Myanmar update: “Thank you for standing with us.”
Soldiers hunting down and shooting protesters. An online shutdown. Up to two years before the military will allow new elections. Such is the situation in the South East Asian country of Myanmar, since the coup took place early February. Citizens are afraid and many Christians live in dangerous areas without security or guarantees you won’t be targeted.
Due to the limited possibilities to communicate with people inside Myanmar, it’s hard to get information from Open Doors’ partner networks. When Christians are able to connect, the fear and uncertainty speak louder than their words.
A Christian from the capital Yangon, Min Naing*, says, “Every day I hear gunshots and sound grenades near my house. The sound comes only one bus stop away from my house. At night, most homes do not turn on lights after 8 p.m. 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 littering 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 the township where martial law is imposed. He lives with his wife, together leading a small church. Because of the daily gunfire near the church, church programs could not be continued.
“My wife has not been able to sleep for two weeks. That’s why we fled to another town. When we arrived in the town, I had to flee again. This time for two days, because the army was recruiting more soldiers.” Fortunately, he is home and safe. The pastor lives in a town without internet and is worried about not hearing the news.
Others are also at risk of being forcibly pushed into the army. “In a remote village, a pastor is leading a small church”, Open Doors partner Lwin* says. “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. Worship service was suspended.”
Lwin and others live and work under a lot of stress, because of the uncertainty and rapidly changing situation. Nobody’s safety is guaranteed. One thing is for sure: Lwin and the other believers know they are not alone. Lwin says, “Thank you for standing with us during this crisis. 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 (many are frustrated and hopeless at the moment even with their own faith) will come to know the true and living God.”
* Names changed for security reasons
Pray for Kyaw, Lwin, and other believers who are worried about their future under the new military government.
Pray for an end to violence, and for freedom for the citizens of Myanmar.