Texas Baptists encouraged to “not weary” in doing good

by Teresa Young on July 17, 2023 in Annual Meeting

Using examples of Texas Baptists directly impacting his native people, pastor Thong Lun encouraged those at the Family Gathering to follow Paul’s words in Galatians 6:9-10 to “not weary in doing good, for in the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” during the second worship session on July 17.

In his Tuesday morning worship message, Lun shared his own story of coming to the United States from Burma (now called Myanmar) in 1996 to pursue Clinical Pastoral Education through Baptist Health System in San Antonio, setting a course that would eventually lead to his current role as senior pastor of Greater Houston Burmese Christian Fellowship, a congregation of 400 that he leads bivocationally.

“I wanted to share a message of hope and express who we are and what we are as Texas Baptists. To me, Texas Baptists is my family and my world,” he said as an introduction. “We don’t need to go to the world today, because the world has come to us with all the nationalities.”

Lun first expounded on the “doing good” phrase in the Galatians passage, noting that “it is not the same thing as doing no harm.” Doing good is active, not passive, takes effort for individuals and may even be costly. But it can help believers find God’s purpose for their lives as his example bore out.

“My purpose (in coming to the U.S.) was to get CPE, training designed for those wanting to do chaplaincy ministry at hospitals, with military or in other places. I thought it could be a way to reach out to Hindus, Muslims and others with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Lun recalled. “I called it my Pauline Plan, but that did not happen right away. It may look like a failure, but my Macedonian Plan kicked in.”

Lun explained that in 2005, with help from Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston, the fellowship was planted to reach the large population of Burmese in the area. With a dozen members initially, the church grew to around 400 within seven years and has planted six other churches in the Houston area. Lun said within the Burmese culture are different ethnic groups, and as that group within the Fellowship would grow, they would desire to become an independent church. They did so with Lun’s blessing and have continued to grow.

“Today, I come to understand why God brought me to Houston, Texas, and helped me start a Burmese church. He had the reason I did not know,” Lun said, noting that his church is mission-minded and supports refugees and students among other projects. “I am happy that God put me in the right place to do the right thing. I thank God that he enabled me to reach out to all the Burmese community. Now I know my mission field is right here in Texas, especially in Houston, and I should not be weary of doing good things for this community.”

Noting his gratitude for the partnership with Texas Baptists and their mission-mindedness, Lun said the convention has helped his church find aid that supported Myanmar when a 2015 flood and landslide wreaked havoc there and provided help during a 2021 military coup that caused fear among many. When violence and religious persecution hit Manipur, destroying 200 villages and displacing thousands, Texas Baptists were able to help again, providing hope to the people of that region.

“Brother and sisters, you may not know what Texas Baptists are doing and how much BGCT support for Burma has changed the lives of people, but those that have felt our love will never forget. They said, ‘We thought western Christians were trying to destroy our culture, but we understand they truly have compassion,’” he said. “And unbelievers have started learning and studying about Jesus and becoming Christians. We are bringing in the sheaves from the harvest. So we must not get weary.”

He closed with an additional word of encouragement: “I appeal to you to continue being a reminder of Christ’s presence whenever and wherever Christ calls. Our Pauline plan may fail, but God never fails. Don’t give up; everything we do in Jesus’ name is not in vain. In its own time, it will reap a harvest.”

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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