On February 1st, EMA hosted the 2019 Student Conference in Ler Doh, Myanmar, featuring for the first time four years of students. The twelve new Year One students arrived from their villages the night before. This brings the total number of students in our programs to 33!
The day was filled with introductions, speeches, and of course coffee breaks. Dr. Mitch reviewed the EMA vision and goals, and while they are easy to write and say, putting them in practice is far more difficult. He promised the students that using their talents and working hard will bring great results. “Instead of using social media, read books and study hard”, he said. He spoke on the history of King David and where he looked to find his hope. David penned these famous words in Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Dr. Mitch asked the students not to look to temporary things for hope or security, but to look to the promise at the end of Psalm 121; “The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”
Dr. Sha and Dan also gave speeches of encouragement to the students. Dan reminded the students that change is necessary. Sometimes change is hard, and we often make mistakes. But these challenges should not scare us or cause us to doubt our identity as a person made in the image of God.
The afternoon passed quickly as it was time for pictures and one more session. Individual and group photos were needed for the yearbook and other publications. Year 2 students prepped Year 1 students on life in Chiang Mai, where they’ll spend their first year, and how to prepare for international travel later that week. They reviewed how to pack and practiced filling out the immigration forms.
Group sports rounded out the afternoon and helped alleviate tensions from sitting inside all day. The day closed with dinner in the meeting hall for EMA staff and students. It was a day where staff and students came together in solidarity to the mission of Earth Mission Asia. Students grouped together according to their home districts to encourage and advise those coming behind them. When they complete the program, they will work together to bring critical healthcare to their home areas. Many times, the work and study are hard, but moments and fellowship like this challenge and spur us on to complete the tasks set before us. We will take King David’s advice and look to the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, for strength and wisdom for each step we take.
Speech highlights were gathered by Year 4 student Moo Kler Taw and Year 3 students Naw Thit Paw & Zu Zah Nar.