An Update on Myanmar

Last week, believers in Myanmar took part in civil demonstrations and intensified prayer campaigns, both online and offline. The nation has seen the military retaliate against the growing mass protests with draconian changes in its penal code. “Last Saturday, they’ve announced a new law that revokes the basic rights of the people. Protest leaders across the country have been hunted down and arrested,” says Daisy, an Open Doors partner in the region. “Since then, people have been living with anxiety and insecurity at night due to possible serious violations of basic human rights by the police.”

On February 13, the military announced changes in its penal code that allows them to: 1) arrest without warrants 2) search houses without the presence of the local administrative officer; 3) track people down; 4) seek for information from the operators; 5) and detain people for more than 24 hours. Twenty years of prison awaits anyone who would act against the state.

On Union Day, the military government released 23,000 prisoners to wreak havoc in the country in its first act of amnesty. “The released prisoners tried to poison the apartment water tanks in several townships during the night. They were also responsible for setting fires and poisoning in the drinking water.

“The people of Myanmar feel very unsafe,” Daisy says. “The people had to build barriers around the streets to protect themselves from the criminals released by the military. Armed soldiers have also been patrolling the streets, which have made believers feel very insecure.”

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Another partner, Min Naing, shares his experience over the weekend: “Police and military trucks full of soldiers passed by my house in Yangon. They came to arrest the protesters who led in the daytime, as well as the government employees who participated in the CDM (Civil Disobedience Movement). When one house started banging pots and pans, all the people in the buildings and apartments were also banging. All of a sudden, many people came out and chased after the vehicles by banging pots and pans. The police and military vehicles continued to drive without arresting the people in Hledan area. People could not sleep and the whole neighborhood was noisy. Everyone was alert.”

In the midst of the unrest, many believers all over Myanmar joined the protests – and prayed.

“Two hundred believers in Chika village, Chin state gathered to pray for the country in the village community field. After that, they rallied around the village and protested against the coup,” Daisy says. “From Yangon, to Kalaymyo, to Chin State – young and old, Pentecostal or Catholic, everyone has been on their knees.”

Though many Christians have joined and supported the protests, there are believers who have also chosen not to participate. “Please pray that the seeds of misunderstanding and discord will not be sown between Christians who do not share the same views,” Daisy asks. “Please pray for Christians so that they will be able to discern the will of God for the country. Please pray that people will be able to sleep peacefully and be safe. Pray for peace in the country as the military junta is getting worse without negotiations.”

Pray

You can pray today for some specific Christians living in Myanmar.

Dan*, a Buddhist background believer in Mandalay, is jobless now due to COVID-19 and the military coup. His family is now facing difficulties. Their pastor, an OD partner, is helping provide their food. Please pray for Dan’s family, that they will be able to survive their daily lives, and that they will be strengthened spiritually in the Lord in this situation.

Moi* is a widow. Her husband, who is a pastor, died a few years ago leaving her with 3 children. She works as a porter, carrying goods across the border of Myanmar and India. She has been struggling to find employment since the COVID lockdown. Now with the civil disobedience movement going on in the place where she lives, she is unemployed and is facing difficulties. Pray for God’s provision for her.

Cherry* is a participant of the women’s entrepreneurship training who is also taking care of students in an educational center supported by Open Doors. Cherry told an OD partner, “During the pandemic and the coup, l made fermented soybean paste to eat and to sell. I can earn extra income and make ends meet. Now I am able to earn income and manage even a little sum and take care of the children during this coup and the lockdown.” Praise God for his enabling for Sister Cherry.

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