During January, missionary Jim Winter from Pastor Training International (PTI) spent a week teaching the Bible to 20 Burmese ‘Barefoot Doctors’. They were returning to Chiangmai, Thailand, as part of their yearly 10-week training programme in evangelism and medicine, which is part of a three year course.
According to the March newsletter from PTI, these second-year students are already hard at work in Burma where many of them are pastors, evangelists and missionaries.
The Barefoot Doctors originally arose out of the Rural Reconstruction Movement in China in the 1950s, and was taken up in Burma by Daniel and Beverley Kalnin, when they founded Frontier Labourers for Christ (FLC) in 1979.
Mr Winter said, ‘These unusual medical missionaries are fully trained and operate in mainly rural areas, often with ethnic minority groups, where there is minimal medical knowledge or care’.
So far, the programme in Burma (Myanmar) has trained and equipped 131 medics, two-thirds of whom are still bringing medical care of all descriptions — and the gospel — to people across the country.
Mr Winter said, ‘I taught 10 sessions on “The whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:10-20), aiming to equip the students for their lives and ministries in the knowledge that they are fighting a spiritual war in many areas of their lives. Some Barefoot Doctors have already experienced this first hand, as they encounter animism and spiritism, for example’.
PTI has supported FLC through Ken Brownell and Simon Percy and the organisation hopes to develop this ministry. Mr Winter added: ‘Our work with the Barefoot Doctors is an excellent example of how PTI can serve the ministries of other Christian organisations, by providing the Bible teaching component they so often need’.