LastCall: Poverty And Wealth -Kay Arthur


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The following is an actual transcript of the PRECEPTS FOR LIFE Broadcast. For the purpose of filling transcript requests quickly, they have received only light editing. If you have questions concerning the material covered in this broadcast, Kay has published a number of books explaining the Scripture in depth. These books may be ordered by contacting the telephone number or address printed above.


SERIES: Interview With Nita Tin

TITLE: Program 1 – Poverty And Wealth


THURSDAY (1/14/10)



Do you feel like you’ve gone not from rags to riches, but from riches to rags? Or are you afraid that this is what’s going to happen? Are you afraid because you don’t know how you’re going to survive financially? You’re listening to everyone as they this advice and you don’t know what to do. Today we’re going to talk to someone who went from riches to rags. 



Kay: Welcome, Beloved. I want you to meet a very, very, precious, precious friend her name is Nita Tin. And Nita is from Burma. And you’ve been here in the country for how many years? 

Nita: Thirty-ah nine years or thirty, somewhere around there. 

Kay: Somewhere around there. You came in 197…

Nita: 1973.

Kay: Oh, in 1973. You’re Burmese. I had you on the program when we did our study on Jeremiah and we talked about idols because you were an idol worshiper…

Nita:  Yes.

Kay: And your family was an idol worshiper, but you came from a very wealthy family, right? Tell me about the wealth that you lived in because you go from wealth to real poverty. But I want to talk about the wealth first. 

Nita:  Well, um I was born ah, brought up a very, very um, I guess, wealthy family down through generations. My ah, great grandfather was the richest man in the city of Rangoon which was the capital of Burma at that time. And through the years they had—I remember stories of how my grandmother and my great aunts and all, they had these big, big diamonds in their ears and they did a lot of horse racing. And they would just throw down their diamonds and just bet on horses. 

Kay: Oh my goodness. 

Nita:  They would have houses. They would have maids. They would have chauffeurs. You know, we never had to do any work because we had a butler who ah would come with a silver platter with our letters. And then we had a cook that gave us Cordon Bleu gourmet meals; we had like a five-course dinner. And my daddy was in the royal navy, he was also a coveted officer in the British India Steam which is in Aldgate, London. And because of that, he was paid in pound sterling and so he was the highest paid salary earner. So we had, you know, we had everything we ever needed. 

Kay: And this is when the British ruled Burma. Just so that you know that. Because historically I want to show you what happens to the country.


Nita:  Right, right. And so we had everybody at our beck and call, so to speak, you know.  We played tennis with ambassadors’ children and we had everything. We went to schools that were, a lot of American schools. We had English schools, British schools, you know, all that. And we had a lot of things; whatever we needed we had it. 

Kay: Now let me ask you a question; was there poverty around you in Burma? 

Nita: Yes. 

Kay: And were you concerned about their conditions or were you just in your own little world? Your own little rich bubble? 

Nita:  Yes, I guess I was in my own little rich bubble because we never went anywhere without being chauffeured everywhere. We never saw the poverty and if we did I’m not sure that ah it would have touched my heart then. 

Kay: Okay, so you’re in this rich, rich condition and then what happens? 

Nita:  Well, first thing was that God decided that I didn’t need all of those, that all I needed was Him. And so, you know that verse that I always use? [I have loved you with an everlasting love therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn you]. (PARAPHRASE, Jeremiah 31:3) So he drew me away from all of this. And I got married to my husband who was sent right into the jungle.  

Kay: Now explain what happened. We move from British rule…

Nita:  Uh-huh. To a military powered rule. Before that, right at the time when we were growing up. Ah we got our independence in 48…

Kay: Uh-huh. 

Nita:  So I was probably about 4 years old then. 

Kay: This is in Burma now.

Nita:  Yes, it yes. And then it slowly moved to a democratic, socialist, sort of uh republic that when the military took over then it became ruled by guns. 

Kay: Oh, so it was a military coup?

Nita:  Yes, it was a military coup. And they took over and it just, I mean, they just stayed there for 35, 36, whatever years they did and it was a very hard rule.

Kay: They just went in and…

Nita:  Yes…

Kay: A rebel rose up that had a following?

Nita:  Uh-huh. 

Kay: And they just went in and took over?

Nita:  Yes, they took over.

Kay: By threatening their lives?

Nita: Yes, in a sense, they were threatening their lives. Also, they felt like the prime minister was so religious he wasn’t concerned with the things, you know, for government. And at first what they said was a good thing to come in and take over. But I think they liked the sense of power and control and so then they had a coup and then they took over.

Kay: Now what kind of a religion did the leader have? 

Nita:  Buddhism.

Kay: Buddhism. Okay, so it’s a Buddhist country. In your home there is a mixture Buddhism and Hinduism. She shared when we did Jeremiah that her grandmothers would go to the temple, and sometimes they would speak in male voices, they would drink things and dance, and be in a frenzy and have all these strange voices. And what we saw was an idol is nothing. And this is what Corinthians tells us, [it’s nothing, it’s something that is conceived by man, carved by man, shaped by man declared a god by man and yet, behind that is a demon]. (PARAPHRASE, 1 Corinthians 10:19-20)And it belongs to the kingdom of darkness. Okay, so it’s a Buddhist country, he’s too religious, and the men come in and they take over. And then what happens to your wealth?

Nita:  Well, our wealth didn’t go away, in a sense, because they did de-monetize the money, but they had so many homes and things—and if you lived in Burma they didn’t touch that because you were already landed-gentry and you had your wealth. But what happened was through moving us, my husband and me, to this remote place that’s where I learned what poverty was. 

Kay: Yes. 

Nita:  Not because of um the things that we didn’t have, in a sense, but it’s because—well, when it was a government position. He was a doctor—

Kay: Did you have socialized medicine then? 

Nita:  Yes, socialized medicine. He was the only doctor for about 50,000 population.

Kay: Oh, my goodness! 

Nita: And he was a general doctor so he took care of, you know, babies; he took care of cutting off their legs if snakes bit them and just different things. And he never slept. We had no electricity so it would be flashlight. And just, you know, it was poverty of a different sort. I began to learn, you had asked me just now, “Did I care?” I didn’t know about it so I was just in this bubble. 

Kay: “Did I care about the poverty—“

Nita:  Did I care about the poverty—

Kay: …of others? Uh-huh. 

Nita:  And right now, God put me in that place to see that poverty, to see how I had to live. And my sisters they would come over; we had no water. But when my daddy came, my husband, so sweet, used the little water that we had to spread it around daddy. It was 119 degrees, 120 degrees. We had ah house that was not actually a house it was made of bamboo matting and we had a tin roof and we had one bed and a big ah table and that’s all we had in that room.

When ah it rained we moved everything around. And we had an anniversary, my little house was the only house where I, no matter where I am, I take these pretty, little, cheap curtains that nobody wants, cut them up, and my little house was cute. And then when we had our anniversary, I told my husband to dress up, and then hand in hand, we went to this kitchen table, and I cooked— 

Kay: I love it!

Nita:  Whatever there was— 

Kay: In your poverty? 

Nita:: In my poverty. And I learned, you know, to live in that state. And God is so sweet, you know, and I guess, I have ah um I don’t know, I have always been an obedient girl. I’ve always loved God and so whatever came along we just, you know, did whatever. We had floods. We learned that if we stood up on the table then the floods would go by. Our kitchen drifted

off, there were snakes and serpents and everything going past. And I was pregnant; I was seven months pregnant. And then I went ah to—I couldn’t have my baby there so I, you know, went back there ah—

Kay: Rangoon. 

Nita:  Rangoon. By then the military takeover was so bad I had to share, because I was a doctor’s wife, I had to share a room with eight people and there was nobody to look after you. I literally, literally they just at the end, just took me, I mean, I was almost giving birth before I got onto the table.

Kay: Now at this point, I I I want them to understand, your husband knows the Lord?

Nita: Yes, he does. 

Kay: Yes. You think you know God? 

Nita:  Yes. 

Kay: You’ve come out of this Buddhism and Hinduism, this this syncretism, this henotheism, where you keep adding gods because they are going to be of benefit to you. All right, so you’ve come out of that, and you think you know God. What do you know about God at this stage? 

Nita:  Nothing much except that He was my husband’s God. And ah I didn’t learn about, you know: His love, His protection, His guidance, His goodness, His everything. It was just, I’m a Christian because my husband’s a Christian. 

Kay: Yes, and you didn’t read the Bible? 

Nita:  I did read the Bible because when I was young, growing up I read every book in sight—if I had nothing to read, I had read dictionaries—so, so I, my daddy bought me all this library. But when I got there my husband was so tired, I would read the Bible to him. 

Kay: Yes, yes. 

Nita: And I would just read the Bible and to me it was a historical book. I started from A to go down the list, and when the Holy Spirit hasn’t opened up your heart—

Kay: That’s right, there’s a veil over the word.

Nita: It’s just a book.

Kay: Yes, yes it’s just a book. All right, so you’re in this poverty and then I want you to tell me, and we’re going to come back, how you went really from riches to rags and back to riches again, the riches of Jesus Christ, and how you survive that poverty because you lived in real poverty in the United States of America. 

Nita:  Yes. 

Kay: And what it cost you to leave Burma to come here. And the reason I want you to hear this is because, in times like this when we can hear how others survived, when we can hear, “Hey, they made it.” And you’ve lost your home, or you’ve lost your possessions; you need to know you can make it. 



Kay: Welcome, back. We are talking to Nita Tin who is a good friend of mine who lives here in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her husband is just one of the dearest men, even a she is dear, that you’d ever meet: a man of compassion, of grace, a gentle man, an ophthalmologist of high esteem, but he has been through the mill. I mean, he has gone from possessing things to possessing nothing, absolutely nothing.

Ah Nita, you were in this this situation where you had servants, you’ve had everything you need, now you’re married to your husband; is there a bitterness in your heart at all because of the poverty that you’re in, in Burma under these militant rulers? 

Nita:  No, both of us, we never had any bitterness. I guess we—God just made us where we just accepted whatever came to us.

And ah, we we, when we were back there I also, I had shared how, when I was at the university, the military had come in, they had shot the students with the machine guns, all of the student hall. There was blood all over the place, they closed down the universities, and then when we came back, there was so many missing, but they said that these were the people that had been bad. Well, they were not alive to talk about it. And a friend of mine, he was over six feet they had

broken his foot and they had just crude coffins.

The parents couldn’t, you know, identify them. And it was in this sort of place—God brought us to that sort of place, to that sort of life, to make us want to leave Burma, and we did. And when we did, he had to leave his government position, but then when we went to another little, ah ah less, more of a small town. My husband was just doing private practice and we they had demonitized all the money, but we had so much money coming in—

Kay: In Burma? 

Nita:  In Burma. We just ah, shoved it under our bed. We were sitting on pots of money, but we couldn’t put it in the bank. And so God plans for everything because when we left they made us pay 10,000 each so out came the money and we gave it to them.

Kay: That’s what God was doing he was giving you the money so you could leave the country. 

Nita:  Yes, yes. And then the rest of it went to my sister. And then no jewelry, nothing, he just stripped me of everything. We couldn’t take away any jewelry. All the things that my grandmothers had given me, my beautiful rings, and bracelets, all the sapphires—

Kay: I have a beautiful ring you gave me.

Nita:  Burma is known for its sapphires, and rubies, and diamonds, and all of that I had to leave, but the freedom it was nothing to be compared with what we had. Because the moment we were able to leave, that was two years we paid the government, we had to sign papers, we were saying we were traitors, and we were allowed to take 10 dollars each, which was 20 dollars; nothing for the children. We had a family of four: a child, one and a half years old, and another who was five. And we left.

And when we got to the United States, his sister was in New York, and so we came there with—all I had was a little, what we call longyi—which you know as sarong, but it’s a Burmese longyi, little cardigan; It was minus 17 degrees below in New York and they brought us our coats. And then we stayed with them, but—because we had to wait two years for our papers, there was no place for him to go for

because he had to do his internship and three years of residency over again.

So, because had we gone to England there would have been reciprocity and he wouldn’t have to do that, but this is America and so he had to do all of that. So we got here and he walked all over the streets of New York—we have always custom made shoes and suits and things like that—his shoes had holes in them. But my husband his life’s verse is, “…Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things [will] be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33, KJV)

Kay: Tell me what happened when you got here and how you lived.

Nita:  Right, and so we, we actually applied all over. And Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Bible belt, was where God brought us. Erlanger hospital got him here. He earned 2 dollars and 65 cents an hour as an intern. 

Kay: Oh, dear. 

Nita:  And with our 10 dollars; we had no money. We had an apartment that we paid money and by that time we had forty-dollars left for the whole month. We had no car so he took two buses to the Erlanger hospital. We couldn’t buy an umbrella so he had my rain bonnet and ah we, we just lived—

Kay: And your furniture? 

Nita:  There— no furniture. We ate off boxes. And God was the neatest thing because, I mean, I just can’t get over how God supplied because when we got there and we were living in such poverty. I’d go to the grocery store and I’d say “Well, I can’t afford these two bananas. No eggs for us.” It was just either rice and beans and maybe I bought a little bit of ground beef to last over the whole week, but that was how we lived. And we lived like that almost like that for four years because as a resident he didn’t earn that much. So at that time we were just living from day to day with nothing much. We didn’t go out to eat, we didn’t drink Coke, we didn’t do anything, we never told anybody. We didn’t even tell our church. We didn’t get into any welfare program. 

Kay: You had become a Christian now.

Nita:  Yes, I had become a Christian.

Kay: Yes, you had become a Christian. Okay. So now, you’re reading the Bible. 

Nita: Uh huh.

Kay: Now the veil is off of the Bible

Nita: Right!

Kay: So how did, what role did God play in your poverty? 

Nita:  Well, first of all, God did it in tangible ways. I mean, my husband comes home from the medical meeting with the T.V., which one we gave to Bok Sun—

Kay: Oh, our Korean girl, yes. 

Nita: And you know, just different things: We’d go out and somebody would say, we’d look and the children would want to go somewhere, they’ll give us four tickets and say, “You can have it.” And we’d say, “No, we don’t have the money for it.” “No,” they say, “We’re giving it to you.”

So in tangible ways God did all of that. But it was a time also when—because, you know, at that time, I guess, I went through some sort of depression because I was away from my parents. I mean, not only did God take away where I was from, my family was in Australia, and I had no money. But, you know, it is neat how God took away my family, but He gave me His family.

Kay: Um hum. Uh, you had four years you said that were very, very hard. And what has God done? 

Nita:  Well, ah when when I look at ah, you know, what God has done in our lives since then, He’s been working all along. But as soon as my husband finished his residency, we opened up our own practice. We worked a little while with Dr. Lassiter, but we opened up our own practice and with nothing. We had to borrow 37,000 to equip one room—and I am not a person who pays interest, but we had to—and so we borrowed this money and we started up our practice. When we started our practice I was the maid: I cleaned the bathrooms. And my husband did mow the lawn. And people would pass by and say, “We’ve not seen a doctor who mows his own lawn.”

And we’d wait for one patient and I think what God has done, because we gave, uh, it’s more of a ministry. And then, you know, our pastor had said, when we had him over, he said, “This is a cornerstone.” And he talked about the stone and that it stayed there.

After 25 years, we had another, devotion for just to thank the Lord and to just praise Him for what He’s done. And it has been a place of ministry and I think that’s why. God has just brought the people in. We don’t have anybody referring to us that is from other doctors. We don’t advertise that much, but what we do have is people who just love coming to us because I think they feel a sense of God being in our place. 

Kay: And that’s what happens, Beloved, is you will have a greater sense of God after losing your riches and trusting in Him. You’ll be rich in Christ and in the love of Christ and you’ll be so much more apt and sensitive to share with others. 

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