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By BILL SHERMAN Faith and Values Writer

Teen Mania, a ministry especially for young people that originated in Tulsa 29 years ago, held its first overseas “Acquire the Fire” rally last weekend, in the largely Buddhist nation of Myanmar, formerly Burma.

“It was numbing. It was beyond our wildest expectations,” said Teen Mania founder Ron Luce, a graduate of Oral Roberts University and a former ORU trustee.

Luce preached to more than 13,000 young people each night under tents set up in the outdoor Insein Football Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city.

“The first night at least 2,000 kids gave their lives to Christ,” he said.

A window for the Christian message has opened in Myanmar, he said.

Myanmar, located between China and India, was a military dictatorship closed to the West for most of the last 60 years. Only in the past few years has the nation seen democratic reforms and more civil freedoms.

Luce said the rally was the first mass Christian event of its kind ever held for the youths of Myanmar.

“And they’ve never had an American band concert there, Christian or secular.”

Teen Mania went to Myanmar at the invitation of the Myanmar Evangelical Christian Association, a multi-denominational organization that worked for more than a year planning the rally. Several American Christian organizations joined in the outreach, including CBN’s Operation Blessing International, Joyce Meyer Ministries, Mercy for the Children, Kenneth Copeland and Within Reach Global.

The Mission Myanmar team of 50 U.S. young missionaries arrived July 16, and joined teams from China, South Korea and Taiwan.

They underwent two days of training, and then worked with local Christians, visiting orphanages, medical missions and people living in destitute communities.

Buses from across the nation brought young people to the Acquire the Fire rally July 24 and 25. Well-known Burmese musical artist Phyu-Phyu performed.

More than 13,000 people registered for the event, and many more walked in, Luce said.

Seven hundred volunteers from area churches helped with the rally.

“When we met with the Myanmar leadership group after the rally, they were almost speechless,” Luce said.

He said this first international Teen Mania rally will not be the last.

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