Welcome to the Baldwin Boomerang
We long to see people in every tribe, tongue and nation transformed for God's glory. Our mission is to share the gospel by producing effective, compelling media tools that people can understand in their own culture and language. We are preparing to serve as full-time media missionaries with Create International. Toward that end we completed an extensive missions training program called a Crossroads DTS at YWAM Perth, Australia and a secondary YWAM school called the School of Frontier Media in Thailand. We are currently on furlough in North America and hope to see you face-to-face in 2010!
Support Information: Our support goal is currently near 50%.
You may send gifts and donations for our support to our sending agency Ripe for Harvest and please designate Account #247 in the memo line without including our name on the check. You may then mail the check directly to:
Ripe for Harvest, P.O. Box 487, Monument, CO 80132
PLEASE note new address.
It can take up to a month and a half for us to see your donation show up on our report. Also, Ripe for Harvest is able to issue a tax deductible receipt in the USA, but YWAM in Thailand is not.
If you want to be added to our newsletter list or have additional questions, email us at baldwinboomerang @ gmail dot com
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Back from B~rm*
Due to the sensitive nature of this post, please do not re-post or publish this information elsewhere in print or online without permission from the authors.
The production for our evangelistic film for the Sh*n people of Burm* has been going exceedingly well; however, to complete this project there was a need for authentic footage from the Sh*n St*te. Peter and I were selected to go. Our mission was to slip into My*nm*r under the radar of the oppressive, military dictatorship. The first hurdle was to secure a coveted visa to enter the country. Because this land is considered a closed country, we had to be extremely careful in how we completed our paperwork—even humanitarian NGO workers have a hard time entering these days despite their beneficial contributions after the tsunami. We attempted to secure the visas from Chiang Mai and were informed we would have to appear at the embassy in Bangkok to have our paperwork processed instead. Flexibility in planning is key in this line of work.
We arrived in Bangkok about five days before our expected departure date and prayed that the process of securing the visa would be both timely and successful. In the meantime, we were able to explore downtown Bangkok's shopping and tourist districts during our free time. We discovered that bustling Bangkok is quite a contrast from the underdeveloped city we were heading to. Praise God, our visas were finally issued on late Friday afternoon and we departed for Y*ng0n on Saturday as scheduled.
We went to work right away capturing cityscapes and urban life in this country's largest city. Having passed through immigration at the airport we were essentially free to roam about the country—except the prohibited parts of course—and we soon learned that you can't get far without crossing through an armed checkpoint.
Sunday we watched as faithful Buddhists made their weekly visit to Shwe D*gon, the most famous of all My*nm*r pagodas. From the top of the famous Tr*ders Hotel where foreign correspondents often hide out to cover the local uprisings, we got some great scenes of this creaky old city. Paradoxically, we attended an underground church that meets at the top of a tall building (with no elevator!). And in a sure sign that God is great, we also feasted on amazingly awesome Mexican food downtown in this bustling Asian city. Who would have guessed?
On Monday we went to a local Sh*n monastery to celebrate the Sh*n new year where local talent sing and dance and local dignitaries are honored. Early Tuesday morning at 6 am we were heading to the airport to fly up to M*nd*l*y in the center of the country. Once there we had a grueling 6 hour drive into Northern Sh*n St*te over treacherous road conditions with hairpin turns and unguarded drops into deep valleys. A quick stop to capture the glorious sunset was time well spent.
Regrettably Tuesday night into Wednesday morning found me hovering near the toilet with the worst case of traveler's diarrhea I've ever had. Too much information? Perhaps, but being sick is a common hazard to be endured when you visit new places. It's suffering well worth it when the project is done.
Thanks be to God, by Wednesday afternoon I felt well enough to bike around the local town to shoot more needed footage in this beautiful plateau.
Thursday was a gift. I felt much better. The temperature was cool. The sky was overcast and just great for shooting video. We attacked our shot list by biking around the surrounding area from dawn until after dusk to get great local color and details for the video.
Friday found us driving back to M*nd*l*y and flying back to Y*ng0n in time to shoot some interviews late into the evening. Saturday we shoot more local scenes in the morning before taking two flights back to Chiang Mai! It was an exhausting yet exhilarating experience.
My understanding of this place based on my observation mixed with hearsay: not very forward thinking. The government seems bent on putting money in their pockets at the expense of the people. You can't get very far without hearing stories in hushed tones from victims of some government atrocity. The infrastructure seems to be about 50 years old and so are most of the vehicles and buildings. Beautiful new buildings have been built and then sit rotting on the side of urban roads unoccupied and forgotten. Busy street vendors hassle you to “change your money” because they are eager to secure some good old US dollars. Nothing gets accomplished without bribes and kick-backs and most businesses don't bother coming here because it's just too frustrating navigating the bureaucracy. Even Coca Cola doesn't bother, which says a lot. The food here pales in comparison to the great meals available in Thailand on every street corner. One local pastor told me how excited he was that he could get a cellphone for $1700, even though the local service is woefully inadequate and over regulated by the government. Power outages are frequent, often leaving people trapped in elevators or waiting for their luggage to scoot by on automated conveyor belts. We know about that last one firsthand.
An example of the backward governmental mentality is this story we heard there. Because this land was once a former British colony it was completely constructed for driving-on-the-left. However, after consulting an astrologist one government official was encouraged to change that driving pattern and have everyone now drive on the right (like North Americans). This was done without any real reasons to back it up except some horoscope. Unfortunately, none of the roads were ever changed to match this new way of driving and the result makes for some awkward intersections. This is further proof that people can be really transformed by adjusting their worldviews.
Nevertheless, this country is also home to a diverse group of people who try to live their lives despite governmental interference. Most have not heard of Jesus and consider Christianity a religion only for foreigners. People have gone to great lengths since the days of Adonirim Judson to bring the good news to this great land, but without neighboring Christians living out their faith and demonstrating the love of God the distance to go is yet to be reached. Please pray especially for the six million or more Sh*n people who live desperate lives without hope. They are ravaged by wars and drug and alcohol abuse. Their lives of quiet subsistence are frustrated by a regime that demands the best of everything they produce. Generations of people are losing their language and culture in an attempt to homogenize the people. The result is an internally displaced people group on the verge of losing their cultural identity.
We felt humbled to have the opportunity to be in this land and meet these people. We overcame many obstacles to be here and saw evidence of how much God abundantly blessed our experience. Thank you for your prayers that provided us great peace and provision during our journey. We are most grateful to you for standing by us in prayer during this time and we are happy to report that our mission was accomplished thanks to your faithfulness.
I will remain in Chiang Mai for a few more weeks to continue work with the team on post production of the mobilization video for the Sh*n people. It's going to be great and I'm eager to share it with you next year when it's completed.
In other news, I'm eager to see my family after such a long absence and gratefully will be returning home just in time to celebrate Christmas. We'll be sharing more about our future plans in 2010 and I look forward to seeing you all again face-to-face soon. Thanks again for all your support of our work. We are most grateful for all you've done for us these past two years!