At home worldwide – An isolated country opens itself
Myanmar—for many years this extraordinary country was isolated from the rest of the world. Following the landslide victory of Aung Suu Kyi, many new possibilities have opened up for the country.
District Apostle visits Myanmar for the first time
Finally, on 14 and 15 November 2015, District Apostle Urs Hebeisen from the Philippines travelled to Myanmar. Apostle David Thang had worked in the country for many years, founding congregations and looking after the brothers and sisters. He has been retired since July 2012.
It has not been easy for foreigners to get travel permits. But this is slowly changing. In the year 2013 already, Apostle Fred Wolf from Thailand and Bishop Samuel Tansahtikno from Indonesia were able to visit a few congregations outside of the national capital. They found vital and active congregations—despite the country’s isolation.
Today, to a large extent, foreigners are able to travel to Myanmar. The democratic process is in full swing, and it is peaceful. The responsible District Apostle Hebeisen can finally visit his brothers and sisters. His joy is indescribable: “My first visit was to our congregation in Kalemyo, where the ministers and their wives had gathered for a divine service.” From there he continued north to a congregation situated close to the Indian border. In the Kanaan Congregation the more than 200 people could barely contain their excitement over this visit by the District Apostle. Divine services have been taking place here since 1981. Some ten years after its founding, a wooden structure was built to serve as the congregation’s place of worship. Evangelist Van Huai Thang was the only minister there over all these years. District Apostle Hebeisen placed him into retirement now, at 74 years of age.
“Myanmar is stepping into a promising future, indeed,” District Apostle Hebeisen says. “Jesus our Lord will not leave the people there alone.” Today Shepherd Htan Shin Pyaung, whom the members call Matthew, is the district rector in the country.
Two Apostles retire in Germany
On 15 November 2015, Chief Apostle Schneider celebrated a divine service in Zwickau. The small town in eastern Germany is close to the border with the Czech Republic. The last visit of a Chief Apostle there was eighty years ago. During the service, the Chief Apostle also addressed the terrorist attacks in Paris (see video clip).
After his sermon and the celebration of Holy Communion, the Chief Apostle placed two Apostles, close co-workers of the responsible District Apostle Wilfried Klingler, into retirement: Apostles Gerald Bimberg (Saxony) and Achim Burchard (Lower Saxony). In his tribute to the retiring Apostles, the Chief Apostle characterized them as true Apostles of Jesus Christ. They really fulfilled the commission given to them and went to “all the nations”, bringing many a sacrifice.
Apostle Bimberg carried a ministry for over 40 years, twenty of these as an Apostle. Apostle Burchard was in the ministry for nearly 41 years, 22 of which he ministered as an Apostle. Both not only taught the word of God but also led by example. The Chief Apostle went on to ordain District Elder Helge Mutschler (41) from Hanover as an Apostle.