Soldiers patrolling a street, searching for protestors
It’s now two months since the military coup in Myanmar. The junta has intensified its crackdown on protestors, with around 600 people now believed to have been killed. For the country’s minority Christian population, there continues to be fear – not just for their safety but of forced recruitment to the army. In this update, Christians in the country share experiences and fears, as well as gratitude for your ongoing prayers. All names have been changed to protect identities.
Given the communication restrictions in Myanmar, it’s hard to obtain information from Open Doors local partners in the country. When contact is made with believers, the fear and uncertainty speaks louder than their words.
Gunshots and sleepless nights
“Every day I hear gunshots and sound grenades near my house,” shares Min Naing* from Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. “The sound comes only one bus stop away from my house. At night, most homes do not turn on lights after 8pm. And nobody makes any noise. This has been happening for about two weeks. Sometimes I hear gunshots in the evening and around midnight. We also stay indoors during the day. We cannot go out except for putting out rubbish and shopping for groceries. I live in the middle of Yangon without security. Please pray for the safety of me and my family.”
Pastor Kyaw* leads a church in a township where martial law is imposed. Because of the daily gunfire near the church building, it’s been impossible to organise church activities. “My wife has not been able to sleep for two weeks,” the pastor shares. “That’s why we fled to another town. When we arrived in the town, I had to flee again after two days, because the army was recruiting more soldiers.” Thankfully, the couple are now home and safe, but without internet. The pastor is concerned about not having access to the news.
“Please pray for the safety of me and my family”
– MIN NAING
Believers hiding in the forest
Others are also at risk of being forcibly enlisted into the army. “In a remote village, a pastor is leading a small church,” Brother Lwin*, an Open Doors local partner reports. “There are no soldiers or police in their village so regular prayers are held every night. Last week, the village chief was asked to recruit 30 men for the military in their village. Now the believers, including the pastor, are hiding in the forest.”
Brother Lwin and others live and work under enormous stress because of the uncertainty and rapidly changing situation. Nobody’s safety is guaranteed. But one thing is for sure: Brother Lwin and the other believers know they are not alone. “Thank you for standing with us during this crisis,” Brother Lwin shares. “We don’t know how or when this will be over. Please pray that the believers will stand strong in their faith, and non-believers – of who many are frustrated and hopeless, even with their own faith – will come to know the true and living God.”
- Heavenly Father, protect Your people in Myanmar from harm and forced recruitment to the army. Keep them safe under the shadow of Your wings. Help Your children to be strong in their faith and witness, and provide ways for believers to encourage one another. Use this crisis to draw many people to You. Bring peace to the streets of Myanmar and an end to all violence. Intervene so that the military relinquishes its brutal hold on the country. Amen.
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