As you may know, we have had a long history of ministry in Myanmar (also known as Burma). Over the years, we have developed close relationships with several key pastors around the country. You may have seen the news - there has been a coup. The military arrested all of the civilian government officials and declared that they were taking control. The response has been mass protests and a further crackdown from the military. What you may not have heard is how this is affecting our fellow believers there. Below are a couple of notes that I have received from our friends:
From a dear friend in Mandalay:
"We are in great dangers. The military government released prisoners more than 20000 and ask them to burn houses in the city and put poison in water well. It was happening in the everywhere. Six of them are arrested tonight in my place. The military arrested our leaders and thousands of protest leaders and CDM leaders are arrested in midnight without any reasons. They announced that internet connection will be cut off from tomorrow up to 20 February. Our country needs help… Please continue to pray for us and our country."
From another brother, in Kalaymyo:
"Burmese VOA said that every American who is still in Myanmar should leave Myanmar soon. We don't know yet what will happen. More Chinese military are coming to our country and joined with our country's military. Police/military shoot and kill civilians every day.
As soon as the military coup has taken the authority, they tried to destroy [our] ministry. We are very, very sad. But we earnestly prayed to God for help, and now some of military former workers joined to Civil Disobedient Movement as they left their job. But the graduated students [from the Bible school] have been persecuted and rejected from the field but some are continuing Gospel ministry. They are facing difficult situation. But I appreciate them for their zeal for Christ. Also, military has set free many prisoners, but they made them drink strong drugs so that they have desire to kill others and burn civilians’ homes. They walk into the city every night for killing and burning. So, we are afraid and could not sleep night times because we have no protector like police except God. So, my little children are too much afraid and could sleep night times. We cannot say what will happen and how shall we live or die."
These messages give us some indication of the challenges our brothers and sisters are experiencing now. I have not been able to connect with several others there. This is primarily because of the military periodically shutting down all Internet access in the country. But it also leaves us doubly concerned for their safety.
Please join with us in praying for their nation, their peace, and their safety. May the people of God there continue to be lights in the darkness and beacons of hope to the hopeless, as they faithfully proclaim the gospel of grace and, by that grace, follow Christ through every trial.