
3. Htun Hla (NamKham Bible School)
4. Ai Seng Hton (NamKham Bible School)
5. Sai Hsam (NamKham Bible School)
6. Ai Kaw (NamKham Bible School)
7. Aung Htun (NamKham Bible School)
8. Shwe Aung (NamKham Bible School)
9. Ping Aung (NamKham Bible School)
10. Kham (NamKham Bible School)
11. Aye Nyunt (NamKham Bible School)
12. Am (NamKham Bible School)
13. Marlar Kham (NamKham Bible School)
14. Poi (NamKham Bible School)
15. Aye Pan (NamKham Bible School)
16. Pyine Aung (NamKham Bible School)
17. Aung Htun Shwe (Myanmar Institute of Theology, Rangoon) (MIT)
18. Thein Aung Kham (MIT)
19. David (MIT)
20. Shwe Htun (Myanmar Institute of Christian Theology) (MICT)
21. Tin Maung (MICT)
22. Nyunt Tha (MICT)
23. Po Maung (TaungGyi Bible School)
24. Ba Pe (TaungGyi B S)
25. Thein Win (TaungGyi B S)
26. Zaw Chyan(TaungGyi BS)
27. Htun Kyaw (MIT & Singapore IT)
28. Maung Than (TaungGyi B S)
29. Hla Khin (MICT)
30. Aung Win (MIT)
31. Maung Lay (MICT)
32. Hla Tint (TaungGyi B S)
33. Ngwe Kyi (TaungGyi B S)

A Study of Baptist Work in the Shan States By E.E. Sowards, published by Burma Baptist Mission, Rangoon, 1954, p2
Baptist mission among the Shan 82
34. Kein Kham (MICT)
35. Sai Myat (TaungGyi B S)
36. Shwe Htwe Lay (MICT)
37. Maung Kaing (MICT)
38. Ah Po (MICT)
39. Hla Oo (MICT)
40. Aung Than (MICT)
41. Thida Htun Shwe (MIT)
42. Kya Doi (MICT)
43. Htwe Shin (MIT)
Out of 43 only 21 are in service.

The unity of Churches
After formation of ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission, the unity among four Churches was good but
the first NamKham Church (Stone Church) isolated herself from Association. Three other Churches use
to get together for Bible-Study-Week each year in summer. The host of the Bible-Study-Week was
allocated to each Church each year. People stayed together, ate together, spent time together and
studied scriptures together. Young people and children were having fun together. It was a wonderful
occasion. Combined Christmas program was also held every three years at one place rotating among
three towns. Sport and games for all CE youths were organized every year at one place. However
regretfully fighting brook out between MuSe and NamKham Shan Baptist Churches during friendly
soccer match which ended in disaster when a man died and other injured in 1999 in NamKham.

The Pastoral Council
It was formed on July 29, 1977 at SeLan.
Chairman; Rev. Ai Pan
Secretary; Saya Aung Htun Shwe
Treasurer; Rev. Ai Hmoon

Report in the year 2000
1. Training
Biblical Training for women, men and youth. 40 days training program.

2. Evangelism
Women evangelistic trip to MuongKut. Mission to Palong villages in KutKai, MuSe and
NamKham. New 6 families believed. New mission field in KaShe and NaMon villages in LaShio
Township and MuongYai Township.

3. Development
Training for nursery teachers. Training for cultivation, farming, fishery, poultry and sewing.

4. Mission fields
One nursery teacher and one evangelist were sent to MuongPhyat. There are 8 Christian families
in MuongPhyat. One Palong woman believed in MuPing village.
One woman-evangelist was sent to MuongPan. 6 baptized. 4 Christian families.
One nursery and eight Palong Christian families in LoiLom.
32 baptized and 16 Christian families in NamPong. There was no Church but fellowship only. (Without
full-time pastor and a church building they do not consider as a Church) 28 Christian families in
MuongPa. (No full-time pastor) One fellowship in MuongMit.
Baptist mission among the Shan 83
5. Future planning
To build one Bible School, to be completed in 2004. Had received donation of Kyat 3,000,000.
1. Palong Mission. 2. To send out 2 full-time missionaries and 5 part-time.

The First Church in ShweLi (Stone Church)
The first Church in ShweLi was known as stone
Church because it was built with stones from
NamZaLe and NamYaKau river. It was built
under leadership of Dr. Seagrave. Shan, Kachin,
Karen and other tribes worshipped together in
this Church. In 1933 Shan believers moved out
because of a conflict between Dr. Seagrave and
Shan leaders. It was later called “First Baptist
Church, NamKham.” Its memberships were
mainly teachers, students, doctors and nurses
from hospital and school. It was the first
member of ShweLi Valley Baptist Association
which was formed in 1945. The church building
is now used by Kachin Baptist Convention.
There is still a dispute between ShweLi Valley
Shan Baptist Mission and Kachin Baptist
Convention regarding the ownership of this

NongSanKone Shan Baptist Church
(Thatch Church)
Saya Ai Pan was sent by Dr. Seagrave to
Insein Seminary for Theological study in 1929.
He only did his study for four months and went
back to NamKham. He was ordained on October
31, 1930. One day in 1933, Dr. Seagrave, the
founder of Stone Church, was very angry when a
leader of Shan believers committed adultery. Dr. Seagrave said, “You Shan people are not faithful. You
must leave the Church.” The Shan believers left and tried to sue Dr. Seagrave in court. The judge
passed the sentence in favor of Dr. Seagrave and punished Shan believers to pay to Dr. Seagrave, as
compensation, one lot of firewood from each family. There were about five Shan families who left.
Shan believers moved out from Stone Church and lived in the near by area. A few months later Dr.
Seagrave called them back and asked them to find a place so that they could live and have their own
Church. They chose a place at NongSanKone and built a Church roofed with thatch in 1934. They
called it “Thatch Church” (uRif;cM;). Saya Ai Pan served as pastor of Thatch Church.
Later it is called
NongSanKone Shan Baptist Church.
In 1959, although without a pastor for two and half years when Rev. Ai Pan was on loan to
TaungGyi Bible School, the Church moved forward smoothly under the able leadership of Saya Kham
Yee. Ai Pan served as pastor until he passed away on October 30, 1981 after serving 48 years. There
are about 500 baptized members from 187 families in the year 2000. Rev. Htun Kyaw is the pastor of
the Church in 2001. Saya Hton Wa said, “We have big problem with our young people. There are many
young people got addicted to heroin. We need to do something urgently and seriously. Whenever there

As interviewed with Saya Hton Wah and Longe Ye Hton on March 13, 2003, NamKham.
NamKham NongSanKone church building in 1960
Stone church building as seen in 2003
Baptist mission among the Shan 84
is a feast or celebration, young people come. But I don’t see young people come at ordinary situation
and Sunday worship service. The attendances of Sunday Church service also drop. I think only about
50% of believers attended Sunday worship service. Spiritually we are not very strong.”

Fond Memory of Rev. Ai Pan
He was the best preacher among the Shan preachers. I cannot find a Shan speaker as good as
him until today. I can still remember the message he preached 45 years ago about “Adam & Eve.” This
message will last in my head and my heart forever. Whenever he came to preach at MuSe Church there
was no empty seat. The Church was always overflowed. He used to ride on his bicycle fitted with
machine (motor-bicycle) that could run faster. Since MuSe and NamKham was only 20 miles distance
he could ride his motor-bicycle in one hour to get to MuSe. He used to leave his motor-bicycle at our
home before going to the Church. I still remember having a chance of trying his bicycle. Great fun.
He was a faithful servant of the Lord and great leader of ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission.

SeLan Shan Baptist Church
SeLan Shan Baptist Church is a second
Church planted in ShweLi after First Baptist
Church, NamKham planted in 1894.
Dr. Kirkpatrick reported in 1899, “On account of
the hostility of the native officials all of the
children have left the school at SeLan.” It
indicated that there was a mission school in SeLan
in 1899. Seven people also baptized.

It was reported by Dr. Harper in 1904 that a new
school and Church were well on towards
completion in SeLan. This Church and school
were the gift of the Baptist Church of Bethlehem, Pa., and was to be called the “Bethlehem Mission
Dr. C.A. Kirkpatrick sent Saya Tha Dun, Saya Htun Pyu and Saya Myat to SeLan. It also mentioned in
1910 report that evangelists were actively preaching gospel in SeLan. The church building was rebuilt
and dedicated on July 15, 1956. The total cost of the building was Kyat 1860.85, ShweLi Valley Baptist
Association contributed Kyat 900 and American Baptist Mission contributed Kyat 960.85, Rev. Kham
Maung preached the message from Psalm 84 and 1 Cor 3:16.
The church building was again
renovated and roofed with zinc, concrete floor and brick wall in the year 2000. It cost about Kyat
800,000 and dedicated on April 28, 2000 and was named Rev. Ai Hmoon Memorial church building.
Rev. Tha Dun, the first pastor of SeLan Shan Church, passed away on November 26, 1926.
Then Saya Paw Lu served as pastor for two years and Saya Paw Kham served as pastor until he was
killed by Japanese soldiers during Japanese occupation in 1942. Then Saya Lao Wu served as pastor for
three years and Saya Ai Hmoon became pastor in 1937. Before he became pastor he was a
schoolteacher at SeLan Primary School since 1927. Saya Ai Hmoon was ordained on February 29,
1964. SeLan Church diamond jubilee was held on January 1, 1980.

As interviewed with Saya Hton Wah on March 13, 2003, NamKham.
As recorded by Saya Hsaw in his daily.
SeLan Shan church building seen in 1982
Baptist mission among the Shan 85
Those who served as pastors
Rev. Tha Dun, (1914 – 1926), Saya Paw Lu (1926 –1928), Saya Paw Kham, (1928 –1942)
Saya Lau Wu (1942 – 1945), Rev. Ai Hmoon, (1945 – 1980), (Saya Ai Hmoon passed away on 30
August 1980), Rev. Thein Aung Kham (2001-)

Those who served as assistant pastors
Saya Ai Kaw, Sayama Arm, Sayama Kham, Saya Dan Kun, Saya Sai Ba Pe,
Sayama Nang Aye Zin, Sayama Nang Hla Tint, Saya Ai Myat, Sayama Nang Ngwe Kyi,

Membership in year 2000
19 families in PaiCheung and 11 families in SawHaw,
Total about 200 members.
There is only one Church in SeLan.
Membership increased from 60 to 200 within 99 years.

MuSe Shan Baptist Church

Dr. C.A. Kirkpatrick Jr. started
new missions in MuSe in 1915. Kham
Maung, the first convert in ShweLi,
baptized in 1896, was sent to MuSe by
Kirkpatrick Jr. as school-teacher-cum-
evangelist in 1915. The missionaries
used to begin the missions through
education by establishing school. I
remember my late father, a former
schoolteacher of MuSe, told me how they
brought the kids to school. Teacher had to
go house-to-house, carried the kids on his
back to school and taught them how to
read, write and calculate.
The first convert in MuSe was
Mae Yei on February 1, 1923. The second
convert was Mae Kham Young on July 16, 1923 and the third convert was Mae Sam Kaw on June 23,
1924. All were women. The first fruit was seen after 8 years of labor. According to local record, the
first MuSe church building was said to be built in KongSamKham in 1920.
(Could not be located
now). Why did they build the church building before having believers? Is it important to have church
building before having a convert? A second church building was built and dedicated on December 24,
1952 under leadership of Saya Kham Maung, Saya Hsaw, Saya Hsai, Saya Kam, Saya San and Saya
Dae. It cost Kyat 7,000. The money had to be collected for 19 years. During the Japanese occupation
the money had been converted into silver rupees and buried in the ground for safety. The architect of
the building was recorded as Yuet Kham Man. A Christian quarter was also established where all
Christians lived together in one place. Third church building, Kham Maung Memorial church building,
was built and dedicated on December 24, 1993. It is interesting to note that the believers in ShweLi
used to have December 24 as special day as they formed association, second church building and Kham
Maung Memorial church building dedication day all on December 24.

As reported by MuSe Church history in 1993
After MuSe church building dedication service in 1952

Baptist mission among the Shan 86
It was reported in 1959 that Shan Baptist Church, MuSe, has won several converts who
professed Christianity against strong opposition from their Buddhist neighbors. The Church faced a
number of problems with courage and patience. It was reported in 1961 that Primary School in MuSe
had 45 boys, 54 girls, total 99, 2 teacher and 2 classes. Primary School in SeLan had 16 boys, 24 girls,
total 40, 1 teacher and 1 class. Rev. Kham Maung served the Lord in MuSe from 1915 till he passed
away on February 9, 1976 after faithfully serving for 61 years. Second pastor was Saya Nyunt Tha,
third pastor was Saya Maung Htun, son of late Rev. Kham Maung. Saya Maung Htun was a retired
schoolteacher who had no theological training. His request for ordination was turned down by ShweLi
Valley Baptist Mission many time until it was approved when requested by MuSe Baptist Church.
was ordained in October 1973. Fourth and present pastor is Rev. Shwe Htun who is ordained on May
29, 1983. He is a graduated of MICT.

Fond Memory of Rev. Kham Maung
When I was born he was already the pastor to my parents and their Church. I was baptized by
him on April 13, 1963 at MuSe Shan Baptist Church. He was a real dedicated and hard working pastor I
have ever seen in my life. He was in fact my mentor. I remember seeing him working as blacksmith,
making knife, tools for farming and crossbow for his own financial income to support the family. I used
to go, sit next to him and watched him making knife and cross bow. He worked very hard during
daytime for his earning and went out to visit people house-to-house in the evening, holding a gasoline
lamp in his hand. There was no streetlight, no electricity. He preached almost every Sunday if Saya Ai
Pan or Saya Kham Ye did not come from NamKham in exchange program. He always attended
afternoon CE (Christian Endeavor) youth meeting. He always taught us how to behave in the Church.
He used to sit behind us and gave us warning sound when we started misbehaving.
I was able to interview him in 1975 and recorded his voice on tape without knowing that he
would go to heavenly home a few months later. When he passed away on February 9, 1976 the tape was
played back again and again 24 hours at his funeral service so that thousands of mourner from all over
ShweLi Valley could hear his voice, his story told by himself. I had a wonderful opportunity of giving
him medical service in 1975 when I had just finished my medical training. What a blessing to me!

Those Who Served with Rev. Kham Maung from 1915 to 1976

1. Saya Hsaw (D), 2. Saya Hsai (D), 3. Saya San (D), 4. Saya Kam (D), 5. Saya Dae (D),
6. Kyaw Hal (D), 7. Chit Pwai (D), 8. Sam Hla (D), 9. Daw Gyi Khin (D), 10. Daw Am On (D),
11. Sayama Mar Tha, 12. Sayama Rutha, 13. Sayama Saw Pan, 14. Saya Ai Myat (D),
15. Daw Nyunt (D), 16. Sayama Daw Mya Nu, 17. Sayama Daw Kham Young, 18. Kyaw Win,
19. Daw Shwe Sein, 20. Saya Chit Maung (D) 21. Saya David, 22. Sai Mok Kham,
23. Maw Shwe (D), 24. Dr. Ai Lun (D), 25. Sayama Aye Hla (D), 26. Dr. Sai Htwe Maung.
*(D = deceased)
They all were honored during ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission Centenary Celebration in 1993 at MuSe.

Those who served as pastors
Rev. Kham Maung from 1915 to 1976
Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha from 1974 to 1977
Rev. Maung Htun from 1976 to 1988
Rev. Shwe Htun from 1989-

As interviewed with Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha on March 3, 2003, ThaCheLeik.
ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission Centenary Report 1993
Baptist mission among the Shan 87
Baptized Members in year 2000

Men; 169, Women; 255, Total; 424 (in 107 years)
6 families in Ho Mon Qtr,
15 families in Tong Qtr,
11 families in KongNong Qtr,
11 families in Zay Qtr,
1 family in Myauk Qtr,
78 families in Christian Qtr,
30 families in new Christian Qtr.

Historical photos from ShweLi Shan Baptist Churches

Dr. Gordon Seagrave and the leaders of Shan Churches and hospital nurses 1955

As report in year 2000 Thanksgiving report by MuSe Shan Baptist Church
Baptist mission among the Shan 88

Rev. Ai Pan and his colleagues in 1960

New NongSanKone Shan Baptist church building as seen in 2003 (Rev. Ai Pan memorial church building)
and NamKham Baptist High School as seen in 2003

Rev. Ai Hmoon and members of SeLan Shan Baptist Church in 1961
Baptist mission among the Shan 89

After annual summer Bible Study at SeLan Church in 1960

New SeLan church building seen in 2003 (Rev. Ai Hmoon memorial church building)

After world communion Sunday service in 1960 with those baptized at
MuSe Shan Baptist Church
Baptist mission among the Shan 90

Rev. Kham Maung and early believers of MuSe Shan Baptist Church in 1955 and
ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission representatives attending Burma
Baptist Convention Annual General Meeting in Rangoon in 1962

Rev. Kham Maung funeral precession in 1976

The graves of Dr. Grace Seagrave, Dr. Gordon Seagrave and his son

Baptist mission among the Shan 91
Eastern Shan State Baptist Association (ESSBA)

Under leadership of Saw Khin and Rev. John Po, “Eastern Shan State Baptist Association“ was
formed during 65
Eastern Shan State Baptist Mission Celebration in KanNaLone from April 4-7,
1968. On that day 218 people baptized. Eastern Shan State Baptist Association was a multiracial
association comprising of Shan, Wa, Lahu, Lisu and Kachin Churches. ESSBA held meeting annually
and sometimes bi-annually and sometimes tri-annually from 1969 to 1994.

The First Executive Board Members (1968-1970)
Sai Win (chairman),
Saya Ai Chit (vice-chairman),
Sayama Saw Khin (secretary),
Saya Sai Seng Tip (vice-secretary).
There were 19 Churches and 1,507 baptized members in ESSBA in 1970.
Six Churches were from leprosy villages.

Board members (1970-1977)
Chairman Saya Sai Seng Tip
Vice-chairman Saya Ai Chein
Secretary Saya Sai Philip
Vice-secretary Sayama Nang Sauk
Treasurer Sayama Saw Khin
Evangelism Dept. Saya Sai Tin Maung
Evangelist Saya Ai Chit


In 1972 there were 24 Churches in ESSBA. In 1979 the number of Churches reduced to 17
because two Wa Churches and one Kachin Church left the association and 4 Churches in MuongYa
areas were out of communication because of communist insurgency. Church contribution from each
Church to the ESSBA increased from Kyat 1,235 in 1968 to Kyat 15,000 in 1981, Kyat 18,000 in 1986
and Kyat 25,000 in 1988. For development of self-supporting program some Churches own rice fields
and fishponds. It yield some profits for Church coffer. There was also a piece of land owned by
association to plant trees, mango and other fruits for association’s income. It also provides job
opportunity to members of the Church and earns some money for their living. KanNaLone Church has
one small electricity generator. It supplies electricity to some Christian homes and charges small
amount of money since the electricity supply from government is very irregular.
ESSBA reported in 1988, “Eastern Shan State is lack of good qualified leadership. In many
Churches there are no graduates from university level. The Church can only afford to support a pastor
with Kyat 600 per month. The roads are so bad that travel is not easy. During raining season it is almost
impossible to travel. Evangelistic trip can only be made during dry season. Communication is bad. No
postal service, no telephone, no telex available in many towns and villages. The fare for the bus is
extremely expensive. Most of the pastors cannot afford to pay for bus fare to travel.” 5 Churches have
been reorganized and re-communicated to ESSBA in 1989 after 20 years of separation because of
communist insurgency.

Baptist mission among the Shan 92
Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention (ESSSBC)

We had tried to unite all Shan Churches from all over Shan States to form “Shan Baptist
Convention” since 1978 but unsuccessful. The main reasons for our failure were; the refusal of Burma
Baptist Convention (BBC) to give us permission to form Shan Baptist Convention and also lack of
unity among Shan Churches’ leaders. Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha had tried to convince the executive members
of BBC three times since 1979 but failed.
In the beginning of our endeavor, when Sai Nyunt Tha was the General Secretary of ShweLi
Valley Shan Baptist Mission, ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission supported the effort in forming
SBC. However when Rev. Shwe Htun became General Secretary of ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist
Mission they withdrew their support. Formation of SBC is not successful till today.
In Eastern Shan State there are Baptist Churches Associations such as Lahu Baptist Association,
Ahka Baptist Association, Wa Baptist Association and Shan Baptist Association together they formed
Eastern Shan State Baptist Convention (ESSBC) as a Multiracial-Regional-Convention. When Lahu
withdrew from ESSBC in 1987 and formed its own “Eastern Shan State Lahu Baptist Convention.” Sai
Stephen and other leaders of Shan Churches in the Eastern Shan State began to try to form their own
“Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention” (ESSSBC) which is a racial convention. At the meeting
held on April 1, 1991 at WanMon Shan Baptist Church all Shan Churches in Eastern Shan State
unanimously agreed to form ESSSBC.

Preparation for Formation of ESSSBC
As the leadership of Myanmar Baptist Convention (formally known as BBC) has changed, their
attitude towards Shan Churches has also changed. The meeting with Rev. Saw Marge Gyi, General
Secretary of MBC and Rev. A. Ko Lay, Treasurer of MBC in 1993 had paved the way for formation of
ESSSBC. Leaders from Eastern Shan Churches drafted a constitution of ESSSBC in WanTaZan Baptist
Church on April 8, 1994. At the same time three Shan Baptist Conferences were formed in order to
meet the constitutional requirement to form a convention. The three conferences were; MuongYawng
Shan Baptist Conference, MoungPyat Shan Baptist Conference and KengTung Shan Baptist
Conference. A meeting was held again from March 1 to 2, 1995 at ThanLwin Shan Church for ESSSBC
formation. In 1995 Wa Baptist Conference joined Shan Conferences and increased to four Conferences.
In September 1995 the formation of ESSSBC was approved at the EC meeting of MBC.

Recognition of Convention
The official announcement of the formation of “Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention.”
was made at 116
MBC Annual General Meeting held in Haka, Chin State, on January 18, 1997.
ESSSBC is the 15
Convention in MBC. Because of Wa conference included in this ESSSBC, the
convention becomes another regional convention. It doesn’t represent Shan Churches alone. Wa
Churches are now trying to form their own convention.

The first executive board members
Chairman Rev. Seng Tip
Vice-chairman 1 Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha
Vice-chairman 2 Rev. Sai Choik
Secretary Rev. Sai Stephen
Vice-secretary Rev. Sai Philip
Treasurer Sai La La
Auditors Saw Mu Di
Saya David Hsam
Women Min. Sayama Htwe Yu Hein
Baptist mission among the Shan 93
Youth Min. Saya Saw Htoo Wah (1997-1999) Sayama May San Oo (1999-2000)
Christian Education Sayama Catherine
Evangelism Dept. Rev. Sai Stephen
Pastoral Min. Rev. Sai Philip
Men Min. Rev. Marku Crane
Rural Dev. Sai La La (97-98) Saya Sai Paw Lu (98-2000)

Shan Churches in Eastern Shan State in 1988 and their pastors

(1) KanNaLone Baptist Church (Rev. Sai Seng Tip).
(2) Calvary Baptist Church (Burmese-speaking Church) (Rev. Sai Stephen)
(3) Bethany Baptist Church (Chinese-speaking Church)
(4) Emmanuel Baptist Church (Rev. Seng Daw).
(5) MuongKat Baptist Church (Nang Kham Yone).
(6) WanPa Muong Baptist Church (Rev. Ai Zein).
(7) WanKum Kham Baptist Church (Sai Stephen).
(8) WanMon Baptist Church (Sai Kyuet).
(9) WanYuet Baptist Church (Rev. Ah Yai).
(10) WanHui San Baptist Church (Ai Yee).
(11) TaJant Baptist Church (Rev. Jacob).
(12) MaeHut Baptist Church (Ah Nyi)
(13) Tachileik Baptist Church (Rev. Win Maung) (Burmese-speaking)

Report in the year 2000

Three months evangelist’s training was held from August to October 1999 in KengTung.
Special Development Training was held in September 1999 in MuongYang. 40 people from seven
Churches attended.
Sent out 20 evangelists to 20 new mission fields. 94 people baptized.
Three new Shan Fellowships were formed. Total fellowship 8.
Showing Jesus film to villages.
17 students in Bible Seminaries.
Four graduated from B. Th. Program.

The evangelists supported by Asian Outreach in 1999.

Evangelist Village Christian Family
Nang Thu Za Mon Nong Pha
(Director of Mission)
Sai Kup Jordan 30
Sai Hsam MoutLow 15
Ai Wan NamYang 15
Nang Easter Hmoon WanLoo 5
Nang San Yin HayKaMoan 20
Rev. Ai Kyi WanSaw 56
Sai Htay Myint WanPai 60
Sai Kong MuongHow 12
Sai Seng Kham WanYwet 8

Report given by Nang Thu Zar Mon, Director of Evangelism, ESSSBC, December 26, 2000
Baptist mission among the Shan 94
Sai Saw WanYan 12
Sai Yaw Ba WanKyaw 13
Dan Ye Hla WanHwe 29
Sai Phut WanMai 16
Sai Lee WanTom 18
Sai Yaw Han KarMonMai 20
Daw Nang Doi Bethel 8
U Hla Rang WanKuat 30
Daw Tin Seng MaiYang 5
Rev. Nyi Thai NamLin Mai 20
Rev. Yohan Khun NamLinMai 8
Sera Ai Shie PanPhex 7
Sara Sam Khim MaiNawPhatex 15
Sara Lok Rony MengHan 13
There are 193 new believers in a year 1999.
Five new mission fields are;
KengPhone, 15 families
WanKung, 30 families
WanNamMoi, 50 families
MingWat, 25 families
MingPart, 30 families

Future Planning
- To have three-years-program Shan Bible School in KengTung.
- To plant Churches, open nurseries, orphanage homes and old age homes and do more evangelism.

KanNaLone Shan Baptist Church

Many believers in Eastern Shan were formerly being accused of evil spirits possessed and had
been driven out from their homes, community and villages. They got healed after receiving Jesus Christ
and living in Christian village. They were poor and uneducated. People seldom turned to pastor or
Church or Christian community for genuine interest in Christianity but whenever they needed physical
help or faced evil spirit problems.
The first church building in NaungPha was built in mission compound in 1922. It was
completely destroyed during the World War II. Another new NaungPha church building was built in
1936 under leadership of Rev. Ray Buker. It was a multiracial Church. Sometimes four languages had
to be used during Sunday worship service and lasted for about four hours. Shan believers moved out
from NongPha Church to KanNa (meaning the middle of rice field) and started a new Shan Church in
1951, which is now called “KanNaLone Shan Baptist Church.” Shan language is used in their worship
service. San Lu was the first leader and pioneer of the church building. He also led worship service
when there was no pastor.
Church growth
The Church grew tremendously under dedicated leadership. It was reported in 1963 that KanNa
Shan Baptist Church had about 800 members and a strong women’s organization, men’s group, the
youth C.E. and children Sunday school. It was the central main Church of the Eastern Shan State
Baptist Convention. Under the able leadership of Saw Khin, the Shan women’s groups were
organized down to the outlying Churches. A kindergarten was started in KanNaLone Church in 1981
with 60 children and 3 teachers. It increased to 85 children and 4 teachers in 1985. It was reported in
1985 that it had 352 members, an ordained pastor Rev. Yaw Shu, (son of Rev. Po Hla) who was ex-
Baptist mission among the Shan 95
medical worker of Louise Hastings Memorial Hospital had taken care of the Church. His knowledge of
medicines is an asset. He was an ardent worker and worked his best. The assistant was Saya Ho Sam.
He was theologically untrained but always gave his best. Kham La (younger brother of Rev. Yaw Shu)
a magistrate, was lay worker. He looked after the affairs of the Church and community and was the
clerk and treasurer of the Church as well. Saw Khin, (daughter of San Lu) another lay worker was a
capable woman worker and very ardent. She was a nurse and helped the community in that capacity.
Naomi, a 1957 graduate of the Burmese Women’s Bible School, worked as a Kindergarten teacher in
the Baptist School besides her other Church activities.

Those who served as pastors
Ai Noi (first pastor)
Po Hla
Aung Din
Yaw Shu
Ho Hsam
Seng Tip (1967-)
Sayama Nang Kham Yong (Assistant Pastor 1990-)
Sayama Nang San Leng (Assistant Pastor 1999-)
Phak Ka Sai memorial hall was built in 2001 in KanNaLone Shan Baptist Church compound.

KanNaLone Shan Baptist Church is a very active Church. Since all the Christian families are
living together in one village, KanNaLone village, they are more united and easily organized under
leadership of Rev. Seng Tip. It is a Christian village. Thief, robber, drunkard or drug addict are seldom
seen in the village. Rev. Seng Tip told me, “One evening I saw a young man got drunk in our village on
the street. I punished him to do hard work in the village for one day. Afterwards young people dare not
to get drunk in our village any more.”
- A strong group of prayer warriors who pray every morning at 8 AM. They also have a group of
widows who prayed every morning. I was so encouraged when I met them and heard that they were
praying for me every morning.
- Health, education and social activities among the community.
- Youth ministry and music ministry by the youth to different places.
- Men and women association are active in different ministries.
- Training and producing future leadership of the Churches.
- Three months evangelistic training for future evangelists production.
- Children hostel for poor village children to stay and continue their basic education. Some of the hostel
students have graduated from training and Bible School and are now in full-time ministry. More and
more young people are graduating from Bible Seminary.
- Evangelism department use to organize evangelistic trips to different places in vicinity. Usually it is
organized during summer time when Bible schools and secular schools are closed. Men and women
groups are active in different ministries.
- Short course training programs organized either by themselves or in co-operation with Asian Outreach
G.C.I or S.S.M.C to train and produce leadership and evangelists for Churches.
- Six months on campus, six months off campus, evangelistic training program for three years for
future evangelists. All graduates of this training program dedicate themselves full-time as evangelists.
They are sent to new designated villages to begin Church planting work. Many people came to the Lord
and new Churches were planted. Late Rev. Sai Stephen said, “We send our evangelists to the villages
where there is no monastery and monks. It is not easy to get convert where there are monks and well
established monastery.” Monks have great influence in the village.
Baptist mission among the Shan 96
One Sunday at KanNaLone
Sunday morning, Church bell rang at 6 AM. Men gathered in the Church to have men’s
fellowship. It lasted about one hour. About fifty men attended.
At 8 AM, the bell rang again. Children from five to fifteen years old got together for Sunday-schools.
There were different classes for different ages. Once a month all classes grouped together for combine
program. Altogether about 300 children.
At 9 AM, the bell rang again for main Worship Service for all ages. About five hundred people
attended the service. It lasted about two hours.
At 2 PM, the bell rang again for women’s worship service. About 150 women attended the service.
At 4 PM, the bell rang again for Youth Worship Service. About 150 young people attended the service.
Children as young as 10 year-old were asked to lead the service. They recited scripture verses by heart,
prayed and sang. They were trained at young age.
At 5 PM, after youth Service, young people gathered at one of the pastors’ home for special Worship
Service to offer prayer and encouragement to the pastor. They believed that the servants of the Lord
also needed prayer and encouragement.
At 5 PM, I was taken to a village on motorbike and sometime on foot. It took about 45 minutes to get
there. Another Worship Service with village people. It lasted about one hour. I got back to pastor’s
home at 7 PM. It was really “The Lord’s day.” The whole day was for the Lord. I preached four times
on that Sunday. Do we feel tired in Worshiping God?
All the baptized members give “monthly-offering” in front of the main door with the names
recorded by assistant pastor of the Church every Sunday morning before the Church service begin.
During worship service another offerings called the “tithe” and normal “Sunday collection” are
collected. If there is a communion, communion is offered once a month on the first week of the month,
a “communion special offering” is also collected. “Special offerings for church building fund” or
“Church celebration or special programs” are also collected. There are many offerings collected by the
Church on Sunday. The names of the donors and the amount of the money given are also read out in the
Church by the Church assistant pastor as an announcement. Sometimes this announcement lasted for
thirty minutes. When asked why they read out all the names of the donors and the amount of the money
given, the reply was, “To let the people know that we are not putting their donation into our pocket. We
are telling all the people the amount we have received from them.” However there are some
embarrassments for those who can only give little amount of money but a pride for those who give
more money.
Statistic in 2001
Families: 270
Baptized members: 447 (M) 544 (F) Total 991
Non-baptized members: 1,000

Report from HIV/AIDS Project
There are five full-time workers; Mayse Hein, Han Nu, Nang Seng Arm, Mary, Able La.
Health education was given to 16 Churches and total 690 people attended.
30 AIDS sufferers were visited, 38 orphans whose parents died of AIDS are under support. 10 AIDS
sufferers are also under support.

KanNaLone Shan Baptist Church in KengTung is the first Shan Church in Eastern Shan State, the
largest and strongest Shan Church in all Shan States under leadership of senior pastor Rev. Seng Tip.

Baptist mission among the Shan 97
WanMon Shan Baptist Church, MuongYawng

WanMon Church, MuongYawng, was said to be started by Rev. W.M. Young in 1903 as
reported by WanMon Church history committee.
However we do not see in the record of Rev.
Young. MuongYawng is 99 miles away from KengTung but it might take at least seven days journey
for missionary to travel from KengTung to MuongYawng. KengTung mission field was opened in
1901. It is doubtful that Rev. Young could start new mission field in MuongYawng within two years. It
was reported that a small school for Shan children was opened in MuongYawng in 1916.
Dr. Buker opened clinic in MuongYawng in 1935. There were three pieces of paddy land at WanMon,
MuongYawng. The fields were rented and about 150 baskets of paddy were received as rent payment
yearly. The mission compound was in WanMon, on the outskirt of the town of MuongYawng.

On the arrival of Khin Maung Htun (Burmese Divinity School graduate), Naw Shee May and
Saw Seng Daw (Burmese Theological Seminary graduate) all the three helped Ai Chit teaching in
MuongYawng school.

In 1958, WanMon Church had 151 members inclusive of the 27 new members baptized. It was
reported in 1963 that in the course of six year (1957-1963) a total of 150 were baptized with 45 new
converts. There were no regular pastors in other places except for Churches of WanMon and WanYawt.
They were looked after by local leaders who could read and write and whose ancestors had taken active
part in Church work. The association could in no way provide them with qualified pastors. Recruitment
of workers from Burma proper was not easy. So the teachers of MuongYawng Baptist Middle School
had to look after the Churches as well. Each teacher held responsible for spiritual and economic
development of each area allotted to him. New WanMon church building was dedicated in April 1985.
There were 700 members in this Church in the year 2000.
The first pastor of WanMon Church, MuongYawng, was Mr. Mae (A Burman from Mandalay).
He took second wife, left MuongYawng Church and went to live in NamPong village. He continued his
work as pastor in NamPong. When his second wife died in 1924 he returned to MuongYawng and
reunited with his first wife Nang Hong (Shan from HsiPaw) and again served as pastor of WanMon
Church. He passed away in 1947. Later Mr. Mae’s son, Ai Lone, a layman, took care of the Church for
one year as lay pastor.

Ai Chit from PanWai became pastor of WanMon Church on May 15, 1957. He was not only
pastoring the Church but also teaching at mission school. Saya Ai Chit left teaching job in 1967 and
concentrated more on Church work. New WanMon church building was built on Jan 2, 1969. 15
families, lead by Ai De, established new village, Siliwon village, in 1969. Sai Choik graduated from
Insein MICT and became pastor of WanMon Church in 1971. He served only half year and left. Saya
Ai Chit again served the Church as pastor. Sai Choik later came back and served as pastor of WanMon
Church in 1975. Ai Chit then continued serving as evangelist.
WanMon Church choir is the best choir among Shan Churches in all Shan States of Myanmar.
They have produced twelve pieces of Choir to be used in my Shan radio program. By the hard work of
Ai Chit in MuongYawng, many Shan came to believe the Lord. 75% of new converts were from other
faith. There were also many new convert in the hand of Rev. Ya Kuk.

History of WanMon Church by WanMon Church History Committee, April 3, 1991.
As interviewed with Rev. Ai Chit on March 4, 2003, MuongYawng.
History of MuongYawng Church by MuongYawng Church history committee, April 3, 1991
Baptist mission among the Shan 98
The resettlement project
In 1960, there was a project to resettle 40 landless families on the 400 acres of land granted to
Rev. John Po by former SaoPha of KengTung, Sao Sai Long. Saya Tin Myint, a Mon convert who had
agricultural training at Pyinmana gave advice and did general supervision of the agricultural work of
the area. The villagers had vegetable gardening sales of vegetables.

Middle School
In 1960, there was a Primary School with about 30 children under a teacher capable of teaching
up to the 2
grade. There were about 40 to 50 children of the school-going-age. Saw Din Gyi, a
graduate of the Burma Divinity School, had served from 1960 to 1963. Saw Tin Gyi was acting as the
Headmaster of the Post Primary School and also as the advisor to the Churches in the sector. Khin
Maung Htun supervised Baptist Middle School.
It was reported that the school, which started as a kindergarten school for children had become a
full fledged middle school in 1963. It was staffed by Shan and Karen teachers and a Mon convert. Great
emphasis was laid on self-effort and support. The proper school building estimated to cost about Kyat
20,000 had been completed by the end of 1964. Trees were felled and sawed for timber required for the
school building and furniture by the villagers themselves. Men, women and children of the village
provided manual labor semiskilled or unskilled without charge. It was a touching sight to see children
from ages 8 upwards carrying whatever bricks they could up the hill where the school was built. They
called it their own school. All local contributions received were expended on building materials and
work charges, which were beyond the means and skill of the villagers. Rev. Katanni, an Italian priest of
the Roman Catholic Mission, who had nearly 40 years of service in KengTung, provided for the
construction work with a skilled bricklayer with a batch of 6 laborers from the village. As for the
woodwork of the school building, the village had a leader, Kham La, an ex-MyoOk
and a magistrate
who was teaching in the school. He had some knowledge of buildings and structural work. He, with the
semi-skilled carpenters of the village, contributed labor, skill and efforts to get the woodwork of the
school building done.
Notable Achievement
One electricity generator was bought in 1976.
One kindergarten was opened in 1984.
Twenty coconut trees were planted.
Bell tower erected at the church building.
Teaching Shan literature.
Established Shan-Lahu new Church.

Report from MuongYawng Shan Baptist Conference 2001

Creation of Eden Garden Project at WanYuet.
Building New Children Hostel.
New mission fields in WanHor (Shan & Palong), KyawLa (Lahu & Ahka), MuongWa (Ahka),
ChiangYan (Chinese), MuongKan (Shan).
To celebrate MuongYawng Centenary in 2006.
Forming committees to encourage Churches and fellowships on Spiritual, Educational, Health and
Social works. Three students from MuongYawng are now studying at Bible Seminaries. Members of
MuongYawng Shan Baptist Conference are: 15 Churches, 525 families, 1,571 Baptized members, 4
ordained ministers, 11 non-ordained ministers.

Township Governor
As reported by Rev. Sai Choik, General Secretary, MuongYawng Shan Baptist Conference, 2001
Baptist mission among the Shan 99
Member Churches in MuongYawng Conference

Church; Baptized Non-Baptized Total Pastor
1. WanMon 150 M 458 F 193 801 5
2. WanYuet 64 197 76 315 4
3. HuiTam 61 167 84 312 1
4. Union 20 42 23 85 0
5. PaRaTiSu 10 26 10 46 0
6. MineHor 10 22 17 49 0
7. WanPai 59 120 178 357 1
8. WanSor 19 38 45 102 0
9. NongPawk 21 48 52 121 0
10. WanSiLa 18 34 33 85 0
Total 432 1152 783 2273 11
Out of ten Churches six Churches do not have pastor.

MuongYang Shan Baptist Church

MuongYang is about 16 miles from China border, 100 miles from KengTung. It was recorded
that there was already a Church in MuongYang in 1911. In 1958 Rev. John Po baptized 36 people. The
Church had about 40 Christian families with 120 members. There had been an influx of refugees from
China into Burma in the year 1958. The refugees were mostly Lahu from the SipSongPanNa. The total
figure came about four or five thousands and most of them were Christians. They were uncared for and
neglected and quite a number of them were going back to their old form of worship Animism.

Two new primary schools had been started at MuongYang in 1959 taken care of by Saya Chein
and at WanYawt it was taken care of by Saya Baw Lu on self-supporting basis.

In January 1961 Rev. John Po baptized 28 Shan in the village of MuongYang. At MuongYang
there use to be a dispensary or a health center. The mission compound on which the dispensary building
stands has now become Christian village. Financially the Church was not very strong but able to
support itself. Between 1957 and 1963 total baptism was 110.
The 80 year old pastor Ai Chein is still very strong, healthy and faithfully serving the Lord in
2001. He is the longest and oldest serving minister in Eastern Shan State. He serves in ministry since
1961 until today. I first met him and heard him preached at the funeral service of late Rev. Sai Stephen.
He has a very strong and clear voice. He knows the Bible well and interprets the words clearly. I can
say that he is the “best preacher” in Eastern Shan State at the age of 80. I have the opportunity of
interviewing him on July 15, 2000. He said, “I have no chance of going to Bible school. I only finished
two standard level of education (primary two). I only know how to read and write. When I was young I
was very poor. At one point I have to beg on the street to feed my stomach. I came to know the Lord 50
years ago. I am self-study and self-learned. I only got the opportunity of attending some short-course
training program. I serve the Lord by faith and rely on the Holy Spirit only.” (He attended our first Shan
GCI training in Maesai in 1994) Rev. Ai Chein planted many Churches. At the time of interview three
new Churches awaiting full-time pastors under his missions.

Baptist mission among the Shan 100
Seven services on Sunday
6 AM Combine Service
7 AM Children Service
9 AM Combine Service
12 Noon Women Service
2 PM Youth Service
3 PM Combine Service
6 PM Men Service
There are one senior pastor and one assistant pastor serving at MuongYang Church with 900 baptized
believers in 144 families. Baptism is only conducted once a year at Christmas season. Usually about 20-
30 people baptized. Special prayer meeting is held on every Monday at 7 AM.
Church Committee prayer meeting is held every month.
Two-days Bible training is held every year. About 60 people attended.
There are seven fellowship teams going to have fellowship with other Churches.
There is an evangelistic program every year.
The Church owns two fish bonds and two rice fields.
The Church is able to support 3 seminary students and 6 evangelists.

Eastern Shan State Baptist Mission Centenary Celebration

March 29-April 1, 2001
KanNaLone Shan Baptist Church, KengTung

Psalm 126:3 “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy”
Psalm 116:12 “How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?”

Rev. & Mrs. J.N. Cushing first visited KengTung, Eastern Shan State, on January 21, 1870.
They preached the gospel and distributed gospel tracts to Shan people. Rev. W.M. Young arrived
KengTung in 1901 and started new mission field. Phak Ka Sai was the first Shan convert in KengTung
and was baptized by Rev. Young on June 1, 1902.
Based on the beginning of KengTung mission field opened in 1901, Eastern Shan Baptist
Mission Centenary Celebration was held in 2001.

Preparation and Celebration
Under leadership of Rev. Sai Stephen the first meeting for the Celebration of Eastern Shan State
Baptist Mission Centenary was held on June 12, 2000 at the home of General Secretary at 7 PM. In
attendance were Rev. Sai Seng Tip, Rev. Sai Philip, Rev. Sai Stephen, Sai La La, Aung Kyaw Oo, Sai
John Thein, Nang Saw and Htwe Yu Hein. The meeting lasted 4 hours. Various committees such as
welcoming and accommodation, food and meal, transportation, communication, program, record,
registration, decoration, finance, report, health, security and display-room were formed.
Key leader Rev. Sai Stephen unexpectedly passed away on July 12, 2000. The reformation of
new working committee was done on July 26. Rev. Sai Philip was selected to take over the place of late
Rev. Sai Stephen. Other meetings were held on September 27, October 27, December 27, 2000,
February 1, 2001, March 12, and March 25. It was decided that;
Every family must pray for the occasion,
Men and women groups would pray every morning at 8 AM,
KanNaLone Church would raise fund of Kyat 5,035,400 within 8 months,
Baptist mission among the Shan 101
KanNaLone Church would donate 1,652 baskets of rice, 6 pigs and 2 cows and will buy 500 more
baskets of rice,
Meeting with township officers would be done,
Prayer warriors were recruited.
Conveners of the committees were selected such as;
Saw Joseph (transportation)
Daw Nang Saw (recording)
May San Oo (registration)
Daw Nang So Hlain (health)
May San Oo (culture and entertainment)
Sai Htun (electricity)

Eastern Shan State Baptist Mission Centenary Celebration was held from March 29 to April 2,
2001 at KanNaLone Shan Baptist Church, KengTung, Eastern Shan State, Myanmar. The ceremony
began with about five hundred people from different Churches together marching towards the church
building at 7 AM accompanied by traditional music, gong, mong, noke and doe dances. In the past, for
more than one hundred years, Shan traditional music and noke-doe dances were prohibited by Shan
Churches considering it as a Buddhist tradition. By the help of cultural committee of block 5 (Buddhist
block), this tradition became part of the celebration. The effigies of the first believer, Phak Ka Sai and
his wife, also accompanied the march.
Praise and worship, presentation of cultural dances, national costumes show, drama of the first
arrival of American missionary and the first believer Phak Ka Sai, gospel music, children and youths’
presentations, seminary students’ presentation, Bible study, ordination program, honoring the serving
ministers, baptismal services and evening open-air gospel preaching were the major events of
celebration. The church building was overflowed with about three thousand people every day. Two
tents were erected both sides of the church and TV sets were put on the tables outside the church for
people to watch the program and listen to the message. Three 24-hours-prayer-rooms were set up at San
Lu’s memorial hall. Young and old people prayed in the room continuously during the festival period.
Showrooms were set up to show historical pictures of the past Shan mission activities. 136 young
people from various Churches dedicated their service twenty-four hours a day during the festival.

Detailed program

7 AM: Marching to the church hall opening gate. Rev. Ai Chein led the prayer and Rev. Seng Tip cut
the ribbon and opened the occasion at the gate. Sayama Thu Za Mon read scripture from Psalm 126:3
and Rev. Seng Tip gave welcoming speech. After getting into the church hall thanksgiving service
began. Congratulatory message from Myanmar Baptist Churches Council was read by Rev. Saw Marge
Gyi, from Myanmar Baptist Convention by Sayama May Maung Maung, from ShweLi Valley Shan
Baptist Mission by Rev. Sai Thein Aung Kham and from Asian Outreach International by Dr. Sai Htwe
Maung. Then Sai La La gave a brief history of Baptist Mission in Eastern Shan State. One hundred
people sang Centenary Choir during offering. Benediction given by Rev. Ai Chit and morning session
1 PM: Opening of the showroom by Rev. Ya Kuk after reading Psalm 126:3 by Sayama Daw Aye Kyi.
7-9 PM: Saya Sai Baw Lu chaired the worship service by reading Psalm 116:12 and Rev. U Sai Hsin
offered special prayer. Choir from BaMine was sung during offering. Centenary drama on the history of
mission presented by youth fellowship led by Sai Tha Han. Session closed by benediction given by
Rev. Ya Kuk.

As reported by Rev. Sai Philip, General Secretary, Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention, 2001.
Baptist mission among the Shan 102
9-10 PM: Dr. Sai Htwe Maung preached gospel on open-air stage with vocalist Nang Sara from
NamKham and musician Sai Moe Naung from KengTung.
10-11 PM. Young people from Myanmar fellowship of the blinds presented special music programs.
7-7:30 AM: Praise songs led by Saya Sai Kyaw Tint.
7:30-8:30 AM: Rev. Saw Marge Gyi gave Bible study lesson.
10-12 AM: Htwe Yu Hein led men and women in praise and worship.
1-3 PM: Ordination service message given by Rev. Ai Chein. Four ministers were ordained.
3-4 PM: Praise and worship from different conferences led by Sayama Nang Myint Myint Pyu.
6-6:30 PM: Praise songs led by Saya Sai Kyaw Tint.
6:30-8 PM: Rev. Ai Chein gave the message. One hundred members Choir presented.
8-9 PM: Dr. Sai Htwe Maung preached gospel at open-air stage.
9-12 PM: School of the blind presented special music.
7-7:30 AM: Praise songs led by Saya Sai Kyaw Tint.
7:30-8:30 AM: Bible study led by Rev. Thein Aung Kham.
8:30-11 AM: Mass water baptism in NamKin River. 17 ordained ministers baptized 168 people.
11-12:30 AM: Praise and Worship led by Children and Youth group from KengTung, MuongYawng,
TaChiLeik, Wa Youth, TaungGyi Youth, MICT students.
2-4 PM: Presentation from various Churches with songs and dances.
6-7:30 PM: Praise and worship led by Sayama Myint Myint Pyu and various Churches.
7:30-9:30 PM: Students from various Bible Seminary presented music, songs and dances. There was
also a show of different costume from different Shan races.
9:30-10:30 PM: Dr. Sai Htwe Maung preached gospel on open-air stage.
10:30-12 PM: Music presented by school of the blind.
7-7:30 AM: Praise songs led by Saya Sai Kyaw Tint.
7:30-8:30 AM: Bible study given by Sayama May Maung Maung.
9:30-12:30 AM: Worship and communion led by Rev. Sai Seng Tip. Message given by Rev. K.T. Du
1-4 PM: Honoring the ministers of the Eastern Shan State Baptist Convention.
4 Senior Ministers, 15 Ministers who served 25-40 years, 70 minister who served 1-25 years were
honored. Message given by Dr. Sai Htwe Maung.
7-10 PM: Praise & worship. Rev. Sai Philip presented 21
Century mission planning. Rev. Saw Marge
Gyi gave the message.
10-10:30 PM: Gospel preached by Dr. Sai Htwe Maung on open-air stage.
10:30-1 AM: Music presented by school of the blind.
People departing to their hometowns. About three thousand people attended the celebration every day.
Celebration ended meaningfully, peacefully and joyfully. We give thanks to God for His protection,
provision and successful ceremony, Block 5, KanNaLone Shan Baptist Church, Pastor, Assistant
Pastors, and Church leaders and Government officials, Rev. K.T. Du Lum, Associate Secretary of
MBC, Rev. Marge Gyi, President of MCC and Secretary of Myanmar Bible Society, Sayama May
Maung Maung, Director of leadership development, Rev. Sai Thein Aung Kham, Secretary of ShweLi
Shan Baptist Association and Rev. Sai Htun Kyaw in their prayer, Bible study and encouragement, all
Churches from Yangon, TaungGyi, MineKain, MuSe for their generous donation, letters of
congratulation from Sayama Daw May Maung Maung as representative of MBC, Rev. Saw Marge Gyi
as representative of MCC, Rev. Thein Aung Kham as representative of ShweLi Shan Baptist
Association, Dr. Sai Htwe Maung as representative of Asian Outreach International and Rev. Seng Tip
Baptist mission among the Shan 103
representative of Eastern Shan Baptist Convention, all the owners of the cars who allow us to use their
cars without charge, U Sai Hsai, Pastor of Wan Yuet Church, and Sai Ye from BaMine Church for their
contribution in writing Centenary Choir and leading in singing, Dr. U Hla Shwe, Dr. U She Kham, Dr.
Daw Thein Thein Oo, Dr. U Kyi No, Dr. Khun Yae Aung, Dr. U So Naing and all the nurses from
KanNaLone Shan Baptist and Calvary Baptist Churches who offered their services at the clinic, Sayama
Daw Catherine Bu, the pianist from TaChiLeik Church, Saya Sai Kyaw Tint from Yangon who leads us
in singing choruses.

Testimony from celebration
There was a fierce fighting between Shan State Army and Burmese Military on the border
between Thailand and Myanmar two months before the celebration began. The border situation was
very tense. KengTung is a border town. It was military order that the Church must obtain permission
from authority to hold any gathering outside the church building. The committee of the celebration had
applied for permission half a year before the event took place but nothing was heard from authority.
Rev. Seng Tip was very determined to go ahead to hold the ceremony whatever the consequences. The
permission was given only one day before the celebration began on condition that the event must not go
beyond 9 PM. By His wonderful grace there was no interference.
The mass baptism of 168 people took place in a muddy shallow river on March 31 was
unforgettable moment. We had to walk for half an hour from the church through the rice fields to the
river. About 15 pastors line up in the water to receive believers and baptize them group-by-group. After
coming back from mass water baptism we met a girl on the street who was in tears because she could
not get to the river in time for baptism even though she had already registered for baptism half a year
ago. She missed the chance because she had to take care of the children at home while her mother was
away to the market. She was so sad for missing opportunity to be baptized with friends. I asked her, “do
you really want to be baptized today?” She said “Yes. I have registered my name long time ago and
waiting for this opportunity for months. I really want it.” Then I talked to pastor Rev. Seng Tip. He was
so willing to conduct baptismal service for her at the same place at 2 PM on the same day. She was
over whelmed with joy when she was baptized alone in the river. So were we.
Eastern Shan Baptist Churches need a lot of money to hold this centenary celebration. They
have to feed two meals a day to at least three thousand people every day for three days. When the
occasion began they still in need of Kyat 4,000,000. By faith and prayer they went ahead. At the closing
ceremony the treasurer announced that the total income for the celebration was Kyat 5,996,352 and
total expenses was Kyat 3,965,055. They had surplus of Kyat 2,031,297 plus Kyat 1,000,000 extra
donation from other Churches. What a miracle!

Baptist mission among the Shan 104
Historical photos from Eastern Shan State

Medical van used in 1930

Building mission building in 1930, Building as seen in 2003

Rev. Sai Stephen and colleagues in front of Calvary church
Baptist mission among the Shan 105

Ray Buker and Ai Noi John Po and wife, San Lu and wife

Old KengTung Hospital and NaungPha church building built in 1936 as seen in March 2003

Calvary church building and KanNaLone Shan Baptist church building as seen in March 2003
Baptist mission among the Shan 106

MuongYawng Shan Baptist church building and MuongYang Shan Baptist church building as seen in 2003

Eastern Shan State Baptist Mission Centenary Celebration

Thanksgiving service
Baptist mission among the Shan 107

Rev. Sai Stephen – Rev. Seng Tip - Baptism

80 years-old Rev. Ai Chein Rev. & Mrs. Seng Tip

Challenges in twenty-first century 108


In 1835 British officials in India invited Rev. and Mrs. Brown and Mr. O. T. Cutter, a printer
from Moulmain, to begin Baptist missionary work in Assam, in Sadiya under the name “Mission to the
Shan.” The mission began in 1836. This is the earliest mission to the Shan people. The first printing in
“Shan” was done in Assam on January 1, 1838. There are still Shan-speaking people in Assam who are
descendants of the Shan migrants who established Ahom Kingdom in 13
On his trip North from Ava in 1837, Kincaid met a party of Shan. He talked to them in Burmese
and gave out tracts. Five million Shan are now living in Shan States and other part of Burma. Shan are
traditionally Buddhists. Shan have adopted Buddhism since AD 71.
The Baptist mission among the Shan in Burma was started by American Baptist Missionary
Union of United States of America in 1861. The first Missionary to the Shan was Rev. & Mrs. Moses
Homan Bixby. He started his mission work among Shan refugees in Toungoo. Up until 1986 (124
years) only 0.12% (6,000 out of 5 million Shan in Burma) of total Shan population believes in Jesus
Christ and professes as Christians in 26 Shan Churches. The growth rate is 48 believers per year, 4 per
month, 0.13 per day among 5 million Shan. American Missionaries had brought the gospel to us. They
had planted Churches among us. What do we have to do today? Who are going to tell the Good News to
Shan people now? There are many reasons why the Shan Churches should engage in missions and Shan
Christians should go out and preach the gospel to their own people. The paramount reason is the
“command” of Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20, John 20:20) We engaged in evangelism today not because
we want to or because we choose to or because we like to, but because we have been told to.

Shan have their own cultures, which seemed to be mixed up with Buddhist practices for,
understandably, the Shan are Buddhists almost two thousand years. They have their own language and
literature. Shan are classified as un-reached people group by Joshua AD 2000 project. They live in
10/40 windows.
How many Shan have heard about Jesus?
How many preachers or evangelists or missionaries are working among the Shan today?
Only about 10% of five million people would have heard about Jesus. Most of them are from radio
broadcast. There are only a handful of evangelists going out preaching gospel to Buddhist Shan. Most
of the Seminary and Bible School graduates are serving in well established Churches, neither as
evangelists nor missionaries. Most of the Shan pastors are also confined to Church work in the Church
Are the Shan very resistant to gospel? By looking at the early missions among the Shan we have seen
the Shan, including SaoPha and monks were tolerant, flexible, helpful, co-operative, interested and
neither militant nor aggressive to Christianity. However there are several reasons for not being able to
convert many Shan to Christianity like other hill tribes. Their deep-rooted culture and old tradition of
Buddhism are some of the main factors influencing the success of missions among the Shan. Shan
people use to say, “Shan are Buddhists and Buddhism is Shan’s religion.” If any Shan is not Buddhist
he/she is not considered a Shan.
How can we reach the Shan with the gospel of Jesus?
Should we wait for another century to have another 6,000 Shan to the Lord?
How can we make them Shan Christians?
Do they have to abandon their culture so that they can become Christian?
Can Shan become Christians without abandoning their culture?
How can we accept their culture in Christianity?

Christian Missions in Biblical Perspective by J. Herbert Kane, published by Baker Book House, Michigan, 1979, p 43
Challenges in twenty-first century 109
These questions are very important for people who work among the Shan.
Christianity segments among the Shan Christians are; Anglican 5%, Independent 5%, Protestant
(Mainly Baptist) 75%, Roman Catholic 15%

Who are responsible to make disciples of Shan?

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been
given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Shan are included in a great multitude in heaven

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count,
from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.
They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

Who are willing to be sent to Shan people?

Romans 10:13-15 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall
they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they
have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they
are sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring
glad tidings of good things!”

Burma Baptist Convention (BBC)
Formed in 1865

Burma Baptist Convention is a religious organization representing all Baptist Churches in
Burma regardless of races and regions. It is recognized by Burma Government as a representative body
of all Baptist Churches.
Original constitution
The name of the organization shall be the BURMA BAPTIST CONVENTION.
The registered office of the CONVENTION shall be situated at 143 St. John’s Road, Rangoon, Burma.
The Aims and Objects of the Burma Baptist Convention shall be:
1. To promote the Christian religion in Burma and throughout the world, by sending out and supporting
missionaries and evangelists, by establishing and maintaining schools and educational institutions by
promoting medical and other benevolent institutions and enterprises and by promoting the distribution
of Bibles and Christian literatures.
2. To gather annually for the promotion of religious activities, for inspiration, edification and the
deepening of the spiritual life and for the engendering and fostering of an ecumenical spirit.
3. To present a united front and to unify and centralize Baptist forces in Burma so that they can speak
with one voice whenever and wherever needed and act in harmony in all matters of national scope
which affect their religious life.
4. To formulate and state broad policies, which will guide the Board of Management and all
Committees of the Convention.

http://www.joshuaproject.net/peopctry.php, Apr 21, 2006
Challenges in twenty-first century 110
5. To guard the Baptist inheritance of liberty, independence and autonomy of the local Church,
association, or organization, in regard to all ecclesiastical.

Cooperating bodies
The Burma Baptist Churches Union, with 6 Associations.
The Karen Baptist Convention, with 12 Associations.
The Pwo Karen Baptist Conference, with 5 Associations.
The Kachin Baptist Convention, with 4 Associations.
The Zomi Baptist Convention, with 5 Associations.
The Asho Chin Baptist Conference, with 3 Associations.
The Mon Baptist Churches Union, with 1 Association.
The Indian Baptist Convention, with 1 Association.
The Southern Shan State Indigenous Home Mission Society, with 1 Association.
The ShweLi Valley Baptist Mission with racial or regional organizations but contribute financially to
the Convention.
The Immanuel Baptist Church, Rangoon.
The Judson Church, Rangoon.

Burma Baptist Convention and Shan Churches

In 2001, according to the national set up of the Burma Baptist Convention, there are 12
Language (racial) and 4 Regional Conventions, and 2 individual Churches under BBC. They are;
Ahka Baptist Convention (3 Associations, 75 Churches, 7,862 members) (Racial)
Lahu Baptist Convention (4 Associations, 273 Churches, 23,496 members) (Racial)
Myanmar Baptist Churches Union. (6 Association, 103 Churches, 16,217 members) (Racial)
Kayin Baptist Convention. (17 Associations, 1,354 Churches, 205,920 members) (Racial)
Po Kayin Baptist Conference. (6 Associations, 203 Churches, 38,803 members) (Racial)
Kachin Baptist Convention. (12 Associations, 261 Churches, 137,150 members) (Racial)
Zomi Baptist Convention. (25 Associations, 761 Churches, 82,378 members) (Racial)
Asho Chin Baptist Conference. (2 Associations, 25 Churches, 4,535 members) (Racial)
Mon Baptist Churches Union. (1 Association, 13 Churches, 2,039 members) (Racial)
Southern Shan State Baptist Home Mission. (2 Associations, 50 Churches, 4,800 members) (Regional)
ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission. (1 Association, 17 Churches, 2,292 members) (Regional)
Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention. (4 Associations, 70 Churches, 8,500 members.)
Northern Shan State Baptist Conference. (6 Association, 157 Churches, 15,320 members) (Regional)
Rakhine Baptist Churches Union. (1 Association, 25 Churches, 4,500 members) (Racial)
Lisu Baptist Convention. (4 Associations, 110 Churches, 17,482 members) (Racial)
Naga Baptist Convention (3 Associations, 119 Churches, 46,401 members) (Racial)
Immanuel Baptist Church (0 Association, 1 Church, 2,538 members) (Individual)
Judson Church (0 Association, 1 Church, 278 members) (Individual)

Immanuel Baptist Church and Judson Church have special privilege of becoming voting
members of the convention despite a single Church. Burma Baptist Convention now called Myanmar
Baptist Convention (MBC) is a member of Myanmar Council of Churches, Asian Baptist Federation,
Christian Conference of Asia, American Baptist Churches in USA, World Baptist Alliance, and World
Council of Churches. Shan Baptist Churches are members of MBC through regional conventions.
There’s no Shan Baptist Convention representing all Shan Churches as a member of Baptist
Challenges in twenty-first century 111
Shan Churches in Burma (1954) by E.E. Sowards

Mr. E.E. Sowards reported about the Shan Churches in 1954,

“The Burma Baptist Convention office in Rangoon is a long way, remote from
work in the Shan State and it would help the work considerably to have strong local
organizations (in Shan States) to assume responsibilities and to plan more wisely the
forward steps necessary for the advancement of the work. In Burma Proper the
organization has tended to be along racial lines, with the Karen Baptist Convention, the
Pwo Karen Baptist Conference, the Burma Baptist Churches Union, the Kachin Baptist
Convention and the Zomi (Chin Hills) Baptist Convention as outstanding examples.
This kind of organization has probably tended to promote the progress of the
evangelization of the different racial groups by their own people but especially since
independence it has given rise to the Church that mission work is divisive rather than
“The Shan State has so many varied racial groups occupying the same territory
that it would seem highly inadvisable for the mission to promote the organization of
racial conventions. In Northern Shan State the KutKai Kachin Baptist Association is
already organized along racial lines but maintains very cordial relations with the Shan
and other Christians. The ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission is ministering also to
Chinese and Palong and is on very good terms of cooperation with the Kachin Baptists.
In the South the Southern Shan State Indigenous Home Mission Society is not organized
on racial lines but includes several different racial groups residing in the TaungGyi-
LoiLem area. In the Eastern Shan State there seems to be very good cooperation
between Shan, Lahu, Wa, Ahka and Chinese Baptists. Therefore, I recommend that we
follow the example of the Southern Shan State Association and organize a new
convention based not on racial but on geographical principles, with all the Baptists
residing in the area of the Shan State as potential members of a new Shan State Baptist
Convention. TaungGyi, the administrative and communication center of the Shan State
would seem to be theological location for the administrative office of the Convention.
The Director of Evangelism for the Shan State, when appointed, can do a great deal
toward laying the groundwork for establishing the Shan State Baptist Convention.”
“A complication arises in the fact that a good many of the Baptist Churches in
the Shan State are already in a racial Convention. The strongest group is the KutKai
Kachin Baptist Association, which is the largest group of the four Kachin Associations
making up the Kachin Baptist Convention. The Kachin Bible Training School at KutKai
serves the whole Kachin Convention territory. If a Shan State Baptist Convention were
formed, I would not recommend that the KutKai Association withdraw from the Kachin
Convention but that they maintain all the ties with the Kachin Convention, which they
now have. However, I see no reason why the KutKai Kachin Baptist Association could
not at the same time maintain close ties of fellowship with the Shan State Baptist
Convention, just as many Churches in the United States maintain cordial relations with
both the American and Southern Baptist Conventions. Several Churches in the Shan
State are members of the Burma Baptist Churches Union, or perhaps some other group
such as the Upper Burma Karen Baptist Association. The same principle could apply to
these Churches and they should be able to cooperate in many ways with the new Shan
State Baptist Convention without weakening their loyalty to the other group of which
they are now members. It would seem that a strong Shan State Baptist Convention

A Study of Baptist Work in the Shan States By E.E. Sowards, 1954, published by Burma Baptist Mission, Rangoon, 1954
Challenges in twenty-first century 112
should be able to promote the progress of such smaller groups as the Ahka, Palong, Lisu
and other groups in which the Christian community is not yet large enough to have
strong local organizations.”
Mr. Sowards was advocating in formation of regional conventions in Shan States rather than
racial convention. But the racial conventions are already in place and they are not willing to dissolve
their racial conventions and form regional conventions. However there are regional conventions formed
in Shan States and Shan Churches are put under these conventions.

Formation of Shan Baptist Convention

Most of the Shan Churches are Baptist. In 1977 all Shan Churches in the Eastern Shan State are
members of Eastern Shan State Baptist Convention, all Shan Churches in the Northern Shan State are
either members of Northern Shan State Baptist Convention or ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission and
all Shan Churches in the Southern Shan State are members of Southern Shan State Home Mission
Society, which all are regional conventions with multiracial groups. There is no “Shan Baptist
Convention” to represent all Shan Churches in Shan States. When saying Shan Churches, I mean Shan
Churches who use Shan language in their worship services. ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission
cannot be called Association of Shan Churches because it does not represent all the Shan Churches
from all Shan States. More over the members of ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission is comprised of
mixed racial groups such as Shan, Palong and Chinese Churches from Northern Shan State. Newly
formed Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention in 1997 is also not representing all Shan Churches
from Shan States. It only represents some Shan Churches and Wa Churches from Eastern Shan State.

The formation of “Shan Churches Association” representing Shan Churches in Shan States is
not a new idea. It was in fact tried and done in 1894 in HsiPaw by American Baptist Missionaries. Shan
Churches were first planted in Northern Shan State in 1889, Southern Shan State in 1892 and Eastern
Shan State in 1901. In the year 1977 there were about fifty Shan Church scattered all over three Shan
States (Northern, Southern, Eastern). They have no formal communication, relationship, cooperation,
meeting, talking, discussing and working together. They live hundreds of miles away from one another.
They function under regional conventions, which set up their own regional boundaries, rules,
regulations and restrictions. Small groups of Shan Churches in the east, south and north are very weak
in many aspects. Indeed they need to see one another, know each other, fellowship with one another
and work together since unity is strength.
Shan have their own unique culture, language, literature and religious back ground which are
completely different from other tribal groups. Other tribal missionaries and evangelists may not be very
successful in reaching the Shan with gospel of Jesus because of their different cultural background. The
most evangelized tribal groups such as Chin, Kachin, Lisu, Lahu, Wa and Ahka are animist in their
backgrounds but Shan are Buddhist almost two thousand years. Buddhist Shan use to say that
Christianity is a religion of Kachin or Lahu because most of Kachin and Lahu in Shan States are
Christians. What will happen if Shan evangelize the Shan? We need to get all Shan Churches from all
over Shan States together and form an organization called “Shan Baptist Convention”, since almost all
Shan Churches are Baptist, to work together to reach our own people. Since Shan Baptist Churches are
under BBC it requires permission from BBC to form a convention.
Jesus wants us to be united. John 17:11 “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still
in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name
you gave me--so that they may be one as we are one.” Paul wants us to be united. 1 Cor 1:10 “I appeal
to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that
there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
Challenges in twenty-first century 113

In the year 1977, Saya Sai Nyunt Tha (General Secretary of ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist
Mission), Saya Maung Su (pastor of LaShio Shan Baptist Church) and I met at my home in LaShio and
discussed about Shan Churches and mission works among the Shan. We all had the same view and
opinion that Shan mission works were not very successful like other racial groups in one hundred years.
All the Shan Churches should unite and work together to establish the “Kingdom of God among the
Shan.” The first step was to get all Shan Churches from the Eastern, Southern and Northern Shan State
together and form “Shan Baptist Convention.” We should have a convention that can represent all Shan
Churches in one voice, one mind and one spirit. People groups such as Bamar, Kachin, Karen, Chin,
Lahu, Lisu, Naga, Rakine, Mon, Ahka are united and forming their own convention and working
among their own people effectively. Most of the members of BBC are racial conventions representing
their own races. Shan also need one.

First Effort
As the first step we organized a meeting on December 23, 1977 in MuSe at Daw Martha’s home
and discussed about formation of “Shan Baptist Convention.” The meeting was attended by some
Churches’ leaders from the Northern Shan State. All participants agreed to work toward the formation
of “Northern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention” as the first step and then would proceed to form
Shan Baptist Convention with other Shan Churches from the South and East. The decision made at the
meeting was submitted to Extra-ordinary General Meeting of ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission on
February 18, 1978. At the meeting it was agreed and decided to form “Shan Baptist Convention”
instead of “Northern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention.”
In 1978 Sai Nyunt Tha and
representatives of Shan Churches in Northern
Shan State put forward the request to BBC for
granting permission to form “Shan Baptist
Convention“ (SBC). But it was rejected on the
reason that “BBC does not encourage formation
of convention based on race.” During the meeting
the focus was shifted from formation of SBC to
“Celebration of Shan Bible Centenary” which
was going to be held in 1985. Instead of giving
permission to form SBC, ShweLi Valley Baptist
Mission was promised BBC’s support in
leadership production, opening new mission field and holding Shan Bible Centenary Celebration.
In 1979 December, Sai Nyunt Tha and four representatives from Shan Churches including Chit
Pwai, Yee Poi, San Lwin and Ba Yin met with five representatives from BBC including Zau Yaw,
Victor San Lone, Clifford Kyaw Dwe, Chit Tin and Du Lum, in LaShio for further talk about
“Formation of Shan Baptist Convention.” Again permission was not given. Instead Shan Churches were
given assurance of support to hold Shan Bible Centenary in 1985 and financial support of new Shan
mission in MuongMyit with Kyat 5,000 per year. Shan Churches’ leaders were asked to forget about
the formation of Shan Baptist Convention. Chit Pwai, Chairman of ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist
Mission, asked other members to agree with BBC and accept the offer.
Was it an exchange or
negotiation or compromise?

As interview with Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha on March 3, 2003. ThaCheLeik
Nyunt Tha, Zau Yaw, Kham Kya, Myint Lay, Stephen
1979 meeting
Challenges in twenty-first century 114
Sai Philip, Sai Stephen, Sai Nyunt Tha
1981 meeting

Second Effort
In 1980, Sai Stephen, leader from Eastern Shan State Shan Churches and Sai Nyunt Tha, leader
of Northern Shan State Shan Churches, met and
talked about SBC formation and both agreed to
begin to organize Shan Churches again in the
East and the North to be united to form Shan
Baptist Convention. In 1981, Sai Stephen and
Sai Philip, leaders from Eastern Shan State,
went to the North and held a meeting with Sai
Nyunt Tha and the leaders of Shan Churches in
MuSe. They all agreed to work for formation of
Shan Baptist Convention.
In 1983, Sai Stephen came to Hong Kong with
a delegation from BBC to attend Baptist World
Alliance Convention. He stayed at my home
and held discussion with me about Shan
missions. Both of us agreed to the following

1. Shan Churches should unite and form Shan Baptist Convention for future Shan missions.
2. Getting permission from Burma Baptist Convention is important but not compulsory. We have
freedom to form our own convention. It is considered to be a blessing if we can form our convention
with BBC’s agreement.
3. If BBC persistently refuses to give us permission Shan Churches should go ahead and form Shan
Baptist Convention and later apply to be a member of Burma Baptist Convention.
4. If BBC refuses to accept us as their member we can apply to become a member of Burma Council of
5. Shan Baptist Convention can directly apply to Asia Baptist Alliance for membership and join World
Baptist Council.
After Stephen returned to Burma they held a meeting on April 30, 1983 in DaKuan, Eastern
Shan State. All Shan Churches’ leaders from Eastern Shan State agreed to form Shan Baptist
Convention. In February 1984 Sai Myint Lay was sent to Hong Kong by BBC to study on drug addict
rehabilitation program. He stayed at my home
for a month and held discussion with me. I
advised him that it was our opportunity to show
our unity, desire and decision to form Shan
Baptist Convention at our Shan Bible Centenary
Celebration, which was going to be held in
December 1985. If BBC again refuses to allow
us to form Shan Baptist Convention all Shan
Churches should unite and form Shan Baptist
Convention and declared it in the Shan Bible
Centenary Celebration.
In 1984, in order to initiate the formation
of Shan Baptist Convention, Shan Churches’
leaders were encouraged to meet and discuss
about it again. I offered 7,000 Kyat to cover their
expenses for travel and meetings to be held in
TaungGyi, Southern Shan State and second meeting in LaShio, Northern Shan State.
Sai Stephen and Sai Htwe Maung meeting in
Hong Kong in 1983

Challenges in twenty-first century 115
From May 7 to 11, 1984, the leaders and the representatives of Shan Churches from three Shan States
met in TaungGyi, Southern Shan State, at Htun Myain’s home.
In attendances were;
1. Rev. Sai Shwe Htun, NamKham, N.S.S.,
2. Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha, NamKham, N.S.S.,
3. Saya Sai Thein Aung Kham, NamKham, N.S.S.,
4. Saya Sai Po Maung, NamKham, N.S.S.,
5. Kyaw Win, LaShio, N.S.S.,
6. Kyaw Hla, LaShio, N.S.S.,
7. Pa Ping, TaungGyi, S.S.S.,
8. Nang Hsaw, TaungGyi, S.S.S.,
9. Htun Myint, TaungGyi, S.S.S.,
10. Rev. Kyaw Myint, TaungGyi, S.S.S.,
11. Daw Khin Lay, TaungGyi, S.S.S.,
12. Daw Mary Kyan, TaungGyi, S.S.S.,
13. Sai Ba Maung, TaungGyi, S.S.S.,
14. Nang Hnoom Hsam, KengTung, E.S.S.,
15. Nang Daw Kar, KengTung, E.S.S.,
16. Daw Nang Hnoi, KengTung, E.S.S.,
17. Nang Zaun, KengTung, E.S.S.,
18. Nang Nar Mee, KengTung, E.S.S.,
19. Saya Sai Myint Lay, KengTung, E.S.S.,
20. Sayama Nang Hsaw, KengTung, E.S.S.,
Regretfully, from that meeting, no decision was made but the “working committee for the formation of
the Shan Baptist Convention” was formed.
The members of the working committee were;
Chairman; Kyaw Hla,
Vice-Chairman; Rev. Sai Tip,
Secretary; Sai Myint Lay,
Vice-Secretary; Sai Thein Aung Kham,
Treasurer; Kyaw Win,
Auditors; Sai Philip, Sai Po Maung,
Committee Members; Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha, Rev. Sai Shwe Htun, Sai Ba Yin, Sai Saw Than, Ba Lwin,
Daw Martha, Rev. Kyaw Myint, Rev. Sai Stephen, Sai Hsai.
Second meeting was held in LaShio, Northern
Shan State, from September 6 to 8, 1984 at U
Kyaw Hla’s home.
In attendances were;
1. Kyaw Hla, 2. Rev.Ya Kuk, 3. Rev. Nyunt
Tha, 4. Po Maung, 5. Kyaw Win, 6. Thein Aung
Kham, 7. Ba Yin, 8. Myint Lay.
They all agreed to put forward the request with a
draft constitution to BBC at 111
BBC Annual
General Meeting, which would be held in
NamKham in December 1985.
On December 26, 1985 another meeting was held
in NamKham.
In attendant were;
1. Kyaw Hla, 2. Rev. Sai Tip, 3. Myint Lay, 4.
Committee meeting at U Kyaw Hla’s home, LaShio in

Challenges in twenty-first century 116
Thein Aung Kham, 5. Kyaw Win, 6. Po Maung, 7. Rev. Shwe Maung, 8. Rev. Stephen, 9. Rev. Nyunt
Tha, 10. Daw Martha, 11. Ba Lwin,
Formation of Shan Baptist Convention was not successful as it had been planned because BBC
again refused to give permission. Shan Churches’ leaders dare not to form convention without BBC
permission. They continued to form “SBC working committee for 1986-1988”
The members of the working committee were;
Chairman; Rev. Sai Tip,
Vice-Chairman; Kyaw Hla,
2nd Vice-Chairman; Willy,
General Secretary; Myint Lay,
Associate Secretary; Rev. Nyunt Tha,
Vice-Secretary; Saya Hsai,
Treasurer; Dr. Myo Min, & Kyaw Win,
Auditor; Thein Aung Kham & Philip,
Exec. members; Rev. Shwe Htun, Rev. Khin Maung, Rev. Stephen,
Rev. Aung Htun Shwe, David Hsam.

New Direction or diversion
In 1987, secretary of SBC Working Committee, Sai Myint Lay had accepted the post of full-
time “General Secretary of Eastern Shan State Baptist Convention” (ESSBC), which was a multiracial-
regional convention in Eastern Shan State. It had a big conflict of interest with the formation of “Shan
Baptist Convention” because ESSBC might lose its memberships from Shan Churches if they join SBC
when it’s formed. He was in fact holding two full-time secretary posts, which had conflict of interest.
How could he fight for the formation of “Shan Baptist Convention” as a secretary of Eastern Shan State
Baptist Convention? He then changed the name from “Working Committee for the Formation of Shan
Baptist Convention” to “Burma Shan Baptist Mission.” The effort of forming Shan Baptist Convention
had disappeared. Many Shan Churches’ leaders expressed surprise, disagreement and disappointment
for changing the name and objective. The idea of forming “Burma Shan Baptist Mission” was, as
explained by Sai Myint Lay, that since SBC could not be formed because of BBC’s refusal, the Shan
Churches could work together under the name of “Burma Shan Baptist Mission” instead of “Shan
Baptist Convention.”
In 1988 the meeting between Shan Churches’ leaders held at Methodist Church in Rangoon
during the All Burma Pastoral Conference, all Shan Churches’ leaders agreed to try again to form SBC.
But when Rev. Shwe Htun, General Secretary of ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission, returned to
ShweLi, he wrote a letter to Sai Myint Lay, circulating to BBC and all Baptist Conventions in Burma.
The original letter (translated from Burmese)
Saya Sai Myint Lay
General Secretary, Burma Shan Baptist Mission, NaungPha, KengTung.
Dated 1988 May 10.
Subject: Decision made by ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission
Letter # 29/Ahpaka/5-Naka/88
Concerning the above matter, ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission Executive Committee met on April
23, 1988 and made the following decision.
“Burma Shan Baptist Mission” has been formed for years but nothing has been achieved. There will be
only a waste of time and money if BSBM continue the work.
Challenges in twenty-first century 117
ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission has been contacting directly with Myanmar Baptist Convention as
a representative of all Shan Baptist Churches.
Therefore if you want to do Shan Baptist Mission Work
you must do it as ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission’s work under ShweLi so that it can be legal.
Therefore if you want to do the work as ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist’s works or 21
Century Shan
Mission’s work, they must come under the name of ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission. Otherwise Myanmar
Baptist Convention and other Racial and Regional Conventions will not recognize it and will not help
and the work will not be successful. Starting from April 23, 1988, ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission
withdraws from membership of Burma Shan Baptist Mission and stop contributing financially.
In His Service,
Signed/ Rev. Shwe Htun,
General Secretary, ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission
C.c. to General Secretary, Myanmar Baptist Convention, Rangoon.
General Secretary, All Racial and Regional Conventions, Burma.
All members of SBM.
Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha lamented, “This letter has betrayed us. It is very shameful. ShweLi is not
representing all Shan Churches. How can all Shan mission works come under ShweLi? Why do they
want to be the boss of all? Why are they so selfish? Why did they send this letter to BBC and all
conventions in the whole country? What is the motive?”

Third Effort
Many Shan Churches’ leaders from all Shan States were gathering in MuSe Shan Baptist
Church during the “ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission Centenary Celebration” in the evening of
December 24, 1993. Church leaders from ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission, Eastern Shan State
Baptist Convention, Southern Shan State Home Mission Association, Shan Churches from Northern
Shan State and other Shan Churches’ leaders attended the meeting. In the meeting Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha
and I gave detailed history of the beginning of our vision and our effort in forming Shan Baptist
Convention since 1978.

Meeting at MuSe Shan Baptist Church on December 24, 1993

Two important decisions were made unanimously at the meeting.
1. All agreed to revitalize our vision of forming SBC. All agreed to form “Preparatory Working
Committee” for the formation of Shan Baptist Convention. The members of the working committee

ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission is representing only a few Shan Churches from the North, Palong and Chinese Churches.
As interviewed with Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha on March 13, 2003, ThaCheLeik.
Challenges in twenty-first century 118
were Dr. Sai Htwe Maung, Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha, Saya Sai Myint Lay, Rev. Sai Philip, Rev. Sai Htun
Kyaw, Rev. Sai Maung Kaing and Saya Sai Htun Myat. Saya Sai Htun Myat was appointed convener
for the future meeting.
2. General Secretary of Southern Shan State Home Mission Society clarified that the land in
TaungGyi, which was given to Shan Mission by Southern Shan State Home Mission when they shared
the land to various ethnic groups, was not given to ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission. It was given to
all Shan Churches. But at the time of receiving the land there was no Shan Mission Organization
representing all Shan Churches to receive the land officially and legally. On behalf of all Shan
Churches ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission was asked to receive the land. ShweLi Valley Shan
Baptist Mission had paid Kyat 50,000 to Southern Shan Home Mission for receiving the land. It was
agreed that ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission would give the land back to Shan Mission if Shan
Mission gives Kyat 50,000 back to ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission. A Christian brother from
Thailand agreed to pay the money back to ShweLi on behalf of Shan Mission so that the land would
belong to all the Shan Churches and will be used in building TaungGyi Shan Baptist Church.
In 1994, Sai Htun Myat, convener of the meeting, called for the meeting of the working
committee. But ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission withdrew from participating. They did not allow
any one from ShweLi to attend the meeting. Rev. Sai Maung Kaing, a member of the committee, was
told that if he went to the meeting he would be taken disciplinary action and would be dismissed from
ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission. Sai Maung Kaing came to the meeting just to inform the
committee that ShweLi had withdrawn from participation in formation of Shan Baptist Mission.
Because of withdrawal of ShweLi it was meaningless to form Shan Baptist Convention. The working
committee was then dissolved. When a Christian brother from Thailand tried to send money to ShweLi
for the transfer of land to Shan Churches, ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission refused to accept the
money and refused to give the land back to Shan Churches. However in the year 1996 TaungGyi Shan
Baptist Church had negotiated with ShweLi and paid them large amount of money and took possessing
of the land. Until today “Shan Baptist Convention” is still up in the air.

If it is God’s will, who can stop us?

I believe that one day, we will see Shan Churches come together in unity to build the Kingdom of God
among our Shan people in our Shanland, one day.

1 Sam 14:6-7 “Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving,
whether by many or by few. Do all that you have in mind”
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 119


In the year 1986 I have not heard from any one talking about 21
century mission planning. It
seems still far away. But one day when I was reading the words and praying in a small room at Queen
Mary Hospital in Hong Kong for my three-year-old daughter who was seriously ill and lying on
hospital bed, God has revealed to me “21
Century Shan Mission Project” on September 14, 1986.
What does it mean?
What does God want me to do?
How can I do it?
After much prayer I feel that God has graciously given me full responsibility to reach out and preach
the gospel to millions of Shan people in Burma who are my own people who have not heard about
Jesus. They all need Jesus. Trusting in God I started working out a plan for this project without
knowing much about mission. I praise God for His guidance and provision. This vision is the beginning
of “Great Commission to the Shan.”

The Vision
Goals for 21
By the year 2001; I want to achieve
Goal One: 201 Shan Evangelists trained for the harvest
Goal Two: 201 Shan Churches planted among the Shan
Goal Three: 21,000 Shan believers saved
Only about 6,000 Shan have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior in 124 years. How can I get
21,000 Shan believers within 14 years? Impossible? Wishful thinking? Day dreaming? Discouraged by
Satan but encouraged by the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as
small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.
Nothing will be impossible for you”

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are

I have decided TO GO, TO DO, TO LIVE, by FAITH.
“Trainings” for Shan believers will be conducted and produce more evangelists and send them out for
“Evangelism” and “Planting Churches” among the Shan.

Vision in action
The first step is to put vision into action. I went back to Burma in December 1986 from Hong
Kong, for the first time in seven years after leaving the country and had a meeting with Shan Churches’
leaders from Eastern Shan State, Northern Shan State and Southern Shan State from 12 to 13 December
in Rangoon at Daw Mya Nu’s home. I sponsored all 13 leaders for their expenses in traveling and meal
with Kyat 14,777.
In attendances were; Dr. Sai Htwe Maung, Sai Hsai (Eastern Shan State), Daw Mya Nu
(Yangon), Rev. Sai Shwe Htun (Northern Shan State), Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha (Northern Shan State), Rev.
Sai Tip (Eastern Shan State), Rev. Sai Aung Htun Shwe (Northern Shan State), Sai Myint Lay (Eastern
Shan State), Sai Thein Aung Kham (Northern Shan State), Sai Htun Khaing (Southern Shan State),
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 120
Kyaw Hla (Northern Shan State), Kyaw Win (Northern Shan State), Daw Shwe Sein (Northern Shan
State), David Hsam (Eastern Shan State).

Meeting Shan Churches’ Leaders
Decisions made as follow;
1. Sai Htun Khaing will organize Shan Baptist
Fellowship in TaungGyi.
Sai Htwe Maung will support him 100 Kyat
monthly for his traveling expenses for one year.
2. Sai Stephen will evangelize the lepers in
MuongPya, WanKum village, E.S.S.
Sai Htwe Maung will support him 100 Kyat
monthly for one year.
3. Sai Htwe Maung has donated 2 sleeping bags,
1 camera, 1 slide projector, 2 master keys and
Kyat 15,000 toward Shan Baptist mission works.
4. Sai Htwe Maung has donated Kyat 46,158
toward the Shan Baptist Ministry.
5. Sai Htwe Maung has helped getting financial
support from Asian Outreach International total 64,363 Kyat for the Shan Mission in supporting Shan
Bible Students.
6. Sai Htwe Maung and Asian Outreach International have sponsored 18 Shan students to study in
Theological Seminaries and one student in University for four years.
7. Sai Htwe Maung put forward his vision, 21
Century Shan Mission Project for future Shan Mission.
In order to work out this project the following committee was formed.
General Director; Dr. Sai Htwe Maung
Co-coordinator; Sai Hsai
Hon. Treasure; Daw Mya Nu
Members; Rev. Sai Tip, Rev. Shwe Htun, Sai Htun Khaing, Sai Myint Lay, U Kyaw Hla,
Rev. Sai Stephan, Sai Thein Aung Kham, Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha.

Support From Burma Baptist Convention
We need help in organizing training for the Shan. Not many Shan Christian leaders are well
equipped and qualified to be trainers. I thought BBC could offer help in our effort in training our Shan
leaders, helping us doing evangelism and Church Planting among the Shan. Therefore I sent a letter to
the General Secretary of Burma Baptist Convention on June 16, 1987 asking them to help by sending
some teachers and trainers from BBC and also to give some support. However BBC refused to give any
help by giving reason that this 21
CSMP did not come from any Baptist Convention, which was under
their recognition. According to BBC’s policy they would not give any support to any ministry if it did
not come from Baptist Convention.
Letter from Rev. Zau Yaw, General Secretary, Burma Baptist Convention.
July 8, 1987 (translated from Burmese)
Dr. Sai Htwe Maung,
I have received your letter concerning 21
Century Shan Mission Project. I have heard that you
have held a meeting with Shan Churches’ leaders regarding Shan Missions when you come to Rangoon.
As BBC we only have opportunity of discussing with you about Macao Mission but we don’t have
opportunity of talking about 21
Century Shan Mission Project.
When you write to BBC about our help we have to think about our policy. In our BBC we have
13 racial and regional conventions. Among these conventions, Southern Shan State Home Mission,
Fellowship meal with Shan Churches’ leaders
December 13, 1986
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 121
Northern Shan State Baptist Convention, Eastern Shan State Baptist Convention and ShweLi Valley
Shan Baptist Mission are responsible to do mission work in their own area (In Shan States). They also
have joint mission work with BBC. For example, joint mission among Ahka people in Eastern Shan
State, Southern mission work with ZBC. We have to think about which convention is going to take
responsibility of 21
Century Shan Mission Project. There is no “Shan Convention” in Shan State. In all
the mentioned conventions in Shan States they all are multiracial convention, not pure Shan Churches.
We can only consider ShweLi as pure Shan Churches group.
That is why it will be good if you
form “Evangelism and Mission Committee” under ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission. However
when doing mission work (among the Shan in other region) you still need to negotiate with other
regional or racial conventions (which control the region). On the other hand, in order for us to consider
about it (about help), it has to come to us from a convention. The 21
Century Shan Mission Committee
should write to us officially under a convention, otherwise we cannot consider about it.
In His Service,
Signed/ Rev. M. Zau Yaw,
General Secretary, Burma Baptist Convention.
It is very much regrettable because Shan Churches do not have convention to represent them.
ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission is only representing a few Shan, Palong and Chinese Churches in
ShweLi valley. It cannot own this project for the whole Shan Churches and Shan people all over Shan
States. It is also regrettable that we cannot go and do any mission work among our own people in our
own Shan States without their regional convention’s permission under BBC policy. In other words we
cannot go and save our own people in our own home. Whatever it is, I am determined to go ahead and
do it in His name with His powder, under His grace.

Goal # 1 Training

How are we going to produce 201 Shan evangelists in 14 years? The following plans are made.
1. To invite young and old people from Shan Churches who are dedicated for Shan missions to attend
three months evangelist training. After graduation they will be given certificate of achievement to work
as evangelists.
2. To choose suitable places for training.
3. To choose appropriate subjects for training.
4. To send those who have committed for
missions to the chosen mission fields.
5. To invite trainers from local and abroad,
who are qualified and spiritually matured, to
train our people.
6. To raise support from local and abroad for
training, evangelism and Church Planting

Sending students to Seminaries and Bible
The founder and President of Asian
Outreach International was Rev. Dr. Paul
Kauffman. By His divine appointment I have
opportunity of knowing and meeting Rev. David Y.P. Wang, Vice-executive President of Asian

ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Association comprises of Shan, Chinese and Palong Churches
Dr. & Mrs. Sai Htwe Maung with Rev. Dr. Paul
Kauffman in 1990
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 122
Outreach International, in Hong Kong in 1984. I met with him, talked to him, discussed with him and
worked with him about reaching the Shan people of Burma. The first step is to raise more workers for
the harvest.
Invitations were sent out to all Shan Churches in
all Shan States to choose and send their young people to
go to study at Seminary and Bible School and prepare
for the future work among the Shan. Asian Outreach and
my family would sponsor them for four years, as
students had to study for four years at Seminary. The
response was very good. We had 19 students including
one who was going to University and then would go to
Seminary later. Sending 18 Shan students to Seminaries
in Rangoon in 1985 was the first of its kind in history of
Shan Mission. Some students were already at Seminary
but need financial support. Never before such a big
group of Shan students going to study in Seminaries. A
Seminary teacher acclaimed, “We seldom have one Shan
student in one year. What happen this time such a big
group of Shan come together?” We expected that after
their four years study they would be able to serve among
Shan people as evangelists who bring “Good News” to
the Shan and plant Churches.

18 Students to Bible Schools and Seminaries.
1. Nang Kham Yong, M.I.C.T. (Eastern Shan State)
2. Nang Kya Yung, M.I.C.T. (Eastern Shan State)
3. Nang Seng Am, M.I.C.T. (Eastern Shan State)
4. Nang Shwe Htwe Lay, M.I.C.T. (Northern Shan State)
5. Sai Aung Win, B.I.T. (Northern Shan State)
6. Sai Keing Kham, M.I.C.T. (Northern Shan State)
7. Sai Maung Lay, M.I.C.T. (Southern Shan State)
8. Sai Maung Khaing, M.I.C.T. (Northern Shan State)
9. Sai Stephen, M.I.C.T. (Eastern Shan State)
10. Sai Aung Than, M.I.C.T. (Northern Shan State)
11. Saw Ah Po, M.I.C.T. (Northern Shan State)
12. Sai Maung Than, TaungGyi Bible School, (Northern Shan State)
13. Sai Hla Oo, M.I.C.T. (Northern Shan State)
14. Ma Kya Doi, M.I.C.T. (Northern Shan State)
15. Nang Hla Khin, M.I.C.T. (Northern Shan State)
16. Sai Htun Myat, M.I.T. (Northern Shan State)
17. Sai Ai Myat, TaungGyi Bible School, (Northern Shan State)
18. Sai Noon, M.I.C.T. (Eastern Shan State)
Including Nang Thi Da Htun, (Northern Shan State) (University), who promised to go to
Seminary after University.
They all are now graduated from Seminaries and Bible Schools. One of them died, two are not
serving in ministry and the rest are serving in Churches as pastors. Many of them have been ordained.
Regretfully none of them goes out and serves as missionary or evangelist to the Shan where there are no
Churches. They all stay in well-established Churches. Some even threatened to resign if they were sent
out to other remote places. Kyat 91,750 was spent for training 19 Shan students from 1985-1989.
Rev. & Mrs. David Y.P. Wang
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 123

Meeting some of our Shan Seminary students in December 1986

Training leaders
Shan Churches do not have opportunity of getting training abroad since 1966. This is the first
time we have opportunity of sending our potential leaders to get training abroad.
We sent Sai Thein Aung Kham from NamKham whom we considered to be a leader of Northern
Shan State, to Great Commission Institute Training in 1988 in Singapore for one month by sponsorship
of Asian Outreach. After one month training he traveled to Hong Kong and we had discussion about
future Shan mission. He agreed to work with us in 21
CSMP, as Hon. Assistant Director responsible to
Northern Shan State. All expenses for his travel and training in Singapore were paid by Asian Outreach.
We sent Sai Stephen from KengTung whom we considered to be a leader of Eastern Shan State, to
Great Commission Institute Training in Thailand in December 1990 for one month by sponsorship of
Asian Outreach. We expected that after graduating from GCI he would be able to work with us and
conduct local training for Shan Churches in the East and produce more evangelists. In 1988, Sai Thein
Aung Kham was appointed Hon. Assistant Director of 21
Century Shan Mission Project responsible
for the Northern Shan State and Sai Stephen was appointed Hon. Assistant Director of 21
responsible for Eastern Shan State and I would be acting as Hon. General Director. We would work
together. All were on part-time volunteer basis. We expected that Sai Stephen would lead in the Eastern
Shan State and Sai Thein Aung Kham in Northern Shan State. Later Sai Stephen joined us in 1993 as
full-time paid Assistant Director of 21
CSMP responsible for Eastern Shan State. We planned to
conduct local training in KengTung, TaungGyi, MuSe, NamKham, MayMyo and Rangoon to produce
more evangelists to meet our target. We planned to conduct GCI training with foreign trainers for Shan
leaders in Maesai, TaungGyi, KengTung, MayMyo and Yangon.

Twenty-first century Shan mission project 124
Great Commission Institute (GCI)

This is a team of international trainers under Asian Outreach ministries directed by Rev. Lau
Tak Siong, Singapore, moving from country to country, place to place and conducting short-course
training for local Christians to be able to do evangelism and Church Planting work among their own
people. It is like a “Mobile Bible School.” It is an international and interdenominational team.

The curriculum is a good mixture of practical ministry and basic theology:
1. Spiritual (eg. Spiritual Warfare, Prayer)
2. Emotional (eg. Inner Healing)
3. Social (eg. Conflict Management)
4. Family (eg. Christian Family)
5. Pastoral (eg. Counseling, Homiletics)
6 Theological (eg. Basic Doctrine, OT and NT Survey)
7. Ministerial (eg. Leadership I and II)

Three-level programs
Level 1:
Prayer 6 hrs
Praise and Worship 4 hrs
Basic Doctrine 10 hrs
Leadership 6 hrs
Children’s Ministry 4 hrs
Evangelism 6 hrs
How to get the best out of the Bible 6 hrs
Ministry Planning 6 hrs
The Holy Spirit (Pneumatology) 6 hrs
Total 54 hrs

Level 2:
Church Planting 6 hrs
Discipleship 6 hrs
Spiritual Warfare 6 hrs
Biblical Foundation for Missions 3 hrs
Leadership II 6 hrs
Power Theology 6 hrs
Christian Family 6 hrs
Homiletics 6 hrs
The Local Church 3 hrs
The Life & Teaching of Christ 6 hrs
Total 54 hrs

Level 3:
Counseling 6 hrs
Effective Personal Management
&Financial Planning 4 hrs
Conflict Management 6 hrs
Inner Healing 6 hrs
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 125
Apologetics 4 hrs
Pastoral Ministries 6 hrs
Cults 4 hrs
O.T. Survey 6 hrs
N.T. Survey 6 hrs
Spiritual Gifts 6 hrs
Total 54 hrs

In order to meet the need of Shan believers GCI short-course training program was first introduced to
Shan Churches in 1994. It equips, trains and supports dedicated Shan Christians to become evangelists.

The 1
Shan GCI, Maesai, Thailand.
October 31- November 12, 1994

GCI Maesai 1994

Sai Stephen met with me in LaShio, Northern Shan State on December 28, 1993 and shared
about 21
CSMP work in Eastern Shan State. We also discussed and made preparation for GCI, which
is going to be held in Maesai in 1994.
Planned Date: October 31 to November 12, 1994.
Teaching medium will be English from foreign trainers and translated to Shan. Shan teachers will teach
in Shan.
Expected number of participants: 20 - 25
Budget total estimate: 62,000 baht (US$ 1,632)

Maesai, Chiangrai, Thailand, is a suitable place to hold the training because training with
foreigners is not allowed in Myanmar and most of the trainees will be coming from Eastern Shan State.
It will be held at Bethel Bible School in Maesai. Sai Stephen has got the permission to use the school.
Trainees will stay at TaChiLeik Baptist Church on Myanmar side and cross the border to Maesai every
day for training. Food will be arranged two times a day at the Church. Foreign trainers will stay at
Maesai Hotel. Tea and Coffee will be provided by GCI at break time.
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 126
Five foreign teachers; Jean Harper, Rev. Ong Siew Huat, Rev. Franklin Williamson, Mrs. Katie
Williamson and Dr. Sai Htwe Maung. Three local teachers; Rev. Seng Tip, Rev. Aung Htun Shwe, Rev.
Sai Stephen.

Subjects taught
1) Salvation
2) Evangelism & Mission
3) Christian Life
4) Leadership
5) Church Planting
6) Power Theology
7) Pray Intercession
8) Ministry Planning

Report from Jean Harper, director of GCI
Pom drove Franklin, Katie and I from Chiangmai to Chiangrai where we met Dr. Sai Htwe
Maung at the airport, together with Sombat and Pantip, Boonyuen and Somlit. Our hotel was a stone’s
throw from the Burma border and it was interesting to notice the constant traffic crossing the border, as
well as traders of gems, clothing, food etc. The hotel has a Buddhist temple immediately behind it and
we found ourselves awoken, sometimes as early as 4 AM, with broadcast Buddhist chants. Just a few
minutes walk from the hotel is the Baptist Church, which has a huge, new four-storey complex. They
allowed us the use of the top floor for our lectures, which provided us with beautiful views into Burma
and across the hills where the tribal people live.
This GCI was very different from any other that we have conducted, in that:
1. We could not live-in with the participants, or even share meals with them in the evening.
2. The participants were billeted out into different believers’ homes in the town of other side of the
3. They lived in one country and we lived in another.
4. The participants “disappeared” at 5 pm each afternoon in order to cross the border before the gate
closed. Therefore we were not able to participate in their evening programs.
5. The participants held their morning devotions in TaChiLeik before crossing the border. Therefore we
did not have opportunity to hear their testimonies. But none of this was by any means negative.
It was also a unique GCI in that we were working with Sai Htwe Maung toward the goal of 21

Century Shan Mission Project. This was a great privilege for us as we saw the tremendous burden he
has for his people, his enormous energy in working with them and his sacrificial endeavors toward that
end. Every free minute he filled with recording testimonies for his radio broadcast and recording hymns
from the Shan Hymnal when he discovered he had a four-part harmony choir at his disposal,
unaccompanied. They came one hour earlier each morning to record. If he had had enough time, I
think Sai Htwe Maung would have recorded every hymn in the book! We began to wonder if there was
anything he could not do: he taught, translated, conducted the choir, can sing, play the guitar and
keyboard; was out evangelizing the many Shan he discovered in Maesai. He just enjoyed being with
his people.
Twenty-eight participants crossed the border each day. Of the 28 Shan, 11 are pastors, 8 are
evangelists and the rest are leading youth groups, women’s and men’s fellowships, Sunday School and
one is the Assistant Secretary of the Eastern Shan State Baptist association. Of the 14
evangelists/pastors that Sai Stephen has sent out, 11 participated. We felt it was a tribute to Stephen’s
ministry. He is obviously a key man for the Shan vision of 2001. The local teachers who taught in the
evenings became students by day. One of them is translating the New Testament of the new Shan Bible.
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 127
Whilst most of the participants were very grassroots, this meant there were also a few educated men in
the group with B.Th who could speak English well. However Sai Htwe Maung assured us the training
in the Seminaries in Yangon is not the same and what was taught would be new to them.
Sombat was also of great help by loaning plastic crockery and cutlery items and an electric urn
for hot drinks. He visited several times and Sai Htwe Maung gave him an hour in which to share on
Evangelism. What a lively pair they made with Sai Htwe Maung interpreting for him! Franklin started
the program with teaching on Prayer and it became apparent that this was a key topic. It would seem
some do not know how to pray, or what to pray about. When a survey was held of the class many said
they pray for three or four minutes a day! The overall average was 13 minutes but this was bumped up
by Stephen praying for one hour and another leader for 28 minutes. Another key topic was Power
Theology, also taught by Franklin. He approached the aspect of needing the power of the Holy Spirit in
such a way that it did not become a doctrinal issue. He is really coming in to his own with grassroots
teaching and relates so well to the participants.
Sai Htwe Maung taught the middle session each day, firstly on Evangelism and then on Spiritual
Leadership. He is a great communicator so animated and alive, with a great sense of the mould the Shan
Baptists are in. They have had no outside input and no exposure to anything other than Baptist teaching
and tradition. The grassroots leaders were very open and receptive to this, as is Sai Stephen’s Ministry
Planning was quite a challenge to teach. We are discovering that really grassroots people cannot dream
big dreams. In one way it was easy as we could use the Shan 2001 vision as the best possible example.
But to get them to look beyond what they are presently involved in did not seem to happen! Stephen
felt the Lord speaking to him about four new mission areas that will bring forth fruit. He has a good
grasp of Ministry Planning and worked with his people on their plans. All handed in systematic plans
but not much Church Planting, or even evangelism, was included in them. Sai Htwe Maung shared that
their mentality as far as the Church is concerned is the building rather than a body of believers. So this
“hurdle” must first be overcome before Church Planting features heavily in ministry planning. Maybe,
in our teaching of this topic, we need to spend more time on the importance of having a vision.
Ong Siew Huat did a great job in teaching on Church Planting at a grassroots level and they
enjoyed his teaching. Many saw the need for Church Planting where they had not previously seen the
need. But, as yet, their mentality might hinder them from seeing that Church Planting also means small
house groups in villages and not large buildings in cities. It was good to have Ong Siew Huat and the
Dudgeons stay with us for four days. Martin shared a little about his Church Planting efforts in Bolivia
and I felt it was very practical and something our participants could relate to.
The response to Child Evangelism was good but I discovered their concept of children’s ministry is
Sunday school teaching and not reaching out to evangelize children. I need to rewrite my notes a little
to cover this aspect and challenge more in this regard. The program was set for six full days in the
week, with teaching from 9 am to 5 pm with a two-hour break for lunch and then 7 pm to 9 pm at night
at the other side of the border. But very rarely did we catch anyone napping!
On Sunday we all crossed the border to attend the Burmese Baptist Church in TaChiLeik. Sai
Stephen and Sai Tip, a senior man with a large Church who was one of the local trainers, led the
Service. They looked very much at home in their pastoral roles. If I understand correctly, Sai Htwe
Maung was introduced as the voice behind the Shan radio broadcasts and shared briefly. We had
“celebrity in our midst!” As foreigners we were not permitted to proceed more than 5 kms from the
border so can’t really say we saw Burma! We did enjoy a meal with the Church leaders in a nicely
located restaurant near our 5 kms post and shopped around the large market, which is primarily for
For graduation our hotel arranged a nice buffet dinner for less than US$2 per person and we
held the Graduation Service in the Church sanctuary. Sai Htwe Maung and Stephen organized the
service the Shan way. We were impressed with one of Stephen’s evangelist, Sai Kong, an Ahku, who
gave a very good testimony summarizing the whole GCI program. On the last morning Sai Htwe
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 128
Maung did an evaluation with the participants, who seemed to be very positive about everything.
Franklin, Katie and I also did a post GCI evaluation while we were in Maesai. We felt this first Shan
program exposed the participants to new ideas and new ways of doing things. The key ingredients? Sai
Htwe Maung, Sai Stephen and Hungry Heart.
The next Shan GCI will be October 16-27, 1995 in TaungGyi, Southern Shan State, Myanmar.
We are assured that foreigners can freely stay there, after entering Myanmar through Yangon. One of
this year’s graduates pastors a Church there, which can host us. When compiling the program we would
like to make the following suggestions. Sai Htwe Maung’s brief evaluation was that he felt the best
things from this GCI were the topics of Prayer and Planning. Each teacher had given a little and the
participants had received a lot from each one. We enjoyed all of our Thailand experience and believe
the first Shan GCI was very worthwhile and will bear fruit among these people for whom we share Dr.
Sai’s burden. (This training program was sponsored by GCI ministry. All the trainees were paid for
their traveling, food and lodging. All trainers were self-supported)

Testimonies from trainees
Sai Htun Myat from TaungGyi
I was converted at the age of 15 and was very zealous for the ministry at that age. I finished my
theological training and, after graduation, worked in a town. I continued studying for my B.D. But I
realize I was not trained very well. When I came to this GCI, I changed because the teaching was
practical. The theological study was theory. I have decided to sacrifice my life in TaungGyi to pray for
the Holy Spirit to guide me.

Rev. Seng Tip from KengTung
One month before this GCI Sai Stephen asked if I would attend. I said, “why, our country is in a bad
situation.” He said, “Don’t worry, just go.” Finally I was able to come to the training. We have been
planning for this for one year. Today God’s wishes have been fulfilled. I cannot close my mouth
without praising God. I also want to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you here, especially to the
trainers who have come from far away country to give up your time for us, because of the love of the
Lord Jesus Christ I am very honored to attend this training, The pastor here willingly allowed us to use
these premises. Our thanks to him and also to Mr. and Mrs. Boon for your kindness in providing
refreshment. And thanks to the trainees who have come from the various villages. I pray that we may
be able to see each other again some day, somewhere.

Rev. Sai Stephen from KengTung
We are not worthy but we have been called into God’s service. We have to be humble in our service as
Jesus was humble. We are so grateful to all the trainers for the love you have shown to our Shan
people. We are also grateful because you have promised us that wherever you go you will remember us
in your prayer.

Sai Kong from Ahku tribe
I am very happy to be able to attend this GCI training. I thought I wouldn’t be able to. But God
gave me the opportunity to attend. If I missed this opportunity it would be a great loss to me. For the
lessons that I have learned are really like a big, big mirror hanging on the wall into which I can look
and see because all the teachings are very, very important for me in my ministry. It reminds me of all
the lessons I need to learn in my ministry. I have learned how to pray and what is prayer power. In the
past even though I was working in God’s ministry, my prayer life was very weak and in my village it is
very rare for people to know how to pray. The second thing I have learned is how to preach. The
people I am working with don’t know how to read and write. They are illiterate. In the village I am the
most educated man. I thought whatever I preach they don’t know and I seldom prepare my sermon. I
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 129
confess. The third thing I learned is in the youth ministry and the teaching of salvation. I know I cannot
do it that way anymore. I realize that what I have done in the past is wrong and I have to start afresh. I
think some of you are the same. But as we learned, we must do our best for the Lord. In Church
Planting we know the Church is like a baby, just born. I need to take care of the baby Church. I know I
have to work very hard, maybe among the Ahku tribe. There are about 500 of them around the
KengTung area. When I go back I will start preaching the Good News to the Ahku in our area. I know
that I alone cannot do the work. I asked God for a wife and at once I met the right girl but we had no
money. God provided. We have seen non-Christians converted. Because of my lack of prayer the
Church is very slow in growth. In this GCI I have learned to pray hard so when I go home I will
continue to pray hard. Thank you to the teachers and thank to God.

Shan GCI, TaungGyi, Southern Shan State, Myanmar.
October 15-27, 1995.

This is the first training to be conducted for the Shan Churches in Shan State, Myanmar, by
foreign trainers since 1966 when all foreigners were asked to leave the country by military government.
Also the first time for Shan Churches from the East, South and North to come and have training
together at one place. 42 attended the training. 12 came from the North, 12 from the East, 2 from
Yangon and 16 from the South. US$ 4,200 spent for this training. Traveling and meal expenses for
trainees were paid by GCI. Accommodations were provided by GCI. Trainers were self-supported.

Report from Jean Harper, director of GCI
Our GCI team came from all regions of Asia; Delhi, Hong Kong and Singapore and met in
Bangkok for the onward flight to Yangon. There we were met by Sai Htwe Maung, his nephew and
two nieces. We drove to Sai Htwe Maung’s sister’s home, in a nice new apartment block quite close to
the airport and then on to our hotel for the evening. Our first impression of Yangon was one of surprise
at the number of cars on the road as opposed to motorcycles in Vietnam and Cambodia. When we
learned that each motorist was only allowed two gallons of petrol a week and anything more than that
was purchased on the black market at highly inflated prices, we were even more surprised!

TaungGyi GCI 1995, with trainees from Northern Shan State

The next morning we all flew south to TaungGyi, the capital city of Shan State. Although it is a
capital city, it is more like a country town, with quite a small population. We transited briefly in
Mandalay and from the air; we noticed innumerable Buddhist temples dotting the landscape. In
TaungGyi, Sai Htwe Maung, Stephen and Dr. John Noi, a leader of our host Church, met us and drove
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 130
us the one-hour journey to our venue. TaungGyi is several thousand feet up in the mountains so was
much cooler than on the plains. This made it very conducive for study. Sai Htwe Maung discovered
numerous relatives when we reached TaungGyi. The team stayed in a small family hotel of about eight
rooms, a short distance from the Church in which the training was held.
The first time, the Southern Shan, Northern Shan and Eastern Shan Baptist Associations had got
together for training. They usually hold separate training. This could mainly be due to distance and the
cost of transport. (An evangelist receives on average US$ 15 a month, whereas the bus fare and many
days of travel for many of our participants was about US$ 70) In the history of Shan Baptist Mission it
is the first time foreigners have done any training among them in forty years. We felt very privileged
and responsible to give of our best. This is the first time we have had more than 40 participants, 42 to
be exact.
It is the first time that ALL Ministry Plans were handed in one week before graduation! The
participants were given the first Saturday afternoon on which to begin working on their plans. Imagine
our surprise when they were all handed in that evening. It is the first time our GCI day has commenced
at 6:30 AM for devotions and testimonies - yawn! It is the first time we’ve had a farewell party of more
than 20 Church members and all the ladies have cried when we left! It’s also the first time we’ve had a
“party” in an airport terminal while waiting for departure!
Thein Aung Kham, a graduate from the 1987 international GCI in Singapore, brought some 12
leaders from the North. There were about the same from the South and Stephen brought a little more
than that from the East. Most of them had to travel 400 miles, a journey which took most of them two
or three days. One lady took seven days to get there! And one man walked 30 miles to the bus stop.
There were eight ordained pastors who were Seminary graduates. Most of the remainders were farmers
or working for a living as the Churches are too poor to support a pastor. It is a real step of faith for them
to go full-time. We noticed that these participants were very keen note takers. From what we heard, it
seems there is even cross cultural communication problems within the Shan as the North, South and
East use different words for some things and have different accents. Sometimes the Northerners could
not understand Eastern accent. The TaungGyi Baptist Church (pronounced towngee), although only 40
in membership, did an excellent job of hosting the GCI training. Many Church members gave of
themselves tirelessly to prepare the most wonderful meals. A Chinese man was the cook and we were
treated to many culinary delights! The Church was on a Baptist compound, a lot of which has been sold
off but it does have a hostel, which housed most of the participants. This also was very ideal.
Sai Htwe Maung and Sai Stephen chose the topics to be taught. They were mainly from our
Level 2 curriculum, with a few from Level 1 and maybe one from Level 3. But it seemed to be a good
choice of topics and the order in which they were taught had a good progression. Time had been
allowed in the daily timetable for sporting activities and Sai Htwe Maung went armed with football,
basketball, badminton etc. Unfortunately, there was no suitable place in which to play. It would have
balanced out the program a little better. To the team, the program seemed very hectic for the
participants as they also had night sessions. However, as Stephen said, they seemed to have fun-night
every night, so maybe they didn’t mind.
The Saturday night fun-night was one of the best we’ve ever had in a GCI and one of the
longest! The participants really entered into this, with dramas, dances, songs etc. Some of the Church
members also joined in. And the Bible School students came and gave three items. Franklin, Katie and I
even managed to do a couple of dramas! The hall was packed out! On Sunday Sai Htwe Maung
arranged for a bus to take all the participants and faculty to the famous InLe Lake. We sat on the floor
of longboats and traveled to a floating village for lunch. It is quite unique. This whole village is built on
a floating island. There are several floating islands and sometimes they are joined together for a time
before parting company again. It was a good break from the teaching environment and good
opportunity for relating. All the arrangements and the expenses were looked after by Khin Hnin Ngwe,
a niece of Sai Htwe Maung.
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 131
Lau Tak Siong was with us for the first week and his teaching was well received especially that
on PASTORAL MINISTRY, which is very important for the Shan. In fact it seemed to be the no. 1
topic. The team was free in the evenings so, before having an early night speaking for Franklin, Katie
and I, we met together for prayer and discussion. We enjoyed these times of team relating. The second
week we were joined by Dr. Vincent Leoh, senior pastor of the Glad Tidings AOG in KL and one of his
Church members. They also joined in our evening team meetings. We found Vincent to be a very gifted
and exciting teacher. As Franklin said he has the gift of mixing motivational preaching with solid
teaching. I was impressed by the fact that, although a doctor of theology, he went as a learner and
submitted to GCI. He had asked me to send him some background information on the Shan, GCI etc.
He obviously did his homework as his teaching on CHURCH PLANTING and DISCIPLESHIP was
very relevant to the local situation.
Dr. Leoh’s traveling companion, Sreedhar, although he has a good heart, was not so gifted in the
area of teaching. This was unfortunate, as Sai Htwe Maung had specifically asked for good teaching on
YOUTH MINISTRY. In the final evaluation this was the only topic that was evaluated poorly. This is a
topic that many Asian countries ask for teaching on so we need to look around for someone gifted in
teaching this topic. There was good response to Katie’s teaching on MINISTRY PLANNING. Sai
Htwe Maung says the ministry plans are good and we await translation from him. Franklin and Katie’s
teaching on CHRISTIAN FAMILY was also very much appreciated as it always is. Teaching one or
two of the topics to Baptists, not exposed to outside teaching, was a challenge. This was particularly so
in the case of PRAISE AND WORSHIP. In my first session one man asked the question: “These
Scriptures we’ve been reading say we should bless the Lord. How can we bless the Lord? We ask Him
to bless us.” I love challenges like that! Although they participated in all the different ways to praise the
Lord, it would seem, from feedback, they were not comfortable with some of it. As a team we learned
some lessons. We are so used to ministering to charismatic or those with charismatic leanings that we
didn’t make enough adjustments to some of our teaching.
In Tak Siong’s teaching on LEADERSHIP they didn’t take too kindly to the comment that
laymen can give communion, baptism etc. In Baptist circles only ordained pastors can. Well, 100
years of tradition don’t give way easily to new concepts. Another concept they had was that children
couldn’t be led to the Lord. They can only be taught about Christ and when they are older be led to the
Lord. I believe they had a paradigm shift on this one after being shown Scriptures and given examples.
At the end of the first week I began to realize there was something wrong with the following week’s
teaching schedule. There was one hour each day not accounted for. Franklin was delighted, as he had
prayed there would be opportunity to teach on the HOLY SPIRIT. He taught on it very sensitively and
on the night before graduation he and Vincent prayed for all the students to receive the Holy Spirit.
Many of the ladies were weeping as they sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit. We didn’t hear anyone
speak in tongues or see any outward manifestations but we believe God did a work in each person’s
heart and each one experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit in a new way. Stephen told me the next
day, “now they have a new friend in the Holy Spirit.”
We were really blessed to have both Sai Htwe Maung and Thein Aung Kham. Sai Htwe Maung
is a delight to minister with. He follows your every action, however dramatic, which makes it fun for
the participants and stopped us every now and then to elaborate on an important point to ensure the
participants understand. That kind of interpreter brings out the best in you! Kham was also very easy
to minister with. Sai Htwe Maung wanted Stephen to try translating but he had no confidence.
However, he was forced in to it one afternoon when Sai Htwe Maung was delayed in a meeting. As the
topic was Child Evangelism I told lots of stories and the participants enjoyed seeing Stephen follow my
actions. It also renewed some of his confidence.
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 132

We left this to Sai Htwe Maung to conduct in Shan and so the participants could freely express
themselves. Their written evaluations were most positive, as you will see from Sai Htwe Maung’s
translation attached. Late that afternoon Sai Htwe Maung came to our hotel, a little concerned. He said
he is not sure if the North will accept us next year as we are planning for LaShio in November because
of denominationalism. He also feels the North does not have good leadership. And Stephen has already
said he will be too busy this year to help arrange a GCI. There was definite conflict between the
leadership from the North and Sai Htwe Maung throughout the program. It seems some of the older
pastors from the North were not happy with our charismatic way of teaching. One phrase we heard
quite often was, “We are Baptists!” It seems they found Vincent’s exuberance he doesn’t need a
microphone! His AOGness and the way he prayed loudly for people almost offensive (we noticed it
didn’t stop them from coming to ask for prayer though). However they did enjoy Vincent’s teaching
and they liked him as a person. They didn’t like Franklin asking them to all pray out loud together or
me asking them to all sing a new song together etc. This was “not Baptist and was very confusing!” I
guess these are some of the occupational hazards of being the first outsider input in more than 100 years
of tradition.
As Franklin, Katie and I discussed it, we realized these comments probably came from just a
few. From the overall response to our teaching (and the multitudinous gifts we received), we believe
that GCI was a blessing and that much good fruit will come from the teaching. We felt it was an
excellent GCI, with real quality teaching, other than that on Youth Ministry. Sai Htwe Maung kept
commenting throughout the program how much better the teaching was this year than last. However, as
a team we learned lessons too in that we need to be more sensitive when teaching in a non-Charismatic
environment. As for Vincent we all feel he is an excellent communicator but maybe we need to take
him in to a more charismatic environment and “turn him loose.” That night, on behalf of the team,
Franklin asked the participants to forgive us if we had offended them in any way through our method of
The night of graduation a dedication service was held to pray for and send out six men who
during the course of the GCI felt God call them out to full-time ministry. Some of them will join in with
the Shan 21
Century mission. Sai Htwe Maung needs another Sai Stephen in both the South and the
North to fulfill the vision! It is very meaningful for these Shan to commit themselves to full-time
ministry. It is definitely a step of faith and a willingness to sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel.
I cannot conclude this report without giving due credit to Sai Stephen for 12 months of hard
work to put together an excellent program. He thought of everything and was very detailed in
everything, including recording all expenditure etc. He is a very special person for the Shan. And, of
course, there is no one like our Dr. Sai Htwe Maung: tireless, talented in so many areas, so zealous for
the Lord and for his people, such fun to be with etc. etc. For our part we enjoyed this GCI very much.
We enjoyed the warmth of the people and their responsiveness to the teaching. We feel it was an
excellent GCI and trust it will be just the beginning of grassroots training among the Shan. To God be
the glory!
Speeches at graduation service
Dr. John Noi,
on behalf of TaungGyi Shan Church. “The participants have learned a lot and it
will be of great help to them in spreading the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are equipped with
new strategies. They are the up and coming gospel preachers. No matter what hardship or adversity
they face they will succeed by the help of God. The Holy Spirit will always help them. The Kingdom of
God will be successfully propagated in the Shan State and we praise the Lord. During these two weeks

Son of Ai Noi, the first Tai Khun convert.
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 133
we have come to know each other and make friends. Let this fellowship be eternal. I am looking
forward to this wonderful occasion in the near future.”
Dr. Vincent Leoh’s message
“In heaven there will be people from every tribe, language and nation. One of the great tribes
there will be the Shan people. I thank Asian Outreach for giving us the opportunity to join them. We
also thank Dr. Sai Htwe Maung, Sai Stephen, Sai Htun Myat and the leadership of the Church.”
In John 15:16 Jesus emphasizes:
1. Appointment. We have not chosen to serve Him but He has chosen us to serve Him. For all
the Shan people God has appointed you to service Him. This is a high calling. Don’t be alarmed by the
call of God. Be true to the calling of Jesus Christ.
2. Live according to the principles Jesus has given you, so the name of Jesus will not be blamed.
You are a chosen representative of Jesus Christ. You don’t just represent GCI or the denomination you
come from but the King of Kings, Jesus Christ Himself. For what purpose to go and bear fruit. “Go
there” is the great commission. It does not say “come” is “go.” He didn’t say go and do your own thing
but bear fruit.
3. Fruit that will last. If you try to do anything for yourself it will not last. The only fruit that
will last is what is done for Christ. When you go to heaven you will see the rewards the people you
saved, the people you helped.
4. Promises from God. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask for in My Name. You
are graduating not just with a certificate but also with the promises of God that will be with you forever.
What do you need to ask the Father? Ask constantly every day.
a. Give me the Shan people. Give me this nation.
b. Fill me with your Spirit, with the power from on high, that I may go out and bear fruit for you. Ask
to be filled every day.

Nang Shwe Sein, on behalf of Northern Shan State
“I am thankful to all the trainers and on behalf of the Northern Shan Baptist Association I would like to
thank you very much. Thirteen of us came from the North. Thanks to Dr. Sai Htwe Maung for his
vision for our Shan and coming here with GCI and all the trainers to give us this opportunity for
training. Thank you to the Church and their leadership and those who served us. I have learned a lot on
Prayer, the Holy Spirit, Leadership, Pastoral Ministries, Children’s Ministry, Evangelism, Youth
Ministries and Ministry Planning. They were all very helpful. I would like to confess that in the
Northern State our Churches are sleeping, which we regret. After coming to this training we are very
much encouraged and very happy we can go with a new vision. I will be part of the vision that our Shan
Century project that by the year 2001 we will work, we will have 21,000 Shan converts. In
conclusion, I would like to say, as Dr. Leoh said, ‘Go.’ From now on we will go in the North!”

Sai Wo Tip Cheuk, on behalf of Eastern Shan State
“By the grace of God we have the opportunity to come here for training. For those who organized it
and those who came from abroad to teach us, I am very grateful to you all. You, the trainers from
abroad, are the best example for us. You spent your time and money to come and teach us. So we must
sacrifice and go and reach our people. We all know we have responsibility for the salvation of our own
people. As I have learned I know how we can work in God’s ministry among our people. Thank you to
the Church for hosting us and to those who cooked for us so well. When we go back to the East we will
dedicate our lives and work harder for our people.”

Sai Htun Kaing, on behalf of the Southern Shan State
“I give thanks first to our Lord Jesus Christ. We have 12 people from the South attending this training.
Thank you to all the trainers for giving us a new vision. I have attended training before but not like this
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 134
one. In this one we are awakened for the Lord. We have learned and know especially Ministry Planning
and know how to plan for our ministry in the future. Now we have our targets. We are looking forward
to serving the Lord in the Southern Shan State. Thanks to the Church for hosting us and no one will
forget the cooks and those working so hard for us.”

Rev. Sai Ba Pe
I have been in the ministry for 24 years but I realize I am not doing enough for our Shan. Some villages
have already converted from their idol worship. My wife was a Buddhist leader in the village. I had to
work very hard to convert her. Finally she accepted the Lord. After our marriage, we lived in a
Buddhist community for 15 years. I organized a gospel team to go and evangelize that village. I had
opportunity to fellowship with the Buddhist monk and could go into the village any time to have
discussions with the monks. The Buddhists thought that if I was a Christian then I wasn’t a Shan but an
outsider but they began to realize that Christians are good people and accepted me as one of them. Now
we have moved to another town, which is producing rubies, jade and precious stones. Many people are
trying to do business there. But I’m working there for the Lord. Now we are building a church but the
village leaders said to us, “Don’t put a cross on the church.”
(Some Christian leaders accused him that he moved there because of the good business and he was
trading in jade and rubies. In November he and another pastor are arranging a big Christian rally in the
village. And now he has dedicated himself for the 21
Century Shan project and is working towards
that goal.)

Sayama Nang Hla Khin
I was invited to lead the Church elders in building a Christian center. One time while witnessing, the
army asked the group who their leader was. They pointed to me. The army kept them under
observation and asked what tribe they were from. I replied, “Shan.” They asked if there were any
Christians among the Shan. I told them I had no gift to give them but the Lord Jesus Christ and He is so
precious. We were detained overnight and the following morning released. After eating breakfast, the
army again picked me up. The major told me not to say anything but to follow him. I took my Bible and
followed him. The major asked me, “Are you really Shan?” He showed me a Shan costume and asked
me to put it on and sing a Shan song for them. I didn’t know how to sing a Shan song but prayed and
God enabled me to sing a Shan song and witness to the people. I sang, “Jesus loves me.” The soldiers
gave me a gift and said, “We haven’t heard pure Shan words for a long lime. Don’t be afraid. We will
arrange a grand dinner for you tomorrow. You are a frontier person, like us, stationed in a very far area.

Sai Aung Than
The Holy Spirit has helped me in every way. When I graduated from Seminary I received an invitation
to be a pastor. Since I was so young I couldn’t imagine how I could be a pastor but I prayed and the
Lord guided me. I was very afraid to become a pastor but what we think we can’t do we find possible
with God. I came to TaungGyi and in order to lead morning devotion I had to pray and prepare for two
weeks and practice and practice. I felt very inexperienced at preaching and had to preach six times a
day when I became a pastor. Sometimes, after preaching, I would think over the sermon I had preached
and think it was quite good. Then I remembered that it was only because of the help of the Holy Spirit.
When the Buddhists buy a new house they invite all the Christians to come and dedicate the house to
the Lord. The daughter of the headman got food poisoning and was ill for a long time. The Buddhists
said, “If the Christians come and pray she will be healed”, so invited them to pray for her. They told
her, “If you have faith to believe that when we pray the power of Jesus can heal you, you will be
healed.” She was healed. Up until now these people are declaring that the Lord Jesus Christ is very
powerful and kind. It is very difficult for the Shan to accept Christianity. Our duty is to sow the seed.
Even if we don’t see many converts, keep sowing. It is God who waters and gives the increase.
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 135
In 1992 we had leadership training in our village. As we showed a video of their ministry a soldier
came and shot at us. Eight people were killed and seven wounded. In the morning, when I returned to
that area, the place where I had been sitting last night was surrounded with blood. Two of my brothers
in law were killed but God protected me. I re-consecrated my life to the Lord to be God’s minister all
my life. Two weeks before coming to GCI a former monk was baptized. This December we are
planning an open-air crusade in the village, in three dialects. Yesterday, while fasting and praying, the
Lord told me, “The things that are impossible to you I will make possible.” That encouraged me to put
all my efforts in to proclaiming God’s Word.

Nang Seng Kham
In 1980 I felt sick and weak and the doctors said they couldn’t detect any illness. I went to a specialist
in Yangon for x-rays. In between my ribs they found some spots. People read the Bible to me and
prayed for me. When I returned to TaungGyi I gave my heart to the Lord and began praying. After
praying for a long lime and on my return x-ray, the spots had disappeared. I was given some medicine
to take. After two years I had a check up and they found cancer in the bones. I trusted the Lord. In 1994
I was confirmed as having bone cancer. In my heart I said, “The Lord is with me, I am not afraid.” I
began my treatment. I was discharged from the hospital and in January 1995 I was readmitted by the
cancer specialist to the Yangon hospital. After checking me, the specialist said that he could find
nothing in me. Psalm 103 greatly encouraged me. The Lord has miraculously healed all my diseases. At
my last check up the doctor told me that all my problems were solved but prescribed me some
medicine. Even though the doctor said it was bone cancer and bone TB and even though it was a
nightmare for me the Lord helped me and by His power He healed me. I have experienced the grace
and power of God.

Nang Kheo
In 1990 I gave birth to a child and I was hospitalized with high blood pressure. I was in a coma for three
days. After recovery I was very tired. After examination the doctor said that I had heart disease. While
in a coma all my family and Christian friends were praying for me. Otherwise I believe I would have
died. I had treatment for a long time as I had several sicknesses in my body.
I was readmitted to hospital and became very thin and weak. My mother, even though a Christian,
began to waiver in her faith and thought maybe some evil spirit had come in and they needed to do
some ceremony. But I told my mother my life is in God’s hands. If my life ended that was God’s will
but if I continued to live then He had a purpose for me. My pastor and elders prayed for me. When the
woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus all her diseases were healed. I felt that if the hand of the
Lord just touched me I would be healed. My young brother had some medicine, which had nothing to
do with the heart disease. But they prayed over it, I took it and it helped. I began to understand that God
has something for me to do in the ministry so I gave my life for service. By the power of God, I said, I
am healed even though the doctors said I could not be healed.
(During GCI, on the day of prayer and fasting, she didn’t think she could go without food because of
her medical history but nothing happened to her after fast and prayer and she even received strength
from the Lord.)

Lesson learned reported by Sai Htwe Maung
The first night when we began our training at TaungGyi Shan Baptist Church, the chairman of
TaungGyi Church received a warning letter from military intelligent that it was illegal to hold training
without having permission from the government. It meant that we were liable to be arrested at any time.
What should we do? If we apply for permission now it will take one month or two to get the answer.
Local authority would not make a decision. Instead the application would be sent to religious affair
ministry in Yangon. We were already here. Should we go back home? Should we continue? We prayed
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 136
for God’s guidance and protection. The chairman of the Church, Dr. John Noi, was a brave man. He
said, “Don’t worry. Carry on. I will take all the responsibility. I know the authority here. If they are
going to arrest us let them arrest me first.” Then we continued. Nothing happened till the last training
Most of the trainers had either Charismatic or Pentecostal back ground. All trainees were Baptist
and they never had experienced in Charismatic or Pentecostal, speaking in tongue and experiencing in
the power of the Holy Spirit. There were some difficulties in teaching them how to pray, how to praise
and worship God since Baptist way of prayer, praise and worship are different from Pentecostal. Do we
need to abandon Charismatic way or Pentecostal way in teaching the Baptist? Do we need to insist and
teach them to experience in manifestation of the Holy Spirit? Do we need to give up? Do we need to
adjust and balance? As an organizer I have a big difficulty between Pentecostal trainers and Baptist
trainees. We need to be sensitive to the background culture of the people, the environment and the
situation of the country. We all know that Burma is a Buddhist Country and 84% of the populations are
Buddhist. The military Government is very much sided with Buddhist religion. They are not only
supporting but also promoting Buddhism. If any one talking or acting against Buddhism it is just like
one is committing a crime. They will not tolerate any one who is insulting Buddhist monk or Buddhism.
The slogan such as “The wall of Buddhism must come down!” “Give me this Land Oh God!” is in fact
very dangerous. Be wise!
After graduation ceremony one of the trainees from the North said, “We would not recognize
the certificate issued by GCI because it is Pentecostal training.” How can he say that it was Pentecostal
training? They did not teach Pentecostal doctrine but the Bible. What a waste of time and money! Some
of these trainers have either master or doctor degree. 12 trainees came from the North. All together we
have 42 trainees. Actually the majority of the trainees are very happy and transformed after training.
Some of the Shan leaders from the North did not get along well with me because I was quite strict at
them during the training sessions. Some trainees came to the class very late. Some leaders just sitting
outside the classroom, drinking tea and smoking cigar instead of coming into the room to listen and
learn. I asked them not to be late to the class, show good example to others, as they were the leaders.
We had a good graduation ceremony. Representatives from the Shan States gave very positive
testimonies. Emotion ran high when Sai Stephen wept.

Shan GCI, KengTung
December 1-13, 1997.

KengTung GCI 1997
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 137
This is the first training to be conducted by foreigners in Eastern Shan State in forty years. The
leaderships of Eastern Shan State are very open-minded and willing to learn for their own benefits in
their Church growth and mission endeavor. We are willing to give to those who are willing to receive.
40 attended and Kyat 520,000 was spent for this training.

Mun Heng from Malaysia, Goh Kek Seng from Malaysia, Jean Harper from Australia, Ong
Siew Huat from Singapore, Jerry Yeoh from Malaysia, Takashi from Japan and local trainer Sai
Report from Takashi
Mun Heng, Goh Kek Seng (FGA, KL) and I (Takashi Yoshida) traveled together to Yangon and
were met by Dr. Sai Htwe Maung’s sister and her daughters. These ladies are wonderful in their
hospitality and made all the internal flight bookings and Yangon hotel arrangements for us, as well as
acted as tour guides and moneychangers! They met each of us as we came in and out of Yangon and
took us to and from the hotel. Hla Hla Htay works in a travel agency so this was a great help, especially
when she was able to get us a very nice hotel room in Yangon for less than half price! The booking of
internal flights is an interesting exercise. You can only book two days beforehand and find out the
scheduling and timing the morning of the flight! Whilst we had return tickets in our hands our return
flight could not be booked until two days before departure!
Our flight to KengTung left at the unearthly hour of 7 AM the next morning so it was early
rising. OSH and Takashi weren’t quite so fortunate one week later as their flight was delayed two hours
because of fog at KengTung’s little airport. Stephen met us on arrival. Fortunately he has the use of the
Shan Baptist Mission vehicle, which was a great help in transportation. The Baptist Mission has a huge
compound, on which are the Shan Baptist Church (1,000+members), Lahu Baptist Church
(1,000+members), Wa Baptist Church and Stephen’s Calvary Baptist which is for all tribes. By way of
explanation, to have an association, you need to have at least 15 Churches and you need three
associations in order to have a Convention. When Stephen went to GCI in Thailand the Eastern Shan
State they only had one association and 18 Churches. Today it is a convention with 62 Churches. The
Wa only have one association and so have joined the Shan convention, that is why we had Wa
participants. Actually Stephen is not just involved with the Shan but also other tribes. He took us to two
Palong villages and an Ahku village. The villages are quite close to KengTung, which makes it a very
interesting place to visit if you love tribal people, which I do. Their housing was quite similar to the
villages in Cambodia, made of bamboo and thatch, on stilts, with pigs and chickens underneath.

This was our third GCI with the Shan. Sai Stephen did another excellent job in organizing this
training for 31 Shan and 9 Wa participants. Of the 31 Shan participants, seven came from TaChiLeik
(on Thai border), six from MuongYang, 10 from MuongYawng and eight from KengTung. Two of the
Wa came from MuongYang and the others are from the Wa Baptist Association. Eight of the
participants are pastors, eight are evangelists and others are involved in youth, children’s and women’s
ministries. Stephen visited each area beforehand and handpicked the participants.
The majority of the participants were young people this time and Stephen said that it was one
reason why they seemed more open to new ideas than the previous two groups. They were so
responsive to the teaching and seemed to enjoy every topic taught. It only took them a day to thaw out
and there was plenty of classroom interaction. We certainly enjoyed teaching “hungry” people and
found they have a keen sense of fun. One thing that really impressed us was the dedication and
commitment of these young people to the work of the Lord often in difficult circumstances. The
educational levels were again varying from some illiterate to some with university education. The
majority of them took copious notes. One suggestion in the evaluations and maybe one worth
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 138
considering is that Stephen set a certain educational level for the training. This would allow teaching to
be at a higher level. Those who cannot read and write could be trained in Stephen’s 3 month training.
Word seemed to spread around town that there was training going on and, at any given time, there
could be as many as 16 outside visitors from other Churches and not just Baptist. Some were
independent and one or two Catholic sisters attended some of the sessions. And once Takashi arrived,
word seemed to spread that there was a Japanese in town. One morning six fathers from the Catholic
Church came to visit, one of whom was Japanese and wanted to meet Takashi.

Stephen’s Church was an ideal venue for the training. Located besides his Church building is
what was once a nurses’ quarters of mission hospital (now local housing). The old nurses’ quarters has
many rooms upstairs which provided accommodation for the out-of-town participants and downstairs
provided a large kitchen and dining area. Ten to twelve ladies from the Church did all the cooking led
by a Chinese cook. It didn’t matter there was no McDonalds in town we had five-star cooking every
meal!! And such a variety of green vegetables!

Mun Heng started the teaching with POWER THEOLOGY. He was a little uncertain how to
tackle this in an all Baptist environment but, as usual, he did an excellent job in teaching the topic and
sensitively handled praying for the participants to be empowered by the Spirit. He also taught
MINISTRY PLANNING. From the Ministry Plans he really got the five steps of planning over very
well to them.
Goh Kek Seng from KL, apart from being our tallest ever teacher 6 feet 8 inches (he has lots of
“tall” jokes!) was also one of our best teachers. He is very skilled and gifted in the art of teaching. In
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE he not only taught the participants how to do word studies and
character studies etc. but he really applied those studies in to their lives. In fact, he “fed” those
participants far more and at a far deeper level than I would have thought they could handle. He kept
giving them “homework” to do and had them looking up all sorts of things in their Bibles. But they
lapped it all up! In teaching on LEADERSHIP he really emphasized the need for holiness and prayed
for the majority of participants who came forward for prayer for spirit, soul and/or body contamination.
I felt his teaching was very practical. Kek Seng is interested in teaching in other GCIs. Other topics he
is comfortable with teaching are: Homiletics, Hermeneutics, Survey of OT and NT, Second Coming,
Book studies on Judges, Haggai, Romans. The idea did occur to me that he might be a good outside
person to evaluate our teaching curriculum and materials.
Ong Siew Huat and Takashi Yoshida arrived the second week and Mun Heng and Kek Seng
flew home. Takashi quickly learned some Shan phrases and dressed up in the traditional Burmese
longee (Man’s skirt), which OSH told him made him look like a Sumo wrestler. He taught the
participants Japanese songs, which they loved to learn and played games with them in class, which they
also loved. He taught on PRAYER and CHRISTIAN FAMILY. He was very teachable and willing to
implement any suggestions we made to him. It might have been helpful to him if he could have
observed a GCI in action first before being involved in the teaching, as I think he would have been
more relaxed. He was inclined to be a bit formal when teaching, which wasn’t his attitude outside the
classroom. He was a delight to have around and enjoyed the visits to the villages. Goodness knows how
many roles of film he used! And he delighted me by running around to open car doors for me
something he said he had learned from a Ps. Oxley, not realizing he is my founding pastor!
OSH taught on CHURCH PLANTING and PASTORAL MINISTRIES. He and Mun Heng were able to
identify with the participants so well because of their long involvement with the Ibans and Dayaks and
they used lots of illustrations from their tribal experiences, which were very relevant. OSH had read up
on the Shan beforehand and read a book of their folk tales, which he used during his teaching. He
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 139
started each session with “Long, long time ago.” It gave them a good example of how to relate their
folk tales in their preaching.
Stephen taught on EVANGELISM. From what he told us, he taught more on what is
evangelism, rather than on how to do it. But the participants enjoyed him and evaluated him very
highly. I taught on PRAISE AND WORSHIP, a little in fear and trembling as to how to do so in a
Baptist context. Of course, I learned a few things from previous experiences. But these young people
were open to try about anything. I only had a half-day and it wasn’t long enough. Stephen said they
were also expecting more on the topic. But I think some of what they were expecting I wouldn’t have
been able to give, related to music, playing guitar etc. Teaching CHILD EVANGELISM on the last day
was fun and they had fun except that by that stage they were so tired some of them almost had to staple
their eyes open!
We did change the program halfway through. In the first week we had three hours teaching in
the morning and three hours in the afternoon leaving the evenings free for discussion and questions and
answers. The weather was just gorgeous and they asked for time to play in the afternoons. So, in the
second week, we had just one 90-minute teaching session after lunch and another 90-minute session at
6 pm, after dinner. The only problem with that was that some nights there was a brownout and some
sessions were conducted by candlelight!

Visit to tribal villages
On the day that we arrived Stephen took us to Canaan village, a totally Christian village with 30
families of Dailoi people. One of the graduates from the Maesai GCI is pastoring them and three of
their people attended the training. They served us fried sticks of sticky rice and steamed yam and then
we had an impromptu Church service. Mun Heng, Kek Seng and I all shared a story, which constituted
the sermon! In the afternoon we visited Miksilikon village, a Christian Shan village of 15 families. We
were amused by Stephen’s comment: “On this side of the road live the Christians and on that side of the
road live the Buddhists. If a Buddhist converts he has to move across the road!” The reason being you
have to follow the religious practices of whichever side of the road you live on!
Mun Heng was keen to see the tribal people who live in longhouses so one afternoon we visited
a Palong village, which has one Christian lady. She had been sick for quite some time and Stephen and
his leaders had gone to pray for her. God healed her and she became a Christian. We discovered their
longhouses aren’t quite so long when compared with the Ibans! The people were very open for the
group to pray for them and gave gifts of pumpkins and green beans.
On the day that OSH and Takashi arrived we went further out of town to Sai Khong’s Ahku
village where 12 new believers were baptized in the pond. Sai Khong went and lived with the villagers
in October 1993 for six months. They were afraid of evil spirits and listened to what he said and finally
asked for Sai Stephen, Sai Tip and Sai Philip to go and talk with them about converting to Christianity.
These leaders stayed with them for four days and finally the whole village decided to turn to Christ.
They had a big fire to burn all their charms and fetishes. Now they have their own Church building and
love their young pastor Sai Khong. Sai Khong is not only their pastor but also the schoolteacher to
teach them how to read and write. This seems to be quite common in these villages as there are no
schools to send the children to. We asked who is the most powerful person in these villages. We were
told that in a Buddhist village, if they have a monk living there, he is the most powerful, otherwise the
headman is. And in a Christian village the pastor is the most powerful person and even the headman
must listen to what he has to say. This would seem to place great responsibility on the young pastors!

New footsoldiers of Christ
It was very colorful graduation. The 12 ladies all dressed up in different traditional costumes
and many of the men also wore either the traditional Shan dress, or some other tribal wear. And when
they sang their graduation song they sounded like a choir of angels! Each of us was given a Shan bag,
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 140
filled with a Burmese longee and Shan tea! OSH gave a short word of encouragement to the students
and Stephen preached the main message. At the conclusion he challenged those who were willing to
dedicate themselves to serve the Lord, wherever He would lead them, with or without salary, to come
forward. Immediately 23 came forward.
After graduation seven graduates were dedicated and sent out with full support.
1. Sai Paulu - has resigned from school headmaster and will go and live in a Christian village to pastor
them and train their people to become evangelists. He will also open up a school.
2. Sai Moe Lawn - he will live in an Ahka village in MuongYawng.
3. Sai Sam Khong - a Wa - he will live in a Wa village on the China border.
4. Sai Yo Bar - he will serve in MuongYawng, planting Churches among animists.
5. Saw Luther, from TaChiLeik - he will do Church planting in MuongYawng.
6. Rev. Marko Crain, a Wa pastor - he is working on the China border.
7. Sai Enoch - will do Church planting in TaChiLeik.
Stephen said he had to choose out of seven and when we asked him who the other three were, we
thought they were also good candidates:
The monthly allowance for an evangelist is Kyat 3,000. On present exchange rates horrendously
low that amounts to about US$10. But Stephen said to let the Shan Churches accept responsibility for
Kyat 2,000. Takashi will share on these needs when he returns to Japan and will challenge seven
different Churches to adopt one footsoldier. In the meantime I left Kyat 10,000 with Stephen for the
first month’s support for five of the above. There was no point in my exchanging them back in to
dollars for a much lower rate than I bought them! As there is some gap between January and Takashi
returning to Japan. Can AOI make some arrangements for the interim period of support? I understand
there are funds in the Shan account.
The budget for this GCI was US$2,200 for all food, traveling expenses of those from outside
KengTung, stationery and other miscellaneous items. Each participant contributed Kyat 500, not much
when you convert it to dollars but it is close to a week’s wage for the evangelists. Stephen gave me an
itemized income and expenditure statement.

The response from trainees to GCI was as follow;
It gave me spiritual strength and encouraged me to serve the Lord. (6 persons)
The subject of Children’s Ministry helped me so much. It helped me in leading the Church. I know
more about how to plant a Church. This training changed my life to be humble and to dedicate myself
totally to serve the Lord.
The teaching on Leadership helped me to become a good leader in my youth ministry. It got me in
touch with the Holy Spirit. I know more about how to praise and worship God. I will practice it in my
Church. It brought me closer to Jesus Christ.
I am a pastor so the Pastoral Ministries helped me so much in pastoring my Church. It made me more
eager to learn the Bible. The Christian Family lectures helped me so much in my family. I can see
clearly what to do in the future. It touched my heart to change my life and serve the Lord. It encouraged
me to give more time to prayer. My ministry will become more lively. I saw the needs and how to plant
a new Church. This training changed my life. I have become more spiritually mature. It helped me how
to pray. (2 persons)
My viewpoints on mission work have become widened.
The Leadership subject made me to evaluate my life.
This training changed my life and gave me strength to dedicate my life to Jesus.
This training gave me so many benefits. I learned about prayer and how to study the Bible.
The subject of Leadership was very helpful.
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 141
This training touched my heart and changed my life. All the lectures helped me to do evangelization. It
gave me new thinking, new vision and new methods to do the ministry.
This training pushed me to read the Bible and strengthened me to pray.

Haynes Yu Mon (Stephen’s eldest daughter)
While studying for my matriculation I was not so well and couldn’t study well. As the exams
approached I was afraid and had no confidence in my ability to pass. I prayed as I studied. On the first
day of the exams I got my answers correct. The next day it was an English exam and I couldn’t do it. I
prayed and found answers were coming. I couldn’t understand the science subject. When I counted the
marks I would receive they only came to 39. I knew I would fail but I prayed and reminded myself that
if I fail this year I can try again next year. My family prayed that I would pass. God answered their
prayer. Now I am waiting for the university to open.

Sai Paulu (MuongYang)
I was headmaster of a primary school and I resigned so I could become an evangelist among the Shan. I
am still single. I don’t smoke or drink. When I was a teacher in the school I had to buy liquor and
cigarettes because my boss asked me to. I prayed, “Oh God, to serve these people I have to do evil
things.” When I became headmaster then I was the one to ask people to buy this and that. In 1996, at
the annual meeting, I was wondering what to do sometimes, as the headmaster, I am the most educated
person in the village or Church and often I am asked to preach or pray. I just did it out of duty. Stephen
encouraged me to work for the Church. One night I couldn’t sleep. I went outside and opened my heart
to God. I prayed, “Lord, I am so full of sin. Please cleanse me, use me for your ministry. Now the
annual meeting is coming and I have to help. I started praying and reading the Bible every day. My life
is transformed. Before the pastor asked me to preach I wanted to preach. I wanted to witness. I started
to ask for permission to preach. In June of this year Stephen challenged me to work for the Lord. My
family’s situation is OK. This year I could build my own house and was happy. I resigned from my job.
People said, “there’s no teacher in your village and you want to quit.” I told them I wanted to work for
the Lord. I attended an evangelism-training course in Yangon and now I’m attending this GCI training.
I have consecrated myself to work for the Lord. I encourage you that if the Lord is calling you, open
your heart, hear what God is saying to you. He will bless you.

Sai Moe Lawn (“Zechariah”) (MuongYang)
My father is an ordained pastor in MuongYang. Even though I’m the son of a pastor I used to fall into
bad habits. I got married and have four children. In our Church we have cell groups for young married
couples to go and evangelize. I was selected as a group leader. There are 15 members in the group. But
nobody knows how to pray and nobody attends Church. I have to lead them to go evangelizing, so I
have problems! I asked the Lord to help me lead them and be a good example. I started visiting every
home and praying for people. I found no change in their lives. One day I visited two of my cell
members. I said we have nowhere to go today so what shall we do. They said, let’s enjoy ourselves.
They got drunk and cared about nothing. Something whispered in my heart who will look after your
paddy field. As I returned home I heard people shouting “fire, fire.” Everyone came and helped put out
the fire. I was burnt and had to go to hospital. The house that I had just been in was burned and my
friends were burned to death. I realized that God had pulled me out of the fire and I felt He had
something for me to do for Him. But I wanted to test the Lord. I told my parents that unless I have a
new house I would go in to the jungle and do everything against what the Lord has said. One day, when
walking out from the village, I met someone who said they had heard I was looking for a house. He
took me to see a house and everything was reasonable. The Lord provided what I had asked for. The
Shan Association came and asked for two people to go evangelizing. I realized I had challenged God
and God had provided all my needs, so I said I would go and give my life to serve the Lord. Every
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 142
morning my wife teaches the children and I go out in to the villages to witness for the Lord. I was so
excited serving the Lord that I taught for three days and it just poured out from me. I heard about GCI
and decided I wanted to be a participant. My paddy fields were just being harvested and I thought I
couldn’t come. I prayed and most of the villagers came to help me. But it rained and they couldn’t
harvest. I wondered what was wrong and prayed, “Lord, if you want me to attend the GCI please stop
the rain.” The rain stopped, the rice was harvested and I could come to GCI.

Rev. Marku Crain (MuongYang):
Even though I am a pastor, I have never given a testimony before! I am the eldest son in my family. My
parents sent me to school. They said if I were illiterate it would be like I was a blind man. In 1971 I
failed the 8th standard. I was angry with God that He didn’t help me to pass. In 1972 I prayed and
passed 8th standard. The teacher then asked me to join the Bible School but I refused. I said I wanted to
attend college and earn a degree. In 1973 I entered the 10th standard examination and returned home.
My parents told me that as my father was now old and I was the eldest, I had to take responsibility to
till the soil and look after my younger brother and sister. I was so disappointed. In 1974 I worked as a
farmer and got married. Two years later we had a son. I began to read the Bible at that time. I sensed
that the Lord was speaking to me through the Bible to go to the interior where there are Wa headhunters
and to preach the Gospel to them. One day my pastor said to me that I was the one who is educated so I
should join the Bible School and become a pastor for the Lord. I felt the need also and sensed it was the
will of God, so I attended Bible School. After graduating in 1984 I was appointed youth leader in the
Church. Gradually I was promoted to be General Secretary of the Wa Churches Association. But I
never felt the anointing of the Spirit. On December 13, 1996, one of the Wa non-believers asked me to
pray for his sick daughter who was being tormented by an evil spirit. The non-believer said he knew
that if I prayed the evil spirit would leave his daughter. I knew I couldn’t do it but only God could do it.
I told the parents that only God is powerful and I am just His tool. I knelt down and prayed and asked
for the anointing of the Spirit. I prayed and drove out the evil spirits. That young lady came to me the
next day and said she wanted to become a Christian and be baptized. After that experience I have cast
out lots of evil spirits and have come to understand that education and graduating from the Bible School
is not enough. You need the anointing of the Spirit. Unless you surrender yourself in to the hand of the
Lord you will never have this power. Don’t be boastful when you get the anointing of the Spirit. It is
not yours. It is up to the Lord. You need to be more prayerful and more submissive. Then God will
provide all your needs. Up to now I am working and serving the Lord without salary but the Lord
provides all that I need.

Esther Kun (Wa)
In 1992 my father died. We had a family of four and my mother sold the family business. When I
passed the 9
standard I thought that because my father was gone it would be hard for my mother to
support the family and I should get a job to help support them. But the Lord opened the way for me to
continue my study. I failed the 10th standard and felt so sorry about it. I was disappointed and wanted
to leave but my mother encouraged me to continue to study. The following year I passed 10th standard.
Some people suggested I work in a government office and some suggested attending Bible School.
Even though it was hard for the family to support me, my mother’s faith was so great that I was able to
attend the TaungGyi University. Previously my mother was selected to be the Director of the Women’s
Fellowship and we moved from our village into town. I didn’t want to leave the village but my mother
told me we were chosen by God so, as God’s instruments, we have to be happy in any situation serving
the Lord. When I was called to attend this GCI, I didn’t really want to come but couldn’t refuse. While
attending and praying and opening my heart to the Lord I feel the Lord has touched me something has
happened in my heart. I have a burden for my people. Now, if the Lord opens the way, after finishing
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 143
college I will serve the Lord fulltime. Even though with our human knowledge we cannot think about
everything, God can see to our every need.

Nang Seng Hom (KengTung)
Because I had a chance to attend this training it has changed my life. At first I didn’t want to attend
because I was very busy with the weaving. I use to be jealous of others who were better than me. In
Sunday school and in school I always received the prize. I tried very hard in my study and if someone
was better than me I didn’t like them. My ambition was to become a doctor. I told my parents I wanted
to go to Yangon to study. When I was there I tried very hard. When In KengTung I always got high
marks. But in Yangon I couldn’t follow the others. Many students were better than me so I tried very
hard. I thought I could pass the examinations in my own strength. I forgot to pray and I didn’t want to
attend the Church service. I didn’t want to waste my time. Because I tried very hard and I became sick.
While I was sick I was jealous of my friends because I couldn’t study but they could. I entered the
matriculation examination and could answer very well. I thought I would pass the examination. Still I
didn’t want to participate in the youth service. Finally I passed the examination but I didn’t get any
distinctions. My parents taught me that we have to trust God and surrender all our life to Him. They
invited the pastor to pray for me. Finally I came to this training. Now all my life is changed. From now
I have decided, after finishing my university study, I will go to Bible College to serve the Lord. This
training has touched my heart very much. My life has changed to follow Jesus Christ and serve God.

Saw Lukar
I want to thank God for giving us this training peacefully. Our thanks to Rev. Sai Stephen for
organizing this GCI training. We also give thanks to the Eastern Shan Baptist Convention. We want to
express our heartfelt thanks to all the teachers who came from abroad to give us a very encouraging
training. Most of all, our gratitude to Jean Harper. You are a very expert person in giving
demonstrations. We give thanks to our brother Takashi. He is always active in giving us training. We
learned that you are so prompt in your timing. We give thanks to our Brother Ong. You are a good
storyteller. You gave us a very good example of how to make use of the Bible story and making it relate
to our people. We give thanks to Brother Thein Aung Kham for coming and helping in translation. We
know our translator goes beyond our lecturer a bit. We want to thank the Calvary Church for providing
us everything, our accommodation, water and everything else we need. To the youth of Calvary Church
and to the cook, for the delicious food every, I want to say thanks, especially to the cooks. Yesterday
when I tried on my pants I couldn’t wear them! So I know all our cooks are the best in the world. On
behalf of the trainees I would like to apologize to you that during the training and teaching you may
have observed that some of the participants were not so wholehearted. Please understand and know all
our inabilities and please forgive us for that attitude. Even though you are so busy giving training in
many countries you gave your time and talents to give us training here. On behalf of our participants I
would like to express our heartfelt thanks to you with these gifts to show our gratitude and thanks to
you. Even though they seem to be worthless they are full of our love and in remembrance of our time

Shan GCI, MayMyo (Pyin Oo Lwin)
November 15-27, 1998

We planned for GCI training solely for the North in 1996 but not materialized because of many
reasons. We consider this training program for Shan Churches in the North is very important because
this can change the life of the believers, pastors and the Church. Because of the local situation we have
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 144
to plan and work out very carefully. Several communications have been made with local leader Sai
Thein Aung Kham, General Secretary of ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission.
Sai Thein Aung Kham, NamKham, sent the following letter to Sai Htwe Maung regarding preparation
for Shan GCI in MayMyo.
February 16, 1996 (Translated from Shan)
Saya Sai Htwe and family,
May God bless you all. May this year be a blessed year. I hope you have received my letter. Our
ShweLi Baptist Association decided to have Great Commission Institute training in November. We
expect 40 people to attend. Please continue giving us instruction regarding this training. If possible we
want to have it in ShweLi. If not we will have it in LaShio. I have visited Shan Church in MuongMyit
in January. One family has accepted the Lord. We have built a center in MuongMyit for students to
live-in and go to school. It costs about Kyat 200,000. We now need about Kyat 50,000. We expect we
can open it in June. Shan people from many places coming to the Lord now. But our ShweLi is still in
the darkness. They do not accept the light of the Lord. We are planning to have a Church in LoiLom for
Palong people. We are also going to have 40 days evangelistic training from April 1 to May 13. Please
pray for us.
Co-worker in Christ, Sai Thein Aung Kham

Letter sent on June 29, 1998
Dear Dr. Htwe,
Greeting in name of our precious Lord Jesus Christ. I received your letter dated June 6th and
learned that you haven’t received my letter. Anyway I thank God for your letter reminding me about
not receiving my letter regarding the forth-coming GCI training in November. As we had discussed in
Rangoon, the training will be in MayMyo and the date will be 8.11.1998 to 20.11.1998 as you
proposed. I would like to make 60 instead of 40 from ShweLi Shan since it is possible for them to travel
to MayMyo. The EC of ShweLi Shan had divided participants according to Churches proportionately as
MuSe 15, NongSanKone 15, SeLan 5, MyoMa 5, Chinese 3, ManBong 2, LaShio 5, MoGoke 2,
MuongMyit 2, MuongHbar 2, Hill tribe 4.
Will it be all right? In MayMyo we have some Shan believers whom we have relied on for our meal.
They also entitled to attend. We will discuss later. Regarding translators we have Sai Htun Kyaw, Sai
Aung Win and myself. If Sai Stephen comes he will be also ready to help. DaiMao and Burmese have
to be used depend on situation. We’ll see to that. No problem.
Regarding expenses; (all in Kyat)
Traveling expenses;
MuSe to MayMyo 4,000 each x2x60 Total 480,000
NamKham to MayMyo 4,500 each
Allowance 400 each x2x60 Total 48,000
Lodging 200 each x14x60 Total 168,000
Meals 400 each x14x60 Total 336,000
Miscellaneous 8,000
Total 1,050,000 Kyat
I have estimated on 60 participants. We need to give donation to the hall we use for training. You may
estimate altogether about 1,100,000 Kyat.
We are opening new fields in 9 areas and the Lord gives us good harvest. We plan to open another field
in MuongWei and go full swing in Palong mission. We need your prayer and suggestion. Please write
and inform your Mainland China mission so that we may also be somehow helpful to your mission.
God bless our Dai people through your tireless toiling.
May the Lord blessing be on you and your whole family.
Abundant blessing, Yours in Christ' Service, Bro. Kham.
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 145
Sai Htwe Maung sent the following letter to Sai Thein Aung Kham on July 22, 1998.
I am writing to you to confirm the following points.
1. We have to change the training date to November 15-27, 1998 because Franklin & Katie cannot join
us on the early date. We shall be arriving MayMyo on 14
. We hope all trainees will also arrive on 14
is the first day and 27
is graduation day.
2. We agree that the total number of trainees will be 60 (5 from Yangon, and 5 from Southern Shan
State and 50 from the Northern Shan State )
3. I hope Rev. Kham will screen and choose the most suitable trainees who are interested and willing to
serve the Lord.
4. I will be recruiting 20 full-time evangelists to serve in full-time mission work after this training.
In Christ, Sai Htwe Maung.

Sai Thein Aung Kham sent the following letter to Sai Htwe Maung on August 3,1998
Dear Dr. Sai Htwe,
Thank you for reminder regarding Nov. GCI, MayMyo. This is my third letter regarding our
forth-coming training. There is no problem regarding date of our training. As for translators, we have
Sai Aung Win, Rev. Sai Htun Kyaw, you and myself. If Rev. Sai Stephen comes he will be able to
render some help. As for trainees I suggested 60. As we have discussed in Rangoon, 5 from Rangoon, 5
from S.S.S, 50 from ShweLi and some from MayMyo. At least our expenses will exceed Kyat
1,000,000. Pray that the Lord sees to our needs and provide all we need for training.
Presently our evangelism department is outing to our Shan within Kachin State. The Lord has
given us good harvests. Praise be His Name!
Abundant blessing
Yours in His Service, Rev. Sai Thein Aung Kham.

Reported from Rev. Franklin and Katie Williamson
We flew into Yangon and stayed overnight at the guesthouse of Sai Htwe Maung‘s sister. Then
we took a plane to Mandalay and upon arriving, we traveled by van for about two and half hours
driving up into the mountains to the city of MayMyo. It is a small town but very cool and quiet. The
place where the training is held is a community hall of the local Karen Baptist Church. The students
stayed across the road at a place called Forest Gate. It is an old house that was given to the community
for retreats and training. It is a large old British style house. Everyone was sleeping on the floor on his
or her mats. The men on one side and the women on the other. Everyone bathed outside at the well. The
kitchen is also outside at the back of the house. The man who runs the places says he has NEVER had
so many staying there at one time before. The most he had ever had was 30 and we have around 80
people this time. The GCI team stayed at a hotel within walking distance to the venue. It took about 20
or 30 minutes to walk. I am personally thankful we are not sleeping on the floor and bathing outside in
the cold.
We had 72 full-time participants who stayed through the whole program, while some of the
local people came and went. All of them are from Baptist Churches. They represent about 20 different
Churches. They were each sent here by their local Churches for the training. Most are involved in some
way in the ministry of the local Church. We had about equal women and men.
Our oldest participants were two elderly women age 77 years. They were nurses who worked with Dr.
Seagrave, who worked at NamKham hospital and a nursing training school one hundred years ago.
They were present for EVERY session and one in particular would get to the scripture before anyone
else. The one “grandmother” as the others called her is excellent in English. These two ladies live here
in the city. Our youngest participant was a 17 year old. This young man is Chinese from up near the
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 146
China border. Since he arrived without any shoes the other participants went out and purchased him
some shoes. The first week he also had no Bible but eventually one was provided for him. He was very
attentive and we have seen him come alive during the teachings. On one occasion, Winston was sitting
on a chair in the porch of the house and as he walked out he started speaking to Winston in Mandarin.
When he discovered Winston did not speak his language he was so surprised and just laughed and
We had to combine Level I and Level II topics. In our discussion with Sai Htwe Maung, he
expressed several times that he did not want or know how to divide the students into the classes. It
seemed to put him into a difficult situation. The more we talked and discussed who would miss what
etc., Franklin, Katie, Roger and Dr. Sai all agreed that for most of the Level one topic; not to divide
them into groups. So from Sunday through to Friday, we took one topic per day. On Saturday, we
started at 8:0 AM taught 2 subjects in five hours of class.
Sun; Franklin Prayer
Mon; Roger Basic Doctrine
Tues; Franklin Holy Spirit
Wed; Katie Ministry Planning
Thur; Roger Spiritual Warfare
Fri; Roger How to Study the Bible
Sat. AM 1st session (8:00 to 10:30)
Franklin; Christian Family (Men only)
Katie; Christian Family (Women only)
2nd session (11:00 to 1:00) Roger Rice; Victorious Christian Living.
Sat; PM Free Time
Sun AM Franklin Church service
PM David Kueh Discipleship
Mon AM David Kueh Leadership
PM Lau Tak Siong Effective Leadership
Tues AM Winston Ee Biblical Basis for Missions
PM Lau Tak Siong Church Planting
Wed AM David Kueh Local Church
PM Winston Ee Praise & Worship
Thur AM Winston Ee Evangelism
PM Lau Tak Siong Homiletics

Rev. Franklin & Katie Williamson, New Delhi, India, GCI
Rev. Roger Rice, Australia- AO Support Director
Rev. Lau Tak Siong, Singapore - AO Director of Training
pastor Winston Ee, Singapore- Operations Director(GCI)
Rev. David Kueh, East Malaysia - pastor
Dr. Sai Htwe Maung, Hong Kong - AO Myanmar

Dr. Sai Htwe Maung, Hong Kong, Rev. Sai Htun Kyaw, NamKham, Myanmar,
Rev. Sai Aung Win, NamKham, Myanmar

Twenty-first century Shan mission project 147
Daily Schedule
8:00 - 9:00 AM Chapel Service
9:00 - 10:30 1
10:30 – 11:00 Break
11:00 - 12:00 2
12:00 – 2:00 PM Lunch & Rest
2:00 - 3:30 3
3:30 - 4:00 Break
4:00 – 5:00 4

Evening Ministry
Sun - Roger Rice A word study on “Works and Deeds”
Mon - Sai Htwe Maung
Tue - Sai Htwe Maung
Wed - Sai Htwe Maung
Thu - Sai Htwe Maung
Fri - Sai Htwe Maung
Sat - Free
Sun - Winston Ee Prayer Life of Moses
Mon - Roger Rice Created for Good Works
Tues - David Kueh “One Thing” Ps.27
Wed - Lau Tak Siong “One Thing” Luke 10
Thu - Celebration night & Fun night

Special report from Sai Htwe Maung
I consider this GCI training very important for ShweLi and I take it very seriously because this
is the first training aiming solely for ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Churches. I have planned for this
training program for two years. I don’t want to make any mistake because it can give us serious
problem. I have communicated with Rev. Thein Aung Kham, local organizer, General Secretary of
ShweLi, carefully to make sure that everything has been well prepared for the security and safety of our
foreign trainers as well as success of the training. So far we have no problems in our past three trainings
with foreign trainers in Myanmar. It seemed to me that everything was well arranged before we arrived.
However to my shock surprise, when we arrived MayMyo, I was asked by Thein Aung Kham to collect
all the passports from all our foreign trainers and to go to see the authority and give them photocopies
of their travel documents. It never happened to us before. If we have to report to authority and give
them our travel documents it is not a good sign. Why does it happen? We have never had such
experience before. I went to district office with Thein Aung Kham. God is gracious! To my delight
surprise, the officer of the district office was my old classmate when I was in high school in MayMyo
in 1963. He handled the matter very friendly. Praise God! We had to give nothing. We had no problem
till the end of our 10 days training.
Rev. Sai Htun Kyaw, who has returned from his study in Singapore, and Rev. Sai Aung Win,
who has just returned from ten months study tour from US, helped us doing translation. They did very
well. Some of the trainees have already attended our second GCI training in TaungGyi in 1995. They
enjoyed the teaching, fellowship and food. Many people came forward at dedication time. Some still do
not want to open to the new teaching, which they have never learned before. Some expressed, “This is
AOG teaching. We cannot use it in ShweLi.” They said this at TaungGyi GCI in 1995. They say it
again now. But why do they invite GCI again if they do not want to accept it? Why do they come? Most
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 148
of our trainers showed good example in leadership and spiritual maturity but some of the local leaders
and pastors showed bad example by sitting outside the training hall during training time, chatting,
smoking cigar and drinking tea, not coming into the class room to listen or to participate at all. It
happened at TaungGyi GCI. They are doing the same manner at MayMyo GCI. I was in tears at the
closing graduation service because I realized that they did not open to receive the truth. This GCI is the
most expensive in term of money, effort and sacrifice. I pray and hope that it will bear fruit in later
Sai Ye Ti
I had listened to Dr. Sai Htwe Maung’s radio program and God touched my heart and I wrote a letter to
him in Hong Kong. In fact I was brought up in the Church but left when I was a young man. I owned a
liquor store and I sold it as well as I drank it. Every day I would listen to Dr. Sai’s program while I
drank and sold liquor. Then one day, God got through to me and I recommitted my life to Christ and
went back to Church. Now I have planted a Church and am pastoring the Church. I heard about this
GCI training and I came on my own. (Dr. Sai was so excited to come to meet his friend whom they
have known one another in the younger years)

Nang Nang
I was the number 6
of 7 children from very poor family. My father had left the family and had many
wives. The mother was left with all the children and they were always hungry and only had rags for
clothes. When I was 7 years old, I started trying to work for money to get books for my school. My
mother said she would feed and clothe her children but she could not afford to send them to school. I
was quite bright and I managed to get to school and was always first in my studies. My mother never
attended any of the awards days I received because she was dressed in rags. I was also in rags but I did
not care as long as I could learn and study. When I was about 13 I was forced to quit school in order to
work to help the mother. I eventually decided to leave home and go to Thailand because I heard that
there was work there. I soon realized that the work was to prostitute myself and I could not bring
myself to do that so I was living with a very old man. The old man told me I must get married but I did
not want to marry at 16. The old man told me I could no longer live with him and I must marry the Thai
man. I did marry him and then I became a Christian. I went back to my mother’s house and lived with
my mother and worked with young women who return from Thailand with AIDS. I am working with
the Anglican Church but I am interested in Church Planting. I am considering working with Dr. Sai.

MayMyo GCI 1998
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 149
Shan GCI, Yangon
July 5-15, 1999.

This is the first Shan GCI to be held in Yangon, capital city of Myanmar. It is more convenient
for foreign trainers to have training in Yangon because they do not need to travel again to other places
in Shan State. However it is not convenient and it is expensive for the Shan trainees to travel from Shan
States to Yangon. They came from Eastern Shan State, Southern Shan State and Northern Shan State.
There are few Shan Christians in Yangon. Shan Church in Yangon has rented a hall for their worship
service on Sunday. However Yangon Shan Church has done a wonderful job in organizing,
participating and helping the event in leading singing. Yangon Shan Church has talented musicians. All
the trainees are Shan. Lectures are given in English by foreign trainers and translated to Shan. Sai Hla
Shwe, Dr. Nang Hla Hla Win and I help in translation. I use Shan language when I teach.
All together 5 trainers and 70 trainees. Trainees were renewed, challenged and commissioned
after training. I hope that they all will be used by the Lord in our future Shan missions.

Yangon GCI 1999 July

Trainers and subjects
Victorious Christian Living; Winston Ee
Ministry Planning; Katie Williamson
Leadership; Rev. Lau Tak Siong
Basic Doctrine; Rev. Franklin Williamson
Evangelism; Winston Ee
How to study the Bible; Katie Williamson
Prayer; Rev. Franklin Williamson
Praise and Worship; Dr. Sai Htwe Maung
The Holy Spirit; Rev. Franklin Williamson
Children’s Ministry; Local Trainer
Spiritual Warfare; Rev. Franklin Williamson
Power Theology; Rev. Franklin Williamson
Biblical Foundation for Missions; Winston Ee
Effective Leadership; Rev. Lau Tak Siong
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 150
Local Church; Rev. Lau Tak Siong
Homiletics; Rev. Lau Tak Siong
Life & Teachings of Jesus; Katie Williamson
Discipleship; Katie Williamson
Church Planting; Dr. Sai Htwe Maung
Christian Family; Rev. Franklin & Katie Williamson

The teaching faculty also took turns ministering at the nightly meetings, to challenge the students to a
greater intimacy with God and greater commitment to His service.

Shan GCI, Yangon.
November 3-13, 1999.

Yangon GCI 1999 November

Rev. Takashi Yoshida; Japan
Mr. Winston Ee; Singapore
Rev. Roger & Janet Rice; Australia
Rev. David Kueh; Malaysia
Dr. Sai Htwe Maung; Hong Kong
Rev. Jerry Yeoh; Malaysia

77 attended Level 2 = 40
Level 1 = 37

Wed. 3
L2 Biblical basis for mission (Winston Ee)
L3 Spiritual gifts (Takashi Yoshida)
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 151
Evening: Takashi
Thu. 4
L2 Local Church (Takashi Yoshida)
L3 Key to effective ministry (Winston Ee)
Evening: Winston Ee
Fri. 5
L2 Discipleship (Sai Htwe Maung)
L3 Personal and financial management (Takashi Yoshida)
Evening: Sai Htwe Maung
Sat. 6
L2 Life and teaching of Jesus (Takashi Yoshida)
L3 People skill (Roger Rice)
Evening: Takashi Yoshida
Mon 8
L2 Christian family (Roger & Janet Rice)
L3 Leadership issue (Takashi Yoshida)
Evening: Roger Rice
Tue 9
L2 Effective leadership (David Kueh)
L3 Cults (Jerry Yeoh)
Evening: Sai Htwe Maung
Wed. 10
L2 Spiritual warfare (Jerry Yeoh)
L3 Survey of the Bible (David Kueh)
Evening: Jerry Yeoh
Thu. 11
L2 Power Theology (Jerry Yeoh)
L3 Pastoral ministry (David Kueh)
Evening: Sai Htwe Maung
Fri. 12
L2 Church Planting (Sai Htwe Maung)
L3 Conflict management (Jerry Yeoh)
Evening: David Kueh
Sat. 13
L2 Homiletic (Jerry Yeoh)
L3 Counseling (David Kueh)
Evening: Commissioning (Sai Htwe Maung)

The trainees came from Eastern Shan State, Southern Shan State, Northern Shan State and
Yangon. It took 10 days for 15 people to travel by bus from Eastern Shan State to Yangon to attend this
training. It cost them about 5,000 Kyat for each person in travel expenses. A pastor’s monthly salary is
only 5,000 Kyat and our Footsoldier gets 3,000 Kyat monthly support. Half of the trainees paid for their
own expenses and came. They were the most attentive people in the class. They sang the most beautiful
choir. They had recorded ten choirs for my radio program. They traveled far away from China border.
They have invited us to hold national GCI in their area in November 2000 with local sponsorship. They
re-contributed ten percent of the allowance they received from GCI to the expenses of the training. 15
people traveled from Northern Shan State, most of them from NamKham. It took three days to get to
Yangon. They spent extra night on the road because of flooding. One lady got sick on the way to
Yangon and had to be hospitalized after three days of training. One man attended full course of training
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 152
despite shivering with Malaria. 20 people traveled from the Southern Shan State. It took two days to get
to Yangon. There are only three Shan Churches in the South. 27 came from Yangon Churches and
others. Despite that Yangon Shan Church is only two years old it has developed tremendously. They
hosted GCI twice this year very successfully. They lead worship & praise program. They have good
musician, song leaders and hard working members.

1. It takes a long time for trainees to get to Yangon.
2. It is too expensive to travel. They cannot afford for their traveling expenses.
3. GCI trainers cannot spend fulltime for the whole course with trainees.
4. Denominational minded is so strong in Baptist Churches’ leaders.
5. Foreigners are not allowed to travel to some area of the Shan State because of security and political
As we prayed for life changing ministry during training, we certainly had achieved it. Pastors,
lay leaders and many others repented and rededicated their life.

Following his lesson on “The Biblical Basis for Missions,” pastor Winston asked for a show of
hands when he asked the class, “How many of you would like Jesus to return quickly?” All but one
sister had their hands high up. Thinking that she had not understood the relationship between the
Abrahamic Covenant and the return of Jesus, Winston went on to revise that portion of the lesson.
When the question was asked again, the same sister was the only one with her hands down. At the end
of the lesson, she came up to Winston with tears streaming down her cheeks and explained, “Teacher, I
don’t want Jesus to come back yet because I have not done anything for Him.” Her sincerity touched
Winston’s heart.
Pastor David Kueh shared a message on repentance in one of the evening ministry sessions. A
pastor said in tears that he had confessed his sin to the Lord as he had been living like a Pharisee and a
hypocrite. He would return to his home Church with “a new life and new commitment.” At the same
session a brother who had drifted from ministry and presently engaged in business was on his knees
weeping in repentance. I told pastor Winston during one of the mid-session breaks: “GCI is in the
business of changing lives; something big is going to happen at this GCI.” Something big did happen.
Six trainees committed their lives to serve as fulltime footsoldiers for the Lord. Praise the Lord!
From this year our Shan graduates will take GCI training deep into Shan State into areas
inaccessible to foreign missionaries. They have planned two GCls, in May and November 2000. GCI
will continue to make inroads with the other people groups in Myanmar with a first time GCI for the
Burmans in July 2000.

Shan GCI, TaungGyi, Southern Shan State.
May 18-24, 2000

51 people from various Shan Churches from Southern Shan State attended. This is the first
training to be conducted with local trainers. A missionary to the Dai of China Mr. R. Minick helped us
teaching three days. He traveled with us by bus the whole night through from Yangon to TaungGyi.
Rev. Sai Aung Win, a pastor of MyoMa Church, NamKham and Sai Hla Shwe, a GCI graduate from
Yangon also helped us teaching.
There was a good experience. A Buddhist man from KoLum who had no knowledge of
Christianity but just recently converted came to attend the training. He was once possessed by evil
spirit. He was chained to the tree and beaten. He was exorcised by witchdoctor but to no avail. He was
running on the street of the village naked. He was about to be killed. But he was released and healed by
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 153
a Christian’s prayer. He had primary education only. He could barely read Shan. He had never sung a
Christian hymn in his lifetime. During training session, he sang western hymn in his own Buddhist
tune. It was amazingly beautiful. He is now serving as an evangelist among heathen Shan in KoLum.
Many Shan come to the Lord. A formal government officer at the rank of township governor came to
attend the training. He confessed that he was released from alcoholic addiction during the training and
now renewed and ready to serve the Lord. He was in fact my formal schoolteacher when I was in
secondary school in 1960.

TaungGyi GCI 2000

Subjects taught
Praise & Worship: Sai Htwe Maung
Discipleship: Sai Htwe Maung
Leadership: Russell Minick
Christian Family: Sai Htwe Maung
Evangelism: Sai Htwe Maung
Church Planting: Sai Htwe Maung
Prayer: Sai Hla Shwe
Power Theology: Sai Hla Shwe
Ministry Planning: Sai Aung Win
Spiritual Warfare: Sai Aung Win
Holy Spirit: Sai Hla Shwe
Local Church: Sai Hla Shwe

Twenty-first century Shan mission project 154
Shan GCI, KengTung
February 2001
42 trainees attended.
Trainers: Rev. Takashi Yoshida, Rev. Jerry Yeoh

Report from Takashi
One week before I left for Myanmar there occurred a battle near the border between Myanmar
and Thailand and it was politically very unstable. Of course the land border gate was closed.
KengTung, the town where the GCI was held this time, is located several hours drive from the boarder
of China, Laos and Thailand. There was a small drawn out war in Maesai, Thailand. Maesai was hit
with numerous mortars and the border closed and the Thais shelled several Burmese outposts. Burmese
feuding with the Shan has made spillover likely along long stretches of the Thai border, mostly
occupied with the Ahka villages I work with, so the villages have lots of army in them, trucks, tanks,
mortars dug in and armored personnel carriers…. Of course it is the uncertainty about how much this
may escalate that is bothering most of the villages. Rev. Sai Stephen, an Asian Outreach East Shan
State Director, and I had a discussion last July to work out a strategy for his area and decided to have a
multinational GCI for the footsoldiers. Who could know that Stephen, a conspicuous leader with
tremendous passion for the souls, had to go to be with the Lord only two weeks after we made a plan?
He was still 47 years old. I get there via Yangon, the capital of Myanmar. I together with the new local
coordinator, Rev. Sai Philip, put this plan into practice in order to raise young evangelists and Church
planters in KengTung, Stephen’s hometown. However, on the very first GCI day, one and a half hours
after we started, we were stopped by the local government officers because of the boarder situation.
While our local coordinator tries to persuade the officers we prayed to God for His mercy and grace. He
answered our prayer immediately and the local government gave us permission to restart the GCI
training again. Praise the Lord! The Lord has protected us from every danger. This time we had 42
students from Wa tribe, Lahu tribe, Shan tribe and a couple more from different tribes. After I
ministered for five days there, pastor Jerry Yeoh from Malaysia arrived and I handed over the
responsibility to him. The GCI continued until March 1st. During my visit to KengTung, I had an
opportunity to go to a small Ahku village called WanKyaing, which was evangelized by a graduate of
GCI. There are 125 Ahku tribe people in 33 houses. All of them have come to the Lord, hallelujah!
On the way back to Japan, I had a meeting with some Baptist leaders in Yangon. After much
discussion, we decided to have a first GCI for Asho Chin tribe and Pwokayin tribe in October 2001.
Both tribes have not yet been evangelized much.

KengTung GCI 2001
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 155
Total Shan Evangelists Trained Under 21
Century Shan Mission Project

18 graduated from Myanmar Theological Seminary in 1988
14 graduated from three months training from January to March 1990 in KengTung.
14 graduated from three months training from January to March 1991 in KengTung.
19 graduated from one month training from Feb. 23, 1992 to Mar. 22, 1992 in KengTung.
13 graduated from three months training from Sept. 1, 1992 to Nov. 30, 1992 in NamKham.
20 graduated from one month training from Feb. 28, 1993 to Mar. 28, 1993 in KengTung.
28 graduated from twelve days training from Oct. 31, 1994 to Nov. 12, 1994 in Maesai.
(International GCI)
20 graduated from one month training from Jun. 1, 1995 to Jun. 30, 1995 in KengTung. (Local
42 graduated from 15-27 October 1995 in TaungGyi. (International GCI)
40 graduated from 1-13 December 1997 KengTung (International GCI)
72 graduated from 15-27 November 1998 MayMyo (International GCI)
67 graduated from 5-15 July 1997 in Yangon. (International GCI)
77 graduated from 3-13 November 1997 in Yangon. (International GCI)
40 graduated from 1-13 December 1997 in KengTung (Local GCI)
51 graduated from 18-24 May 2000 in TaungGyi. (Local GCI)
42 graduated from Feb, 19 to Mar. 1, 2001 KengTung (International GCI)

Total 418 people have been trained.

New Life and New Hope
Great Commission Institute training program has tremendous impact on our Shan Churches in
Myanmar. The admirable and dedicated lives of the members of the GCI team are the best living
witness to our local pastors, Churches’ leaders and members of the Churches.
Amidst difficult situations in Shan State, Myanmar, we are able to conduct eight trainings in
seven years. More than four hundred have graduated from the GCI programs. Even though Shan
Churches are more than one hundred year old, they are still infants in terms of spiritual maturity. The
glory of the Lord rarely seen in the life of the Church. Miracles seldom happen in the Church. Many of
the Shan Churches are following one hundred years old tradition.
A pastor, a GCI trainee, exclaimed: “I have attended many local training programs but I have
never seen any training like GCI. My life and my thinking are completely changed. Unfortunately,
some of our Churches’ leaders are not here to hear. I wished they all were here.” Shan Churches are
lacking God appointed qualitative leadership, ministry planning, understanding of spiritual warfare and
a true understanding of the Christian family. GCI gives new life and a new hope to our Churches.
Churches’ leaders are convicted and brought to their knees in repentance and renewed. Broken families
are healed and young people are prepared to build true Christian families and strong Churches. The
Lord’s servants are ready for spiritual warfare. Ministry planning helps to develop individuals
according to their calling.
Praise the Lord!
(Kae Zu Yai Tae Tae Ka) (Thank you very much)

Twenty-first century Shan mission project 156
Goal # 2 Evangelism

How can we do evangelism among Buddhist Shan? According to the history, evangelism among
the Buddhist Shan seems to be very difficult. They are the people who have their own gods and
teaching which they have been following and practicing almost 2000 years. It is not easy for them to
abandon long and old tradition and practices, which they have adopted as their culture and adopt
Christian culture what we call Christian practices when they believe in Christ. They need great courage
and sacrifice to confess their faith in Christ openly in their community, family and people who are
Buddhists. Many face discrimination, persecution and excommunication or sometimes being disowned
by family and community. It will not be difficult to make them knowing Christ because Shan are very
polite and willing to listen. Many Shan use to say, “All religions are good. It doesn’t matter what
religion you follow, what God you worship.” Some even worship all kinds of god but it will be difficult
to ask them to abandon all their traditions and practices in order to become Christian. Old people use to
say, “I believe but I cannot abandon Buddhism.” In the year 1978 only 0.12% of five million Shan
believes in Christ, takes water baptism and becomes Christians.

Rev. Sai Stephen on evangelistic tour

Sai Stephen had done a good job in the Eastern Shan State in the past decade. As an Associate
Director of 21
CSMP responsible for Eastern Shan State, financially supported by 21
CSMP since
1989. He was very committed, dedicated and active. He used to send out graduates from GCI training
and local evangelist training school to do evangelism and Church Planting in chosen villages with full
support. We do not have many evangelists doing evangelism among the Shan. Most of the full-time
Christian workers are working in Churches as pastors. Very few Seminary graduates are going out and
preaching gospel to the Shan as evangelists or missionaries. We have to admit that the evangelism
among the Shan is not very successful. Most importantly we have to confess that we are not filled with
the Holy Spirit, we have not received the power, we do not speak with power, we do not work with the
power, we do not show the power and perform miracles in Jesus’ name, in the Power of the Holy Spirit.
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 157
We also need to develop methods of gospel presentation easily understandable and acceptable to
Buddhist Shan. Contextualization is very much important subject to develop in Shan situation. Many of
our evangelists do not know how to present gospel to Buddhists. Some western methods of gospel
presentation may not be very appropriate in Shan culture. In the year 2001, only 0.4% of five million
Shan becomes Christians.

Goal # 3 Church Planting

There are five million Shan in Myanmar adopted Buddhism as their religion since AD 71.
99% of Shan are Buddhists who follow Buddha’s teaching, idol and spirit worship. Their cultures are
based on Buddhist practices. Shan use to claim, ‘Shan are Buddhists and Buddhism is Shan religion.”

A new Shan Church in Eastern Shan State

How can we plant Churches among the Shan? Planting Churches is not just building church
buildings. A Church is a group of believers with regular fellowship, worshiping and praising God
together as the beginning of a Church in Antioch. The number of believers could be varied from 5 to
500. But Shan Baptists do not agree with this definition. Most of the Shan Baptist’s understanding of
“Church Planting” is confined to “building the church building.” The Shan Baptists do not consider the
fellowship of a group of believers as a Church without church building. If the church building is big
they call it a big Church regardless of the number of believers, members, attendances and spiritual
maturity of believers. A senior pastor of Judson Church said to me, “Yangon Shan Baptist Church is not
a Church because they don’t have ordained pastor, they don’t have youth association, they don’t have
women association, they don’t have Sunday school, they don’t have a church building and they are not
a member of any Baptist Association,” Is this a true definition of the Church? Yangon Shan Baptist
Church has more than one hundred members attending regular worship service every week and having
fellowship in communion every month at rented hall for more than one year. The first Shan-Burmese
Church was planted in Toungoo in 1862 by Rev. Bixby with nine members within one year of mission
among the Shan refugees in Toungoo.
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 158
Under leadership of Sai Stephen, about 44 new Shan Churches planted in Eastern Shan State
within eight years. Shan Churches increased from 26 to 70 in the Eastern Shan State and leading Shan
Churches to be able to form “Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist Convention“ on January 19, 1997. In the
year 2000, Eastern Shan State Baptist Convention has 70 Shan Churches with 8,500 baptized members.
The total number of Churches, including other racial groups, in Eastern Shan State increased to 110.
ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission, Northern Shan State, has 4 Churches and 875 members in
the year 1955. In fact these 4 Churches are there since 1920. There are now 17 Churches in the North
with 2,292 baptized members in the year 2000. 14 new Churches in 45 years. In Southern Shan State
there are only 3 Shan Churches in 134 years.

Shan village setting
There are cities, towns and villages in the Shan States where the Shan live. There is at least one
pagoda and a Buddhist monastery in almost every village and town. It is very important for them to
have a pagoda to worship and offer sacrifices, the monastery to get together to hear the chanting of the
monks, offerings things to the monks for good merit and to celebrate Buddhist festivals. The villagers
use to collect offering, money and other things to build the monastery and pagoda. The village without
pagoda or monastery is considered to be poor village. Richness is considered to be sign of blessing. The
pagoda in the rich city or town or village is usually coated with gold leaves. That is why the color of the
pagoda is yellow whether it is coated with gold leaves or painted with yellow oil paint.
The village is usually governed by village chief or monk or abbot. They are the most powerful
influential persons in the village. When the order comes from the monk all have to listen and obey. The
monks, including chief monk, live in monastery on the donation, giving and offering of the villagers.
Foods, clothing, money and all provisions for the monks come from villagers. Monks have no other
source of income. The questions are;
How can we turn such village into Christian village?
What will happen to the monks who live on support and donation of the villagers if the whole village
becomes Christian?
Can the most powerful Buddhist monk of the village willing to let his village become Christian village?
If we cannot convert the whole village can we convert one person or one family to Christianity?
What will happen to this “New Christian”?
How can we plant a Church in such Buddhist village?

Spying (Exploration)
The word “spying” was first found in Joshua 7:2 “Go up and spy out the region.” We can use a
better word “exploration” or “survey” in modern term. Is it necessary to do “exploration about the land
or village or people” before going in and start Church Planting? In the situation of planting Churches
among the Shan, it is important. The target area itself requires investigation. As it was suggested
previously, we cannot completely understand our task until we are able to define it in relation to the
particular area to be entered. That will require continued study. But analysis should begin before
workers actually enter the area. No area should be entered with a Church Planting effort simply because
some believer, however saintly, has a desire or vision for a work, however noble and lofty.
Sai Stephen said, “If you see the monastery in the village with monks, it is doomed to be a
failure in our effort to plant a Church there.” “We use to go and start the work where there is no
monastery. A lot easier and more successful.” Why?
When we see a monastery and monks, it indicates to us that the village is quite well established
Buddhist village and under influence of Buddhist monk. It is not easy to break down the wall. Some
Buddhist monks in some villages often stop people going and listening to Christian preacher. The
planter is outsider, in other word, evangelists or missionaries are from other place.

Twenty-first century Shan mission project 159
Christian village
How can the whole village become Christian village, leaving monks without support or
donation? We have heard the story of the whole village turned to Christ in certain tribal groups. Is it
possible in Shan village? Monks are taken care of by villagers for their foods and living. Early in the
morning monks use to go out with alms bowl to collect the food (meal) for the day from generous
villagers who love to give foods to monks to earn good merits. The monastery is also survived with the
offering of the Buddhist villagers. If the whole village turned to Christianity and no one offers alms to
the monks and supply anything to the monastery what will happen to the monks and monastery? Can
the most powerful Buddhist monk of the village agree to let his village become Christian village? It is
impossible for the monks to allow all the villagers become Christians. They would put pressure to stop
mass conversion as much as possible they can by using their influence, authority and power. The only
possibility of converting the whole village to Christian village is to “first convert the most influential
one like chief monk or village head” and the rest of the villagers will not be difficult. If possible make
disciple of the monk, train him and let him be the pastor and live on Church support. The village will be
very quiet because the Shan pastors and Churches’ leaders do not allow the Shan believers to play
gong-mong Shan music and dance in their festivals any more.

Individual and family conversion
Can one person or one family becomes Christian in Buddhist village? The philosophy “all or
none” is quite applicable in some situation. If a single person from the family believes in Jesus and
abandons Buddhism, he/she will probably be excommunicated from the rest of the family. Sometime
he/she is refused to eat with the rest of the family or asked to leave the house. In some cases a new
believer is disowned by family and he/she losses his/her right to inherit the heir of the family because of
conversion. Winning a young man from the family is not as good as wining the head of the family. In
Shan culture, the head of the family has highest authority. All the family members use to listen and
obey the father. Sometimes when the father believes in Christ, all family members follow. That is why
when asking about the number of believers in the Church, village or town; they use to ask “how many
Christian family in your Church, village or town.”
If one family from the village becomes Christian and abandons Buddhism, what would happen
to them? They would be treated as “betrayer of Shan people and Buddhism” and they would be
abandoned by other families in social relationship, excommunicated from society in social activity and
gathering and in the worse case asked to leave the village. That is why seeing “Christian village” is not
uncommon among the Shan villages. Christian village doesn’t mean we have converted the whole
village into Christianity. In fact we have to move Christian families out of their original village and find
a new place for them to live and start a new village since they were considered outcasts. In some
situation, Christian village and Buddhist village is only divided by a small three feet wide demarcation
New Christian challenge
What will happen to this new Christian? A young man had a wife and a newborn baby. He came
to know Christ and accepted Jesus as his Savior and baptized. Because of his faith in Christ and
conversion, his father in-law asked him to leave the house, his wife and the baby. He had nowhere to go
but to move out and lived in the farm of other person for almost a year until his father in-law called him
back home and allowed him to live with his wife and child again. In this case we praise God because all
the family members later became Christians.
A new Christian family was tested of their new faith. Soon after they believed in Christ and
became Christians, a group of young people gathered in front of the door of their house every night,
beating drum loudly, making noise and disturbing their sleep. Their belonging and utensils were stolen
from home and they were challenged, “You Christian said, forgive, love, give, tolerate, if people take
your clothes give your coat, if they force you to go one mile go another mile. You must not take offence
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 160
what we have done.” Sometimes when they were gathering in a house for worship, the house was
stoned. When a young child went out to buy food he was slapped. Some make a comment “If you are
not a Buddhist you are not a Shan” and discriminate against them.

Difficult Church Planting
How can we plant a Church in such situation?
Zechariah 4:6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by
power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

1. Power of the Holy Spirit
It is vitally important to be filled with the Holy Spirit and His power and authority in planting Churches
among the Shan Buddhist. Even though they called themselves Buddhists, they also worship many
spirits. Spiritual warfare is unavoidable in daily work of evangelist, missionary and Church planter. I
myself have encountered three times in three weeks when I was in mission field. Some Church planters
loose the battle in spiritual warfare and have to retreat or abandon the field.
Shan Buddhists want to listen and know about true God and about life after death. But they would not
believe or accept Christianity easily at one meeting or one hearing without debate. They would ask
many questions, debate and challenge with their own belief. The most effective way of wining Shan
Buddhists is “showing miracle through the power of the Holy Spirit.” For instance, in one village, no
one wanted to become Christian because they were quite happy and satisfy with their life. But one day a
young lady was possessed by the evil spirit and she was out of control. She was very aggressive. No
body could drive the spirit out. Finally they called a young evangelist to come and drive out demon.
Evangelist prayed and cast out the demon. Immediately the lady ran out from the house and collapsed
on the ground lying motionless for a few minutes and then came round. She was completely released
from the evil spirit under their own eyes. After this miracle many villagers accepted Jesus. Jesus, before
crucifixion, has told his disciples to “cast out the demons” and again after resurrection, commanded us
to be filled with the Holy Spirit and power to cast of demons.

2. Dedication and Sacrifice
Mission work among the Shan is not easy. It requires great dedication and big sacrifice. Hardship and
danger are unavoidable. They must be strong and courageous. They must surrender and carry the cross.
If we only want to serve in well-established Church the gospel will never reach the Shan. The roads and
travel to Shan villages are difficult and dangerous. The jungles of Shan States are infested with Malaria.
Living standard is very low. If the American missionaries could stand those hardship and sacrifice in
our land and for our salvation how much more should we do for our own people. Christian workers
being seen by the Shan as “Introducer of Western Religion.” We face opposition from different angles.
If we are friendly to them we can easily have many friends. When we get friendship from the monks
and village leaders we can easily approach and preach the gospel to the people. Remember to make
friend with those who have authority over the village so that we can work peacefully.

3. Holistic Approach
Buddhist Shan love to give money, alms, and other offering to the monks and offer meals to the people
believing that this is good action to get good merit for future life. If we, evangelists, missionaries,
pastors, only preach the “gospel of love” to the people without showing our love in action for them to
see it is not easy for them to believe the gospel unless we prove by our action. Many missionaries to the
Shan were medical doctors and they evangelized the people through medical work and education. It is
quite successful when we offer medical, education, social and material help to them showing the love of
God in action. Feeding the poor, clothing the naked, healing the sick, casting out demons, preaching the
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 161
gospel, teaching the commandment of love and saving the soul are the best strategies in reaching the
The social action will vary enormously from context to context, but will concentrate on achievable aims
and working in solidarity with others “of good will” in the community. The worship of the Church will
be related to its community action, not disconnected from its social context. The partnership with
members of the wider community opportunities will arise for sharing faith with those who already
know Church members through shared involvement.
We should have the whole Church, the whole Gospel to the whole World as declared by Lausann II
World Evangelization Congress in Manila in 1989.

4. Identification
Shan people are quite “nationalistic” and “patriotic.” Why? According to history they were being
attacked and governed by other people since their first kingdom in AD 225. Today they were scattered
to many parts of Asia. Shan people can be found in India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and
Vietnam. But they do not have their own independent kingdom or country or land today. They become
minority in the other land. They always want to be united and have their own land.
Shan always offer very warm welcome to any one who identify with them as a Shan or the one who
show them love and concern. When I went to Yunnan, South-west of China in 1997, to find Shan
people whom I have never met before but I have heard about them since I was a child. When I was on
the street of Dehong, Yunnan, I met three men walking on the road near rice field. I started talking to
them in Shan language and identifying myself to them as a Shan from Shan State. When they identified
me as a Shan by my Shan cultural tattoo on my arms, I was warmly welcomed and invited to stay with
them, be their guest, eat with them, visit the families of Shan people and I was introduced to all the
people in the village. They even allowed me to tell them about Jesus.
I met a missionary from Holland. She lives and works among Shan people for 30 years in
MaeHongSon. She lives in Shan village, wears Shan dress, eats Shan food and speaks Shan language to
be identified with locals. She has Shan name. Her ministry is very successful.

5. Building Church Building
Is building a church building important or necessary for Shan Christians? Shan people consider
monastery as holy place. They do not wear sandals or shoes even in the muddy ground of the monastery
compound. They always go to monastery for worship and do any kind of religious rite. Shan do not feel
“home” as holy place so that they can worship God in the home. However Shan Christian do have a
home fellowship and home service apart from Church service at the Church. Shan believers also
consider church building as a holy place where they can meet God and worship Him. They use to take
off their shoes or sandals before going into church building. They sit properly and do not speak out
loud. They never make loud noise, never play games, and do not eat in church building. Rev. Bixby, the
first missionary to the Shan, built a church building in Toungoo just two years after his arrival.
Building a beautiful and attractive church building, which makes the people feel “holy”, is important in
the heart of Shan believers. That is why we can see big, beautiful and expensive church building, which
cost millions of Kyat when they do not have much money to spend on evangelism and mission. Shan
Christians put “Building Church building” very important ministry in their Christian life. Believers are
willing to give bigger sum of money to church building fund than to mission. We need to have a church
building whether big or small for worship.

1. Thousand years old culture and Christian practices.
Since Shan has adopted Buddhism as their religion since AD 71, all their festivals and practices
are becoming their culture. Shan claim, “Buddhism is Shan culture” and “Shan culture is Buddhism.” If
Twenty-first century Shan mission project 162
it is so how a Shan can become a Christian? All Shan Christians have to abandon their culture and
adopt Christian culture when they become Christians. By the way what is Christian culture? Is Western
culture Christian culture? Is American culture Christian culture? Do we have to wear long pant, tie and
suite, eat bread and butter and sing western song with piano, guitar and drum when we become
Christian? Shan Christians were asked to abandon their old practices, their traditional musical
instruments, their traditional folk songs and dances, their wedding customs, their new home dedication
ceremony, festivities etc when they become Christians. Why? Because Shan pastors and Christian
leaders said that all Shan cultures are Buddhist’s practices, which should not be continued in Christian
How can a Shan become Christian?
How can a Shan Christian maintain his identity?

2. Shan are still un-reached group
According to Joshua Project 2000, Shan people are still classified as “un-reached group” in
Asia. Only 0.4% of total five million populations are Christians with 92 Churches in 140 years. We still
need to do more, work harder and develop better and more effective strategies in reaching Shan. Ways
of reaching the un-reached have been explored in conferences and seminars. Prodigious efforts to
communicate the gospel by means of radio and literature to people who are sealed off from a
missionary presence have been undertaken. Strategies for reaching populations behind closed doors,
which are now opening up again, are being researched. The true Christian can only rejoice at these
efforts. The Word of God does single out for special attention those who have never heard about Christ.
Missionaries are to be sent so that such people might hear and be saved. Who will work with us? Who
will help us reap the harvest?

The questions remain
How can we ask them to abandon their two thousand years old traditions and practices in order to
become Christian?
How can we allow them to continue their traditions and practices when they become Christian?
Why is Christian mission among the Shan not very successful?

Conclusion on Twenty-first Century Shan Mission Project

Total number of Shan Churches in Shan States and Myanmar today is 92.
Total number of baptized members today is 10,792.
Total number of evangelists trained is 418.
According to our 21
Century Shan Mission Project;
Have we hit our target?
Have we achieved our goal?
The total numbers of evangelists trained are more than expected.
Total numbers of baptized members are half of our target.
Total numbers of Shan Churches are half of our target.
There are no less than fifty Shan fellowship groups worshipping God regularly but they do not meet the
Baptist requirement to be called “Church”

I praise God for the achievement in the Eastern Shan State.
They have run the race and achieved the goal.
I hope Shan Churches will continue to run till the end of 21
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 163


Rev. Nathan Brown started translating few Bible verses from Old Testament into Khamti Shan
language in 1836 when he was in Assam, India. That was the first translation to Shan. In 1863 Rev.
Bixby started a Theological class in Toungoo with ten students who were planning to become pastors
and teachers. In addition to the Church and school work the missionaries translated four tracts into Shan
and prepared a spelling book and vocabulary. New typewriter had to be designed for printing Shan
script. In 1864 one manuscript, spelling book and one vocabulary were written in Shan, Shan-English
and Burmese-Shan. Religious books and tracts such as “The Catechism and View”, “The Golden
Balance”, “The Way to Heaven”, “The Investigator and Glad Tiding” were all translated into Shan in
1864. It was reported in 1869 that some tracts had been translated during the year. Two “Catechism”
and the “Call” had been printed and a third “Catechism and View of the Christian Religion” was
passing to the press. For the first time in Burma a tract had been printed in Shan language.

New Testament
In 1881 Rev. Cushing reported that he had translated the “Epistles” and book of “Revelation” and had
thus completed the New Testament in Shan. He hoped, next year after revision, to see the Epistles
printed and bound with the Gospels. The New Testament was completed in 1882 and passing to a
second edition in 1887 and to a third edition in 1903.

We don’t know when Rev. Cushing started doing Bible translation. However we’ve learned that it takes
11 years to get the New Testament printed after printing gospel of Matthew. According to Cushing’s
report in 1893, the Gospel of Matthew and a Grammar of the Shan Language were published in
November 1871.
Old Testament
The Old Testament translation first appeared in 1891.
In 1893, Dr. Kirkpatrick reported from
HsiPaw, “We are very glad to get the Shan Bible. All of our Christian workers are eagerly studying the
Old Testament. We give each of the preachers a copy for a Christmas present. One man who has been a
Christian for many years and doing good work as an assistant preacher never owned even a New
Testament until he came here a few months ago.”
This indicates that the whole Bible in Shan language
was finished in 1891 and published in 1892. According to report by Ai Lun and Sowards in 1963, Shwe
Wa from KengTung helped Rev. Cushing in Bible translation. Shwe Wa was baptized in 1882. He
resigned from government job from which he earned 100 Kyat per month and came to help Cushing in
Bible translation with 30 Kyat per month only. He was very good at Burmese as well as Shan. Ai Ku
from Toungoo also helped Cushing in Bible translation.
Rev. Cushing passed away on May 17, 1905 in United States. Mrs. Cushing came back to Burma and
worked on editing the Bible with Mrs. Muldah Mix in Insein. Rev. R.B. Buker and Mrs. Henderson also
helped in editing the Bible.
We do not know the procedure in his Bible translation process at that time. I doubt that Rev.
Cushing had Bible Translation Consultants, Translation Committee, and Reviewer Committee etc. like
we have today. Cushing might have been working and translating the Bible alone with the help of Shwe
Wa and Ai Ku in Shan language. Nevertheless there are very few mistakes in his translation except in
Psalm 66:3, one word ¸·, was (accidentally) left out and it gives the meaning “our deeds” ¸¸.,
instead of “your deeds” ¸·¸.,

Rev. Dr. Cushing, Josiah Nelson. D. D, Ph. D., By Henry Melville King, American Baptist Publication Society, 1907, p15
79th Annual Report, 1893. American Baptist Missionary Union
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 164
Spelling mistake in index ¸÷¸¸¸·., instead of ¸÷¸¸¸·.,
Exodus 29:22 and 29:28 ¸_¸, instead of ¸_.¸, giving the meaning as “dog head” instead of “thigh”. It
might be reprinting error.
Numbers 18:3, the NIV text says, “They are to be responsible to you and are to perform all the duties of
the Tent, but they must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar, or both they and you
will die.” But Cushing translated as “They are to be responsible to you and are to perform all the duties
of the Tent, but they and you must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar, or both they
and you will die.”
Deuteronomy 28:54&56, the NIV says, “gentle and sensitive men” “gentle and sensitive women”, but
Cushing translated as “men who have young, soft and tender flesh” “women who have young, soft and
tender flesh.”

Shan Bible Centenary Celebration

Shan Bible centenary celebration, NamKham – 1985

By His wonderful grace, Shan people have received New Testament in 1882, the Holy Bible in
1892 in their own language. Shan Bible Centenary Celebration was held in NamKham from December
28-29, 1985 organized by ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission. The preparation committee for celebration was
formed on March 4, 1979.
Chairman; Saya Aung Htun Shwe
Vice-chairman; Saya Kham Ye
Secretary; Saya Nyunt Tha
Vice-secretary; Saya Po Maung
Treasurer; Daw Martha
Auditors; San Lwin, Thein Aung Kham
All the committee members were from ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission. Shan Churches
from Eastern Shan State and Southern Shan State were not invited to participate in preparatory
committee. Shan Churches from Eastern Shan State however celebrated Shan Bible Centenary
Celebration in MuongYawng, Eastern Shan State, by themselves from April 11-14, 1985. None from
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 165
ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission attended that celebration. The celebration in NamKham was held
concurrently with Burma Baptist Convention 111
Annual General Meeting together with Christmas
Celebration from December 25-29. It was very confusing to differentiate whether the people were
celebrating Shan Bible Centenary or BBC annual general meeting or Christmas festival.
Special songs commemorating Shan Bible Centenary was produced on cassette tape and sold as
fund raising item. That was the first Christian music produced by ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission in 92
years history since Baptist Missions was opened in ShweLi in 1893. The songs were mixed up with
Shan, Kachin and Burmese languages. Even though it would be better in Shan to celebrate Shan Bible,
one of the organizers explained that there was no market in Shan Churches if they produce in Shan
language alone. They expected better market in Kachin and other Churches so that they had to produce
in Burmese, Kachin and Shan language mixed up in one cassette.
The celebration started with ten thousand people wearing Shan costume, marching up from
downtown NamKham to the hill of NongSanKone where ShweLi Baptist Mission first began,
accompanied by Shan musical gong-mong and noke dancing. In fact gong and mong were never
allowed to be used in Christian gathering because Shan pastors and leaders considered such musical
instruments as Buddhist instrument. Since Shan Bible Centenary was the biggest celebration in Shan
Christian history young people from ShweLi Valley Baptist Mission threatened to take legal action
against pastors and leaders if the Church did not allow them to play gong and mong musical instrument
during celebration. Below is a letter from youth department. (Translated from Burmese)
From Youth Dept. to Chairman,
NongSanKone Shan Baptist Church, NamKham. 22 May 1983.
Subject: To buy and use Shan Kong-mong
On behalf of Shan Christian Youth may I submit this letter.
According to the Law of Myanma Socialist Government, 2-1/2, all the nationality can enjoy
freedom of worship according to their faith and maintain all their culture. According to our young
people desire, we want to maintain our Shan culture, unite our young people, abandon the
misunderstanding of cultural and religious conflict, cultural, political and economical conflict. Maintain
that culture is only related to social and all people should keep their culture. According to the Law,
Shan gong-mong is a cultural thing and will not be harmful to others. That is why we, youth group from
the Church, will buy a set of gong-mong and use it.
Signed/ Sai Ba Tin, Youth Representative,
Cc. Chairman, ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission,
Chairman, Village Council, NongSanKone, NamKham.
Finally the Shan pastors and leaders gave in and allowed them to buy a set of Shan kong-mong
and use it during celebration.
Members of the Churches donated money, rice, pigs, cows and chickens for the occasion. About
Kyat 50,000 was raised before the event. However because of currency devaluation the money, which
had been collected for years, had lost all value. By the decision of the committee, Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha
was sent to BBC to borrow money Kyat 100,000 for the event. In the beginning, BBC refused to lend
the money. After much strong debate, Sai Nyunt Tha declared, “If God’s willing for us to celebrate He
will provide. It doesn’t matter whether you lend us money or not we will go ahead and celebrate.” Then
BBC backed down and lent the money to them on condition that ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission
would pay back the money at the end of January, immediately after the celebration. After the
celebration, offering meals twice a day to more than ten thousand people for five days, donation
received from Churches and individuals amounted to about Kyat 300,000. The debt to BBC Kyat
100,000 was paid back immediately. There was even surplus after celebration. However regrettable
thing happened. The surplus money Kyat 50,000 was kept in the locker at secretary’s house before
putting into the bank. The lock was seen broken down and half of the money was missing. There was
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 166
some suspicion on the leader who kept the money.
(The money Kyat 50,000 was missing when
responsible leaders took the money to the bank)

On December 28 there was an opening ceremony of Cushing Memorial Hall at MyoMa Church.
There was an honoring program for 58 pastors, 103 people who have achieved higher education and 23
people who have higher position in civil services. 273 people baptized during this occasion. Such mass
baptism only happens at such special occasion.

New Shan Bible Translation

The Shan literature and writing system used hundred years ago is not easy to read, pronounce
and get the correct meaning. Shan language is a tonal language. Different tone from the same word may
give different meaning. Shan language has six tones apart from other special sounds. As mentioned on
page 10, in old writing system, one word can give six to ten different meanings depend on the tone
make on that word. Rev. Cushing used this Shan writing in translating Shan Bible one hundred years
ago. It is therefore difficult to read Shan Bible, understand and get correct meaning in one reading. A
reader has to read again and again for a few time to get the right tone and right meaning. The reader
may not understand and get the right meaning in first reading. That is why many Shan are trying to read
Burmese or other Bible, which is easier to understand, instead of Shan. Shan literary committee in
Burma has modified the old and invented new Shan writing system in 1958, which can be used in
writing, reading and getting the correct meaning without difficulty and mistake. It is more accurate.

Beginning of New Shan Bible Translation
Burma Bible Society in 1968 had appointed Aung Htun Shwe and Myint Lay to do new
translation on New Testament with new Shan writing. Myint Lay stopped doing translation after a few
years because of drug addiction. After 15 years of hard work Aung Htun Shwe completed the new
translation on New Testament by himself. When his new translation was about to be published many
Shan Christian leaders did not agree with his translation. Finally his new translation was abandoned.

Shan Bible Translation Workshop

Some participants in Bible Translation Workshop in 1985, Thailand
United Bible Societies organized a “Shan Bible Translation Workshop” in HangNam, Northern
Thailand, from July 1 to 11, 1985. Dr. David J. Clark was acting as translation consultant for Shan

As interviewed with Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha on March 3, 2003. ThaCheLeik.
As interviewed with U Kyaw Hla on March 16, 2003. LaShio.
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 167
Bible Translation. During translation workshop discussions were held for future Shan Bible Translation
The attendances at the workshop were;
1. Dr. David Clark 2. Dr. Stephen Hre Kio 3. Dr. J. Webb 4. Dr. Sai Htwe Maung 5. Rev. Aung Htun
Shwe 6. Myint Lay 7. Miss. Judy Crossman 8. Harn Yaunghwe 9. Suchart and some Shan believers
from Maehongson.

During translation workshop the participants
were divided into four groups and were asked to
try to translate the Bible verses into Shan
language by their own effort without looking at
Cushing’s translation. To our amazement we all
discovered that our translations were not as good
as Cushing’s translation. At the end of workshop
the final decisions were made as follow:
1. The new translation will base on Rev. Josiah
Nelson Cushing’s translation.
2. Revised Standard Version (English) will be
used as a reference in translation because it is the
closest translation to original Greek and Hebrew.
3. All agree that Rev. Aung Htun Shwe will be a
full-time translator and Harn Yaunghwe will be a
part-time translator. (Harn Yaunghwe was a full-
time worker in United Bible Societies as a
management consultant).
4. The reviewers of Shan Bible Translation are;
Dr. Sai Htwe Maung (Hong Kong),
Dr. J. Webb (U.K),
Miss. Judy Crossman (MaeHongSon),
Mr. Suchart (Chiangmai),
Rev. Sai Stephen (Burma),
Rev. Sai Nyunt Tha (Burma),
Sai Myint Lay (Burma),
U Kyaw Hla (Burma).
5. The rule is set up that the full-time translator must be paid by United Bible Societies. He must not
accept any other paid work. He can do Church work on Sunday on volunteer basis.
6. The translation procedures are as follows;
(1) Translators will send their first draft to reviewers.
(2) Reviewers will check and make recommendation and send back to translators.
(3) Translators will look at the reviewers’ comment and make correction and send back to reviewers’
second draft.
(4) Reviewers will check and make comment on second draft and send back to translators.
(5) Translators will read and make correction and send back to reviewers the third draft.
(6) The reviewers will read and make final recommendation.
(7) The consultant will be consulted in difficult problems.

New Bible Translation began in January 1986. Aung Htun Shwe started with RUTH and GENESIS.
Harn Yaunghwe started with JONAH and PROVERBS.
Sai Myint Lay, Dr. Sai Htwe Maung, Rev. Aung Htun
Shwe at translation workshop
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 168
Disagreement and resignation
After reviewing RUTH and GENESIS translated by Aung Htun Shwe, I made some comments
and suggestions on his translation and sent back to translator. Like wise other reviewers also made their
comments and suggestions and sent back to him. However the translator ignored the reviewers’
opinions and kept on translating using the same words and the same phrases those were being objected
by reviewers. The translation was also completely new. It did not follow the agreement made at
HangNam. It was not based on Cushing’s translation as agreed. RSV was not taken as reference.
Instead translator used Good News Bible and translated directly from Good News. The names of the
people were also changed by adding Shan prefix such as Sai, Nang, Saya etc. New words and new
terms which were not common, not heard of, not found in Shan dictionary, were also created and added.
It broke the agreement we made at translation workshop.
These disappointments were expressed to translation consultant David Clerk on August 4, 1987.
However David Clerk did not seemed to understand the importance and significance of the Shan words
and phrases in Shan language used in the new translation. He assumed that Aung Htun Shwe’s
translation was correct.

Comments on Genesis
1. Deviation from the original text.
2. Using the words never exist in the Shan language.
3. Exaggeration by adding extra words.
4. Changing the names of the persons, cities and towns.
5. Wrong translation that may affect the Biblical Truth.
6. Inconsistency in translating the word.
7. Using the language that never used in written form.
8. Invention of new words. (new Shan words being created that cannot be found in dictionary or never
heard of)
9. Not translating the word but explaining the meaning.
10. Some sentences are left out from original text.
11. Using Buddhist term that is against Christian faith.
12. Poor composition leading to no meaning.
Despite the recommendation made to translator again and again there were no improvements or
changes seen. As translator continued doing translation on MATTHEW, the same problems were
found. Despite correction, recommendation and advice given, translator kept on ignoring the comments
and advice. I was very disappointed. I regretfully resigned from the board of reviewers on August 25,
1987 amid frustration and sadness.
Harn Yaunghwe completed JONAH and stopped doing translation. He also resigned from
United Bible Societies Shan Bible Translation Project on March 14, 1988.
(Copy of letter of Mr. Harn’s resignation.)
To. Dr. Daniel Arichea, RECTO-Asia Pacific,
United Bible Societies, Hong Kong.
Subject: Resignation from UBS Shan Bible Translation Project.
Dear Danny,
Technically this letter should be addressed to David Clark in Bangkok since he is the
Translation Consultant for the Shan Project. However you are next door and we have already discussed
some aspects of the project, so I thought I might as well write to you. After thinking through various
options relating to the project, I feel that it would be best if I resigned from UBS Shan Project. This is
because Saya Aung Htun Shwe’s translation style cannot be reconciled with mine and the principles
agreed at Hang Nam in Thailand in 1985. It may also be viewed that I have undue influence because of
my status as a UBS management consultant.
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 169
By resigning from UBS and from the Shan project it will remove any questions about a possible
conflict of interest and give you and David Clark a free hand to decide on the best course of action.
When I return to Canada in August 1988 I shall take up the translation of the Shan Bible full-time at my
own expense. However I would like to have access to UBS technical help and I would also appreciate it
if the current reviewers would continue to review my work. This way UBS can be assured of the quality
of my output and Saya Aung Htun Shwe in Burma could also continue his work on the UBS Shan
project without undue interference. At a later date portions of both versions can be tested and the Shan
Churches in Burma and Thailand can decide on what they prefer. I feel this is the best solution and trust
you will concur.
Serving Christ,
Signed/ Harn Yaunghwe.
U Kyaw Hla, a member of reviewing committee also resigned from Bible translation work in July 1989
citing health reason.

New Translation published in 1994
The new translation on New Testament including Psalms and Proverbs translated by Aung Htun
Shwe and team was published by Myanmar Bible Society in 1994. It was completely new and different
from Cushing’s translation.
What is new in New Translation?
For examples;
* Fisherman was translated as “Kunnalum” ¸.=.¸=, instead of original common Shan language
“Dumnga” (÷¸). The word Kunnalum cannot be found in Cushing’s Shan dictionary or new Shan
dictionary. It is completely a new term. Most of the Shan never use it or never heard of this term or
understand it.
* “Jesus turns water to wine” in John 2:3-10, was translated as “Jesus turns water to alcohol” ¸, (it
bears the meaning of intoxicating liquor). (Cushing translated it as “grape juice”) ¸=·÷,. Drinking
alcohol ¸, is considered culturally as bad character and condemned by Shan people. The Buddhism
teaches to avoid drinking alcohol. How come Jesus makes alcohol for the people to drink! Shan people
may question. This will bring a big question from non-Christians and Christians alike on Christianity
and conduct of Jesus Christ in turning water to alcohol and feeding the people.
* The whole scripture verse was missed out in John 6:61.
* John 7:28 says, “I have not come on my own authority.” But the new translation says “I have not
become on my own authority” The word “come” and “become” does not have the same meaning.
* Matthew 3:16 says, “He came out of the water.” But the new translation gives the meaning “Water
came out from Him.” How can water come out from Jesus?
* Matthew 6:11 says, “give us today.” But the new translation says “give us one day.” Is today and one
day the same?
* Matthew 18:29 says, “fell down and begged him.” The new translation says, “fell down and
worshiped him.” “Beg” and “worship” are different.
There are many more problems in the whole book of NT.
On January 18, 1997 I expressed my concern to Dr. Stephen Hre Kio who was the then a new
translation consultant for Shan Bible Translation. Stephen Hre Kio replied on September 25, 1997
saying, “Thank you for your letter dated January 18, 1997. I also want to thank you for sending me your
comments on the Shan NT books of Matthew and John. I discussed some of the comments you made
with the committee members when we met in Maesai for a week. Their reactions to your comments
could be classified in three categories: some of them we accept, others we are reconsidering and most
of them we disagree...”
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 170
YWAM Thailand expressed in their website, “TaiYai (Shan) Bible 1892, using an old form of
the language, which only a few can understand. New version of the NT, Psalms and Proverbs released
in 1994. While easier to understand, this version is not true to the conventions of the Shan language.”

After New Translation on New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs was published, Aung Htun Shwe
continued doing translation on Old Testament. But before he finished OT translation he passed away in
1996. Rev. Sai Stephen was selected to continue doing OT translation. Sai Stephen passed away in July
2000 before Old Testament was published.

New Shan Bible published in 2002
The Holy Bible (OT & NT) in new translation was jointly published by Thailand Bible Society,
Bangkok and Myanmar Bible Society, Yangon, in 2002 with some corrections in New Testament
published in 1994. However there are still some problems in this new translation. For example; some of
the names of the women in the Bible are given Shan racial prefix Nang, e.g. Nang Ruth, Nang Tamar
(Matthew 1:3) (however Tamar in Genesis 38:6 is not given the same prefix Nang), making them look
like Shan tribe by giving them Shan name, but not all women are given such prefix. Some names of the
men are also given title such as Saya, e.g. Saya John, Saya Matthew, Saya Paul etc. but not always, not
all the men are given the title. The translation is in fact inconsistent.

The following are some concerns in new translation published in 2002.
NIV = New International Version
GN = Good News Bible
NST = New Shan Translation (Translator used Good News Bible as reference)

Genesis 2:23
She was taken out of man. (NIV)
She was taken out of man. (GN)
She was taken out of human (NST)

Genesis 3:9
Man (NIV)
Man (GN)
Human (NST)

Genesis 3:20
She would become the mother of all the living (NIV)
She was the mother of all human being (GN)
She is the mother of all the living human being (NST)

Genesis 3:24
To guard the way to the tree of life (NIV)
Keep anyone from coming near the tree that gives life (GN)
To guard the way of the tree of life (NST) * of and to denotes different meaning.

http://www.ywam.no/shan/eng/i_evange.html December 12, 2005

Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 171
Genesis 4:7
It desires to have you (NIV)
It wants to rule you (GN)
It wants to stimulate you (NST)

Genesis 7:8
Creatures that move along the ground (NIV)
Every kind of animals (GN)
Creatures that crawl (NST)

Genesis 9:26
Bless be the Lord, the God of Shem (NIV)
Give praise to the Lord, the God of Shem (GN)
May eternal God bless Shem (NST)

Genesis 26:29
Use the Buddhist term ¸...), which literally means ‘finish fate’, only used in the death of Buddhist
monk. (Christians do not believe in fate)

Genesis 15:17
Use the word ¸÷¸=., which never used in Shan language.

Genesis 17:18
If Ishmael may live under your blessing (NIV)
Why not let Ishmael be my heir? (GN)
May Ishmael live in front of you (NST)

Genesis 18:25
Use the word ¸.¸·, which is very uncommon in Shan language.

Genesis 19:15
Use the word ¸_.., which is not commonly used in Shan.

Genesis 19:32-34
‘wine’ is translated as ‘intoxicating grape juice’ in 32&33, but it is translated as ‘ordinary grape juice’
in 34. ¸=..·÷, ¸=..·÷,
(Inconsistent translation.)

Genesis 21:16
I cannot watch the boy die (NIV)
I can’t bear to see my child die (GN)
I do not want to see my child who was dead (NST)

Genesis 21:20, 25:27
Use the word ¸¸÷=, which never exist in Shan language and cannot be found in dictionary. The
common Shan language is ¸...,

Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 172
Proverbs 5:15-16
Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow
in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? (NIV)
Be faithful to your own wife and give your love to her alone. Children that you have by other women
will do you no good. (GN)
Translated exactly from GN and completely different from Cushing’s translation.

Matthew 1:19 the ‘Holy Spirit’ is translated ‘Holy Spirit’, in 1:21 it is translated ‘Spirit that is Holy’, in
28:19 it is translated ‘Spirit of God that is Holy.’
Inconsistence translation.

Matthew 3:5, Mark 1:9
Jordan is translated ‘Jordan Water’ ¸=..¸.÷.=, instead of ‘Jordan River.’ ¸=¸..¸.÷.=,

Matthew 5:5-10
The word ‘for’ has been left out all over the phrases.

Matthew 5:13-14
You are the salt…you are the light (NIV)
You are like salt… you are like light (GN)
Translated as GN.

Matthew 6:17
Your Father who is unseen (NIV)
Your Father who is unseen (GN)
Your Father who is in hidden place (NST)

Matthew 7:3
Look at the speck (NIV)
Look at the speck (GN)
Ask to see the speck (NST)

Matthew 8:6
Paralyzed (NIV)
Unable to move (GN)
Hemiplegic (NST)

Matthew 10:35
I come to give suffering (NST)
*** no such phrase in original text

Matthew 11:19
Drinking (NIV)
Drank (GN)
Drunkard (NST)

Matthew 13:55
Created new word, which never exist in Shan language. ¸·.,
The common Shan language is ¸...¸.,
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 173
Matthew 18:24
Ten thousand talents (NIV)
Millions of pounds (GN)
One hundred thousand (NST)

Matthew 18:29
Begged him (NIV)
Begged him (GN)
Worshipped him (NST)

Matthew 20:23
Is not for me to grant (NIV)
I do not have the right (GN)
I do not have the right (NST)

Matthew 26:41
has no meaning.

Mark 1:4
Repent (NIV)
Turn away from your sin (GN)
Change your heart (NST)

Mark 1:17
Fishers of men (NIV)
To catch men (GN)
Searcher of men (NST)

Mark 7:12
Spelling mistake denotes the meaning as ‘wife’ instead of ‘mother’

Mark 8:35
Save his life (NIV)
Save his own life (GN)
Save himself (NST)

Mark 8:38, Luke 9:26
The son of man will be ashamed of him (NIV)
The son of man will be ashamed of him (GN)
The son of man will be ashamed because of him (NST)

Luke 17:2
It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to
cause one of these little ones to sin (NIV)
It would be better for him if a large millstone were tied around his neck and he were thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin (GN)
It would be better for him if a large millstone were tied around his neck and thrown into the sea than the
one who cause one of these little ones to sin (NST)
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 174
Luke 18:22
You will have treasure in heaven (NIV)
You will have riches in heaven (GN)
You will be rich in heaven (NST)

Luke 19:8
I give half of my possessions (NIV)
I give half of my belongings (GN)
I will give half of my belongings (NST)

Luke 19:40
If you keep quiet (NIV)
If they keep quiet (GN)
If you quiet down (NST)

Luke 22:37
He was numbered with transgressors (NIV)
He shared the fates of criminals (GN)
They were numbered with criminals (NST)

John 1:12
He gave the right (NIV)
He gave them the right (GN)
He gave the right and power (NST) *** the extra word power is added

John 7:28
I am not here on my own (NIV)
I have not come on my own authority (GN)
I become not according to my own wish (NST)

John 8:42
I come from God (NIV)
I came from God (GN)
I appeared from God (NST)

John 9:33
If this man were not from God (NIV)
Unless this man came from God (GN)
Unless this man became from God (NST)

John 12:29
Jesus found a donkey (NIV)
Jesus found a donkey (GN)
Jesus met a donkey (NST)

John 16:30
The word ¸..¡÷¸¡.=, is only used to describe the knowledge of Buddha.
It is a Buddhist term.

Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 175
John 17:9-11
The word ‘world’ is translated to two different words as ¸.=..¸.., and ¸.¸..¸,

Acts 20:7
On the first day of the week (NIV)
On Saturday evening (GN)
On Saturday evening (NST)

Romans 11:18
Do not boast over those branches (NIV)
You must not despite those who were broken off like branches (GN)
Do not despite those God has broken off like branches (NST)

Hebrews 3:18
Of those who disobeyed (NIV)
Of those who rebelled (GN)
Of those who do not believe (NST)

Hebrews 6:1
Teaching about Christ (NIV)
Lessons of Christian message (GN)
Basis Christian religion (NST)

1 John 1:1
Word of life (NIV)
Word of life (GN)
The word that is living (NST)

1 John 3:16
We ought to lay down (NIV)
Ought to give our lives (GN)
Have to lay down our lives (NST)

Psalms 2:2
Wrongly spelled word ¸., gives the meaning ‘hard’ instead of ‘against’ ¸.,

Psalms 65:11
The word ¸.., can give the meaning of defecation (evacuation from intestine). It seldom use to
indicate ‘go’ or ‘step.’ It gives the meaning of ‘wherever you evacuate your intestine there is plenty.’

Revelation 3:1
I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. (NIV)
I know what you are doing. I know that you have the reputation of being alive, even though you are
dead! (GN)
I know what you are doing. Even though you are dead, I know that you are still having reputation and
alive. (New Translation)
I know what you are doing. I know even though you have reputation that you are alive, you were dead.
(New Translation published in 1994)

Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 176
Rev. 22:15
Outside are the dogs those who practice magic arts (NIV)
But outside the city are the perverts and those who practice magic (GN)
The word ‘dogs’ was not included in NST.

Rewriting Cushing’s Shan Bible
We have discovered at Bible Translation Workshop that Cushing’s translation is better and more
accurate than our own translation. We all agreed to do new translation base on Cushing’ translation. But
our new translator failed to follow. We have to remember that Rev. Cushing was the expert in Hebrew
and Greek.
I have been preaching and producing Shan radio program every day since 1989 for Far East
Broadcasting Company. I have to read Bible in Shan and preach in Shan. I find it quite difficult to read
and understand Cushing’s Shan Bible because of old writing system. I have to read other Bible first to
understand it and then translate to my own language when I do radio broadcasting. I really need good
Shan Bible, which I can read well, understand well and preach well to Shan listeners so that they will
also understand well. The New Shan Bible published by Myanmar Bible Society in 1994 is easy to read
but there are problems in wording, term and theological meaning. I am very burdened not only for
myself but also for all Shan Christians and non-Christian alike to have good Bible in Shan language.
In July 1996 when my family and I were on a visit to Burma, I met my old friend on the bus on
our way back from Mandalay to Rangoon. He was a former chairman of Shan cultural and literary
committee of all Universities. He kindly introduced me to the Shan literature experts in Rangoon for my
plan of rewriting Cushing’s Bible into new Shan writing. I met with the leaders of Shan literature and
cultural committee and asked them for their help to rewrite Cushing’s Shan Bible into ‘New Shan
Writing System’ without changing a single original word or phrase from Cushing. They were willing to
help. I happily paid them for their labor. By the help of Sai Myat the whole Cushing’s Shan Bible has
been re-written into new Shan writing system without changing a single word or phrase from Cushing’s
original Shan Bible. I then check, edit and restructure the grammar in new Shan writing system so that
the people can read and understand more easily. Basically nothing has been changed from Cushing’s
Shan Bible. We can call it ‘Revised Cushing Shan Bible in New Shan Writing.’
After fourteen years of hard work my new ‘New Testament & Psalms’ in new Shan writing was
finished and printed in Burma in the year 2000 by sponsorship of Asian Outreach and Bible League. So
far I have not received a single negative comment from reader, any organization or any Church.
However some leaders from Myanmar Bible Society and Shan Churches do not encourage Shan
Churches to use this new translation by giving reason that it is not the product of Myanmar Bible
Society. They only recommended Churches to use what Myanmar Bible Society produced.
Nevertheless some Shan Churches in Burma, Thailand and individuals are using it. The paper and
binding quality are not as good as foreign press. Editing and restructuring of Old Testament is under

Shan Hymnbook

It was reported that a small Hymnbook in Shan was printed in November 1879. This small
Hymnbook was no longer available in 1970s. In some Churches people have to make hand copies. It
was reported that in ’50s and ’60s the only hymn that many local Christians learned to sing were set in
Western-style music that was utterly alien to the local population. Ray Buker had translated a number
of hymns into various languages in Burma and some had been set to native tune. But we don’t know
which songs were translated by Ray Buker in native tune. In 1976 copy of small Hymnbook was
reproduced in bigger size by Burma Baptist Press in Rangoon. However there were many mistakes in
spelling, setting and also some verses were missing. It was difficult to type set with Burmese typewriter
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 177
to print into Shan words since Shan typewriter was not available. The quality of the paper and binding
was so poor that it was torn apart in a few months. It is no longer used in Shan Churches.
Because of the need of Shan Hymnal in Shan Churches I produced new Shan Hymnbook with
addition of some new songs and musical notes in new Shan writing system with computer fonts in
1993. It was printed in Northern Thailand and sent to Shan Churches in Burma. This is the first Shan
Hymnal to be produced with musical note in new Shan writing with computer fonts. New Shan
Hymnbook in new Shan writing with computer fonts without musical note was also produced by OMF,
Thailand, in 1995. Shan Hymnal with staff notes written by hand in old Shan writing was also produced
by MuSe Church in the year 2000. It is interesting to see MuSe Church to produce Shan Hymnbook
with old Shan in hand writing while almost all Shan people all over the country are using new Shan
writing in computer fonts. The writer of this Hymnbook, my cousin, explained to me that it was
published just for fund raising purpose. The publisher reduced the size of the book and making the
letters become too small to read.

Shan Gospel Radio Broadcast

5 million Shan live in Shan States and other
parts Myanmar. Almost all Shan are Buddhist.
About 0.2% are Christian according to report in
1990. Most of the Shan have never heard the
Gospel. There are several reasons for not being
able to hear the Gospel.
1. Not enough preachers preaching gospel to the
2. Preachers are not eager to preach gospel to the
Shan Buddhist.
3. Difficult access to the Shan living in remote high
4. Expensive traveling cost.
5. Shan Churches do not have priority in preaching
to Shan Buddhists.

Romans 10:14 “How, then, can they call on the one
they have not believed in? And how can they
believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching
to them?”

Radio Gospel Broadcasting in Shan
language was first started by a missionary from Holland, Miss. Anna Capon, in 1987. It was
broadcasting from Far East Broadcasting Company, Manila, Philippines every morning for 15 minutes.
Because of lack of resources Miss. Anna Capon was not able to produce the program and had to stop
broadcasting in 1989. I was then introduced to Mr. Frank Gray, the Executive Director of Far East
Broadcasting Company (FEBC) by Miss. Anna Capon when I was attending World Evangelization
Congress, Laussan II, in Manila in July 1989. Frank Gray asked me, “Can you produce Shan program
for us?” Actually this is what I’ve been praying for ten years since I come to Hong Kong in 1979. I
don’t have money to pay for airtime. Frank Gray said, ‘Don’t worry about money. God will provide.
Please produce Shan program for us if you can.’ After returning from congress hall to hotel room in
Manila, I was filled with joy. Mr. Robert Morse, a missionary to Lahu, Northern Thailand, who was my
Sai Htwe Maung and Anna Capon at FEBC radio
broadcast, Manila, Philippines
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 178
room-mate, and I were on our knees praying together and giving thanks to God for such a wonderful
opportunity to preach gospel to Shan through radio. My prayer answered. It is worth of waiting for ten

Letter from Roy J.B. Alvarez, IODM, Far East Broadcasting Co.(Philippines) Inc, Manila, Philippines
to Dr. Sai Htwe Maung, Hong Kong.
25th August 1989
Dear Dr. Sai Htwe Maung,
Our General Program Director, Frank Gray, forwarded to me the proposals regarding the Shan
broadcast reached in your conversation with him and Sis. Anna Capon during breaks at the Lausanne II
Conference. We will carry on the present frequency of 11650 KHz. On October 16 we will start testing
new frequency in the 19-meter band.
Thank you for your continuing interest to reach the Shan people for the Lord.
Roy J. B. Alvarez.

Letter from Mr. Ronnie Tin Maung Htun, General Director, Myanmar Program, Rangoon, Burma
December 8, 1989 to Mr. Frank Gray,
General Program Director, Far East Broadcasting Company, Philippines.
My Dear Frank,
The test broadcast for the Shan program is coming in beautifully. We are receiving quite an
encouraging report from the listeners. Please convey this news to Dr. Sai Htwe Maung.
Signed\ Ronnie (Tin Maung Tun)
Before I left Burma to Hong Kong on April 9, 1979, we had a special prayer meeting at our
home. One of my nieces asked me, “Uncle Htwe, how will you help our Shan people if you go to Hong
Kong?” I then said, “I don’t know. May be I’ll preach gospel to our Shan people from Radio.” At that
time there was no gospel preached in radio in Shan language. That was my wish and prayer. I kept on
praying and asking God to give me opportunity to reach my people from abroad with gospel of Jesus.
After ten years God answers my prayer. I can now preach gospel to millions of Shan people not only in
Burma but also in Thailand and Southwest China through radio broadcast. God has His own time. Ten
years is not a waste. Praise God for my first Shan gospel song recorded in Burma in 1978. During ten
years time between 1979 and 1989 I have opportunity of writing and recording more Shan gospel songs
and music in Shan at my home with my guitar and small portable keyboard without knowing that it will
be of great use in my future radio programs. By the time I start doing radio program in 1989 I realize
that I have good enough Shan gospel music and songs ready to be used. At that time not a single gospel
music in Shan has been produced by any Shan Church.

15 Minutes to 45 minutes daily
I start daily 15 minutes program on October 16, 1989. I start doing recording in my bedroom
with small portable cassette recorder. After doing it for three months I felt that it was too short. I
wanted to have 30 minutes. I asked Mr. Frank Gray. He graciously gave me 30 minutes every morning.
After one year of daily 30 minutes I wanted to have 45 minutes because I thought 45 minutes would be
good enough for me to have music, preaching, replying listeners’ questions and play special music at
their request. Again Frank Gray graciously gave me 45 minutes every morning. This Shan gospel radio
broadcast is the first and only broadcast in the world, preaching gospel in Shan language.
I cannot afford to have a well-equipped recording studio. Even though I may have a free studio,
in that situation, I may not have time to go to studio every day to do recording because I am a full-time
medical doctor working in a hospital. I can only do recording in my own available time especially at
night. I do my recording in my bedroom. I use to do recording at night after coming back from hospital
work. My family members are very understanding and co-operative. They refrain from making a loud
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 179
noise. Nevertheless sometimes I can still hear my little girls’ voice in my recording. Since the room is
not a soundproof it requires a special technique to reduce the volume control and speak closer to the
microphone so that the external noise will not get into the microphone. Even though the room is not
soundproof-studio the quality of the sound is acceptable as informed by FEBC. I do not have recorder
such as professional open reel recorder. But I do have a small Cassette Deck that I can play music and
record. In the beginning I only have two small cassette decks. One is for playing music or song and one
is for recording. Mixer is absolutely necessary because it can allow you to mix your music and your
voice. Background music is also important to keep the listeners from boring. Gospel songs, hymns,
local pop songs and traditional music are also used in the program. In the beginning I use C60 (60
minutes) tape. Later I use C90 when I start doing 45 minutes program. I do not keep master tape. I do
not keep the copy. After recording and completing the tapes I sent them to Manila by post in package. I
do not have technician to help me out in controlling the recording amplifier, mixer and recorder. I have
to learn and manage by myself through experiencing the result. Listening to my own program in the air
in the morning is helpful for me to adjust, change and improve the quality.
Time is the most important factor. Doing two jobs at the same time is not easy. I have to work in
hospital because it is my only source of income to feed and support my family and myself. Producing
this radio program is self-supporting ministry. I wish I could have forty-eight-hours a day. If I work in
hospital at night I do recording at day. If I work in hospital at day I do my recording at night. If I have
missed one recording today I have to do two recordings tomorrow. Public holiday is my greatest
opportunity of doing more recording from 8 AM to 12 midnight, no shopping. I sometimes skip my
lunch because I was too absorbed into my work. Some listeners ask, “How many of you are doing this
radio program?” My answer is, “Four.” “God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and I.” I
believe knowledge, wisdom, authority and power come from The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses
in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

When I first start in October 1989 fifteen minutes seemed to be very long. It takes me about
three hours to complete one 15 minutes program. After three months I have received letters from
listeners asking for more time.
My daily program is as follows;
Monday to Saturday is gospel program targeting non-believers.
Sunday is Praise & Worship program and Church service program for Christians. Program begins with
gong-mong Shan traditional music and greetings followed by local popular songs, scripture reading,
gospel song, preaching gospel, gospel song, announcement, answer to listeners’ questions, music at
listener’s request and end of 45 minutes program with benediction. The program is broadcasting from
Far East Broadcasting Company, Manila, Philippine at 19 meter band 15440 KHz from 6:30 AM to
7:15 AM Burma standard time in common Shan language.

Chinese-Shan (DaiMao) Program
I visited China, Yunnan province, in 1997. I met Shan people who listened to my broadcast. My
elder brother in MuSe said to me, “Many DaiMao (Chinese-Shan) are listening to your program. Why
don’t you preach in DaiMao dialect? You are DaiMao and your DaiMao dialect is perfect.” I came back
to Hong Kong and asked Frank Gray if I could have a time slot for DaiMao program. He graciously
gave me 15 minutes extra every morning for DaiMao (Chinese-Shan) program. Praise the Lord!
Starting from December 1997, 15 minutes in DaiMao is on the air. I have invited pastors and preachers
from ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission as they are DaiMao to preach in DaiMao so that I can use it in our
DaiMao program. But no one has taken this opportunity until today. In common Shan language
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 180
program, late Rev. Sai Stephen had contributed fifty sermons for my radio program when he was
attending conference in Hong Kong in 1997. He was the only one who contributed with some sermons.

Khamti Shan Program
Khamti Shan are another Tai group who speak different dialect. A Khamti Shan pastor, Sao Noi
Man Han, came to meet me in Yangon in the year 2000 when I was in Burma. He is one of the twenty
believers among Khamti Shan. He is a son of Khamti chief. He is very concern about his own people
group. He wants to preach gospel in radio in his own dialect. Starting from 2001 there is a 15 minutes
Khamti Shan program every week on Sunday replacing DaiMao program on Sunday. There are about
five hundred thousand Khamti Shan in Burma. Many Khamti Shan are in Assam, India.

How can we assess the effectiveness of our
Shan gospel radio broadcast? Some of the methods
are assessing letters received from listeners,
hearing testimonies from listeners and meeting
people who are listening to the program. Many
Shan people from different part of Burma,
Northern Thailand and Southwest China are
listening. 90% of letters received from listeners
are from Buddhist Monks asking many interesting
questions such as “How can a dead wood give a
green leave, how can all get clean if only one take
bath, how can one hundred people get full if only
one eat, how can we say God is loving and kind by
allowing people to be poor, suffering and die,” etc.
Some express their belief in Jesus Christ. Some
accept Jesus Christ and baptized, some are saved
from committing murder, some released from
addiction because of the message preached in the
radio. Some people have their life changed and
some people rededicated their life to the Lord.
Some gospel tracts and books are produced to give
it to the listeners as a follow up tool.

Testimonies from listeners
When we were conducting training in MayMyo in 1997 I met a man who wrote to me a year
ago. He was from MuSe, Northern Shan State. He said, “Thanks for changing my life. I was drifted
away from Church many years doing sinful things. I was not only selling liquor but also drinking when
I heard your message in radio. After hearing the message my life has been changed. I now have
dedicated my life to God and serving as full-time evangelist in a village. I am now pastoring a Church.”
A man from NamKham, Northern Shan State said, “Thanks for saving me. One day in the early
morning I took a knife from my kitchen to go and kill a man who had cheated me one million Kyat. But
before I left home I tuned in to your program. I heard your message, ‘Forgive your enemy and pray for
them. God will take care of you.’ Then I dropped my knife. I abandoned my plan. Otherwise I would
have been in jail by now. Thanks for saving me.”
When I was in Northern Thailand in 2001 a man came to me and said, “After listening to gospel
message you preached in radio for three years I believed that Jesus Christ is the only Savior. I wanted to
be baptized and become a Christian. But there was no Christian and no Church in this area. I started to
Meeting a man who believes in Christ through Shan
radio broadcast
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 181
look for a Church. Finally I found a Lahu Church on the mountain. I went to that Church and told the
pastor about my faith. And I got baptized in that Lahu Church.”
When we were on short-term mission trip to Northern Thailand with medical and dental team
we met a blind woman. She was smiling so sweetly and dressed with a flower in her hair. When asked
why did she seem to be very happy, she said, “Because of Christ.” How did you know Christ? “I have
listened to gospel message from radio.”
I did not expect that Buddhist monks would listen to the gospel. But it is amazing. I have
received many letters from Buddhist monks from different places all over Burma. Some have expressed
their beliefs in Jesus Christ, some have expressed their interest and wish to know more, some have
requested for Bibles and some have asked intellectual and theological questions. About four hundred
letters were received in 1996. Most of the letters are from Burma, Shan State, and Central Myanmar
such as Bagu, Sagaing, Pyinmana, Mon State, Kachin State, Kayah State, Rakhine State, Chin State,
Yangon Division and some from Thailand. The questions in all letters are answered during the radio
program to enable all listeners to hear and know the questions and answers. I have received a letter
from a prisoner in Thailand saying that the message he had heard in the radio was a blessing for him
even though he was in prison for five years. He asked for a Bible so that he could read the words of
God every day in prison. I have received a letter from Buddhist monk from Burma saying that he never
knew that someone died for the sins of the people. He wanted to follow Jesus so that he would be free.
In 2001, I have received a call from our evangelist telling me that Shan people in golden triangle have
been listening to the gospel in radio for years. Now the son of the head of the village has accepted the
Lord. They want me to go there and preach the gospel to them. (As I am writing this book we have
planted the first Shan Church in Golden Triangle in 2002)
It was reported from Mission Network News, “Missionary radio broadcasters are seeing success
in reaching out to Buddhist monks in China, Myanmar and Thailand. Jim Bowman, president of Far
East Broadcasting Company, told Mission Network News, the company’s Shan language broadcast
resulted in more than 1,000 responses in 1997. There’s a lot of terminology in other religions than
Christianity that sounds the same as Christianity,’ said Bowman. ‘For example, Buddhists are looking
for salvation. And, when they hear we’re talking about salvation or when we use the term God, they
have a concept of God but it’s not the same as the God that stands outside and loves us.’ Bowman says
the Shan broadcast has been on the air for some time. ‘People are attracted to it because it’s in their
language and the broadcaster learns more and more about the skill of broadcasting,’ Bowman observed.
He continued, ‘We’ve noticed... a remarkable change in the response in our listeners on almost all
fronts. And I’d have to give the credit to the Holy Spirit.”
It was reported from Northern Thailand, “How did you come to put your trust in Christ?” I
asked. “The Lisu people shared the Gospel with us and when I heard the Shan FEBC radio broadcast, it
confirmed what the Lisu had been sharing and so I prayed to receive Christ.” Sai has been a believer for
about five years; he has a passion for the Word of God, and is now a leader in a Shan-Tai Church of
about 50 Shan-Tai people. Isn’t it wonderful when Christian ministries compliment each other and
testify to the truth of the Gospel. To God be the Glory! Pray for the Shan FEBC radio broadcast, pray
for freshness and creativity, and pray for it to be used to see many new Churches planted throughout the
Shan State. Pray for people groups like the Lisu and the Kachin. Thank God that He has been using
tribal Christians to bring the message of God’s love to the Shan-Tai people in some very remote places.
Pray for God’s blessing to be upon the Lisu and Kachin and pray that God would bring unity to their
Churches. Pray for the fruit of outreach to the Shan. Pray that it would be a pure and holy offering to
the Lord and that Shan-Tai Christians would be compelled by the love of Christ to reach their own

http://www.infomekong.com/prayer_shan_050915.htm December 12, 2005
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 182
The seeds have been sown for fifteen years through radio broadcast. Now is a time to reap. We
need more workers for the harvest.

Audio and Visual Production

All along for more than one hundred years Shan believers and Churches only sing songs from
Baptist Hymnal. In 1978 I first wrote Shan modern gospel songs to be sung during open-air gospel
crusade rally in Northern Shan State. I then recorded it in Rangoon at Rev. Myo Chit’s home studio.
This is the first modern Shan gospel song to be recorded on tape. Later I am able to produce more Shan
modern gospel songs on cassette tapes altogether ten series.
MuSe Shan Baptist Church produced one cassette tape, MyoMa Shan Baptist Church produced
one, ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission produced one for Bible Centenary in 1985 and one for
Mission Centenary in 1993 and Eastern Shan Baptist Churches produced one for ESSBM centenary. I
have translated some modern Praise and Worship songs into Shan language. But most of the Shan
Baptist Churches do not sing these modern praise and worship songs in their worship service.
Sometimes they sing it in the Church as introduction to worship or as entertainment to the people in the
Church. They think that such praise and worship songs are not Baptist. Young people love singing
modern praise and worship songs at their informal fellowships.
Only about twenty musical cassette tapes were produced during 140 years of Christian missions
among the Shan. There are many good singers and musicians in Shan Churches but they do not sing and
produce Shan gospel songs and music. About eight years ago Shan Churches from Eastern Shan State
were able to dub Jesus film into Shan language. No other video production done. No VCD or DVD has
been produced up until 2001.

Shan Christian Literature and Publication

Very few Christian literatures are produced and published in Shan language. The following are
some publications in Shan. Most of them are in small booklets or tracts.
Some Christian literatures produced by OMF, Thailand are:
1. Does our culture get us there?
2. Prodigal son
3. Who is Jesus?
4. Tabernacle
5. Ten Questions
6. Building Disciples
7. Church Planting Movements
8. Wholeness through Christ
9. Song Book
10. The plan of God
11. The Savior
12. Tiger/ Crocodile
13. Victory over death
14. Ten Prophecies
15. Road to life
16. Creation picture tract
17. Following God
18. Faith in God
19. Guides to the Old Testament
20. Chronological teaching
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 183
Christian literatures produced by others are:
1. Jesus Christ comic tract (Bible Art Series, The Standard Publishing Co. USA)
2. Shan Choir Book, By Sai Htun Shwe @ Sai Beaun Kham
3. Eternal God who has power and authority booklet. By H. Yawnghwe, 1987
4. Our daily life. By SGM, UK.
5. Savior. By SGM, UK.
6. Stronger and newer every day. By SGM, UK.
7. Jesus Christ is Savior. By Dr. Sai Htwe Maung.
8. Our Daily Bread in Shan Language. By Dr. Sai Htwe Maung.
9. Four Gospel in one book with illustrations. By Dr. Sai Htwe Maung
10. The Book of Psalms in large bold letters. By Dr. Sai Htwe Maung.
11. Our belief in Eternal God. By Dr. Sai Htwe Maung.
12. About Eternal God. By Dr. Sai Htwe Maung.
13. About God Jesus Christ. By Dr. Sai Htwe Maung.
14. Gospel of Luke in handwriting published in 1979 by unknown publisher.
15. Shan Choir Book By Sai Hla Kyan 1999.
Apart from Bible, no other Christian books are translated.

Historical photos

Sai Htwe Maung displaying ‘We need Shan Evangelists’ 1986

Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 184

ShweLi Youth on evangelistic trip 1980 (NSS)

ShweLi evangelistic team 1983 (NSS)

One month on bicycle for evangelistic trip 1981 (NSS)
Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 185

With translation consultants and participants 1985

Maesai GCI 1994

A set of Shan kong-mong allowed to be used for the first time in history
of Shan Churches during Bible Centenary Celebration in 1985

Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 186

Evangelistic trip to HaiPark in 2000 (SSS), On cow cart in muddy road in Southern Shan State in 2000 (SSS)

The slippery muddy road in Southern Shan State 2000 (SSS), KengTung youth holding evangelistic outreach at
monastery 2001 (ESS)

Sai Stephen led evangelistic team in the village 1998 (ESS), On the mountain 1997 (ESS)

Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 187

In the jungle 1998 (ESS), On the roadside 1998 (ESS)

On bamboo craft 1997 (ESS)

Earliest Shan Hymnbook Shan Hymnbook published by Yangon Baptist Press

Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 188

New Hymnbook with musical note in new scripts New Hymnbook with musical note in old scripts

New Hymnbook with new scripts without musical note Old Hymnbook by KengTung without musical note

Reprinted Cushing Bible New Testament Published by Myanmar Bible Society 1994

Shan Bible, Hymnbook, Radio, Literature 189

Revised Cushing New Testament & Psalms 2000 Shan Bible published by Myanmar and Thailand Bible
Society 2002

Sai Htwe Maung
At Lausann World Evangelization Congress II, 1989 July.
Analysis 190


The reports and letters from Missionaries, Baptist Missionary Union Annual Reports and Baptist
Missionary Magazines from 1861 to 1954, and reports from local Churches’ leaders from 1955 to 2001
are the main sources which have given me a good insight about Shan Churches in Myanmar.
The analysis on mission work among the Shan cannot be done properly and accurately because
most of the reports given by missionaries who worked among the Shan are not specifically telling us
about the work among the Shan people but generally about the work in the Shan States including other
people groups living in Shan States. All statistics given were also not exclusively the Shan converts. It
makes us not able to make proper assessments on Shan Churches. The records kept by Shan Churches’
associations are also not complete and some are not available. I have tried my best to get the most as
much as possible.
Our main concerns are centered on the questions “Why are there very few Shan become
Christians,” as only 10,792 baptized in 140 years, “Why are very few Shan Churches planted,” as only
92 Shan Churches in 140 years. Even though we cannot judge whether the mission among the Shan is
successful or not, we can see, study, learn and do more research on the work among the Shan and strive
for better and fruitful future.
This analysis is directly based on the reports given by missionaries in the past and the writer’s
own research and experience in present situation in Shan Churches. The analysis is divided into the
“past” and “present” situation. The past stands for the period between 1861 and 1966, and the present
stands for the post foreign missionary era between 1966 and 2001. The italic letters are denoting
original letters from the missionaries.
Please note that Burma and Myanmar are the same. The country was previously known as
Burma before Military Government changes the name to Myanmar in 1989.

Analysis 191

1. Workers in The Harvest of Shanland
Rev. Bixby said on June 28, 1861, “Must they die forever because there is no one to lead them
to the tree of life? It seems to me that Christians in America cannot allow this. How many there are in
our Colleges and Seminaries and Churches who would be delighted to tell them of a Savior’s dying
love! Why not send them? Have compassion on the long reaper; have compassion on these multitudes
and send them help from your many sanctuaries. The Churches must give up their pastors and
businessmen must give of their substance to send them and they must go into the entire world speedily
for the night cometh.” “The harvest before me is indeed great but what can I say of the laborers? As I
stand on the border of this broad harvest-field and look over it I am overwhelmed with a sense of the
magnitude of the work and when I turn my eyes to a single sickle my heart sinks within me. Can one
reaper garner such a harvest?”

Rev. Bixby said on November 6, 1861, “When I left Rangoon I tried to get a Burmese preacher
to accompany me to this place (Toungoo) but did not succeed. Since coming here and seeing the
demands of the place and the very great destitution I have written to different stations with feeling that I
must have a native helper but hitherto have failed. But thank God a man has been raised to me on the
ground who boldly and intelligently proclaims the gospel in all places at proper times and all at his
own charges.”

Rev. Bixby said on November 12, 1862, “When will you send him? If I could divide myself into
a hundred parts every part would without delay find a place to work in the center of a rich ripe harvest
field. But alas! It is hard to be only one. In America, twenty or thirty applicants for every vacant pulpit
for every chaplaincy in the army! In this portion of “the field” not one preacher to a million. “How
long, O Lord, how long?”

Rev. Bixby said in 1863, “How can I do all this work and not break down? I am the pastor of a
growing Church whose members need the most constant watch care and the most patient and thorough
teaching, teacher of a Theological Seminary with six young men preparing for the ministry, a preaching
missionary at large with souls millions of people to care for, a writer and translator for a whole race of
Shan and an explorer of unknown regions. This is the outline. Can I fill it up?”

Rev. Cushing said in 1893, “The present need of the Shan mission is men, who are ready to go
into the interior take up a life of comparative isolation and pioneer labor and availing themselves of the
preparatory work already done vigorously prosecute the work of evangelization.”

It was reported in 1916, “While missionary efforts among the Karen have been signalized by
great evangelistic results, among the Shan who are intense Buddhists, the work has been characterized
by a slow ingathering of converts. Part of this has been due to small number of missionaries engaged in
the work. Shan stations have been opened at Bhamo, HsiPaw, NamKham, MuongNai, TaungGyi and
KengTung but the missionary staff has become so depleted that only four men, A. H. Henderson, M.D.,
at TaungGyi, Rev. Dr. H. C. Gibbens, M.D., at MuongNai, C. A. Kirkpatrick, M.D. at NamKham and
Rev. W. M. Young at KengTung are now working in the Shan language. Bhamo has not had a Shan
missionary for years. HsiPaw is without a missionary and Rev. Young though speaking Shan has his
time occupied in work for the Muhso, Lahu, Wa and Lolo tribes of the KengTung field who are coming
in masses towards Christianity.”

Letter From Mr. Bixby, June 28, 1861. Toungoo.
Letter From Mr. Bixby, Nov. 5, 1861. Toungoo.
Letter From Mr. Bixby, Nov. 12, 1862, Toungoo.
Letter From Mr. Bixby, Jan. 16, 1863, Toungoo.
“The Shan Mission” By Rev. J. N. Cushing, D. D. Boston, American Baptist Missionary Union 1893
102nd Annual Report, 1916, American Baptist Missionary Union
Analysis 192
Bixby was calling Colleges, Seminaries and Churches in United States to send missionaries to
the Shan. He said that there were not enough workers in the harvest of Shan. The Baptist mission first
started in Burma among Burmese and Karen. The mission to the Shan began 48 years after Judson
began his mission among Burmese in 1813. Since native helper was very important in reaching local
people, Bixby tried to get local helper but could not get one from any mission stations in Burma.
However later we’ve seen Karen missionaries came along with American missionaries and worked
among the Shan.
In mission field, the one who worked, worked very hard. One person did many jobs at the same
time. Bixby said that if he could divide himself into a hundred parts every part would find a place to
work. How long could a man stand without physical sickness or psychological derange or nervous
breakdown in such situation? How long a candle will last if burning at both ends? We have seen many
missionaries got sick and have to return to America very often. Some had nervous breakdown.
Slower response, fewer result, low morale and disappointment in Shan work were partly due to
inadequate manpower in mission fields. There were six mission fields opened almost at the same time
for the Shan in Shan States but only four missionaries were working in the fields. Some mission fields
did not have missionary. How could the work be done without worker? If there’s no follow up, the
seeds sown will be eaten by the birds. That’s why mission among the Shan grew weaker and weaker.
Why couldn’t American Baptist Foreign Mission Board send more missionary? Bixby lamented! We
have noticed that foreign mission support was also weakening financially. That’s why some mission
fields had to be either rearranged or closed.

Today the reapers in the harvest of Shan are very few. There are not more than one hundred full-
time Christian workers working among five million Shan in Myanmar. Since 1966 there is no foreign
missionary living and working among the Shan in Myanmar any more when Burmese military
government took control of the country and asked foreigners to leave. No foreign missionary allowed to
live and do religious work in Myanmar ever since.
Since there are not enough evangelists and missionaries preaching gospel to the Shan, those
serving honestly are working very hard faithfully but not efficiently. Some dedicated God’s servants are
trying very hard and doing many things as a one-man-band among the Shan. By His wonderful grace
and assignment I have been able to produce radio program for broadcasting one hour every day,
rewriting Shan Bible, rewriting and producing Shan Hymnal, writing and publishing Shan gospel tracts
and books, traveling, preaching, evangelizing, planting Churches, giving training to evangelists and
Church leaders, recording and producing Shan gospel songs on volunteer basis and also healing the sick
as a medical doctor. It was reported by Bixby in 1861 that a local man went out preaching gospel by his
own expense in Toungoo. Today we seldom see Shan pastors or evangelists going out and preaching
gospel on volunteer basis. Instead some Seminary graduates demand better salary, better housing and
better benefit for a job at the Church. Some even threaten to resign if they were sent to other remote
places. Nevertheless there are some pastors, evangelists and missionaries working as tent-maker,
without salary or with minimal support only. We have to raise such dedicated and self-sacrificed
workers among the Shan.
Regretfully some of our Shan students going to Seminaries and Bible Schools with different
idea, planning and motive instead of fully committed to serve in missions. Some even have the idea and
motive of going abroad after graduation because it’s been claimed that it’s easier to go abroad if they
are Bible School graduates. Locally 65 Shan graduated from Bible Schools and Seminaries in 140
years. In average only one person graduated from Bible School in two years. If we are going to rely on
these graduates, by proportion, one graduate is responsible for 76,923 Shan. Moreover very few
Seminary graduates want to be evangelists or missionaries because of poverty, difficulty, hardship and
suffering in mission fields. Most of them only want to stay at well-established Churches. Some even do
Analysis 193
not enter into ministry after finishing their Seminary. We sent 18 Shan students to various Seminaries
and Bible Schools in 1985, expecting that they would become evangelists and missionaries to the Shan
after their four years study. However none of them are serving as evangelist or missionary in mission
fields. Most of them are serving in Churches as pastors. Most of them have been ordained. We have
discovered that it’s quite successful when we sent grass-root-evangelists, who only have primary
education but have gone under short course training program, to Shan villages for the missions.
Through these bare-foot-evangelists the miracles are seen, the evil spirits are driven out and more
Churches have been planted in the Eastern Shan State.
Working among the Shan is just like Bixby said, “A single sickle in the harvest.” How can a
single person do it all? How can a handful of Shan Christian workers save millions? The most needed
in Shan mission is not money but human resources. Not all Shan Churches are financially poor. Since
Shan Christians come from Buddhist background and living in the Buddhist environment they enjoy
giving and are very generous. Most of the Shan Churches are financially strong to stand on their own
feet. Some may have millions of Kyat in Church fund but they use very little amount of money in
supporting evangelist, missionary, pastor and mission work. Missionary work is not their first priority.
One of their most important priority is building church building bigger and bigger, make it more and
more beautiful, buying more and more materials for the Church. They are willing to spend millions on
church building, car and material but not for the missions. Churches are even competing with one
another in building church building. Little effort is put on mission and less support in evangelistic
outreach activities. They use to say, “We don’t have money to do it.”
Under 21
Century Shan Mission Project’s goal number one, short-course training programs for
Shan Churches are conducted from 1994 to 2000. Total 400 have graduated from Great Commission
Institute training programs in seven years. However not all of them are going out and serving as full-
time evangelists because of lack of dedication, commitment and financial support. Nevertheless the
work has been done to certain extend. We need more people to serve and more money to spend in
missions. We need more evangelists and missionaries to go out and preach good news to the Shan. We
need more dedicated, committed and faithful servants of the Lord.

Matthew 9:37-38 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask
the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”

Revelation 14:15 Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was
sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of
the earth is ripe.”

2. Response to Gospel
Rev. Bixby said on November 5, 1861, “What the result of all this will be on our work I cannot
say. The priest is unquestionably a Buddhist still and most ardently attached to his own bible but I must
think he has taken a step unconsciously towards Christianity. I directed his attention to such passages
in the Bible as speak of the spiritual nature of God, His omniscience, omnipresence, unity and eternity
and he was greatly surprised and delighted. ‘Why this is just what I believe’ he exclaimed ‘Why your
Bible must have been taken from the Pali.’ After reading on still further he said, ‘The God of the
English is not merely the Englishman’s God but the God of the whole world.’ He said, ‘If I would give
him the Bible he would carefully compare the two.’ I shall follow him up with the truth as it is in Jesus
Analysis 194
and shall labor in hope that he may yet come to Christ.”
“The Shan are very friendly and some listen
well but none as yet believe.”

Buker reported in 1935 that Buddhist monks were baptized. It was suggested in August 1936 by
American Baptist Mission, “The whole Shan work should be abandoned because of slow response. The
argument was that the Shan had come in so slowly. It might be the wisest thing to turn to other more
responsive races.” The mission board was disappointed and not very optimistic about mission among
the Shan. However Dr. Henderson, a missionary doctor to the Shan in MuongNai, defended Shan work
strongly by saying, “Except for the sadness of it, that does not affect us here in MuongNai, for we are
already abandoned and are carrying on with what we can put in and contributions from local
Christians and others who see the need and believe in the work. It is true that they have come in, for the
most part, slowly. But I am going to ask you to put yourselves in their place and try to see how you
would feel. Supposing you had been continually in the same place, shut away from the world currents
for 2,000 years, with no other place for your thoughts to rest except in the past. Would it be fair to
blame you for being conservative? Would it be just to expect all such influences to be changed in 40
years? This place in MuongNai has been in existence since before Christ. Do you wonder that we were
constantly met with the remark ‘That is not our custom’ Would it be fair to expect that in forty years the
basic nature of a race would change and that you would be one of the many who would leap up and
decide that you would break with old traditions and public sentiment? Those are the conditions under
which the Shan have been born and grown for hundreds of years. In forty years we have seen such
changes that we are amazed. I’d rather think that when we get to heaven, I would meet many who will
come forward to thank us for bringing them the message. They do not show on the Church books but
this is the sort of thing I mean.”

Instead of thinking of abandoning the work because of slow or poor response the missionaries
should try to find out the causes of slow response and make changes and gear up the work. Dr.
Henderson expressed that it was not fair to blame the Shan being conservative in their thinking and
behavior because they had been living in their culture for two thousand years. What a pity if the mission
work among the Shan was abandoned as suggested by mission board in 1936! Thanks to Dr. Henderson
for standing firm for the Shan mission work. It’s in fact very quick to get one convert baptized within
the first six months and another six in nine months in Toungoo in 1862. Adoniram Judson, the first
Baptist missionary to Burma, got the first Burmese convert after six years of hard work. In the
beginning, the response to Shan mission was very quick among the Shan refugee in Toungoo.

Shan are neither receptive nor resistant to the gospel. Almost the whole tribe of Kachin, Chin,
Lahu, Lisu and Ahka become Christian within one hundred years. But only 0.4% of five million Shan
become baptized Christian in 140 years.
One of the main obstacles is their 2000 years old tradition in Buddhism. We need to know
HOW to…. with Shan Buddhist. Shan seldom refuse to listen to the gospel. They seldom say “Yes I
believe” on one hearing. They may ask many questions, argue, debate and challenge before they agree
to accept Jesus. I have not seen a Shan makes a decision on the spot at a crusade rally and ended up in
the Church as a baptized member. A person need to discuss with their family members and relatives
before making a decision to follow Jesus. Making decision to become a Christian is a very courageous
and sacrificial act for a Shan. It may take years to make a decision. If the evangelist is not zealous and
persistent enough in doing follow up he may easily loose a prospect. Multi-individual and corporate
decision is rare. Usually the un-believed members of the family do not agree to let one of their family

Letter From Mr. Bixby. November 5, 1861. Toungoo.
Letter From Dr. A. H. Henderson, MuongNai, August 13, 1936
Analysis 195
members to become Christian and abandon Buddhist tradition in their home. It is very difficult for a
believer to go against the family and follow Jesus unless he/she dares to suffer many consequences.
Another weakness is our Shan pastors, preachers and evangelists who do not understand well
about Shan culture, tradition and Buddhist practices in approaching Shan. They don’t know how to
begin the conversation and presentation. When some one is interested and wants to become Christian,
they use to ask the new potential believer to abandon his traditions before baptizing him and accepting
him as Christian. They make him Christian first before baptizing him. Shan preachers seldom make
altar call after their evangelistic preaching. Probably because preacher does not expect unbeliever may
come forward to accept the Lord in one hearing or he has no confidence of making such a call.
Sometimes they may stand up and accept the Lord when invited but they may not take water baptism
quickly, easily and lightly to become Christian.

Matthew 13:3-9 Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his
seed. As he was scattering the seed , some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some
fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was
shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no
root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good
soil, where it produced a crop — a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

1 Corinthians 3:5-8 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who
plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

3. Commitment and Sacrifice
Rev. Bixby said on March 29, 1861, “They may need to make strenuous exertions and perhaps
practice a little self-denial to keep up the interest of the mission during this trouble times in the States
but they must not leave the work of the Lord to suffer. O that the Lord would give us a little of the spirit
of self-denial! If we have not the Spirit of Christ we are none of His. How marked was his self-denial! O
that we may all glory in the cross!”
Rev. Bixby said on April 12, 1861, “It is delightful to trace his
hand in all the way thus far. He put into the Board of the Executive Committee to appoint a missionary
to the Shan. He moved the heart of the missionary to accept that appointment at a great personal

Rev. Bixby said on May 8, 1862, “In the first place it was necessary to get a comfortable
dwelling. And though at first we experienced the greatest difficulty at length we succeeded in obtaining
an old dilapidated house, which has been with much earn and labor converted into a very comfortable
and valuable dwelling.” “Missionaries love to share their good things with others but their sorrows are
too sacred to be revealed. The people are overwhelmed with joy when they hear of a great victory but
how little do they know how little can they know what heart rending anguish was necessary to the
achievement. The sunny side of missionary life may be seen and rejoiced in at home but the shady side
is too deeply shaded to be seen at so great a distance. One only can be touched with the feeling of our
infirmities but this is enough.” “Traveling in the Shan country, for the present, seems rather dubious.
The whole frontier is infested with robbers who do not hesitate to shoot down men of every race and
class who are supposed to have money. Several timber merchants have been robbed lately after being
sadly cut up and Lt. Halhed, superintendent of police, was brutally murdered a few days ago while
attending to his official duties. How long this state of things will last cannot be foreseen.” “The year
has been draught with hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, conflicts and victories, deep depressions

Letter From Mr. Bixby. March 29, 1861, Rangoon
Letter From Mr. Bixby, April 12, 1861, Rangoon
Analysis 196
sinking almost to despair and exaltations riving almost to ecstasy.”
Bixby said on July 25, 1864,
“The work will go on, not without rebuffs, repulses, disappointments, losses, self-denials, heart trials, it
may be death itself; but it will go on, it will be done, it is only a question of time.”

We have seen incredible dedication, commitment and sacrifice made by foreign missionaries to
come to the Shan and preach gospel. They had to abandon everything from United States and come to
our land and people. They gave and served the best, they suffered the worst and some of them died
gloriously in Shanland for the sake of the gospel and the souls of our people. Bixby asked for self-
denial, willing to sacrifice for mission. He considered his acceptance as a missionary to the Shan was a
great personal sacrifice. That is true. Of course the Shanland is not a better land than America. Leaving
a country like America and coming to the Shan is a great sacrifice, the most courageous act and
unquestionable evidence of faith. They left big houses from America and lived in old dilapidated house
in Shan village. Their sorrows were sometimes too deep to reveal. They lived and traveled in the land
infested with robbers and uncivilized people. How dangerous it was! How courageous they were! We
have to challenge our own people that if American missionaries loved us so much that they abandoned
everything and came to suffer for us, how much more we have to do for our own people. In 1910, Dr.
Harper at KengTung suffered a severe accident that threatened to deprive him of the use of his right
arm and for a time seemed to necessitate a trip to England for an operation.
He did not give up. He
was committed to Shan missions. He returned and served until he died. His memorial hospital was built
in NamKham in 1930. There had been an unusually high loss of missionary personnel due to ill health
and death. Despite the suffering and loss of life in mission fields, they continued to serve the Lord until
Churches were established among the Shan.
The missionaries and faithful servants who died in Shanland were;
Mr. Kelley, died on January 1, 1873 near MuongNai.
Miss. Rockwood, died in Toungoo in 1882.
Mr. W.C. Lambert, died in HsiPaw on May 23, 1895
Rev. Dr. M. B. Kirkpatrick, M. D., died in HsiPaw on February 10, 1915.
Rev. Tha Dun, died in NamKham on November 26, 1926.
Mrs. Huldah Mix, died in TaungGyi in 1933.
Dr. Ohn Shwe, died in MuongNai in 1936.
Saya Sam Pwa, died in NamKham in 1942.
Dr. L. T. Ah Pon, died during Japanese occupation.
Dr. Grace Russell Seagrave, died in NamKham on August 17, 1951.
Rev. Htun Pyu, died in NamKham on November 20, 1958.
Dr. Gordan Stifler Seagrave, died in NamKham on March 28, 1965.
Rev. Kham Maung, died in MuSe on February 9, 1976.
Dr. Ai Lun, died in LaShio on January 18, 1978.
Rev. Ai Hmoon, died in SeLan on August 30, 1980.
Rev. Ai Pan, died in NamKham on October 30, 1980.

The American missionaries had made a commitment and sacrifice and come, suffered and died
in Shanland for the sake of the gospel. It is not possible to serve God if we cannot make a commitment
to follow Him and dedicate our life for His mission.
There are some Shan Christian workers who are very dedicated and working very hard in
serving among the Shan. But we have to admit that there are very few. Big number of Bible School and
Seminary graduates resigned from ministry after serving for a few months or years and left for secular

Letter From Bixby, May 8, 1862, Toungoo
Letter from Bixby, July 25, 1864, The Baptist Missionary Magazine, February 1865, p42
96th Annual Report, 1910, American Baptist Missionary Union
Analysis 197
work. Some even do not join the ministry at all. There are 43 people graduated from Seminaries and
Bible Schools from 1893 to 1992 from ShweLi Valley, Northern Shan State, but only 19 had served in
the Church. A Seminary graduate is now working as a butcher at a meat shop, a graduate is selling
clothes in the market, a graduate is doing trading and some graduates are doing secular works. What
made them quit the ministry? Lack of commitment and dedication before going to Seminary are the
main reasons. Some go to Bible School without God’s calling to be the servants of God. Economic
hardship is one of the satanic weapons. Many Shan believers dare not to join full-time ministry because
of eminent of facing hardship. For a Shan to commit to full-time ministry is definitely a step of faith,
demonstrating willingness to be sacrificed for the sake of the gospel because the Church do not give
adequate support.
In 1998, I have received a letter from Shan believers in HsiPaw, the first mission field in Shan
country in 1889, asking me to send a pastor to them. There are some Shan Christian families longing to
form a Church. I asked general secretary of ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission to look at the request
and send a pastor to them. He promised to send a pastor but until today no one goes to HsiPaw. The
same situation is in PangLong and other Shan villages. In some places there are already Christian
families but they don’t have pastor or leader to lead them in worship and forming a Church. In 100
years, there are 17 Churches under ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission, Northern Shan State. In some
Churches there are more than one pastor. In some Churches there are no pastors. For instance there are
five Bible School graduates including three ordained and two un-ordained pastors working together in
one Church, which has four hundred members. MuongPa Village Church in the Northern Shan State
was planted in 1980. Rev. Ye Boy served there until he passed away in 1990. After Ye Boy’s death no
one goes to live in MuongPa Village and take care of the Church. MuongPa village is 80 miles away
from MuSe and 20 miles away from LaShio. MuSe Shan Baptist Church sends a pastor only once a
month to go and see the Church and to conduct communion service for believers. A man who has
graduated from MayMyo Lisu Bible Seminary said, “I have graduated from English Seminary.
MuongPa village is not my place. I deserve better place.” Another young ordained pastor said, “If you
give me such and such, so and so, I’ll go.” Until today there is no pastor serving at MuongPa village.
Many Seminary or Bible School graduate do not want to go to remote villages. We have forgotten the
American Missionaries who came to our land and our people a century ago. They all were very highly
educated people with master and doctor degrees. If they chose the better and more comfortable place,
better pay and benefits, I am sure none of them would have come to our land.
Some of the main reasons for students going to Seminaries and Bible Schools in recent years are:
1. After matriculation examination they want to continue study at higher-level education, Universities
and Colleges, but not qualify. They go to Seminary as alternative.
2. Some are sent by parents to Bible Schools because he/she is too difficult to be taught or controlled at
home, having bad character, alcohol or drug addiction problem, expecting that he/she will be changed
at Bible School.
A pastor told me that he learned from some seminary students how to play poker and how to smoke
because there are many bad students in Bible School. A lecturer at Bible School admits that they have
many students with bad character, behavior and problems. Some of the students have to be dismissed
from school because of breaking the regulation. Some pastors of the Church give false letter of
recommendation to the students to get admission to Bible School. A daughter of a pastor was dismissed
from Seminary because of pregnancy without marriage while living in dorm during her study. A
lecturer at Seminary said, “Our seminary is not correctional institution. We offer academic education.”
3. Some think that they may have a better chance of going abroad, especially USA, if they’ve graduated
from Bible School and Seminary and work in the Church or Christian organization. Myanmar Baptist
Convention use to send their people abroad under sponsorship of foreign mission or Churches. Some do
not return after arriving abroad.
Analysis 198
4. When all Universities in Burma were closed because of political upheaval in 1988, many students
applied to Bible Schools and Seminaries. A lecturer at Bible School said that the applications to
Seminary and Bible Schools are three hundred times more than normal situation.
5. Some have a real calling from God and a genuine heart of serving the Lord.

We give thanks and honor to those who are faithfully and sincerely serving with great sacrifice and

Matthew 10:38 Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

4. Opposition to Christianity
Bixby reported on October 25, 1862, “Public sentiment, which is powerful for good or evil
everywhere acts strongly against Christianity here and the fear of ridicule may keep back many for a
time but if they are indeed pricked in the heart not simply cut to the heart sooner or later they will
come.” Bixby reported on January 16, 1863, “Buddhist persecution however is more formidable. It
appeals to superstition, which has at best a strong hold on the native mind. It talks of an awful hell for
all those who turn from the religion of their fathers. It arouses public sentiment, which is more difficult
to stem than a mighty flood, it takes hold of the tender family ties and tears them asunder. Indeed it is
impossible for the people in a Christian land to conceive adequately of the nature and extent of the
persecution to which our feeble disciples are subjected. I often wonder that they stand it so well. It is
only because when the enemy comes in like a flood the Lord lifts up a standard against him. An effort
has been made directly by the priests and others to separate wives from the their husbands whom I had
baptized with the hope, no doubt, of leading them to abandon the faith.” Bixby reported on March 25,
1863, “Since the New Year came in twenty-five adults nearly all heads of families have applied for
baptism, some of them in the midst of great opposition, nineteen of them have been accepted and
baptized while the others remain on trial.”
Rev. Rose reported in November 1868, “Never once we were insulted or treated rudely. The
people listened with attention and treated us with respect and often with kindness. Objections would
sometimes be raised mostly by Burmese officials, messengers or others who are always found about the
Shan courts; these Burman would often ask questions, raise objections, or jump into an argument, as
much for the purpose of displaying before the Shan courts their stock of sacred Gaudama’s lore, as for
defending Gaudama’s religion. But the success of these self-complacent gentlemen was such as to
render them quiet after a few brief encounters.”
It was reported by Rev. Cushing in 1870, “The
attendance at Church service was irregular, varying from nine to twenty and more, the irregularity
being occasioned by the opposition of Shan priests, who intimidated the children and their parents.”
and in 1888, “Two persons who seemed to be hopeful inquirers almost ready to receive the truth did not
have the courage to brave the opposition of their heathen relatives and take stand for Christ.”
Rev. W.M. Young reported in 1903, “The first convert in KengTung had to endure severe
persecution but he had proved a steadfast and earnest man. For several months opposition was very
strong. The priests who at first seemed very friendly became openly hostile as soon as active work was
begun. Several had professed to believe that Christ was the true God but the opposition had kept them
from taking a firm stand. Some of them were told they would die in three days if they became
Christians. Satan was powerfully entrenched here and the early converts would have to face bitter
opposition. The Khun are very conceited, bigoted and superstitious. The northern Shan are slaves to

Letter From Mr. Rose, Missionary Magazine, November 1868.
Analysis 199
custom, but purer in morals, and more accessible to the gospel.” Dr. Henderson reported in 1912, “A
teacher says when he went into the village no one bothered to stop the dogs from barking at him.” and
in 1936, “If they abandoned worshiping Buddha, they would almost certainly have been driven out
from their village.”

We have seen some American missionaries were warmly welcomed by SaoPha and Shan people
wherever they went. Shan were generally not militant to Christianity. We have read a very friendly
religious dialogue between Dr. Henderson and a Buddhist monk in MuongNai (page 52). Some of the
Buddhist monks were the real seekers of the truth. They did not refuse to read the Bible. They made
comparison with Buddhist scripture and learned about Christian God. But they did try to stop people
becoming Christians. We did not see them making direct interference to the mission work or giving
direct trouble to missionaries. May be because they were under British sovereignty.

The Christian has three implacable foes: the world, the flesh and the devil.
The attack may be
physical or mental or spiritual in character. The opposition to Shan believer usually comes from
immediate family. Sometimes when someone wants to believe Christ and become Christian he/she must
first get agreement from immediate family. If someone goes against the family and becomes Christian
he/she will be excommunicated from family, in the worst situation, driven out from home or taken
away the birthright. Sometimes a shelter or a new village has to be built for new believers. I met a man
who was driven out from his home by his father in-law because of his conversion to Christianity. He
had to leave his wife and his one-month-old son and live alone in a small tent. A girl was beaten many
times by her mother in-law for going to the Church. Some tolerant parents may allow their children to
choose their own faith. In fact Jesus has already forewarned us about this division in Matthew 10:34-36.
Some Buddhist monks are friendly to Christian missionaries and pastors. But some see
Christianity as a threat to their well-being and religion. I have visited Buddhist monks and Abbots at
monasteries a number of times. They are friendly to me. I have never been rejected or treated as their
enemy. One time I was taken to a Shan Buddhist monastery in Yangon by a friend of mind who wanted
me to meet some Buddhist monks who use to listen to my gospel message in radio and have written me
letters. Usually the Buddhist Abbot sits on the higher place and all the lay people sit on the floor, which
is lower place. When I first got into the room I was given a place to sit on the floor by my Buddhist
friend. But when I was introduced to the Abbot as a Christian pastor, the Abbot came down from his
high place and sit next to me on the floor and had a very polite and friendly conversation with me. It is
unfortunate that some of our pastors and Christian workers do not have a contact, communication,
meeting and dialogue with Buddhist monks. They even do not try. May be they are taught not to
communicate and have dialogue with leaders of other faiths. When I was young my pastor, Church
elders and my father told me not to go to Buddhist monastery for whatever reasons. I did not know
why. Villagers of a Buddhist village use to have meeting at monastery to discuss the matters relating to
community and village affair. There is no special place for community meeting or gathering in small
village. When our evangelist was invited to go to attend the meeting at monastery, he asked me,
“Should I go to the monastery for the meeting? It is a Buddhist place. As a Christian minister, is it
appropriate for me to sit in the monastery?” I said, “Why not. You are not going to worship other god.
You are going to meet the people and talk about the village affair. You should go and show your
concern and participation in the community. Don’t isolate yourself.” Make friends, not enemies!
Many Shan Christian leaders do not understand interfaith-dialogue. Friendship with Buddhist is
very important if we want to have peace and freedom of missions among the Shan since 99% of Shan
are Buddhist. Most of the monks have high authority over the villages. Without monk’s goodwill

Shan work questioned by Henderson, August 13, 1936.
Christian Missions in Biblical Perspective by J. Hebert Kane, published by Baker Book House, Michigan, 1979, p267
Analysis 200
gesture it is not easy to have a free and peaceful Christian activities in the village. One time a Buddhist
monk was searching for the truth. He listened to the gospel in radio. He wanted to go to the Church to
hear Christian teaching and experience Christian worship. Once he approached the Church on Sunday,
when the worship service was about to begin, the usher saw the monk with a yellow robe and he said to
the monk, “You have come to the wrong place. This is not the place for Buddhist monk.” The monk
was not allowed to go into the Church. This is what the Buddhist monk gives a testimony after he
becomes a Christian. Even though there are some opposition and discrimination against Christianity
there are few direct Christian persecution yet. I have not heard of a Shan Christian pastor being arrested
and persecuted because of purely preaching gospel, a Shan believer being put in jail because of his faith
in Christ. Recently I met Shan political leaders who were not Christians. They asked me to say grace
for the food before eating meal. Shan are now becoming more tolerant and open to Christianity. The
real opposition is not from Buddhists but from some authority. New church buildings are not allowed to
be built. The new building can only be named as Christian Center not a church. Cross is not allowed to
be erected on top of the building. The cross erected on the hill has been pulled down.

Matthew 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves . Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and
as innocent as doves.

Acts 4:18-20 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the
name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to
obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

5. Religion, Tradition, Superstition
Rev. Cushing said, “Shan are sturdy mountaineers and occupy the most Eastern section of
Burma bordering on Siam and China. They are nominally Buddhists and offer sacrifices to spirits and
are controlled by many inherited superstitions.”

Rev. Bixby said, “The Buddhist religion is the religion of the Shan.”
Bixby said on October
25, 1862, A man said, “I believe your religion is true but I am ashamed to embrace it.” “He does not
come to the chapel but visits me privately quite often ostensibly for instruction in science but is always
willing to listen when I turn to the Bible.”
SaoPha consented reluctantly but listened attentively. When
his son told him that he had received the doctrine of the true God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, he said,
“If you believe in Him, continue to worship Him. I shall not yet change my religion.”

Rev. Cushing said that the Shan considered Christianity as doctrine of foreign religion. Mr. Case
reported in 1885, “To be told that they be no gods which are made with hands, does not please these
bigoted Buddhists and when an attempt is made in preaching to them most of them sit in sullen silence
till it often seems like talking to many stones. There are, however, some gratifying exceptions to this
rule. At present a few among them, two or three priests seem inclined to turn from their idols to the
living God.”
and in 1886, “The city had no desire to hear of our religion, many however, were quite
attentive and they said that the message was good but none were ready to give up all their old ideas for
the sake of salvation from sin and woe.”

Rev. Dr. Cushing, Josiah Nelson. D. D, Ph. D. By Henry Melville King, published by Philadelphia: American Baptist
Publication Society, 1907
Letter From Bixby, April 12, 1861, Rangoon.
Letter from Bixby, October 25, 1862, Toungoo
Letter From Mr. Bixby, Toungoo, British Burma, October 25, 1862.
71st Annual Report, 1885, American Baptist Missionary Union
72nd Annual Report, 1886, American Baptist Missionary Union
Analysis 201
Dr. Henderson reported in 1894 from MuongNai, “The work here is sowing but we sow in great
hope for while superstition and idolatry meet us everywhere yet the promises of our Master are sure.
We meet the grossest superstition at every turn, once or twice we have found them saying charms over
their medicine and one old man who had been relieved when we went to speak to him about God said
he did not know God but he would worship me for he thought I must be God.”

Dr. Henderson reported in 1895, “Some person professes to have heard from one of the Phe
(spirits, some good, but mostly bad) that there was so much of this Jesus Christ religion being preached
that they (the Phe) were going to leave. Two of the Idols also feel it so keenly that they are said to be
sweating from the same cause. This is another version of “even the devils are subject unto us.” In this
connection it may interest you to hear my opinion of the character of the Shan, bearing in mind
however that I have lived here only one year. Of course they are horribly superstitious, everything they
cannot understand is ascribed to Phe.”

It was reported in 1963 that the Shan were complacent and slow to change. They had a religion
of their own - Buddhism mixed with Phe (spirit being) worship. Unless they were sick, diseased or
troubled or possessed by evil spirits, they seldom seek help from pastors or missionaries and conversion
was not easy. If any one possessed with evil spirit he was warned by community to do away with the
spirit and if one was unable to do so, he would be driven out of the village. He usually found refuge in a
Christian village where the pastor and the elders, in the name of Jesus Christ, would drive out the evil
spirit or heal mental or bodily disease that was cursed by evil spirit. After which the afflicted person
usually accepted Christ and freed from the evil spirit and settled down in Christian community. It is
interesting to hear a man said that he believed that Christianity was true but he was ashamed to embrace
it. He may not be ashamed of Jesus who was hung on the cross but he may be ashamed of being a Shan
to embrace Christianity. Shan use to claim that Buddhism is Shan’s religion and Shan are Buddhist.

Hundred of thousands of pagodas are all over the country. There is almost no town without
pagoda or no village without monastery. There are four million pagoda in Burma, the highest number of
pagoda in the world. There is a pagoda on almost every top of the hill. Shan have adopted Buddhism as
their religion for almost two thousand years. Shan claim that Buddhism is their religion. They have
taken ownership of Buddhism. Traditionally Shan are Buddhists but they also believe in all kinds of
spirits, both good and evil, and offer sacrifices to them to appease them and to get help from them. Shan
are not fanatic but devoted Buddhists. Even though they claim to be Buddhists some are Buddhists by
tradition. Many do not know much about Buddhism. Some are also superstitious. They are willing to
listen to the story of other religions. Shan see Christianity as a new religion from the West and do not
want to accept it. Shan are also nationalistic.
A few years ago I presented gospel of Jesus Christ to 65-year-old Buddhist woman. When I
finished my gospel presentation, I asked her questions. “Do you agree that you cannot go to heaven by
your own effort?” She said, “Yes.” Then I asked second question, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is
God and He can save you to heaven?” She answered, “Yes.” My final question was, “Do you want to
receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and become Christian?” She said, “No.” She explained that
she had been worshiping Buddha for 65 years. All her generations were Buddhists. She did not want to
leave Buddha and follow new God at this age. She just wanted to be faithful to her religion. She was
willing to add another hope for her future. That is Buddhist by tradition. Traditionally they have their
own way of worshiping gods, spirits, paying homage to elders and parents, marriages and burial etc. In
Christian opinion these traditions are Buddhist practices. Once a person becomes Christian he has to
abandon all his previous practices what they call their “national culture.” How can we solve this

Report from A.H. Henderson, M.D. MuongNai, July 4, 1894, The American Baptist Missionary Magazine.
81st Annual Report, 1895, Baptist Missionary Union.
Analysis 202
“tradition” problem, which they have been doing for 2000 years? How can we let the Shan see the
differences between “Religion based on Tradition” and “Religion based on Faith?”
Shan follow their traditions. Their traditions are Buddhist.
How can a Shan Christian follow Shan tradition, which is Buddhist?
How can a Shan become Christian without abandoning their tradition?
What will happen if tradition is not our obstacle?
The problem of “Tradition” “Buddhism” and “Christianity” is a big issue in Shan Churches, evangelism
and mission. Our missions among the Shan will be easier and fruitful if we know how to solve these
problems. But there is no compromise to the gospel of truth.
Many Shan Churches are also having problem with “Church Tradition”, which were taught to
them one hundred-forty years ago. They refuse to change. They think the new things are wrong and are
not Baptist. When I tried to teach them about Praise & Worship according to Psalm 149 and 150, I was
in trouble. They rejected me and accused me of “Assemblies of God.” When I teach about Fasting and
Prayer, they said that it’s not Baptist practice to fast and pray. They always follow ancestor’s tradition
in worship services. They do not want to change from original setting. No prophecy, no speaking in
tongue, to diving healing, no deliverance, no power, no miracle in the Church. Such things are
considered AOG.
The superstition is also influencing the life of Shan. They use to consult astrologer, magician
and palm-reader for the event that has happened to them and the event to come. They believe what the
astrologer, magician and palm-reader said and they follow the instruction. Such superstition is also
influencing Christians. Some Christians believe if they give the tithe regularly at the end of each month
they will be blessed by God but if they fail to give at the end of the month or fail to give regularly they
will be punished by God, if they recite certain scripture verses, especially Psalm 23, repeated thirty
times or fifty times a day their sickness will be healed, all strange dreams are from God and they use to
interpret their dreams by themselves and take the meaning as revelation to them, etc.
Mathew 15:1-3 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked,
“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?”

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which
depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

6. Shan National Culture and Christian Practices
Rev. Cushing first studied the country, the people, their customs and mode of life as well as
their language when he began to work among the Shan. He was able to collect various dialects of the
Shan language and the information about the customs and habits of the Shan. It is only by acquiring a
thorough knowledge of the languages, habits, customs, and superstitions of the people that missionaries
can hope to influence and convert them.

Rev. W.M. Young reported in 1903, “The northern Shan are slaves to custom, but purer in
morals, and more accessible to the gospel.”
Rev. Cochrane reported from NamKham on December
29, 1894, “The young man, our first fruit was married last night to a good-looking and highly
respectable Shan girl. She was perfectly willing to have the ceremony performed according to Christian
custom and seemed to enjoy the change of style.”
Dr. Henderson reported in 1903, “At its own
recommendation the Church has started a free-will thanks offering fund and at our suggestion a little

Rev. Dr. Cushing, Josiah Nelson. D. D, Ph. D. By Henry Melville King, published by Philadelphia: American Baptist
Publication Society, 1907
89th Annual Report, 1903, American Baptist Missionary Union
Report from W.W. Cochrane, December 29, 1894, NamKham
Analysis 203
thanks offering of rice is given each morning by all who feel so inclined. This is applied to the support
of the orphanage and may amount to rupees 50 per annum. This is an instance of a heathen custom
being diverted into a Christian channel.”
Dr. Henderson was so cleaver to divert the Buddhist
custom in giving donation into Christian channel. He said in 1963 that the Shan use to say, “That is not
our custom”
and refuse to accept the gospel.
Why did they reject gospel based on culture?
What is Shan culture?
What is Christian custom?
Who created such culture and customs?
Why couldn’t Shan Christian marry in their own culture?
Why should Shan Christian get marriage in Christian custom?
If we ask them to abandon all their culture and follow Christian custom, which was accused by the Shan
as Western culture, how can Shan become Christian?
How can we transform Shan culture into Christian custom?
These are very important complicated questions.

Knowing Shan culture, tradition, background and their belief is very important in doing
missions among the Shan. When a Shan becomes Christian the question of whether he has to abandon
all the Shan culture and practices or keep on doing it is the biggest problem we are facing today.
“Buddhist practices” are not well differentiated from “National cultures.” Some Buddhist practices
become national culture and some national culture are also part of the Buddhist practices. When
someone becomes Christian, he or she has to abandon all national cultures, which Christian consider
Buddhist practices. It makes a believer alienated from Shan community. Shan use to say, “If you are
Shan you must be Buddhist. Shan are Buddhist.” A Shan woman said to me, “If you are Christian you
are not Shan any more.” They identify nationality with religion. The questions are;
“How can we call ourselves Shan if we don’t follow Shan culture?”
“How can Shan Christian follow the culture which are considered to be Buddhist practices?”
Christians are taught not to participate in any festivity, which Christians think is a Buddhist
festival. When Christians refuse to join, they said that we have abandoned our national culture. But
when Christians join, it seems like we are joining Buddhist festival. There are Shan musical instruments
called gong, mong and cymbal. They are played together in synchronizing rhythm at celebrations and
festivals accompanied by traditional dancing. Generations by generations, Shan used this instrument in
their festivals of course which are Buddhist. Pastors and Shan Christian leaders do not allow Shan
Christians to play these musical instruments and dance traditional dance any longer when they become
Christians. The first convert in Eastern Shan State in 1902, Phak Ka Sai, had to leave the village
because he refused to join Shan New Year celebration, play gong, mong, cymbal and participate in
Shan dancing after becoming Christian. Western musical instruments such as guitar, violin, banjo,
drum, organ, piano etc. are introduced to Shan Churches. We sing western hymns and songs. Our
traditional folk songs are not allowed to sing any more. One lady said during our GCI training in
TaungGyi in 1995, “I have secretary learned Shan traditional folk songs at the age of fourteen. Our
pastors and Church leaders do not allow us to sing it. I have no chance of singing it. But now I am
happy to have an opportunity of singing this folk song the first time in my life at the age of forty.” I
don’t see anywhere in the historical documents of Baptist mission among the Shan that American
missionaries had asked Shan believers to abandon their gong-mong-cymbal music, Shan dancing and
singing their folk songs. Why do our Shan pastors and leaders stop Shan Christians to play our musical

89th Annual Report, 1903, American Baptist Missionary Union
Letter From Dr. A. H. Henderson, MuongNai, August 13, 1936
Analysis 204
instruments and sing our traditional folk songs? Shan allege that Christians are no longer Shan because
they do not keep Shan culture any more. They accused that we have been westernized. They call us
“Shan American.” In wedding ceremony, traditional ways of marriage are replaced by Western style of
marriage so called Christian marriage. Paying homage and respect to the parents by kneeing down on
the floor and bowing down to the parents are no longer permitted. Shan accused that children did not
respect their parents any longer when they become Christians. They did not pay homage to their parents
and elders any more. Buddhist parents are very upset when their Christian children abandoning
traditional cultures and not paying respect to them by bowing down to them to show their respect. In
fact the Bible teaches children to obey and respect their parents but not to worship any one except God.
Christians think it is an act of worship when they knee down before their parents and elders.
As Shan Christians are abandoning their traditions, Christianity is seen as a threat to their
cultures. It is in fact unacceptable for any nation to see it happens. It is a national responsibility to
maintain and preserve its own culture. The Christians are being accused of importing western culture to
the Shan.
Why do they see Christianity as Western Religion?
Why do they think Christianity is a threat to their culture?
Do they have to abandon their national cultures when they become Christians?
How can they change these views?
What good is it to see our pastors wearing suite and tie instead of Shan national costume?
What good is it to see our Christian children with long hair and tight blue jean instead of their
traditional dress?
What will happen if national culture is not a Buddhist custom?
How can we make them “Shan Christian with Shan identity?”
These are big questions in our effort to reach Shan people and converting them to Christianity. We need
to do more research and find out which tradition and culture are acceptable and good to continue in
Shan Churches. We need to work out how the Shan can say, “Shan can be Christians and Christians are
also Shan.”

Psalms 150:3-5 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise
him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of
cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count,
from every nation , tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.
They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

7. Festivals
Rev. Bixby reported on November 23, 1863, “They are fond of the festivals and excitement
common to worship and religious gathering. The strength of Buddhism lies mainly I think on the social
nature of the people. Their worship consists mainly in grand gathering, feast, social enjoyment; just
such gratification as more civilized nations find in grand balls, theatres, public dinners, horse-races
and other exciting worldly association and amusements. Their funeral even becomes festivals. One of
the most joyful festival that I ever attended with them was when a noted and venerated Phoneghee
(monk) or priest was burned.”

Rev. Cushing reported on December 27, 1886, “Mong Hswang accepted the position and
entered the printing establishment. From that time he ceased to worship at the pagodas and being

Letter From Mr. Bixby, Nov. 23, 1863, Toungoo
Analysis 205
attendant at the Shan services held from to time to time at Letkhokebin after a while, he acknowledged
his belief in the truth of Christianity but declared that he could not be baptized because he was not
ready to abandon all the heathen festivals and customs of his friends.”
The festivals were considered
heathen and required to be abandoned before becoming Christian. It was not easy for the Shan to
abandon their festivals, enjoyment, singing and dancing with friends in order to become Christian. It
was reported from KengTung in 1927 by Telford, “A more affable sociable more kindly people than the
Shan would be difficult to find. They do not take life very seriously. Lot of the men folk work about six
months in the year and spend the other six months in festivals more or less related to the Buddhist
According to Shan calendar there are festivals almost every month. (page 12)

It was reported by Shan Harold Agency, “A typical Shan dotes on festivities. In fact, hopelessly
addicted to them. Most of their year is spent in finding excuses to celebrate. Their latest fling was the 5-
day Novitiation Ceremony, where nearly 100 boys were thoroughly humored and spoiled before being
ordained as novice monks on the last day, 25 April. However, just before the ordination, the revelers
were set upon by a hail storm 11:30 - 12:30 noon. Fortunately, the ordination went on as scheduled
albeit with less pomp. Would this have taught them a lesson to exercise moderation? No way, because
last night they were still celebrating the conclusion of the ceremony.”

Shan are festival-loving people. The festivals are a kind of social and religious gathering for
enjoyment. All year round there are many festivals. Life seems boring if not meaningless if there are no
festivals. They even try to find reason to organize festival. Young and old join together whenever there
is a festival with gong-mong-cymbal music and dancing. They celebrate days and weeks. Some even
travel for days from distance, bringing their sleeping mats, blankets and cooking utensils to the
festivals. But when they become Christians they have to abandon all these festivals. It is understandable
because almost all festivals are Buddhist related festivals. It is not easy for them to abandon such
festivals, which they enjoy most and become Christian. What the life of the village would be like if
there is no gong-mong-cymbal music, dancing, buying, selling and eating at the festival market any
more in the village? Social gathering, social enjoyment, social eating and drinking, social dancing,
social singing are the life of the Shan. According to my survey, 55% said that they did not want to
become Christians because they were afraid of loosing chances of participating in their festivities.
About 90% said Christian festivities are very few compare to Buddhist festivities. They are correct. The
only Christian festival we have is Christmas.
Should we create more Christian celebrations and festivities for Shan to enjoy?
What will happen if there are Christian festivals that the Shan can enjoy?
In the Old Testament, there are many festivals celebrated by the Jews.
The feasts, or sacred festivals, held an important place in Jewish religion. There were religious services
accompanied by demonstrations of joy and gladness.
The Weekly Sabbath (Lev. 23:3)
The Passover (Lev. 23:4-8)
The Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the day after the Passover and lasted seven days (Lev. 23:5-8)
The Feast of Tabernacles (Num. 28-29)
The Feast of Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-21) also called the Feast of Weeks, First-fruits, and Harvests
The Feast of Trumpets (Lev. 23:23-25)
The Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:26-32)
The Feast of Tabernacles, or Booths, or Ingathering (Lev. 23:33-43)
The Feast of Lights was observed for eight days beginning on the 25
day of Kislev (Nov./Dec.).

73rd Annual Report, 1887, American Baptist Missionary Union
History Of The KengTung Mission, Telford 1927, Archival Collection, Board of international ministry, ABC, pp.17-18
http://www.shanland.org/articles/general/2006/VP4260406, Apr 26, 2006
Analysis 206
The Feast of Purim was kept on the 14
and 15
days of Adar (Feb./Mar.)
Actually we have many occasions to celebrate according to the events in New Testament time.
Christians never celebrate Easter, Pentecost, Baptism, Communion as festival in festive atmosphere, as
it should have been as a big celebration. If Shan people can come and celebrate joyfully in the Church
as they use to celebrate in their Buddhist festivals, I have no doubt many Shan will come to the Church.

Luke 2:41-42 Every year His parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When He was
twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.

8. Academic education of Leaders
All the missionaries to the Shan, one hundred forty years ago, were very highly educated people
with high qualifications. Twenty-five medical doctors served among the Shan as missionaries. They did
not only medical work but also evangelistic work, preaching, teaching, translating, training and planting
Churches. Forty-one non-medical missionaries including Rev. Bixby, Rev. Cushing were college
graduates with Master degrees. The government of India often committed to Rev. Cushing “missions of
great importance and delicacy.” His attainments as a scholar were exceptional. He mastered not only
the Shan language in which he was an acknowledged authority, but also Burmese and Kachin, an
unusual accomplishment and was an expert student and successful teacher of Pali, which was the
literary language of Buddhism. Cushing translated Holy Bible to Shan language, published the first and
only English-Shan dictionary and Shan-English dictionary.
However most of the past Shan pastors and leaders who succeeded missionary work after missionaries
had left the country were either schoolteacher or retired schoolteachers who did not have a chance of
going to Bible School or Seminary or getting adequate training.

There are only five Shan university graduates who have gone to Seminary and serving in Shan
Churches and missions in 140 years. We seldom see educated young people go to Seminary and Bible
School. Up to year 2001, none of the serving ministers has Doctorate or PhD. There is a tremendous
need of educated and well-trained Shan Christian leaders with high quality.
Why didn’t the educated young people go to Seminary and serve the Lord?
How can we motivate and help young Shan educated men and women to join the ministry and serve the
Lord? Shan Churches seldom try to recruit highly educated students to go to Seminary. Parents do not
encourage their educated children to go to Seminary. One of our short-course GCI training graduates
who only has primary education said, “I was asked to preach at army camp. I first thought it’s no
problem to preach to the ordinary soldiers. But when I got to the camp, I saw many army officers in the
rank of major sitting at the front row to hear my message. I was trembling and sweating. I was afraid to
preach to such highly educated officers. But I prayed a lot. Finally I could mange to finish my sermon.”
Lowly educated pastors feel shy or afraid or inferior to approach highly educated non-Christians and
tell them the gospel. That is why we do not see highly educated Shan Buddhist becoming Christians.
Most of the new converts are grass root people with low education, poor, outcast and ex-evil spirit
possessed. A longest and oldest serving pastor said, “I have no chance of going to school. I only know
how to read and write.” But he has served for fifty years and still serving at the age of eighty. He has
planted many Churches. Regretfully some of our Seminary-educated pastors do not want to go out and
find the lost sheep in rural area. Most of our serving pastors in the small towns and villages are grass-
root with primary or secondary education and some are without theological training. Some educated
people only thinking of serving God after their retirement from secular business.

Exodus 34:26 “Bring the best of the first fruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God.”
Analysis 207

2 Timothy 2:15-16 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not
need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

9. Backslider and Exclusion
Rev. Bixby reported from Toungoo on May 8, 1863, “An influential man was found guilty of
polygamy and as he had taken the second wife after receiving instruction on the subject and refused to
put her away there was no other alternative than to exclude him. I trust a healthful sentiment has been
created, which will contribute to the purity and prosperity of the Church. Unhappily we have no civil
law that will touch cases of this kind.”

Rev. Case reported in July 1884, “Toon La, the teacher in our boys’ school made us glad last
June by coming back after his years of wandering making a full confession of his grievous sin of
adultery and asking to be received back into the Church. Since then his walk has been exemplary and
both in the school and the Church he has proved very useful. The saddest event of the year for us is the
fall of Pai Dee, the oldest Shan preacher. He was one of the first Shan converts and has been a
preacher for many years. He has made some slips heretofore and has been rather lazy, yet, on the
whole, has seemed to walk very well. A few months ago, however, he secured considerable money of me
to go on a preaching-tour, deserted his wife who is nearly blind and several small children, took a
young woman as a new wife and ran away with her. He is a specimen of the kind of men we have to
deal with in laboring for the Shan.”

It was reported by Dr. Kirkpatrick from NamKham in 1899, “The past year has been the most
trying in all my experience as a missionary. The three senior native preachers have been dismissed and
excluded from the Church. Two students from the theological Seminary have left their studies and gone
into secular work and one of them has taken a heathen wife.”
It’s a heartbroken and a shame to see a
Shan preacher cheated money from missionary and ran away with another woman leaving behind his
wife and children. How many native Shan preachers in NamKham in 1899, six years after mission field
begun? The dismissal of three senior native preachers from NamKham Shan Church in 1899 was
undoubtedly a big blow and a great loss to Shan Churches. The missionaries were quite strict in
exercising Church discipline. One of the first Shan Seminary graduates in 1963 committed adultery and
was excluded from the Church in NamKham. Most of those backsliders were related to adultery. As
reported in 1962 by secretary of ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission, ManPon pastor has been expelled from
the Church on question of his inability to upkeep the Church’s regulations.

According to Baptist practices member of the Church would be excluded from Church
membership if he/she is found committing certain sin in breaking the Church’s ordinances. Most of the
members excluded from the Church were because of adultery. Is adultery the only sin deserved to be
excluded from the Church? What about drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling, cheating, lying, stealing,
robbery and killing? Some have committed the above-mentioned sins but are not excluded from the
Church. Some are still holding leadership position in the Church and some are still preaching.
Shan Churches exercise the exclusion of Baptized member from membership of the Church is
done not only for purification of the Church but also as a punishment. Sadly to see that once someone is
excluded from the Church, the pastor and the Church use to abandon him, ignore him, do not

Letter From Mr. Bixby, May 8, 1863. Toungoo.
70th Annual Report, July 1884, American Baptist Missionary Union
85th Annual Report, 1899, American Baptist Missionary Union
ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission Report, NamKham, 1962.

Analysis 208
communicate with him, do not try to get him back into the Church by visitation, counseling, and
helping him to repentance and restoration. When I was in NamKham in 2001, I was called to visit and
pray for a man who had been excluded from the Church because of adultery. He felt very lonely and
depress. No Christian or pastor visited him. He was completely isolated. He said that he still believed in
Christ. In fact backsliders must not be isolated and abandoned. Counseling, restoration and reviving
program must be offered to them. We have to find the lost sheep. Jesus came to find the lost sheep. He
commanded us to find the lost sheep. We must open the door and welcome repented sinners. They
believe that once one is excluded from the Church one is no longer Christian and one will not go to
heaven after death. They also avoid associating with such sinner.
There is a procedure in Shan Baptist Church in exclusion a member from the Church. The
decision must be made by the Church council and congregation. In accepting a backslider back to the
Church, first of all, the backslider has to confess his sin openly to the council of the Church. The
council then decides whether to accept his confession and accept his request for reinstatement into the
Church. Then the proposal of the acceptance will be presented to the Church congregation and the
congregation will make a decision whether to accept the person back to the Church as a member or not.
A young Shan pastor from a Church in the Northern Shan State resigned in July 1993 because of un-
ethical behavior. But he was not excluded from the Church. A new graduate from Seminary was
excluded from the Church in 1963 because of sexual immorality but now ordained and serving as pastor
without repentance and going through the reinstating procedure. Shan Churches need more clear
discipline, teaching, theology and spirituality.

Matthew 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the
church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Luke 15:7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who
repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

10. Water Baptism
Rev. Bixby reported on November 25, 1862, “Three applicants for baptism, after a trial of six
months, have been refused. Two more are under consideration. Several others have abandoned their
idols and have become regular attendance at the chapel.”
As reported in Toungoo on January 6,
1863 by Rev. Bixby, “We are enjoying glorious work of grace among Shan and Burman of Toungoo.
Last week ten adults, eight Shan and two Burman, presented themselves for baptism and after a careful
and prayer seven of the number were approved and on the first Sabbath of New Year they were buried
with Christ in baptism. The others were not rejected but delayed for further instruction for brighter
evidences of grace.”

As reported on March 25, 1863 by Rev. Bixby, “Since the New Year came in twenty-five adults
nearly all heads of families have applied for baptism. Some of them are in the midst of great opposition.
Nineteen of them have been accepted and baptized while the others remain on trial. Baptized seven last
Lord’s day at Myogyee in the presence of a crowd of Burman and Shan who had never witnessed the
ordinance before. Two of them were Sawdees (aqM;wDh) (wisdom-worshippers). Maung O’s wife, one
year ago, who drove her husband from his house and disowned her husband, was one of the baptized.
She is now with her husband clothed in her right mind. In the evening of the Sabbath we administered
the Lord’s Supper to thirty-one disciples of Jesus and enjoyed the season exceedingly.”

Letter From Mr. Bixby, Toungoo, British Burma, October 25, 1862.
Letter From Mr. Bixby, Jan. 6, 1863. Toungoo.
Letter From Mr. Bixby, March 25, 1863. Toungoo.
Analysis 209
As reported in August 1867 by Rev. Bixby, “On July 22, Sau Quala baptized for me six
converts, one Geckho, one Saukoo (slave boy), one Dana and three Shan. Two of the Shan are orphan
girls belonging to the family that came out from Moonay (MuongNai) a year ago because they had
heard some of their friends had found the way to heaven and were happy.”
In July 1871, “A Shan
was baptized, who gives promise of great usefulness in the mission. He is represented as a highly
intelligent young man who came out from his heathen associations from deliberate convictions of the
truth of Christianity and the necessity of pardon through Christ. He recognized the certainty of trial
and persecution but his heart seemed to be fired to serve God.”
In July 1873, “Two young men
recently from the Shan State were converted and Baptized.”
In July 1876, “Five Shan girls have been
taught in their own language in connection with Mrs. Eveleth’s girls’ school and by the grace of God
three of the persons baptized by Mr. Eveleth during the year and reported in connection with the
Burman mission are Shan.”
In 1910, “Twenty-four baptisms are reported on the MuongNai field;
the largest number for any one-year in the history of the station. Eleven of those baptized were pupils in
the MuongNai School and two were from the school at LoiLem.”
In 1910, KengTung, “Many
hundreds are asking for baptism in sections of the field not yet visited. Mr. Antisdel, in his report, states
that several hundred have been baptized in the regions already evangelized.”

Rev. Young returned from furlough early in the year and his report covered some ten months of
service. On his journey up to KengTung he held a two-days’ meeting where a large number were
gathered together during which he baptized some twenty-five persons. The total number of baptisms for
the year was 936 and the membership of KengTung was 9,800. (reported in 1911) (They all were not
Shan alone) In the early years of mission work in Shan States there was quick response with baptism.
However not all the reported numbers were Shan converts. Eight Shan baptized within one year and ten
months of Bixby’s labor in Toungoo. It was reported from Eastern Shan State that more than one
thousand baptized within 10 years of mission. All the baptism reported were not be the Shan because
there were many tribes living in Shan States. When it was reported 936 baptism in KengTung in 1911,
most of them would be Wa, Ahka and Lahu tribes because hill tribes respond in mass, even the whole
village. Some requests for water baptism were rejected. The missionaries did not give water baptism
lightly. They interviewed the candidates, tested and kept them under observation for months before
giving them baptism. We don’t know what kind of interview and observation they had done. The first
Shan baptized in Northern Shan State was Kham Maung in 1896 and in Eastern Shan State was Phak
Ka Sai in 1902.

Water Baptism is a sacrament of the Baptist Church. It is also a testimony of faith. It is a
“Happy Day” as we always sing “O Happy Day” at baptism. According to Baptist doctrine no one can
become a member of the Church and allowed to partake the communion without taking water baptism.
The Church use to give the number of membership of the Church as baptized members and non-
baptized members. Sometimes it is quite difficult for a Shan to be baptized even though he/she has
believed because of certain requirement. Baptist do not give infant water baptism. Children dare not to
take water baptism unless parents agreed. Most of the people baptized in the Church are second
generation Christians who are born from Christian parents.
Shan Churches seldom have pre-baptismal classes or Biblical teaching lessons given to
baptismal candidates prior to baptism. Some people take water baptism without knowing basic

53rd Annual Report, August, 1867, American Baptist Missionary Union
58th Annual Report, July 1872, American Baptist Missionary Union
59th Annual Report, July 1873, American Baptist Missionary Union, By Rev. J.N. Cushing and Wife
62nd Annual Report, July 1876, American Baptist Missionary Union, Rev. J.N. Cushing and Wife
96th Annual Report, 1910, American Baptist Missionary Union
96th Annual Report, 1910, American Baptist Missionary Union
Analysis 210
doctrines. When I was baptized at the age of sixteen in 1963, I did not have much knowledge about
Christian doctrine because I was not given lectures or lessons before baptism. I was baptized not
because of Holy Spirit conviction but because of my parents who asked me to be baptized before I
leave home to study at other town which was quite far away from my hometown.
There is a procedure for baptism in Shan Baptist Church. First the candidate must put his
request to the Church Council, then the Church Council will interview the candidate, give the approval
and conduct baptism on Sunday during worship service and accept him as a member of the Church.
Baptism use to take place in the Church once or twice a year only. One senior pastor said that normally
they did not have baptism all year round. People want to be baptized at Easter or Christmas. Most of the
candidates are from Christian parents. Very seldom there are new converts from other faith.
In 1973 I organized a Bible Study Camp for seven days in MuSe with 33 young people
participated. After the study all the young people requested water baptism. When we put our request to
the Church Council for baptism, in the beginning they refused, but when the young people insisted by
saying, “Do you know what’s going to happen to us tomorrow? What can stop us taking baptism in
Christ?” Then the Church council held a special meeting and asked many questions to the youths. A
Buddhist mother of a young girl persuaded her daughter not to take baptism by offering her a gold
necklace. The girl reply, “I will not exchange Jesus Christ with the gold necklace.” She got approval
from her parents. Another young girl was persuaded by her Buddhist mother not to take baptism by
offering her a watch. But the girl replied, “I will not exchange my salvation with the watch.” She got
the approval for baptism. There were tears of joy to see 33 youths taking water baptism together on
Mass baptism use to take place on special occasions such as World Communion Sunday, Easter
Sunday, Christmas, Conferences and Celebration.
218 people baptized when Eastern Shan State Baptist Convention celebrated 65
Eastern Shan State
Baptist Mission Celebration in KanNaLone in 1968.
165 baptized in 1978 when Annual General Meeting of ESS Shan Baptist Association took place.
68 people baptized when Shan Bible Centenary Celebration was held in MuongYang in 1985.
273 people baptized in NamKham during Shan Bible Centenary Celebration in 1985.
58 people baptized in 1987, when silver jubilee of TaChiLeik Church was held in TaChiLeik.
168 baptized in KengTung when celebrating Eastern Shan State Baptist Mission Centenary in 2001.
Why do people want to be baptized on such special occasion?
Should we have more such occasion so that we may have more people baptized?
Shan Churches seldom preach “repentance and baptism” and giving “altar call” after worship service.
The sermons of Grace, Mercy and Blessings are the most common topics preached in the Church.
Baptism is just like a “tradition” or “ritual” in some Churches. Parents use to ask their children to take
water baptism when they reach certain age or when the children are about to leave home to other city or
town. It is rare to see children coming to the pastor and ask for baptism because of their conviction,
repentance and faith. Baptism is rather like traditional and ritual. Baptism is by emersion. The pastor
use to give baptism in fishpond, river or lake when baptism is not taken in the Church where there’s a
baptistery. They considered “water baptism” as “born again” even though there is no evidence of new
life. They believe that once they are baptized they have got the salvation and they are qualified to go to
heaven regardless of character and behavior after baptism. The salvation will never lost. Only ordained
pastor is allowed to conduct water baptism and communion. There are 10,792 baptized members in
Shan Churches all over Shan States in the year 2001.

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the
forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Analysis 211
Acts 8:36-38 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look,
here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized ?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip
and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.

11. Bazaar Preaching
Rev. and Mrs. Cushing visited KengTung in January 1870 and spent eleven days there,
preaching in the bazaar and giving out tracts. Rev. Case reported in 1885, “During the rains, besides
teaching daily in the boys’ school, I did considerable preaching in bazaar to Shan coming in from
neighboring villages to trade and I also visited and preached from house to house in some of the
nearest villages.”

It was reported in 1893 by Dr. Kirkpatrick, “Our preachers are faithful in proclaiming the
gospel message. We also hold meetings in other bazaar as much as we can. The meetings held each
bazaar day, in a large zayat in the bazaar are well attended. Estimate the average attendance is nearly
one thousand, many being traders and people from a distance which we reach in no other way. At the
close of the rains we began regular services at Bwe Gyo, a large town five miles from the town on a
river and also on the Bhamo cart road, where there is a large bazaar every fifth day. SaoPha has given
us a piece of ground in the bazaar where we will build a large zayat for the preachers and Bible-
women. Every bazaar day they go and spend the day preaching and distributing tracts. They report
many inquirers and some who profess conversion.”
Dr. Henderson built a zayat in the bazaar in
MuongNai at a cost of rupees 160, money raised in the Church collections and his own contributions.
The attendance at the bazaar meetings has always been good, seldom if ever below 100, with an
average attendance of about 200.

Dr. Henderson reported in 1896, “The general outlook of the field is very encouraging. Our
bazaar congregations are only about one-fourth or one-fifth as large as at first but this is not
surprising. It is due to two causes; first the novelty has worn off and their curiosity is largely satisfied;
second our services are entirely carried on in broken Shan a fact that we realize more and more as we
learn enough of the language to know the mistakes.” and in TaungGyi, 1914, “A special feature of his
work has been the preaching in the public bazaar.” Dr. Gibbens reported in 1915, “a preaching zayat
at the five-day bazaar and opportunity to preach to crowds and to dispense tracts and medicines in
MuongNai.” Bazaar is a place for trading, buying, selling goods and meeting people from different
villages and towns especially at fifth-day-bazaar. All Shan mission fields had bazaar preaching. Almost
all missionaries preached and distributed tracts in bazaar. They were so courageous to speak Shan
language in the bazaar and un-ashamedly distributing the tracts to the people. How noisy it would be in
bazaar? How loud they had to shout without loudspeaker? How embarrassing to preach in bazaar in
Shan language? They did it. They were not ashamed of the gospel. They put up zayat (temporary
shelter) in bazaar for their preaching and distribution work. It was reported that the average attendance
was nearly one thousand. We did not see any of missionaries was abused, stoned or beaten up for
preaching gospel in bazaar but they had more and more inquirers. They got the result. I can recall, in
1960, a man, his name was Lao San from NamKham, used to preach the gospel in the bazaar using the
illustrated pictures, standing on a chair, shouting to the audience. He got many people stopping and
listening to him. He was the last person to do bazaar preaching in Shan missions.

71st Annual Report, 1885, American Baptist Missionary Union
79th Annual Report, 1893, American Baptist Missionary Union, report from Rev. Dr. M.B. Kirkpatrick, M.D., Mrs.
80th Annual Report, 1894, American Baptist Missionary Union
Analysis 212
We don’t have bazaar preacher doing bazaar preaching any more today. None of the Shan
Churches has bazaar ministry neither preaching nor distributing the tracts. In fact this is the best
opportunity of meeting many people from many places at one place without going up the mountains
and the hills, passing through terrain and valley. Why don’t Shan Churches continue doing outreach
ministry in bazaar on market-day? In fact bazaar is the largest gathering place for the Shan and the best
opportunity for Shan evangelist to meet the people. It is shameful to see some Christians selling and
buying goods in bazaar on Sunday instead of preaching gospel. Some Christians even skip going to
Church on Sunday but to the bazaar instead. Church attendance is low on Sunday when it falls on
market-day. One Church leader proposed postponing morning service to evening so that Christians can
go to the market and do business on market-day in the morning. But it was rejected. Bazaar preaching
should be revived since we now have better equipments and facility.
Our pastors use to preach in the church building expecting and waiting for the people to come
in and listen. But many Buddhists do not want to come into church building to listen to gospel. They are
even afraid of being seen in the church building by other non-Christian friends. They prefer listening to
the gospel at unexposed place. Should we go to them to tell good news or should they come to us to
hear the gospel?
Matthew 28:19 Jesus said, “Go and make disciples”

Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of
everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

12. Charity Work and Social Concern
Rev. Bixby said on January 6, 1863, “Another of the baptized said that the teacher saved his life
when he expected to die and therefore he knew him to be his friend and went to hear him preach. He
rejoices now in the salvation of soul and body. It is not always in vain to administer to the physical
need first.”
It was reported in MuongNai in 1899, “In April there was an awful fire destroying half of
the houses in town and then a good opportunity offered itself for us to show kindness to many who
needed help. We did our best to ease the pain of those who were burned in the fire and helped some to
put up little houses to shelter them from the rains, which began to descend in May. This seemed to bring
us in closer touch with the people.”
Dr. Griggs reported in Bhamo in 1901, “The medical work has
grown very fast. It is most important too as we can reach people in this way whom we could reach in no
other. For example during the year I was called to see the wife of the mullah or Mohammedan priest
and was taken into his inner room where his wife was. I was the first man not a near relative who had
ever seen her. Unfortunately she died a few minutes after I arrived so that I could do nothing to aid her
but the fact remains that I was allowed to visit her. I attended a large number of Sikh women too, the
wives of officers and men in the native regiment and the military police. Mrs. Griggs often went with me
to their quarter but unfortunately we had nobody who could speak to them. None of our girls could
speak Urdu and they would not allow any of the male helpers to come into their rooms.”

Medical work had been given more emphasis among the Shan than among any other people
groups of Burma, with a higher proportion of missionary doctors. There were 25 missionary doctors
who worked in Shan missions. Naturally when people are in need of medical help they will open the
door for any one from any religion who can offer them help. Hospital and medical services provided by
missionaries were very successful in the history of missions. Saving life is the beginning of saving soul.
The most famous mission hospital was NamKham hospital in Northern Shan State. The missionaries

Letter From Mr. Bixby, Jan. 6, 1863. Toungoo.
85th Annual Report, 1899 , American Baptist Missionary Union, report from Dr. Henderson
87th Annual Report, 1901, American Baptist Missionary Union, report from Dr. Griggs
Analysis 213
had built other hospitals in HsiPaw, MuongNai, KengTung and TaungGyi. Helping people in their
physical needs is as effective as preaching gospel. People see Christ not only by our words but also by
our deeds. Helping people in natural disaster or physical sickness are very effective way of evangelism.
People see the love of God in our help. Christians should take such opportunity to show Christ’s love.

J. Herbert Kane said, “Salvation includes the whole man – body, soul and spirit.”
people in their physical need is very important in missions. That is why foreign mission use to have
hospital, clinic, school and institution. Charitable work and social work are very important to develop
friendship and acceptance of the people. But unfortunately Shan Churches do not involve very much in
charity and social work in the village or town as a Church. When the charitable work and community
work are organized by the village or township community on Sunday, Christians refused to go and join
the work. They believe that Christian must not work on Sunday. They call Sunday “Sabbath day” and
claim that God prohibits Christian to work on Sabbath day. A Christian lady has written a letter to me
asking, “There is a charitable and community work organized by our villagers at a Buddhist monastery.
Should I go and help? I was told that I must not go and do anything that is in Buddhist monastery. Is it
true?” Some Churches do not want to involve with social and charity activities of the village, town or
city organized with other religious groups. They want to stay away from non-Christian groups. Without
involvement in society how can we be accepted by society? In fact Churches must involve as much as
possible in social work and charity work together with people of other faith so that people may see
Christ through our love and concern. Most of Shan Churches do not have community work. They seem
like isolating themselves from others. A Shan Church in the north has a nursery education and primary
health care clinic in ZonZaw village but not free of charge. The Eastern Shan State Shan Baptist
Convention has a HIV/AIDS care program for sufferers in KengTung as Christian ministry. We need to
do more. Love must be shown in action.

James 2:15-17 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him,
“Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good
is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Luke 10:37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and
do likewise .”

13. Church Activity and Program
It was reported in NamKham in 1893, “At the chapel we have a sunrise prayer meeting every
day and evening worship at our house where there a usually from twenty-five to forty present. On
Lord’s day we have a prayer and praise service at 8 A.M. At 11 we have a sermon by the pastor.
Sunday-school at 12 o’clock. At 3 P.M. wife has a meeting for the children and mothers while at the
same hour there is a meeting at the house of one of the recent converts. Every weekday a service at the
hospital and every fifth day the bazaar meeting.”

Activities were going on every Sunday and weekdays. The missionaries were very busy in
teaching at school, healing the sick in hospital, preaching gospel at bazaar and Church, conducting
Bible Study, leading prayer in early morning every day.

Christian missions in biblical perspective by J. Herbert Kane, publisher by Baker Book House, Michigan, 1979, p190
79th Annual Report, 1893, American Baptist Missionary Union, report from Dr. M.B. Kirkpatrick, M.D., Mrs. Kirkpatrick
Analysis 214
A Church should have good and effective activities and programs seven days a week. But most
of our church buildings only open on Sunday. They are closed and not used in weekdays, six days a
week. Some churches open on Wednesday for evening prayer meeting. We should make use of our
church building every day for His glory and Kingdom with Christian activities. Some Churches are
very busy on the Lord’s day only. There are worship services ranging from two to seven services on
Sunday but no activity on weekdays. Usually there are Sunday schools for children, women’s
fellowship, youth fellowship and main worship service on Sunday. Some Churches also have men’s
fellowship. Few Churches have Adult Bible Study program. Sometimes adult Sunday school is held
immediately after worship service or one hour before worship service. Since there are no activities on
weekdays people may think that the church only opens on Sunday and they have to worship God only
on Sunday. They use to call Sunday as “Sabbath Day” instead of “The Lord’s Day.” Some are “Sunday
Christians” “Easter Christians” “Communion Christians” and “Christmas Christians” only. They will
appear at the Church only on such special occasions. Some will make every effort to be there on
Communion Sunday once a month to partake the communion. They believe that once they have taken
the communion all their sins, which they have committed in the past whole month, were cleansed. In
fact Sunday is not only the day for the Lord and the rest are the days for ourselves. Believers need to
have fellowship with the Lord every day. I have seen a pastor sleeping on the bench, in his front yard,
almost every afternoon after lunch, under the sun. He said that he had nothing to do. His work was just
preaching on Sunday. Actually he should not be a Sunday pastor only. I was told that he mistakenly
preached about Jesus’ crucifixion instead of Jesus’ resurrection at Easter Sunrise Service on Easter
Sunday. Preaching without preparation was quite common. Sometimes the pastor was struggling trying
to find the songs to sing and Bible verses to read at worship service because he had not made
preparation before hand. Sometimes the leader did not know the song and sang with the wrong tune.
Never mind. They would start again when some one knew the song.
A Shan Church in Eastern Shan State has a busy activity such as a prayer warriors praying every
morning at 8 AM, caring AIDS patients and giving health education, youth and music ministry by the
youth group to different places, organizing evangelistic trip to different places, organizing men and
women association, conducting training and producing future leadership of the Church, three months
evangelistic training for future evangelist production and building children hostel for poor village
children to stay and continue their basic education. Some of the hostel students have graduated from
training and Bible School and are now in full-time ministry. More and more young people are now
graduating from Bible Seminary.
The worship programs in Shan Baptist Churches are traditionally follow the order of service. It
follows the program drafted by the pastor or leader. The chairman use to lead the worship service as
announcer making announcement according to the program. It seldom follows the leading of the Holy
Sprit in worship, praise and prayer. Sometimes worship service becomes program service. They use to
say, “Let us start our worship program. May the Lord bless our worship program.” Program oriented!
They will not accept anything if not included in the program.
Common Sunday worship program liturgy:
1. Prelude
2. Call to worship (Chairman)
3. Opening prayer (Chairman)
4. Singing Hymn (Congregation)
5. Announcement (Chairman or secretary or pastor)
6. Intercessory Prayer (As selected)
7. Singing Hymn (Congregation)
8. Offering (Special Music during offering)
9. Prayer for offering (Chairman)
Analysis 215
10. Special Music (Choir or Solo or Duet or Quartet)
11. Reading Scripture (Chairman or as selected)
12. Sermon (Preacher)
13. Closing Hymn (Congregation)
14. Benediction (Ordained Pastor)
Such worship program seldom changed.

Acts 2:46-47 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their
homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the
people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received
the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said
was true.

14. Church Growth
It was reported by Rev. Bixby on April 2, 1863, “It was necessary to build a chapel in the Shan
village where most of the Shan disciples were, and on two Sabbath morning about one hundred Shan
gathering around at the worship. I shall organize another Church there soon if the Lord’s will the two
will be two miles apart.”
It was reported by Rev. Bixby in May 1866, “We have three Churches
gathered from the Burman, Shan and mountain tribes and the germs of others seem to be springing into
life. The aggregate membership is 102.”

Also reported in MuongNai in 1898, “Our Church here has almost doubled its membership by
baptism. Our gain has been ten by baptism and one by restoration; five have been baptized from the
school, two through treatment at the hospital and three are from the heathen on the compound. There
still remain five or six who say they intend to be baptized, but I do not feel that these are all Christians.
Our Sunday School is doing thoroughly good work, but is now ready for better organization. Our
missionary offering was this year made a special object in which the school children participated, some
earning money by drawing water, some by raising chickens, some by cleaning house etc. We raised
altogether 70 rupees”

Rev. Young reported, “The baptism of almost an entire small Ahka village and of forty Wa who
came from the extreme northern part of the field in China. One of the most significant and inspiring
records had come from the hills about KengTung where Rev. W. M. Young was laboring. In that
mission about 12,500 have been baptized since the beginning. The development of Christian character,
organization of the work, the steps taken toward self-support, the spiritual growth of the Christian and
the year had been one of the very best in the history of the mission. The outlook was very encouraging
in all. There were twenty-seven Churches, 649 baptisms and 10,552 members in the district.”
numbers were most likely hill tribes, not the Shan)
In 1914, the total number of Churches in all Shan States is 30 with 661 baptism and 10,777
(Not all are Shan)
In 1915, the total number of Churches in all Shan States is 70 with 12,682 members and 5
(Not all are Shan)

Letter From Mr. Bixby, Jan. 16, 1863, Toungoo.
Letter From Mr. Bixby, Toungoo, March 15, 1865, American Baptist Missionary Union 51st Annual Report
84th Annual Report, 1898, American Baptist Missionary Union, report from Dr. & Mrs. Henderson, Dr. Robert Harper,
Mrs. H.W. Mix
100th Annual Report, 1914, American Baptist Missionary Union
Analysis 216
In ShweLi in 1967, there are 3 Churches, 1,002 members, 3 ordained ministers, 6 un-ordained
(All are Shan)
In the beginning of Shan mission, Rev. Bixby reported on September 25, 1862, “The formation
of first Shan and Burmese Church of Toungoo composed of nine members.” It is amazing to see Rev.
Bixby can form a Church within one year with nine members. Bixby was very ambitious. He was going
to organize one more Church, seven months after the first one, just two miles apart. The idea was to
have a Church for the Shan since the first one was for Shan and Burman combine using Burmese
language. In May 1863, one year later, the member of the Church increased to thirty-three natives,
including three disciples from Rangoon, is a vigorous and promising body. The Church grew so quickly
to 102 membership and three Churches within 5 years in Toungoo. But all were not Shan. A Church of
101 members was reported at TaungGyi in 1910. But all were not Shan.

The number of Churches is one of the measurements of the success of the missions. The
number of members is one of the indicators of Church growth. In 1988, the total number of Churches in
Eastern Shan State was 247 and 18,805 members, the total number of Churches in Northern Shan State
was 150 and 15,403 members, the total number of Churches in Southern Shan State was 26 and 4,300
members. They all are multi-racial Churches. Out of these figure Shan Churches in the Eastern Shan
State was 13, Northern Shan State was 7 and Southern Shan State was 3.

In the year 2001, the number of Shan Churches in the East was 70 with 8,500 baptized
members, Shan Churches in the North was 17 with 2,292 baptized members and Shan Churches in the
South was 3 with about three hundred baptized members, making total number of Shan Churches to 90
and 11092 members in 140 years. The other tribal groups whom have been evangelized by missionaries
later than the Shan have more Churches and believers.
Lahu Baptist Convention has 273 Churches and 23,496 members,
Kachin Baptist Convention has 261 Churches and 137,150 members,
Zomi Baptist Convention has 761 Churches and 82,378 members,
Lisu Baptist Convention has 110 Churches and 17,482 members.
There are groups of Shan believers in some villages and towns but are not recognized as Churches
because they don’t have a full-time pastor and Church building according to Shan Baptist’s definition
of the Church.

Mark 4:20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop — thirty,
sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow

15. Church Building
Rev. Bixby reported on June 28, 1861, “I have selected a site for a central chapel near the
bazaar free from noise but easy of access from all quarters. When I can command I hope to build a
small chapel or zayat in each Shan village.”
Bixby later got a plot of land near the bazaar. He
borrowed money and built a teakwood chapel in which regular worship was begun in May 1862. Bixby
said, “At the very beginning of the year I band it impossible to labor to advantage without a chapel or

101st Annual Report, 1915, American Baptist Missionary Union
Minutes of 99th Annual Meeting of Burma Baptist Convention held in The Centennial Karen Baptist Church, Insein 7-10
December 1967.
Minutes of 111th Annual Meeting of Burma Baptist Convention, Dec 28 – Jan 2, 1985 held in NamKham
Letter From Mr. Bixby, June 28, 1861. Toungoo.
Analysis 217
zayat. My house, being in cantonment, could not be used as a place of worship and then a dwelling
home is never suited especially in this country to such a purpose.”
Within one month Bixby and
friends were holding meetings in the new chapel. The cost of the building including land, furniture, etc.
was 2,000 rupees that were all provided, except about 300 rupees.
The first Shan-Burmese church
building of Toungoo was consecrated at Lau-koke-ta-ya at five o’clock on January 18, 1863. About one
hundred people gathered around and Bixby preached “Jesus and the resurrection.”

Bixby arrived Toungoo in March. He was looking for a site to build a chapel three months after
his arrival, even before he got a convert. Is building chapel very important? Why did he make it his first
priority? The Shan are not use to worship god with other people at home. The Shan use to have worship
activity at monastery. They feel more solemn and holy when they worship God in a special place like a
Church or chapel. They assume that the holy god is only at the holy place such as monastery. There
should be a church building whether big or small to have a special place for worship. When Rev. Bixby
did not have enough money to build a chapel, he borrowed the money because having a church building
was so important for the people of Buddhist background. It was reported in 1892 that there were 33
members and a bamboo chapel was built in MuongNai. Missionaries built either chapel or church
building in all mission fields in Shan States.

Shan believers consider building a church building for congregation is very important. They do
not call a fellowship of believers as a “Church” without church building. Some Churches’ leaders put
the building of the church building much more important than any other ministries of the Church. The
church building of Shan Churches varied in size and cost. Some are big and cost millions of Kyat with
concrete wall and zinc roof, some are small with bamboo wall and thatch roof. They are willing to
spend a lot of money for the building but reluctant to spend a little more money on missions and
evangelism. People are also very keen to donate money for the building but not for missions. For the
Buddhist it is the great merit in making donation for building the monastery or pagoda. Even Buddhists
are willing to donate money for Christian church building. Church leaders use to make every special
effort to raise fund for the building. Some Christians and leaders do not understand the meaning of
“Church.” Most of them think that Church is just a “Christian organization.” A senior pastor of Judson
Church said to me, “You cannot call your ‘Shan fellowship’ as ‘Shan Church’ because you don’t have a
church building, you are just having worship program at rented room, your pastor is not ordained, you
don’t have Sunday school class, you don’t have youth fellowship, you don’t have women fellowship.”
In fact there is a full-time un-ordained pastor, a rented memorial hall for regular Sunday worship
service with more than one hundred believers attending and they have other activities such as Bible
Study program, home cells meeting and outreached ministries. But it is not recognized as a Church
according to Baptist Senior pastor. I heard some members of the Church alleged that in 1990 a church
building committee in the North have raised money for church building by getting gambling permit
from authority and sold it to the gambling mogul and collected taxes from the gambling for church
building fund. This allegation is serious. I went to the North to investigate. I could not interview the
chairman of the church building committee because a year ago he suddenly collapsed and died in the
Church while he was collecting the offering and secretary of the committee was seriously ill and I have
to lay hands on him and pray in stead of interview. The report shows that the initial fund collected for
the building in 1989 was only Kyat 6,000. It was far below the required payment to contractor. A
special collection from 50 hard-core members was done and got Kyat 132,800. The laying foundation
was done on April 19, 1989 with the cost of Kyat 573,122. How could they get such big amount of
money in a month? The source of money was not mentioned in the report. I interviewed a lady from

Letter From Mr. Bixby, May 8, 1862, Toungoo.
Letter From Mr. Bixby, Jan. 18, 1863, Toungoo.
Analysis 218
that Church, she admitted, “Yes. It is true.” Again I asked another senior member of the Church who
was a daughter of the late pastor, she said, “Yes. It is true. A young pastor of the association was very
angry and surrendered his pastoral card immediately.” If it is true, how shameful and sinful way of
raising fund for church building. The place is now the largest gambling city in the country. Another
Shan Church in the East sell lottery tickets for fund raising purpose during Christmas season. Where is
our Christian ethic?
Shan Churches are still very peculiar. The church building must have a tall bell tower. Without
bell tower, the building is not considered as a church building. Shan Christians consider the church
building as a holy building and the church ground is a holy ground. In some Churches people do not
wear shoes or sandals or hats in the church. They do not bring food into the church or eat in the church.
Children are not allowed to run around and play in the church or shout in the church. They consider
making a loud noise in the church is an insult to God.

Habakkuk 2:20 But the LORD is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.

Acts 17:24 The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does
not live in temples built by hands.

16. Evangelism
Rev. Bixby said on June 28, 1861, “My method of labor for the present will be as follows: ‘a
part of the day is devoted to the study of the Shan language and the Burmese language, a part to
preaching to both Shan and Burman. I propose to occupy a zayat daily in some central places where
both races congregate. I hope also to open a chapel soon for regular Sabbath services. Besides I expect
to preach from house to house by the wayside and wherever I can get a human ear. Thus I hope to sow
the seed. It may be a long time before the seed scattered will come to maturity but we will sow in hope.
We feel confident that God has commenced a work among the Shan and He never will be defeated.”

Knowing native language was the first priority for foreign missionaries so that they could
communicate with the people effectively. All missionaries to the Shan learned and spoke Shan very
fluently. It was reported in 1915 that Rev. Young spoke Shan very well and used Shan language in
reaching other hill tribes who were Animists in KengTung. It was compulsory for foreign missionaries
to learn Shan language and literature so that they could preach gospel to the Shan in their language.
Zayat was in fact like a convention and exhibition hall of modern day. People from different places
came and stayed together for a short stay at zayat as their temporary shelter. Their methods of
evangelism were preaching in zayat, bazaar, house to house and distributing tracts to non-believers.
House-to-house preaching was like a personal evangelism. It provided good person-to-person contact
and more opportunity for dialogue. I have seen my late pastor Rev. Kham Maung of MuSe did the same
in 1960. It was very successful.
It was reported in HsiPaw in 1889, “During the year jungle trips, bazaar preaching, jail
meetings and house-to-house visitations have been continued as heretofore”
Shan villages used to
have fifth-day-bazaar (bazaar on every fifth day). Hundreds of people are selling and buying goods at
one place. Missionaries took opportunity of meeting various people group, preaching the gospel and
distributing the tracts at bazaar. It was their evangelistic meeting place. Sometimes they could reach
more than one thousand people in one day. It was reported in May 1862, “His father keeps on hand a
supply of the Scriptures and tracts for the benefit of himself, son and neighbors. Sometimes he has a tea
party at his house to which he invites his relatives and friends. The preachers are also invited and

Letter From Mr. Bixby, June 28, 1861. Toungoo.
85th Annual Report, 1899, American Baptist Missionary Union, report from Rev. Cochrane
Analysis 219
requested to give the company information regarding the person and character of the Lord Jesus Christ
and during the time many important questions are asked and answered.”
The believers used to invite
their neighbors and friends to come to their home for green tea or meal and listen to the gospel. Inviting
friends for a green tea was a custom of friendship and fellowship. Shan seldom decline personal
invitation. Shan seekers are zealous. Once they seek they will seek until they have found. They may
walk on foot for the whole day to get to the place to hear the gospel when they want to hear. They may
not believe without questions or arguments base on their belief.
Rev. Bixby said on January 16, 1863, “We do not always go together but separate into twos to
reach a larger number but we are careful to get together often that we may not lose our sympathy or
the power of united prayer. A bed of live coals separated in many parts would soon become pale and
dead but kept together each lends to others its heat and glow.”
This is a Biblical model of going out
together in two. Jesus sent His disciples two by two. Working and praying together is showing unity in
spirit. Rev. Bixby reported on November 23, 1863, “After getting into our new house I went to
Rangoon with the hope that at least one small tract might be printed in the Shan language before my
departure to the Shan States and also to make preparation for our contemplated journey.”

Rev. J.A. Freiday said in July 1881, “The latter part of the first quarter accompanied by one of
my native preachers I visited the two annual fairs in the vicinity of Bhamo. At these fairs we met many
traders from distant villages to whom we gladly preached the word and gave tracts.”
After visiting
people at the village, what would be the tool of follow up? The tracts were very important cost-effective
materials since the Bible was not translated and available yet. Leaving the tracts for them to read and
revisit them again was the best way of follow up. Missionaries distributed tracts wherever they went.
Rev. Cushing reported in 1883, “Evangelistic effort is the great need of the Shan mission but health and
strength are necessary to put forth that effort.” Dr. Kirkpatrick reported in 1893 from HsiPaw, “There
were 306 gospel meetings and 4,791 people attended. There were interesting services in the jail every
day at the request of the SaoPha. By request of SaoPha, jail meeting held every day except Sunday. For
one hour the prisoners were called together from their work and listen to the gospel message. Several
professed conversion and all seem to appreciate our kindness in looking after them.” “They were gone
nearly two months and preached in nearly sixty large towns and bazaars.” “Soon a great crowd
gathered at the zayat our evangelists spent all of the afternoon and well on to midnight preaching to the
people.” “Also in the surrounding villages regular preaching visits had been made. In the town
visitation was also carried on. At the funerals of acquaintances was a good opportunity to preach
whenever possible.” 306 gospel meeting in a year was almost every day except Sunday. Evangelistic
trip lasted for two months. Evangelistic preaching in zayat from noon to midnight and also at funeral.
Ray Buker reported in 1935, “250-mile journey taking one month in June visit 20 Shan and 5
Lahu villages, 102 hours spent traveling. Interest shown near Chinese border where no Shan believers
exist. On our way home, a short day from MuongYang, we were stopped on the road by some Shan from
a village where we have not had the opportunity to visit. Last year they told us they heard the Good
News through a Lahu preacher. They were impressed. Now they wished to know all about it from a
Shan, i.e. from the lips of a man who knew their language and customs as one of themselves. They said
that their old religion was not satisfactory.”
Spending one month on foot and bullock to preach
gospel to 25 villages was a tremendous effort in reaching people with great endurance. Ai Noi said,
“People do not come to see a doctor until they are sick. When these people are in trouble they will turn
to us then they will be more responsive to the message we have to give them about Jesus Christ.” Dr.
H. C. Gibbens reported in 1914, “First despise then pity and then embrace was quite true of the

Letter From Mr. Simons, May 1862
Letter From Mr. Bixby, Jan. 16, 1863, Toungoo.
Letter From Mr. Bixby, Nov. 23, 1863, Toungoo.
67th Annual Report, July 1881, by J.A. Freiday
Letter from Ray Buker and Richard Buker, April 27, 1935
Analysis 220
converts won from heathenism.” It was reported in 1963, “Settlement evangelism is strongly advocated
for the Shan. The Shan are complacent and slow to change. They have a religion of their own,
Buddhism mixed with Phe (spirit) worship. And unless they are sick, diseased or possessed with evil
spirits, conversion is not easy.”

What is settlement evangelism? When someone believed in Christ and became Christian he
faced a lot of discrimination and hardship either from immediate family members or villagers. When
people were tormented or possessed by the evil spirit, they used to come to the Christian pastor and
asked for help. They knew that evil spirit feared Christian. After they were released from the evil spirit
they could not return to their own village because the villagers did not accept them. They were
discriminated against because they had been possessed by unclean evil spirit and they were considered
unclean. They had to be resettled somewhere. Sometimes a village for new believers had to be
developed. That’s why we can see the village called “Christian village” in Shan States.
It was reported in 1865, “Many strangers came in on Saturday. We opened the meeting
Saturday evening. After a few remarks, explaining the objective of the meeting and the reading of the
word with brief exposition, we spent the evening in special prayer for the descent of the Holy Spirit. No
time was lost but prayer after prayer followed in quiche succession interspersed with singing until a
late hour.

It was reported from Bhamo mission field in 1991 by Mr. Spring, “The people are Shan-Chinese and
have given the most hearty reception and willing ear to the gospel from the beginning. We sat some
days from dawn till nearly midnight telling the wonderful story of Jesus, stopping only long to eat our
meals. They did not want us to leave them and when we do they literally hung to our clothes begging us
to remain.”
How hungry were the souls! They listened until late hour. The time had no limit. As long
as the people were there and listening, the meeting continued even till the late hour.

Evangelism seems to be very successful in the beginning of Shan mission. The first Shan
convert was baptized within a year after arrival of Rev. Bixby to Toungoo. Another 8 Shan baptized
just 4 months after the first baptism. The Shan are traditionally resistant to the gospel and Western
influence at least in part due to negative experiences during the British colonization period. Christianity
is seen as a Western religion and there is a lack of a Shan way of “Doing Church”. Western forms are
often adopted though there is one Church on the Thai-Burma border who is making headway in the area
of funerals, a very important part of Shan culture. “To be Shan is to be Buddhist”, they say of
themselves. The idea of eternal life seems to them irrelevant, as the goal of Buddhism is to seek for
passionless peace. The existing Shan Churches in Shan State are often lacking in desire and initiative to
reach out to their Buddhist neighbors. There is a Christian sub-culture that is hard for new believers to
break in to.

Some Shan Churches are trying very hard in evangelistic works by sending short-term
evangelistic team to villages to preach gospel. But sometimes transportation or money are the excuses
for not going out for evangelism. It should not be an excuse. Compare to transportation one hundred
years ago, present situation is a lot better and easier. The Church should send out preachers to preach
and the Church should pay for their travel expenses. Nowadays we don’t see a preacher preaching
gospel in bazaar or zayat like American missionaries did in the past. Bazaar preaching, zayat preaching,
prison ministry, gospel tract distribution are no longer exist today. There are house meetings
occasionally for thanksgiving service and special worship service with believers but not as an
evangelistic outreach meeting. We use to send evangelistic teams to the villages. We use to hold

Progress Report Of KengTung Shan Baptist Field, 1957-1963.
The Missionary Magazine August 1865, p309, report from Rev. Bixby, Feb. 1, 1865.
97th Annual Report, 1911, American Baptist Missionary Union
http://www.joshuaproject.net/profiles/text/t113721.pdf Apr 21, 2006, p10
Analysis 221
evangelistic rally at open-air and mass evangelistic outreach program. However not many people come
to the Lord and ended up in the Church after such trip and crusade. Sometimes we only want to have a
good record without having a good result and bearing fruits. In 1978, I have an opportunity of helping
well known Burmese evangelists from Rangoon holding several open-air evangelistic meeting in
different towns in Northern Shan State. Many people came forward and gave their names indicated that
they were either interested to know more or believed in Christ. But we didn’t see those people ended up
in our Churches. Because we didn’t plan for follow-up. We just wanted to do it and make it happen but
not really getting people converted and ended up in the Church as believers.
Buker said in 1935 that the Shan he met wanted to hear the gospel in their own language. It’s
true. When I visited PangLong in June, 2000, about one hundred Shan came to listen to gospel I
preached in Shan language as a native Shan. Many of them were in tears and came forward to receive
Jesus. They said that it was the first time they had heard the gospel in their own language.
Not every Shan Church today is engaging in evangelistic work even though it is the greatest
need among the Shan. Many Shan Churches, evangelists and pastors do not have the opportunity of
being trained in evangelism, mission and Church Planting and motivated. Many of them do not know
how to present the gospel to Buddhist. There are many methods used in gospel presentation. Most of
them are developed from the West. We have not yet developed a method to be used in the Shan in their
own context with their background belief, culture and tradition. Some “Western method of Evangelism”
may not be suitable to the Shan. Some methods of approach, the way of presentation, the words to use,
the analogy and illustration to give should be in Shan style, which is acceptable and understandable to
local people depends on their tradition and cultural back ground. We have to be aware that some of the
Western style of presentation might even be an offense to the people in the East. For example the
question, “If you died tonight, do you think you will go to heaven?” is considered bad omen and
disrespectful and the preacher will certainly receive angry response from listener. Adopting Western
style of living by local pastors, evangelists and believers is also one of the drawbacks for our
evangelistic effort among the Shan.
In evangelizing the Shan, it is important to identify with them as “Shan”. Rev. Ray Buker
dressed as Shan when he lived among the Shan. When I visited Maehongson in 1988, I saw a
missionary from Holland wearing Shan dress and having Shan name. If western missionaries put on
Shan dress and take Shan names, why do the Shan pastors, Shan evangelists and Shan Christians put on
western dress and take western name? Why not dress our own dress, speak our own language and
identify with our own people? May be our Shan long pan do not have pockets. Shan use to argue and
debate before they agree to believe. In preaching gospel to the Shan we should allow them to ask
questions. They may not believe unless they have their questions and doubts cleared. Without knowing
the Bible well, it will be difficult for evangelist to evangelize the Shan. Shan use to discuss with their
Buddhist knowledge. Knowledge of Buddhism is also very much necessary for Shan evangelist. They
will lookdown on you if you do not know how to answer their questions. Very difficult hypothetical
questions such as “How can dead woods give green leaves again?” “How can 99 people get clean when
only one person takes the bath?” “How can 10 people get full when one person eats?” etc. Even though
they will come with question, discussion, debate and argument, seldom there is a fight. We have never
seen any evangelist or missionary being beaten or killed because of preaching gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to
win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I
became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.
To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law
but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win
the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all
this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Analysis 222
17. Support
Rev. Bixby said on June 28, 1861, “I have been laboring several days among the numerous
traders from the Shan country. They receive me very kindly and appear pleased with the idea of having
a foreign teacher and urge me to go to their country and promise me a kind reception and many
friends. I have a great desire to comply with their request but have not the means. Can you furnish
money to print a few small tracts in Shan? Can you furnish money to enable me to spend next dry
season in the Shan country?”
Bixby reported in 1864, “We have six Shan six Burman and fourteen
mountaineers preparing to be teachers and preachers and in the primary department. Mr. Bartholomew
has seventeen boys and Miss. Marston has twenty one girls some Burman some Shan. The young man
preparing for the ministry are boarded and clothed by us when preachers and teachers go forth among
the heathen to take up new fields they must be for a season mainly supported by us. I beg to give thanks
for these donations for they have enabled me to meet the growing wants of the mission which no human
foresight could have provided for in advance.”

In 1871, Women Baptist Missionary Society supported Mrs. Cushing’s Eurasian School and
Shan School. The activities of missionaries were limited by financial resources. The support mainly
came from abroad. Dr. Henderson wrote in 1916, “We think and write of intensive development but
actually grow weaker and weaker every year. I do not know what we should have done for the loyal and
earnest help of Miss. Kingsley, head mistress of the school. A gymnasium has been provided at a cost of
1,100 rupees and an old mission house remodeled at a cost of 1,000 rupees of which only 150 rupees
were received from America.”
It was reported in HsiPaw in 1893 by Dr. Kirkpatrick, “HsiPaw
SaoPha gave a building for a hospital and Rupee 1,000 toward furnishing instruments, Rupee 500 for
medicine in October and received Rupee 500 from the government because we have cared for so many
of the government employees. The SaoPha has given the logs and we have about twenty men sawing
lumber also twenty carpenters at work on the frame and the coolies have the post holes all dug, so in a
few days we expect to have the framework up.”

Kirkpatrick reported in 1895, “The SaoPha continues to be very kind and helpful. He gave land,
money for medical and schoolwork, all the logs for the chapel and assists us in every way he can. On
Christmas day we had a double wedding in the chapel and gave the SaoPha and some of his ministers
an invitation. They all came and seemed much interested and impressed by the wedding ceremony.
Before leaving the chapel the SaoPha gave each of the grooms a large silver betel-nut box, and to each
of the brides he gave a ruby and diamond ring. To each child in the school he gave Rupees 3 and to me
he gave a bag of Rupees 200 for mission work. I doubt if any other station of our society has ever had
so much help from the native ruler as we have had here.” We do not forget that it is “the living God
who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”

“SaoPha of HsenWi was pleased to hear that a mission was being started at NamKham and
readily gave Brother Cochrane an order for as much unoccupied land as he wants for mission use. At
the same time he wanted to know when we could come to his city to begin mission work. He asked us to
look over the whole city and select the most desirable site for a mission compound and he would have it
marked and reserved for us. We gladly accepted his offer and selected a fine knoll, which will be near
the new palace. From this knoll one can see all over the city. I counted twenty-three villages in sight.
This is a very important field about midway between HsiPaw and NamKham and ought to be occupied
at once while the SaoPha is so friendly and ready to help. At both NamKham and HsenWi timber is
very scarce and poor only jungle wood and probably all permanent buildings at both places must be

Letter From Mr. Bixby, June 28, 1861. Toungoo.
Letter Of Moses Homan Bixby, 25 July 1864, The Missionary Magazine, Feb 18, 1865
79th Annual Report, 1893. American Baptist Missionary Union, report from Dr. Kirkpatrick
81st Annual Report, 1895, Baptist Missionary Union
Analysis 223
made of brick. We spent one bazaar day here and had crowds of listeners till the rain came on. The
SaoPha invited us to the palace for one service. The large room was crowded and great interest was
manifested by some.”
SaoPha were very supportive to missionaries’ works. The missionaries had
good relationship with both SaoPha and government. However not a single SaoPha had accepted the
Lord and baptized.
Rev. Cochrane reported in 1896 from NamKham, “We expect to organize a native Church here
soon with probably not far from twenty members. We shall aim to raise the pastor’s salary at least from
the start. In truth I told Dr. Kirkpatrick that I did not favor the organization of a local Church until it
would pledge itself to support its own pastor. It is better to wait and start right. This station was never
in so prosperous a condition as it is now bazaar meetings thronged, little school growing, helpers
increasing and permanent buildings in view.”
It was reported in 1910 that MuongNai Church has
maintained its standard of self-support providing the entire salary of a native pastor.
Dr. Henderson reported in 1912, “In TaungGyi, a Lutheran, who is engaged as a hospital
assistant, subscribed Rs. 100 toward the building and undertook to raise another Rs. 200 through local
contractors and himself gave Rs. 15 monthly toward the support of the preacher.”
He also reported
in 1914, “six organized Churches on his field the central Church at TaungGyi being entirely self-
supporting. Besides the pastor’s support thus Church has contributed regularly more than half of the
Taungthu Pastor’s salary and since the close of the Judson fund has been contributing at about the
same rate toward a new school building.”
TaungGyi Baptists contributed Kyat 1,800 towards the
Shan State Bible School Fund and some Christians supported four pupils.
Two new Primary Schools
had been started at MuongYang, taken care of by Saya Chein and Saya Baw Lu taken care of school at
WanYawt Lu on self supporting basis.

ShweLi Valley Shan Mission reported in 1961, “Supporting each student at Burma Theological
and Divinity School at Kyat 250 per year, aiding Kyat 478 per year to the Burma Baptist Convention
Fund, supporting to the Shan States Bible School, TaungGyi, at Kyat 260 yearly, paid the salary of
Saya Peter Loo at Kyat 80 per month up to December 1960, paid salary of Sayama Shwe Aung, the
Missionary to KaChio, Kyat 80 per month up to July 1961, Starting from April the salary of Saya Aung
Htun will be paid by the Myitkyina Baptist Association, aiding TaGown Chinese Church Kyat 200 from
the Shan Baptist Association, Kyat 100 from the Women’s Association and Kyat 100 from the Christian
Endeavor Society, paid the salary of Saya Tu Ja for two months during school holidays at Kyat 76 per
month, ShweLi Valley Shan Baptist Mission reported in 1963, financially we are weak and can support
only three pastors and a secretary. Our special evangelistic program is supported by mission
I am surprised to see that in 1959, Shan Churches in ShweLi had given financial
help to Indonesia Relief 100 Kyat and to Churches in Korea 350 Kyat.
It was reported from LoiLem field in 1963, “We are privileged to receive financial aid from the
Inter-Church Aid, Geneva. This project in promoting the economic life of refugees has already been
carried out for about three years after which we expect the refugees to be able to manage by
themselves. We are using modern equipment and teaching the people new methods of cultivation. Our
aim is to make the village a self-supporting one. At the same time we are trying to improve the
economic standard of other Churches In our field too. A tractor that we have serves us with double
purposes. It is very useful for ploughing and at the same time with a trailer attached to it, it can ferry
our Church people to visit other Churches and non-Christian villages nearby for preaching the Gospel.

The Baptist Missionary Magazine 1895
Letter From Rev. W. W. Cochrane, NamKham, Sept. 14, 1896
98th Annual Report, 1912, American Baptist Missionary Union
100th Annual Report, 1914, American Baptist Missionary Union
90th Annual General Meeting, of the Burma Baptist Convention held at Cushing Hall, Rangoon. October 24-25-26, 1958
KengTung Baptist Conference Report for the year ending July 31, 1959
ShweLi Shan Baptist Mission, Annual Report, 1962 - 63
Analysis 224
The result is that they become more and more interested in our religion. Besides helping each family in
their farms we have allotted over twenty acres as the Lord’s acres from which we hope we will be
getting some money.”

The support to local Churches comes mainly from members of the Church. Government or local
authority does not give financial support to the Church. Sometimes they also received support from
foreign friends and Churches. Some Shan Churches are financially rich and independently self-
supporting. They may have millions of Kyat in their account since Shan are generous in donation. But
some Churches are very poor. They don’t even have enough money to support their pastors. Some
pastors have to do other work to support their families. The work and ministry of the pastor are
declining because they have to spend more times on their secular work to earn extra money. Sometimes
secular works have drawn full-time pastors to quit their ministry. The strong Church seldom helps the
weak Church financially. It is rare to see one Church supporting other Church financially. One may
have million but one may have nothing to support their pastor and ministry. Some funds are raised from
abroad to support Shan Churches in training, pastors, evangelists, evangelism, missions and Church
Planting since 1984. Shan Churches and missions must learn how to be self-supporting. I believe the
strength is within us. But we are lacking of love, care, unity and priority. We need two kinds of support
to Shan Churches. One is spiritual support and the other is educational support. Most of the Shan
Churches are spiritual weak and biblical, theological education are very much limited.

Ezra 10:4 Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are

18. Friendship
Dr. Griggs said in 1901, “Since then I have performed several operations upon people
belonging to the village including a Buddhist priest and have given medicine to almost everybody there
at one time or another. This, of course, has made them very friendly and we wished very much to open
an out-station there but we had no one whom we could spare from our compound.”

It was reported in TaungGyi in 1915, “Dr. Henderson‘s skilful medical work has made many
friends among the people” Missionaries were well treated and accepted by people because they offered
health care services and education to the public without discrimination. They gained friendship through
their services. It was reported by Dr. Henderson from MuongNai in 1912, “At the Christmas
entertainment, which the Christians of MuongNai themselves managed with such skill, the rulers of the
town, the prince and his wives, all attended. During the celebrations in honor of the coronation,
Christians were the only ones invited into the prince’s palace where they were entertained with
It was very uncommon to have a royal family, ruler of the people who were
Buddhists, to attend Christian gathering. It was an extraordinary achievement for Shan Christians to be
invited to prince’s palace as special guests during coronation celebration. It was reported in TaungGyi
in 1914, “Nearly all who were baptized came from those who live near and this seems to be the rule
each year. First despise, then pity and then embrace is quite true of the converts won from heathenism.
Those who are reached as a general rule seem to be the people who first became acquainted with the
missionary by daily intimate contact and then attend the services, after which they generally become

87th Annual Report, 1901, American Baptist Missionary Union, report from Dr. Griggs
98th Annual Report, 1912, American Baptist Missionary Union from Dr. Henderson
Analysis 225
Making contact with the people with patience, kindness and love is the best method of
approach to Shan Buddhist. They may first express their dislike, then may have pity on the dedication
and suffering of the missionaries and later they may embrace Christianity.
Dr. H.C. Gibbens reported in 1914, “First despise then pity and then embrace was quite true of
the converts won from heathenism. Those who were reached as a general rule seem to be the people
who first became acquainted with the missionary by daily intimate contact and then attend the services
after which they generally became Christians.”
It was reported in KengTung in 1927, “Apparently it
seems essential that in work for the Shan confidence and friendship have first been established as a
basis of approach for the Gospel message”
This statement is absolutely correct. Without friendship
with the people and lack of confidence, they may turn deft ears to you. Once you got friendship and
gained confidence you will be treated as their family member and they will be willing to listen to you.

Building friendship is the cornerstone in Shan missions. Shan are friendly people. They love
making friend, they love making joke, fun and laughing, they love social gathering. eating, playing
gong-mong and dancing. Once you are friendly to them and they are friendly to you, then you’ve got
listening ears and you can preach gospel to them easily. Preacher should first gain friendship before
preaching. Making friend with monks, village leaders and people is the most important way to success
in missions among the Shan. Building friendship doesn’t mean that we have to do what they do. Make
friend without compromise in faith and truth of Christianity. When you’ve gained confidence, trust and
friendship from them you’ll be welcomed to be their guests, stay at their home, given best hospitality
and treated as their family member. If a missionary or evangelist cannot make friend with or gain
confidence from the people he cannot live long in that place. He may face a lot of difficulty and
problem. It is wrong for Christians to distant themselves from people of other faiths. Make friends, not

Proverbs 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his

Mathew 11:18-19 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon.” The Son
of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax
collectors and “sinners.”“ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.”

Acts 10:28-29 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to
associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure
or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why
you sent for me?”

Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate
with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

100th Annual Report, 1914, American Baptist Missionary Union
100th Annual Report, 1914, American Baptist Missionary Union, pp339-340
History Of The KengTung Mission, Telford 1927
Analysis 226
19. School
It was reported by Rev. Bixby on May 8, 1862, “Mrs. Bixby has an interesting day school,
which is increasing in number already more than thirty have been in attendance and many of them are
from the very best families in Toungoo. They are taught the Scriptures daily and are required to attend
Sabbath school and Sabbath worship. We study the Bible the first hour every morning. During the year
five of the pupils have been baptized and all over ten years of age are Christians. We are looking for
them to become the preachers, teachers and Bible women in the near future.”
Bixby started school
within a year after arriving Toungoo. Missionaries used to start their missions by establishing schools
and hospitals. Education was one of the main missionaries’ arms in reaching Shan. It was what the
people needed most. Even though they were not interested in gospel, the parents certainly wanted their
children to get education. Learning scriptures and attending Sunday worship were compulsory for the
students in mission school. Even though students were non-Christians they had to follow. Parents
agreed. Some students later believed and baptized. They were later trained to become preachers and
Rev. Young in KengTung reported in 1927, “There is a SaoPha‘s school in town where free
education is given but despite this competition many parents prefer to send their children to the Mission
School where both the teaching and the discipline are better. Even the SaoPha sends some of his family
to our Mission School“
Mission Schools had good reputation and achievement in education and
discipline. Most parents wanted to send their children to mission schools despite school fees were much
higher than public school. There were mission schools in every mission field.

All mission schools were nationalized and taken over by the military government in 1962. No
more mission or Christian school exists today. Nowadays Shan Churches do not provide any kind of
education neither to the public nor Church members except some Churches have nurseries. Shan
Churches should have a literary teaching classes for their member because many younger generations
do not know Shan literature. Shan literature is not taught in government schools any longer after
military takes over the governance of the country. Some Shan Churches use Burmese Bible, Burmese
Hymn and Burmese language instead of Shan because they are either not good in Shan or do not know
Shan any more. There will be no more Shan Churches if Shan Churches do not use Shan language and
literature. Shan Churches need to provide teaching Shan literature to their people who do not know
Shan so that they can read Shan Bible and sing Hymn, praise and worship in Shan language. I am
wondering, even though we put our greatest effort in translating Bible into Shan language in new Shan
writing, who are going to read it if they don’t know Shan literature? I have seen many Shan pastors and
Christians are using Burmese Bible. Most of our pastors have got training from Bible Schools and
Seminaries in Burmese language.
Churches should also provide other educational lessons to their members such as civil, health,
agriculture and technology since there are some experts in our Churches.

Exodus 18:20 Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are
to perform.

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things
your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children
and to their children after them.

Letter From Mr. Bixby, May 8, 1862, Toungoo.
History of The KengTung Mission, Telford 1927
Analysis 227
20. Religion of Poor and Outcasts
Dr. Henderson reported in 1907 from MuongNai, “Here, he must shelter the poor witch who has
barely escape from her village with her life here pick up the poor traveler or beggar, forsaken his
companions in his direst need, and left to die like a dog alone. Here he is to raise a refuge for the blind,
the halt, the maimed until gradually the people, forgetting that foreign medicine will cause them to
swell up and die, lose their dread of being cut to pieces by the foreign doctor, are ready to brave the
unlaid ghosts of the patients who have died in the hospital and trusting to Jesus through the doctor (for
the two are strangely jumbled together in their minds) come to him with friend, mauled by animal or
hacked by man, wife in sore distress or child with broken limb, the blind, and the leper, saying as they
lay them at his feet, “trust all to you, do with them as you will. Such in bare outline is the doctor’s work
in Burma.”

It was reported by Dr. Henderson in 1907, “Here will he be called on to cure those from whom
the native exorcists have failed to drive out evil spirits? Here must he prove that medicine is more
powerful to stop the cholera? He must shelter and heal the poor witch who has barely escaped from
her village, the poor traveler or beggar forsaken by his companions in his direst need and left to die
like a dog alone. Here he is to raise a refuge for the blind, the halt and the maimed.”
When the
people were accused of possessing evil spirit, they would try to exorcise it by witchdoctor. If not
successful, they would drive him out from the village and abandon him to die in the wilderness. Finally
they were rescued by missionaries. Dr. Keith Dahlberg reported in 1963 from KengTung, “Due to
greater ministry to the needy and poor often we are in financial difficulty but God answers our prayer
and we found enough help to meet our geed. We are still able to pay a regular visit to PangWai to see
patients every four week and some of the places on the way are also not neglected. We stop to help
whenever patients on the way halt us. In spite of the presence of some weaknesses in our hospital it is
positively progressing.”
Missionaries had to rescue them and save them. Most of the poor and
abandons later became Christians.

Since many of the believers and members of the Church are from former evil spirit possessed,
leprous, abandoned and poor people, Christianity is being seen as a religion of poor and outcasts.
Because many poor and outcast were saved by Christian workers and they came to Christ and became
Christians. Why isn’t the rich and educated Shan becoming Christian?
Shan people are quite stubborn, proud and logical. Unless they see a miracle with their own
eyes, feel the power of the Lord with their own experience, see our words in action; they do not want to
believe. The out casts, the poor, the sick who have seen the love and the power of God, believed. Rich
and healthy people seldom seek God. When people have problems especially with the evil spirits and
sickness, they first try to solve the problems by their own effort and belief. Eventually, when all failed,
they come to the pastor or Christian and ask for help to solve the problems. Some demon possessed are
released by the power of God, some lepers whom are abandoned by the community are helped and
cared by Christians, some outcasts and poor whom are being ignored are fed and supported by
Christians. The majority of Shan Christians are not wealthy. Very few Shan Christians are in the top
position in government offices. Shan evangelists seldom try to evangelize the top, rich and famous
people but the bottom, the grass root and the poor. Sometimes preachers are not courageous enough to
approach and preach gospel to the educated, rich and famous because of fear. Sometimes preachers feel

“The work of the doctor in Burma by A. H. Henderson, M.D, MuongNai, Burma, April 1907, The Baptist Missionary
Progress Report Of KengTung Shan Baptist Field, 1957-1963, 95
AGM, Burma Baptist Convention, Rangoon,
December 1963.
Analysis 228
that those people are too wealthy, influential and intellectual to approach. They may have inferiority
complex and not confidence enough to preach to those people. They dare not to tell them that they are
sinners who need Savior. They seldom get educated, rich and famous people converted. Most of the
educated, rich and famous people in the Church are second or third generation Christians. We need
evangelists who have the gift, who have the opportunity, who dare to evangelize the rich, the famous,
the influential, the key persons and the authority, who are courageous enough to go like Moses to King
Pharaoh. Sadly to say very few Shan pastors and evangelists have tertiary level education. Only five
Shan University graduates have attended Seminary in 140 years and serving as full-time pastor or
evangelist or missionary. Sometimes Christianity is also seen as religion of Chin, Kachin and Lahu hill
tribes because 90% of the Chin, Kachin and Lahu tribes are followers of Christ.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost.

Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of
the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

21. Leadership Quality
Rev. Bixby reported in 1864, “Therefore I selected several young men and brought them home
with me on my second tour. Not one of them have had ever been to Toungoo to school neither before
nor had any of them been baptized. I preferred to take those whom others had no claim and to have the
entire training of them myself.”
Dr. Kirkpatrick reported from NamKham in 1893, “As usual we had
a daily training class for all of the native workers and any other Christians who would come during the
rainy season. We spent about two hours a day in Bible study and prayer. Our hope for the
evangelization of the Shan is in training on the field Shan converts for the work.”

Kirkpatrick reported in 1895, “We now have a service at the hospital six mornings in the week
also at the jail. At BawGyo and HsiPaw we have zayats in the bazaar and each fifth day we have a
service at each place. The training class meets five times a week. All these services with the school and
four regular services on Sunday keep us all busy.”
Dr. A. H. Henderson said in August 1936, “The
Shan had been isolated from the world for 2000 years. Their way of life and conservatism was
understandable.” It was reported in 1954, “The work had grown to such an extent that some reliable
source of better-trained pastors and workers was a very urgent need.”
E.E. Sowards reported in
1954, “The great need of most of the fields in the Shan State is for many more and much better trained
pastors and Christian workers.” “A possible candidate for this position is Thra Aung Din now at
KengTung. He had two years in Judson College and then completed the four years in the Divinity
School obtaining the degree of B.Th. He has been in KengTung for several years and now speaks Shan
and Lahu in addition to Burmese, Karen and English. Thus he possesses many of the qualifications we
would desire in an efficient Director of Evangelism for the Shan State.”

All of the past Shan pastors and leaders were trained by missionaries as they helped and lived
with them. They did not have a chance of going to Seminary or Bible School. Rev. Ai Pan went to
Insein Seminary and studied for four months only. Nevertheless his Biblical knowledge was amazing.
His book “150 Sermons” written in Burmese was very popular among preachers. Spiritual quality is
much more important than educational knowledge.

Letter Of Moses Homan Bixby, 25 July 1864, (The Missionary Magazine, Feb 18, 1865)
79th Annual Report, 1893. American Baptist Missionary Union
The Baptist Missionary Magazine 1895
American Baptist Convention Year Book 1951
A Study of Baptist Work in the Shan States, By E.E. Sowards, 1954, Burma Baptist Mission, Rangoon.
Analysis 229
When we talk about quality of leaders we should focus on spiritual, moral, educational and
intellectual quality. The past leadership in Church ministry was in fact unexpected, self-given, when the
Burma military government asked all foreigners to leave the country immediately in 1966 military
coup. All local Christian leaders had to take all the responsibility and leadership role in the Church and
association without having any training and preparation.
On July 15, 2000, at the funeral service of late Rev. Sai Stephen, senior pastor Rev. Seng Tip
lamented in tears, “I don’t understand why God has called our leaders back home so soon. We don’t
have capable leadership now.” A man gave a testimony at KengTung GCI in 1997, “My father is an
ordained pastor in MuongYang. Even though I’m the son of a pastor I used to fall into bad habits. I got
married and have four children. In our Church we have cell groups to go and evangelize young married
couples. I was selected as a group leader. There are 15 members in the group. But nobody knows how
to pray and nobody attends Church. I have to lead them to go for evangelizing, so I have problems! I
asked the Lord to help me to lead them and be a good example. I started visiting every home and
praying for people. I found no change in their lives. One day I visited two of my cell members. I said,
‘we have nowhere to go today so what shall we do.’ They said, ‘let’s enjoy ourselves.’ They got drunk
and they cared about nothing.” How can such group of people become leaders of the Church? It is
important to choose and appoint the leaders who are spiritually qualified, not just to fill the post.
Churches use to have many posts and positions in Church ministries. There is not set requirement and
qualification to be elected to the position. When some one is going to be elected for spiritual position
he/she should have spiritual qualification.
The leaders are sometimes assigned to do what they do not understand and know how to do.
They are sometimes posted to the department which they have no knowledge of it. For example; a man
is elected to be treasurer of the Church, association and convention without knowledge in accounting. A
woman is elected director of mission and evangelism without having understanding and knowledge of
mission and evangelism. Leadership training and development among the Shan is not adequate. Most of
our Shan Churches’ leaders do not have opportunity of receiving training in leadership. Some of the
pastors are Bible school graduates but some are not. Some pastors are either retired army officers or
retired schoolteachers. Some become pastors without proper pastoral training. There are about twelve
Baptist Theological Seminaries in Burma in different languages but no Seminary or Bible School
teaching in Shan language for the Shan. It requires three to four years to complete study in Seminary.
No short course training programs are available. Seminars and conferences are seldom held. Without
proper knowledge and training, some leaders do not know how to lead the Church. Shan Churches are
under leadership of either Church Council or pastor. Even though the pastor may have physical or
spiritual problems, the members seldom take action against him. They use to say, “God will settle the
account with him. We do not want to do anything against pastor.” They consider dismissing or taking
action against a pastor is a great sin. They will allow the pastor to keep on going and doing until or
unless he resigns voluntarily or dies. Pastor use to serve until they die even though they are physically
become disable. They call it “faithful servant.” I have seen a senior pastor who has hearing defect. He
cannot hear what the people said. One day a lady came to him and told him about her dying mother and
asked him to pray for her mother. Then the pastor laid his hand on her head and prayed for her in tears,
as she was the one who was terminally ill. The lady then said, “Pastor. Not me. My mother.” Then he
stopped praying. A pastor’s resignation because of inability to lead is very rare. Some pastors refuse to
retire even when he reaches the age of seventy or become disable. Some pastors are really very honest,
sincere and faithful. They served until they died in the Lord with sound mind, sound doctrine and sound
teaching without dictatorial mentality.
Some selfish leaders in association and convention switch their position from one to another
when the term expires just like taking musical chairs among Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer to be in
the board of executive members. Some may have served in the board for several years in different
Analysis 230
position. Proud and happy to be chairman or secretary but forget the duty and responsibility to God.
Some leaders are good at talking but not good at working and not trustworthy. I have experienced a
leader who had promised me to take our foreign missionary couple from Myanmar-China border to
attend ShweLi Shan Centenary Celebration in MuSe in 1993. But on the day of their arrival he refused
to go and take them cross the border to MuSe instead he sent a pastor from Eastern Shan, who had no
knowledge of China, to go to RuiLi and take them cross the border. The pastor was arrested by Chinese
police and detained for the whole day before releasing him at night. A Church leader who has history of
adultery, criminal record and bad character has served as chairman and general secretary of the
association for several years. Sometimes there is a great competition, advocacy and conspiracy among
leaders at the time of election for the position in Church council, association and convention, not
competing to serve but just to get the position.
Some leaders are eager to receive but reluctant to give, want to be served but not to serve. Some
pastors are behaving like monks. They won’t go to visit people at home voluntarily unless people come
and invite them. I heard one pastor said, “Come and pick me up by a car and send me back home by a
car, so I’ll go.” He is willing to accept the invitation from well off people but not the poor. The poor
dare not to invite. Giving honorarium from the host to the pastor is a kind of “tradition”. A lecturer at
Seminary said, “The pastors are well off than us. They are not living on their salary alone. They have a
good extra income. You know what? Whenever people invite them to visit their home for whatever
reason they received gifts from the host before they leave. You know, people seldom invite us for
thanks-giving service at their home because we are not pastors.” A pastor told me that he had received
Kyat 100,000 from a Christian family as a gift for holding a thanks-giving service for them at their
home. Who can give such big sum of money? How do they get such big amount of money? Is it a dirty
money or black money? He said that he did not want to know how and where they get the money.
Suspicion always arise when a pastor is driving a car worth of Kyat 300,000 and having a big house,
when his salary is Kyat 10,000 per month. Some pastors and families are doing some secular business
for extra income. The tiny Shan Church (less than one percent) needs more leadership and the
opportunity to train their leaders within Myanmar.
We need leadership training to produce good
leaders in our Shan Churches. A pastor said in his letter of resignation from the Church, “I am a blind
guide. How can a blind guide lead the congregation? We all will fall into the pit.” He confessed and
resigned from the Church in1993 in Northern Shan State.

Romans 2:19-23 “If you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the
dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of
knowledge and truth-- you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against
stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?
You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by
breaking the law?

2 Peter 1:5-8 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness,
knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance,
godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these
qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

http://www.joshuaproject.net/peopctry.php Apr 21, 2006
Analysis 231
22. Language and Literature
Bixby said in 1861, “In the Shan country, little or nothing could be done without the Shan
on May 8, 1862, “I have kept up the study of both Shan and Burmese during the year
and have now nearly ready for the press two tracts in the Shan language.”
and in 1868, “Cushing
learned Shan with his ear, eyes, lips and action without learning Burmese. Rev. Case said in 1883, “My
time has been largely employed during the year in study of the Shan language.”
It’s important to
know Shan language in order to communicate with them effectively. Shan language is completely
different from other languages. They have their own literature. Rev. Bixby, Rev. Cushing and other
missionaries took Shan language as a vital knowledge they needed before reaching the Shan.
Immediately Bixby put an effort to print tracts in Shan language. Later Cushing became the expert in
Shan and translated Shan Bible and published Shan dictionary. Bixby said on November 12, 1862,
“These refugees (Shan) many of them can read Burmese far better than their own language though in
speaking they use Shan. I regard this as most favorable to the work of evangelizing the Shan in
Burmese for we have not only the entire Scriptures but also many other useful books (in Burmese),
which we could not expect to have in Shan for many years nor without very great expense. Furthermore
Burmese preachers can be used to advantage. Then a previous knowledge of this language to a
considerable extent has enabled me to work successfully from the beginning of the mission instead of
spending several years in before entering upon the work of preaching.” “The number of Shan who can
read Burmese is comparatively small and they are found mostly in SaoPha towns. The number of Shan
who can speak and understand Burmese is, of course, much larger than of those who can read.”

Many Shan can speak Burmese language well because Shan States were under Burman King for
327 years after the last Shan Kingdom was overthrown by Burman King in AD 1560 until British
annexed the Shan States in 1887. Bixby was advocating using Burmese to evangelize the Shan in
Toungoo because those Shan refugees understood Burmese well and the Bible was already available in
Burmese language. He thought of using Burmese preachers in reaching the Shan. A need of Shan
language in Shan missions is real. Many Shan are nationalistic and patriotic. They always want to keep
their identity and nationality. They are proud to be called “Shan.” Early in the year 1882 in Toungoo,
the Shan withdrew from the first “Burman-Shan Church” and formed a Shan Church by themselves.
They felt more comfortable to use their own language. Shan language and literature were widely used
among tribal groups in Shan States. It was reported in KengTung in 1906 that the children from the hill
tribes in school learned to read Shan literature easily and well. The pupils in school came from six
different tribes but the examinations were conducted in Shan, which was the common language for all
in KengTung. The hill tribes did not have their literature before missionaries invented one for them. But
Shan have their own literature and writing for more than one thousand years.
Dr. Henderson reported in 1896, “The general outlook of the field is very encouraging. Our
bazaar congregations are only about one-fourth or one-fifth as large as at first but this is not
surprising. It is due to two causes; first the novelty has worn off and their curiosity is largely satisfied;
second our services are entirely carried on in broken Shan a fact that we realize more and more as we
learn enough of the language to know the mistakes.” Mr. Sowards said in 1954, “Effective Christian
work in the Shan State required knowledge of more than one language. Burmese was not used very
much out in the villages. An effective Christian worker should be able to speak at least two or three of
the languages of the area in which he was stationed.”
It’s true. Almost all hill tribes can speak Shan
and Shan also can speak other languages. There are many different racial groups in Shan States. The

Letter From Mr. Bixby, June 28, 1861. Toungoo.
Letter From Mr. Bixby, May 8, 1862, Toungoo.
54th Annual Report, July, 1868, American Baptist Missionary Union
Letter From Mr. Bixby, Nov. 12, 1862, Toungoo.
A Study of Baptist Work in the Shan States, By E.E. Sowards, 1954, Burma Baptist Mission, Rangoon.
Analysis 232
closet tribes to the Shan are Kachin, Wa, Lahu, Lisu, Palong, Ahka and Chinese. That’s why missionary
working in Shan State required to speaking more than one language. It was also suggested in 1963 that
the Seminaries in Insein should open language classes of major dialects to enable the students who were
going to serve in the different parts of Burma among tribal groups to prepare themselves for immediate
and effective service on graduation. The four years in the Seminary would have ample of time to learn
other language. There were students in secular schools and colleges in Rangoon who would be able and
willing to give part of their time free or for a small sum of weekly allowance to teach language and
However this suggestion was not taken heed and materialized until today.

Insein Burmese Bible School is taught in Burmese, Karen Bible School is taught in Karen,
Myanmar Institute of Theology is taught in English and Kachin Bible School is taught in Kachin. The
other tribes including Shan have to learn their lessons in other languages. They have difficulty in
translating, preaching and teaching in Shan language when they graduated from other languages’
Today in Burma, many Shan can speak Shan but cannot read and write Shan well. They are
doing better in Burmese. Shan may not speak Burmese well but they can read Burmese better than Shan
because they all have to learn Burmese in school. Shan literature are not allowed to be taught in school.
That is why Burmese are used in many Shan Churches. If we don’t know Shan language how can we
preach to the Shan? Preach through translator? If we don’t know Shan literature how can we read Shan
Bible? Most of the Shan Christians are not very good neither at English nor other languages enough to
be a translator. We would get wrong translation. For example, in one instance, an English preacher said,
“You should be a workaholic” but the Shan translator translated, “You should be an alcoholic” because
translator did not understand the word “workaholic” but he only knew “alcoholic.” One translator
translates more than what the speaker actually said. Sometimes translator said completely different
from what the speaker really said. Knowing Shan language is a must to work among the Shan people
group. Regretfully less than 10% of Shan Christians are using and reading Shan Bible. They prefer
reading Burmese Bible, singing Burmese songs and writing in Burmese. All the minutes and records are
written in Burmese. Not a single Shan Church has recorded a meeting minutes in Shan. Their written
communications are all in Burmese. They prefer wearing Burmese longee rather than Shan pan.
Very few Christian books are translated or written in Shan language. The Holy Bible is the only
book fully translated into Shan. No other Christian books are fully translated. No Bible commentary or
Bible dictionary are translated. We have to thank God and Rev. Cushing for doing such a wonderful
things for our people in translating the whole Bible into our language in 1891. We don’t have many
Christian literatures in Shan because of the following reasons.
1. Man power.
Not many Shan Christians are working on writing and translation work.
Not many Shan Christians are qualified to do translation, writing and publication.
2. Materials.
Shortage of papers and other materials for printing.
3. Finance.
Printing cost is very high.
The financial situation in local Churches are not very strong to do publications.
Churches do not have priority in Shan literature publication.
4. Shan literature
Many Shan Christians do not read and write Shan.
Churches do not teach their children and members Shan literature.

Progress Report of KengTung Shan Baptist Field, 1957-1963, 95
AGM, Burma Baptist Convention, December 1963.
Analysis 233
5. Government policy.
No freedom of publication.
No publications can me made without government censorship.
No printed materials from abroad are allowed to be imported without import permit.
Shan culture, language, and heritage are in a state of crisis. They are gradually being assimilated
into the Thai, Burmese, and Chinese groups. Most cannot read and write their own language. There is a
definite need for Shan literature for evangelism and discipleship.

Acts 2:6-8 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one
heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are
speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?”

Acts 21:40-22:2 Having received the commander's permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to
the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic: “Brothers and fathers, listen now to
my defense.” When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.

23. Poverty and Faithfulness
Dr. Leeds reported in 1903, “The evangelists have been faithful and report encouragingly. But I
have trained two Eurasian young men fairly well as assistants. As soon as they were able to do
something and be of some use to me in each case they were caught using my medicines and working up
a practice of their own outside the hospital. As I was not able to stop it they were each given broader
fields in which to operate. The system of bribery is so inwrought into the nature of the people of this
country that they do not look upon it as wrong. It is very trying to do all your own work in the hospital
and attend to the medical work outside and then have all the other work of the station to look after.”

Mr. Case reported, “The saddest event of the year for us is the fall of Pai Dee, the oldest Shan
preacher. He was one of the first Shan converts and has been a preacher for many years. He has made
some slips heretofore and has been rather lazy, yet, on the whole, has seemed to walk very well. A few
months ago, however, he secured considerable money of me to go on a preaching-tour, then deserted
his wife who is nearly blind and several small children, took a young woman as a new wife and ran
away with her. He is a specimen of the kind of men we have to deal with in laboring for the Shan.”

Temptation is very strong. The inflation is very high. It gives hardship to many Christians. Paid
Christian workers are struggling to survive. The country is now the poorest and the least developed
country in the world. Because of poor economy, unstable policy and inflation, the people become
corrupt. This corruption is starting to infiltrate into the hearts and minds of the Christians and Churches.
Some pastors are very faithful despite poverty and difficulties. Some pastors are doing extra business to
earn extra money for family. A senior pastor said, “I have to work in rice field, operate grinding
machine to earn extra money to support my family.” Another pastor was away from home six days a
week to collect firewood for his earning. Some Christians have fallen to temptation because of poor
economy, poverty and financial weakness of the Church. Local pastors and full time Christian workers
are not adequately paid. Finding extra job and income for the family can lead the Christian workers
into moral, ethical and spiritual corruption. An ordained pastor from a Church in the North, who has
acted immorally and un-ethically in fecundating pigs on Sunday even in Church compound to get extra
money, has resigned from the Church after being complained by members. Some lay officers who are

http://www.joshuaproject.net/profiles/text/t113721.pdf p5
90th Annual Report, 1904, American Baptist Missionary Union, report from Dr. Leeds
70th Annual Report, July 1884, American Baptist Missionary Union
Analysis 234
managing and leading the Church and organization are not so considerate to their pastors. They are
eager to spend millions of Kyat to build a big and beautiful church building but reluctant to give one
hundred Kyat more to support their pastor. Their wrong concept is “pastor must be poor.” Four hundred
Kyat a month (in 1985) for the pastor with family of four is far from enough. At least one thousand
Kyat is needed. Today a pastor is paid between Kyat 5,000 to 15,000 a month when low-quality rice is
Kyat 5,000, high-quality rice is Kyat 20,000 per bag and one catty beef is Kyat 3,000. An ordained
pastor from the South said, “Oo ma ma thaung, thi la me zaung naing” literally means “If stomach is
not full, no one can be righteous” “It is very difficult for us to remain righteous. We have to do what
they do just for our survival.” Is this corrupt motto infiltrating the mind of our Christian leaders? If so
what is the difference between Christian and non-Christian? Do we have to lie as the others lie? Do we
have to cheat as the others cheat? Do we have to steal as the others steal?
Some pastors do not want to go to the rural area, small towns, or remote places to serve in
ministry or mission. They want to live and work in the big town or city at a well-established Church for
the sake of their family and children. They want to work in the office but not in the mission field for
comfort and opportunity. If someone is commissioned to go out or sent out to remote area, they would
resign. Going abroad is one of the dreams that Christian leaders are always dreaming of. Whenever the
opportunity has arisen for Christian leaders to go abroad for training or seminars or conferences or
study tour, many may apply but only a hand full of Christian workers who are working in the office or
convention have more opportunity. Some may have made the trips for more than five times but the
others may have to wait for ten years for the opportunity. More over, the most suitable persons are not
selected for foreign trip but the most favorable people are. Why do they want to go abroad even only
for three days? Some tried to go even when the conferences, seminars or meetings are already over.
Going abroad is the most blessed opportunity. They don’t have to pay for their air tickets, or hotel fee.
All are sponsored by foreign organizations or Churches. They have a chance of seeing the outside
world. They have a lucrative opportunity of bringing TV set, video recorder, camera, watch etc. back
to Burma. Importation of such electrical appliances must get prior approval from government in
normal circumstances. But those who come back from abroad are allowed to bring in without permit.
When a man leaves Burma, he is allowed to carry foreign currency only US$15 (in 1980s) out of the
country. However, when he returned, he would bring several things back with him worth US$500. Isn’t
it amazing?
Some local evangelists are being labeled “opportunists” because in some occasions they gave
some wrong information to the foreign mission boards or foreign mission organizations in order to get
financial or material supports. Some got foreign support for the Church or mission but it was misused
for their own benefits. I have seen a pastor whose salary is Kyat 10,000 per month but he owns a car, a
motorcycle, a big house, he can support his daughter to study in University, which cost about Kyat
100,000 a month. How can he afford it? Isn’t it a miracle or a misery? Some pastors’ wife has to do
secular work to earn money for their family. Some Seminary graduates, even though they were sent to
Seminary by the support of the Church, they don’t serve in the Church after graduation. Some quit the
ministry after serving for a while and do their own secular business. Pastors don’t have medical,
housing or educational allowance like other pastors in developed country. Some cannot stand the
poverty and hardship and they quit the ministry. Some fall to temptation.
We should not allow this poverty to be used by Satan as his weapon to make our Church
workers down, committing sin or not serving God. Faithfulness is very important in the life of leaders
and pastors. Without faithfulness there is no credibility. As poverty striking the economy and livelihood
of the people, some leaders and pastors acted unfaithfully to the Church, organization and to God. I
have heard and seen some leaders and pastors have acted unfaithfully especially concerning money. A
former treasurer of Myanmar Baptist Convention warned me repeatedly not to use a Shan leader who
was not trustworthy and un-faithful in handling association’s money. A leader misused Church’s money
by lending the association’s money to a businessman and take the interest from it for himself, a leader
Analysis 235
used Church money to do his own business, a leader did not show the account properly and put
donation into his own pockets, a leader showed more than actual expense and claim extra into his own
pocket, a leader cheated by claiming double in traveling expenses and allowances from the Church and
organization and a leader used Church or mission properties for his own use and benefit. Some honest
Christian leaders are really concerned on decaying ministries in our Churches. Despite poverty and
hardship some leaders are faithfully sacrificing, dedicating and serving God. We are accountable to
God. We must be good stewards.

Proverbs 30:8-9 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me
only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the LORD?”
Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

Matthew 6:25-27 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about
your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than
clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your
heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can
add a single hour to his life?

24. Denominationalism
In 1876 “The China Inland Mission offered to let Baptists be responsible for Shan and Kachin
work on the Bhamo field (they retaining the Chinese) if the station should be occupied at once.”

It was reported in 1900 by Rev. Young from KengTung, “In the interests of mission comity an attempt
was made at a joint conference of representatives of the Baptist and Presbyterian designing a definite
portion to each body. With the assistance of the Presbyterians it was hoped that the whole field may be
developed a task, which the Baptists alone had not had the men or the resources to accomplish.”

It was reported in TaungGyi in 1912, “A Lutheran, who is engaged as a hospital assistant, subscribed
Rs. 100 toward the building and undertook to raise another Rs. 200 through local contractors and
himself and gave Rs. 15 monthly toward the support of the preacher”
It was reported in 1914,
“There the mission comes face to face with the outposts of the Presbyterian Mission which is pressing
north in Siam. It has seemed wise, therefore, to enter into negotiations with the Presbyterian Board
with a view to an equitable division of labor among the various tribes.”
In the past, Presbyterian,
Baptist, Lutheran, China Inland Mission were cooperating with one another and working together for
common goal.

Almost all Shan Churches in Burma are Baptist. (American Baptist). There is no Southern
Baptist Churches in Shan States. Shan Baptist Churches are very denominational minded. They are very
proud to be Baptist. They always say, “We are Baptist” “This and that is not Baptist.” They use to ask,
“Are you Baptist? Is he Baptist?” If any leader or pastor is coming from Baptist he is very much
welcomed but not from other denomination. Their main concern is not the theological differences but
the defection of their members to other denominations or groups. Especially they are very sensitive to
Assemblies of God. They use to accuse AOG “stealing sheep” because some members from Baptist
Church use to move to AOG Church whenever AOG has established a Church. There are very few
AOG Churches in the Shan. Shan Baptist has very little ecumenical spirit. They don’t even know what

64th Annual Report, July 1878, American Baptist Missionary Union
101st Annual Report, 1915, American Baptist Missionary Union
98th Annual Report, 1912, American Baptist Missionary Union report from Dr. Henderson
100th Annual Report, 1914, American Baptist Missionary Union
Analysis 236
ecumenism is all about. Baptist leader seldom taught them about ecumenism. They are very loyal and
obedience to Myanmar Baptist Convention. Whoever come from MBC they are given the warmest
welcome and offered the best treatment and hospitality. I remember one small and poor Church in the
North slaughtered their chickens and pig to cook a good food for MBC delegates. A daughter of an
MBC officer said, “Father, you told me that the village people are poor. It is not true. You see, we have
a delicious chicken meat here that we cannot afford to eat in Yangon.” Shan Baptist Churches show
their dislike when talking about “The Holy Spirit.” They accused that whoever talking about Holy
Spirit is non-Baptist. But they say that they believe in Trinity. They say that fasting and prayer is not
Baptist practice.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts
are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one
body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

We have organized Great Commission Institute Trainings for Shan Churches for six times
between 1994 and 2001. Some of the trainers are from Pentecostal background. We also have Baptist
trainers. The trainers did not teach denominational doctrine. They taught the Bible. All the lectures are
Biblical. We conducted training together with local leaders such as Stephen from the East, Htun Myat
from the South and Thein Aung Kham from the North. They all are Baptist pastors. They have attended
our training program many times. Stephen and Shan Churches from Eastern Shan State are more open-
minded. They listened, learned, adopted and put into practice, what they have learned, in Baptist way.
They also worked with Methodist Church from Malaysia and other Charismatic and Pentecostal groups
in their missions. Their Churches grow and multiply rapidly. However Shan Baptist from the North use
to say, “We do not recognize this training because it is AOG.” Nevertheless, they kept on sending their
people to the training and also invited GCI to do special training session for them in MayMyo in 1998.
When I visited ShweLi Valley Shan Churches in 2001, my hometown and my home Church, the pastor
of MuSe, in the beginning refused my offer for training, but later reluctantly allowed me to teach Bible
to the Shan believers. MyoMa Shan Baptist Church in NamKham allowed me to teach three days but
pastor of NongSanKone Shan Baptist Church in NamKham refused my offer without reason. I was
baptized by the first Baptist pastor of ShweLi, my membership is still in the Baptist Church. My
ordination ministers are from Baptist, Lutheran, Mennonite, and Pentecostal to show that I am
ecumenical minister. I have my doctor degree in medicine and master of arts degree in theology. I have
been preaching and teaching in radio for more than ten years, I have conducted training for Shan
Churches many times, I have helped them in many ways in the past. Am I not qualified to teach? Why
do they refuse me? Probably they consider me non-Baptist because I worked with some AOG trainers
when giving them trainings. They do not want anyone from any other denomination except Baptist to
preach or teach at their Church. I am not ashamed of the gospel and the truth. Jesus commanded,
“Go..Teach...” There’s no denomination in Jesus Christ. There’s no denomination in heaven.

Matthew 13:57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his
own house is a prophet without honor.”

Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of
evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the
same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Analysis 237
25. Mission is Mandatory
In a letter written from Rangoon in 1831, Adoniram Judson mentioned the Shan first in a list of
peoples of Burma he represented as calling for help. When Eugenio Kincaid and his wife were in Ava
in 1833-36 he wrote that a missionary would find a wide field of labor among the Shan. In 1835 British
officials in India invited Baptist missionary to work in Assam among the Shan. Rev. and Mrs. Brown
and Mr. O. T. Cutter, a printer, went from Moulmain to Assam to open mission work in Sadiya under
the name “Mission to the Shan.” The first printing in Shan language was done in Assam. However we
have not heard about any Shan Church in Assam. There are still Shan-speaking people in Assam today
who are descendants of the Shan migrants who established the Ahom Kingdom in the thirteenth century
and ruled for six hundred years.
The mission to the Shan in Burma began in 1861. As reported in 1861-1862, “The arrival of the
10,000 Shan refugees at the same time as the first missionaries ever assigned to Shan work seemed
truly providential. God seemed to have sent the Shan to the mission, as well as the mission to the Shan.
Mr. and Mrs. Bixby did not have to penetrate robber-infested mountainous country but settled in
Toungoo with their Shan parish at their very door. They were able to give counsel to the struggling new
settlement, help those who had lost everything along the way and encourage the Shan to build schools
and chapels”
Mr. Cross said on March 21, 1863, “It is my opinion that the Shan Mission is now a
mission of great promise work goes on silently but with power and energy it goes on. It seems to mark
its character peculiarly as of God. So may it go on and not be carried on until the vast multitudes of
Shan are all reached”
The mission to the Shan was not started among the Shan in Shan States but
among the Shan refugees in Toungoo, which was a city in Burmaland. It seemed the sheep came to the
shepherd; the harvest came to the reaper; as the Shan from Shan States came to the missionaries in
Toungoo. Missionaries dreamed of reaching vast multitudes of Shan.

Under great commission of Jesus Christ, American Missionaries came to our land and people.
Mission is not optional. It is the command from Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20). The main
responsibilities are to Go, to Make disciples, to Baptize and to Teach. American Missionaries came and
did all these to the Shan. Now there are no more foreign missionaries. Who are going, making disciples,
baptizing and teaching the Shan?
Foundation of the Church is mission and foundation of mission is the Church. Without mission
there will be no Church. The main ministry of the Church is mission. Many Shan leaders and pastors do
not understand what mission is all about and its importance in the life of the Church. Some Church
leaders think the main work of the Church is to get together on Sunday at the church and worship God,
to give offering to the Church, to partake communion, to build the church building bigger and bigger,
decorating more and more beautiful, raising more and more money and getting more and more
membership. The Church fails to give priority to missions to go out and preach good news to un-
believers. They are reluctant to spend a little more money in missions. They use to keep Seminary
graduates and pastors in their own Church. They are not willing to share with the others who do not
have pastor and resources. They do not want to loose good pastors by sending them out to other places
for missions. That is why in some Churches there are more than one pastor and no pastor in other
places. Apostle Paul was the first pastor to plant Churches in many places. He did not stay in one place
or in one Church only. The Church of Corinth sent out Paul and Barnabas to other places for missions.
Is our Church willing to send someone like Paul from our Church to other places in Shan States to plant
more Shan Churches? God has given us the best, His one and only anointed Son. America has given us

Burma Baptist Chronicle Book I, By Maung Shwe Wa, Book II Edited By Genevieve Sowards And Erville Sowards,
Letter From Mr. Cross, March 21, 1863, Toungoo Mission
Analysis 238
their best, Adoniram Judson, Josiah Nelson Cushing and other missionaries. Only 10,792 Shan believed
in Christ and baptized in 140 years. How long shall we wait to see another ten thousand saved? We
need to put more effort on missions. We need to develop mission strategy suitable to the Shan in their
culture and tradition. The harvest of Shan is the greatest opportunity for missions. There is no mission-
training center for the Shan to produce more workers in mission fields. How many missionary and
evangelist have we sent out from our Churches? Mission is sending.

John 20:21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded
you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

26. Village Leader
Rev. J.A. Freiday said in 1881, “During the second quarter accompanied by Ko Shway Lin I
made several trips to the villages round about Bhamo. These villages are small and none of them gave
us a reception at all cordial. In one the ill-mannered resistance of the headman made it quite
impossible for us to get a hearing. No one dared listen when he said “Nay.” When it is remembered
that liberty of conscience is unknown here and that the people have a perfectly slavish fear of their
rulers the unusual resistance which the gospel encounters over and above that inevitable resistance of a
wicked heart which the uncompromising truth must everywhere encounter is easily understood.”

Dr. M.B. Kirkpatrick reported from HsiPaw on April 2, 1895, “I shall never forget how the
headman came out to meet me at the entrance of the village and his followers brought me water in a
large silver cup and a bunch of plantains. Each one of our party, as they came up to the entrance, was
given water and fruit. When we were a little rested the head man sent men to sweep out the zayat and
get wood and water for us. He showed us the way and at each house as we passed through the village
they came out with water for us to drink. All this water is brought from near the foot of the mountain in
joints of bamboo and big gourds. It takes half a day to make a trip to the spring. Soon a great crowd
gathered at the zayat and we spent all of the afternoon and well on to midnight preaching to them.
About half of the people were out in their tea gardens and the head man asked us to stay over for one
day so that he could send out and call them in to hear the preaching. Also he would send word to the
near villages. During the night we had a severe hail and rainstorm so that we could hardly have gone
on had we wanted to. All day the people kept coming so that the zayat was thronged until late at night.
The people want us to send them a teacher to live there.”
Rev. Cochrane reported from MuongNai in 1904, “A native preacher is now on his way to
LaiKha to secure from the chief a grant of land for an outstation compound. On his return he will begin
at once to put up a suitable dwelling for himself and family and settle there.” The chief of the Shan
was SaoPha. SaoPha had authority and power over the land and the people. There were many Shan
territories under SaoPha control. When the chief gave permission every thing was fine. The chief could
give the land and favor. Many missionaries had good relationship with the chief and trust from SaoPha
and they received some support and favor. Since the headman or chief of the village was powerful and
influential over the villagers he could either give favor or problem to Christian works by asking people
to create trouble and disturbances or asking the people to come and listen to Christian message. If
missionary could get the headman believed it would not be difficult to get the entire village convert.
But not a single SaoPha became Christian.

67th Annual Report, July 1881, American Baptist Missionary Union, report from J.A. Freiday
Analysis 239
In village setting, there is a leader or headman to rule the village. The headman could be a lay
person or Buddhist monk. All the villagers usually obey the order from the leader. Making friendship
and getting favor from headman is very important in our Shan mission strategy. Therefore paying a
courtesy visit to the chief or headman and making friend with them first is the best way to begin the
work in the village. Sometimes the head of the village is Buddhist monk. Village head has
responsibility of organizing village activities and festivals. It is wise to approach and make friend with
the chief or village leader before conducting Christian activities in Buddhist village. The headman can
order the villagers not to go to Christian gatherings. Evangelizing villagers will not be very difficult if
the headman believed. He should be trained to become pastor of the village. Nowadays there is a village
governing council to govern the village. Make friend not enemy.

Luke 19:47 Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and
the leaders among the people were trying to kill him.

John 11:57 But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone found out where Jesus
was, he should report it so that they might arrest him.

John 12:42-43 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the
Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they
loved praise from men more than praise from God.

27. Discipleship
It was reported by Bixby in 1864 from Toungoo, “An influential Burman disciple was found in
a gambling room with cards in his possession and while it was not proved that he had actually played
games of chance for money it was clearly established that he had loaned money to gambling parties for
enormous profits thereby countenancing the unlawful and dishonest gain and participating in it. He
claimed that on his part it was not gambling but legitimate money-letting. We claimed that he was as
wicked as any of them and more so for he had had greater light and we made an example of him
without delay. The Church feels the blow but is better off without such members. Still the exclusion of
three, influential though they all are, in three years is a membership of nearly fifty is not a very heavy
percentage. Two or three more may need the pruning knife or weeding book but the majority for aught I
know walk as well as Church members usually do at home.”

Rev. Cushing reported in 1871, “The discipline of the Church must also be taken and slowly
and prayerfully carried forward. Four have been already excluded. Other cases are prominent persons
who do not attend chapel or have any desire to be among the people of God. There is one application
for baptism who gives some evidence of change of heart.”
Cushing reported in 1880, “Others who
have felt the hand of Church discipline have returned to Christian life”
Rev. Cochrane reported in
1893, “The number of prodigals, once professed disciples, who are still in ‘a far country’, is
uncommonly large. With the lax discipline of many, a home Church, the unworthy members might still
be with us in name. But it seemed best in order to secure a healthy, rather than a rapid growth, to
exclude all whose life was beyond ‘rifle-shot’ of the Church covenant. These unfaithful ones are not
forgotten. Every means will be used, I trust, to win them back that the Christ like spirit of gentleness
and sympathy can command.”
The missionaries had taken strong disciplinary action against those

Letter From Mr. Bixby, August 10, 1864. Toungoo.
57th Annual Report, July 1871, American Baptist Missionary Union
79th Annual Report, 1893, American Baptist Missionary Union, report from Rev. Cochrane
Analysis 240
who swayed away from the Church regulation and committed sin. They were excluded from the
Church. It is true that the healthy Church is more desirable than sick Church which is filled with
spiritual sicknesses. Real conversion is better than just adding name to membership list. Discipleship is
very important in Christian life. Christian should know their identity and responsibility.

Simply taking water baptism doesn’t mean that he has become Jesus’ disciple.
When an existing Christian, learning much of the Bible and of what the Lord requires of him,
become an illumined follower, he may be called disciple. (The discipline of a nation By James H.
Montgomery and Donald A. McGavran)
Discipleship training is to train the believers to become Christ like. Discipleship training and
teaching are not well conducted in Shan Churches. Many Christians do not understand well about
“Christianity and Practices” even though they believed and have been baptized. Some Christians are
still superstitious. Some may say that they believe in Christ but they also believe in other things like
astrologers and witchdoctor. They sometimes consulted them when they are in trouble. Many Shan
believers and leaders need to learn how to have good discipline. Sometimes when worship service is
due to be started at 11 AM people come at 11:30 or 12. They always come late. Even the leaders and
pastors are late. They may feel like more honorable when they come in late in front of many on lookers.
They do not start the meeting or worship service on time. They use to wait for one another. The leaders
feel angry when the meeting started before they arrive but they always come late. In the past the
missionaries did not seem to care much about quantity but they care more about quality and purity of
the Church. Should we today also care about quality and purity of our pastors, leaders and Churches
instead of quantity? Members of a Church in the North complained about un-ethical behavior of the
pastor and pastor had resigned in 1993. What about drug addiction, gambling, drunkenness, cheating,
stealing? Many young people are in trouble with these problems. Do they need to be disciplined? We
must have courage to discipline one another. We need to have good discipleship training program for
all Shan believers so that their faith will be genuine and strong and they will become the light of the
world and the salt of the earth. Discipleship training for the believers should be very much encouraged
in Shan Churches for all ages. We need to train our Shan Christians to become Christ like.

Luke 14:26-27 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and
children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. And anyone
who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Titus 1:6-9 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and
are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s
work, he must be blameless--not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not
violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is
self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has
been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Hebrews 12:7-8 Endure hardship as discipline ; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not
disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline ), then you are
illegitimate children and not true sons.

28. Power of Holy Spirit
Bixby reported on Feb 2, 1863, “It is true all genuine sympathy is the product of the Holy Spirit
but its brand must be brought together to reach the highest degree of heat as light. Truth is the Spirit’s
Analysis 241
work yet no noble truth can be viewed alone and stands in its true light.”
And in August 1865, “We
spent the evening in special prayer for the descent of the Holy Spirit“
Dr. Henderson reported in
1894, “We are praying for God’s blessings and for the guidance of His Holy Spirit in all our work.”

They believed in Holy Spirit. They prayed for the Holy Spirit. However not a sign and wonder
or miracle was recorded and reported in the letters from missionaries. The real difficulty in our effort to
win Shan to Christ is spiritual power in spiritual warfare. The spiritual influence and the possession of
many spirits in the life of Shan are real. Even though Shan claim to be Buddhists they also believe in
spirits and worship them by offering alms and sacrifices to them. Jesus had driven out demons and evil
spirits and performed miracles many times. Disciples had driven out demons and evil spirits and done
miracles in the name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit in their missions. The lack of the power
of the Holy Spirit in the life of pastors, evangelists, missionaries and believers in Shan Churches is the
main source of weakness and unsuccessfulness in our effort to evangelize the Shan.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would come and we would receive the power when He comes.
(John 16:7, Acts 1:8) The Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost and the disciples received the
power. (Acts 2:1-4). Many Shan Churches unaware of the “Power of the Holy Spirit.” They may not
have thorough knowledge about “Spiritual Warfare.” They may not know that they have to receive the
“Holy Spirit and Power” before going out to work in missions. They may not have yet experienced it.
They may not have been baptized by the Holy Spirit. The Bible has clearly stated that we have to wait
until we received the “Holy Spirit and Power” before we go. Some may even have doubt in the
“Baptism of the Holy Spirit” and the “Power of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus will baptize us with the Holy
Spirit. (Mark 1:8) Some do believe in the power of the Holy Spirit but they have never received it or
used it in the ministry. The miracle is performed not by human knowledge or experience or intelligent
but by the power of the Holy Spirit only. Some Shan Baptist Churches do not want to talk about Holy
Spirit, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit. They use
to accuse the people who talk about the Holy Spirit as non-Baptist.
A pastor gave a testimony at KengTung GCI in 1997, “After graduating from Seminary in 1984,
I was appointed youth leader in the Church. Gradually I was promoted to be General Secretary of the
Wa Churches Association. But I never felt the anointing of the Holy Spirit. On December 13, 1996, one
of the Wa non-believers asked me to pray for his sick daughter who was being tormented by evil spirit.
The non-believer said he knew that if I prayed the evil spirit would leave his daughter. I knew I
couldn’t do it but only God could do it. I told the parents that only God is powerful and I am just His
tool. I knelt down and prayed and asked for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I prayed and drove out the
evil spirit. That young lady came to me the next day and said she wanted to become a Christian and be
baptized. After that experience I have cast out lots of evil spirits and have come to understand that
education and graduating from the Bible School is not enough. You need the anointing of the Holy
Spirit. Unless you surrender yourself into the hand of the Lord you will never have this power.”
We have seen an ordinary Christian has driven out evil spirit. We also see pastor who cannot
drive out the evil spirit. Here is a true story from Northern Shan State. “One day, a woman came to a
pastor and invited him to go to her home and cast out evil spirit from her son who had been possessed
by evil spirit. Pastor went with a member of his Church. He prayed and tried to cast out evil spirit many
times. But to no avail. Nothing happened. He gave up. Then a member of the Church who accompanied
the pastor said, ‘May I try and pray for him?’ pastor said, ‘Go ahead and try.’ Then he prayed for that
evil spirit possessed man. Immediately the evil spirit left and the man got healed. The pastor came back
home and told his wife about the incident. His wife then said to the pastor, ‘Shame on you. Don’t go

Letter From Mr. Bixby, Jan. 16, 1863, Toungoo.
The Missionary Magazine August 1865, p309
80th Annual Report, 1894, American Baptist Missionary Union, report from Dr. Henderson
Analysis 242
and tell any body any more.’ A senior pastor from the North came back from hunting said, “I could
not sleep the whole night last night in the jungle because there were many ghosts around me and
scaring me by shaking the tress and the bushes.” There are many spiritual problems in the Shan. All
Shan Christian workers need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and anointed with the power when
working among the Shan because there are spiritual influence everywhere in Shan villages.
The miracles are seldom seen in the life of the Church. Shan Churches seldom do “Healing
Ministry” either in the Church or outside the Church. But the pastor use to go to pray for the sick when
invited to do so. Casting out evil spirit is occasionally done when the pastor is invited to do. I have
experienced spiritual encounter whenever I go out for mission trip such as a man started having
bleeding from his nose without any cause, a man suddenly collapsed and loss his consciousness on the
chair. One day when I was conducting Bible teaching at the Church in Northern Shan State, a woman
came to me and asked me to go to her home and pray for her grandson who cried continuously since
midnight. When I arrived there I could not find any physical problem but the baby was still crying. I
realized that it was spiritual warfare. I held the baby in my arms and prayed in the name of Jesus and
cast out the evil spirit. Immediately the baby stopped crying. Next day the grandma said that the baby
stopped crying and slept very soundly last night. I was called to visit and pray for the sick until late
hour. They said that their pastor did not do it like this.

Mark 16:15-18 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And
these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak
in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will
not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses
in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 8:15-17 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because
the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the
Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

29. Unity
New, small and young Shan Churches were completely under leadership of missionaries. Since