Burma’s internal military conflicts have curtailed ministry efforts, but the chaos also has helped expand God’s kingdom as displaced people take refuge at a Bible college and Christian camps.
People are dying every day as the government forces of Burma (Myanmar) counter independence movements in various states and battle resistance to the military coup of February 2021, the leader of a ministry based in the country said.
“The civil war is not getting better; every day battles occur in every state and every region,” he said.
Civilians have been arrested and tortured to death and their houses burned down.
“There is no security anywhere – killing, bombing, gunfire and arrests happen everywhere,” the leader said. “Many more people have left their houses and fled to the jungles for their lives.”
Among those fleeing to the jungles are young people, while others have escaped to neighboring countries.
“Many young people, however, remain in the country and do not know what to do with their lives,” the ministry leader said. “Some young people run to Bible colleges and Christian camps.”
Recently 48 young people fleeing military strikes took refuge at the ministry’s Bible college, he said. They are now studying God’s Word, with many coming to faith in Christ. Other internally displaced youths have fled to the ministry’s Bible camp, including 10 young women whose villages became battlegrounds, he said.
“All the people of the villages fled to the forest and jungles, and these 10 girls fled to our camp in late March,” the leader said. “After coming to us, all of them got saved, and we thank the Lord for that. Now for them there is no place to go, and so they all eagerly joined our Bible college.”
Each has shown integrity of character as they grow in their knowledge of the Lord, he said, and four have obtained sponsors to support their studies.
Returning Bible college students have also had to dodge bullets to get to the institution.
Three fourth-year students spent three weeks evading fighting as they traveled to return to classes, including one who was caught and nearly killed, the leader said.
“One of them was about to be killed by the terrorists. A girl pleaded with them, and finally he was released,” the leader said. “They stayed on the road for three days, then moved to another village, then moved to another place, and finally, after three weeks, they were able to reach the Bible college.”
In spite of the dangers, the Bible college has managed to continue discipling students and preparing church leaders from 13 ethnic groups.
“Bombing and gunfire used to occur near the Bible college campus, but so far, we are safe by God’s grace,” the leader said. “All 161 students are resident dormitory students. We teach them the Word of God, and there are meetings every Saturday night, Sunday morning and Sunday evening.”
The ministry planned to resume a weekly “Good News Club” among children.
“Some brave students will go out on Sunday morning and form a group of children and teach the Good News,” he said.
Loving Your Neighbor
As violence has closed many schools, the ministry has founded a private Christian school where 118 children are enrolled, from preschool to seventh grade.
“This is a faith ministry, a new adventure – we need God’s wisdom to handle all kinds of problems that surround us,” the leader said. “This learning center will be our mission field.”
At the same time, the ministry has managed to keep its children’s shelter open. Disadvantaged children memorize Scripture as part of their Bible lessons and have also begun studies at the new school.
With military and criminal violence making travel unsafe, the leader has encouraged workers to undertake evangelism in their home areas. While unrest has curtailed large-scale outreach, local missionaries continue discipleship training and proclaiming Christ in small church meetings, he said.
“We try to keep evangelism alive,” he said. “Therefore, we encourage our missionaries to have a wise evangelistic movement in their own fields, but it is not really easy to do that.”
The ministry’s church plants have lost about 500 members who fled into jungles or neighboring countries to avoid military destruction, with 13 Christians losing their lives, he said. At the same time, two churches in separate areas have seen growth, he said.
“Satan tried to destroy the mission work,” the leader said, and commented on one of the two churches that in the midst of trouble, it is growing both in numbers and in spirit. “The simple church building has become too small, and now they have started praying to build a new church building. We have to help them.”
Local missionaries are building God’s kingdom throughout Burma. Please consider a donation today to equip and encourage them.