The unrest and uncertainty continue in Myanmar. But amidst the awful headlines and pictures, there are good things happening. From believers finding strength in fellowship to 40 people in a village coming to know Jesus, here we reflect on four ways God is answering your prayers for your brothers and sisters in Myanmar. All names have been changed to protect identities.
1. Forty adults give their lives to Jesus
News and pictures of Burmese people taking to the streets in protests have spread across the world. For Pastor Moe, this represented an opportunity. “I joined the protests and I got to know many of the neighbours and community,” he says. “I built relationships with them.” He hopes that over time this will lead to opportunities to talk about Jesus.
This passion to reach out to others is also reflected in Pastor Joshua. People unable to find work are struggling to put food on the table. In response, Pastor Joshua – who, since the crisis began, has led persecution survival training for believers in his church, including those new to the faith – has delivered food packages to those in need with support from those in his church. Where the recipients were not believers, the opportunity was used to share the gospel.
And the good news doesn’t stop there. Last month, 40 adults from a village in central Myanmar gave their lives to Jesus!
2. Commitment to prayer and request for more Bibles
The church is also responding to the crisis by seeking God through prayer and Bible study. Pastor Myra and Pastor Lily live in central Myanmar. “I cannot sit still when our people are fighting and protesting,” shares Pastor Myra. “I decided to go out and protest. Pastor Lily chose to stay in the church and observe fasting and prayer for the country.”
Pastor Myra is now unable to go out and protest as it’s too risky, with soldiers and military officers occupying the area. The church is also unable to open. However, both Pastor Myra and Pastor Lily, along with other believers, continue to gather for prayer and Bible study.
Meanwhile, Christians from a Buddhist-majority area who are vulnerable to persecution are requesting more Bibles. Forced to stay at home, the believers have begun engaging with the Word of God at a deeper level and now require extra copies so each person has their own Bible to read. Praise God for this hunger for His Word, and please pray for the provision of these Bibles.
3. Opportunities to talk
There is healing in talking. For believers facing questions, doubts and worry, there have been welcome opportunities to open up to others.
“My heart has been troubled since the military coup started,” shares Min Naing. “I was worried that the security forces will come and search my house at any time, because the soldiers raided an office in one of the streets and made arrests. I am sad to hear gunshots during the day. I can only pray for a few minutes and I cannot encourage others.
“However, my wife and I were able to address our concerns during the debriefing sessions with professional Christian counsellors. Now I can pray two times a day and I am also able to spend time in solitude with God. Debriefing at such a difficult time has not only strengthened me, but enabled me to encourage others as well.”
It’s a similar story for Pastor Zaw. He’s been faithfully serving others – calling pastors in rural areas who are struggling, organising a prayer meeting for pastors, delivering food aid to people in need – but he slips into depression when reading news about the country online. But a chat with a Christian counsellor inspired him to take action. “I had the strength to close Facebook and look up to God alone,” he says.
4. Protection at the tea shop
What makes these good news stories even more remarkable is that they’re often written amidst the backdrop of ongoing danger and insecurity.
“We cannot stop doing ministry, but we experience God’s protection”
After finishing their outreach, Pastor Joshua and his church stopped by a tea shop to rest and have something to eat. Whilst there, 30 soldiers turned up, scaring all those present. Pastor Joshua told everyone to calm down and remain seated. The soldiers came in, walked around and carried out an inspection, before leaving without harming or arresting anyone.
Pastor Joshua later heard the news that the soldiers entered the next tea shop and arrested four people. “We cannot stop doing ministry, but we experience God’s protection,” the pastor says.
Your prayers are invaluable and still needed
Pastor U Chit and 18 families from Buddhist backgrounds live in a war zone, where the military is in combat with an ethnic insurgent group. They’ve been forced to flee to the jungle for their safety, going out only to cook or buy food. Since the price of food has increased twofold, Pastor U Chit and his family cannot afford to buy rice and food, so they forage roots and leaves from the jungle.
“Thank you for standing with us during this crisis,” shared Brother Lwin last week. Your prayers are really making a difference. But as Pastor U Chit’s story shows, the needs of believers persist and remain acute. Please continue to lift up in prayer your brothers and sisters in Myanmar.
HELP PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS STAND STRONG IN THEIR FAITH
Your gift today will show our persecuted brothers and sisters in Myanmar, and other countries in the World Watch List they are loved and remembered by you.