As we enter Australia’s Christmas season, it is easy to forget that Jesus, who came to give life in abundance, was born into danger as Herod raged from his throne.
As Christians around the world marked the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, the Penial Children Home, which the Thantlang Association of Baptist Churches supports, was burned down in the ongoing violence in Myanmar.
How many thousands retraced Mary’s tired footsteps as they fled across Myanmar, and what can we do to comfort them?
We cannot be there in person, but we can stand in solidarity. We can open our eyes to what is happening to the people of Myanmar. We can open our ears to their stories and calls for action. We can open our hearts to share heartbreak and hope. We can use the voice God gave us to speak up to the powerful. And we can pray.
A landslide election, a deadly coup
One year ago, the people of Myanmar made their voices heard: Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won the November 2020 election overwhelmingly. Then on February 1st, a military junta overthrew the government, arresting leaders to impose full military rule.
Students and citizens protested peacefully and were met with violence – many were killed, and over 200,000 more fled as their own homes became more dangerous than the road, the jungle, or the border.
Pray for them.
Nine months later the attention of the world has moved on, but the crisis is worsening.
The strong and faithful community of Burmese Baptists across Australia blesses and enriches Australia’s Baptist movement. Thankfully, Burmese churches and pastors have been raising the alarm about the situation in Myanmar and appealing for support.
Pray for them.
In a recent video with the Baptist Union of Victoria, Rev. Dennis Shu Maung reported that churches are being occupied and used for military purposes, and that 40-50,000 people are in a camp for internally displaced people in Chin state. Rev Gail Moe Dewai reported that more than 100,000 people have been displaced in Karen state – some across borders but most into the jungles. People lack food, shelter and medicine, but access to the region is difficult.
Since then, the town of Thantlang in Chin state has also come under attack. Drone footage shows homes ablaze, and reports indicate that shelling and fire destroyed 160 homes, including many which belonged to local Baptists.
Pray for Myanmar. And take action.
Here’s what else you and your church can do:
- Download the ‘Prayers for Myanmar’ resource to help you pray.
- Build a prayer network. Call or message your community’s prayer leaders – prayer and worship teams, service MCs, youth leaders, mission teams and more.
- Spread the message to your network. We’ve posted “Pray For Myanmar” images to Facebook and Instagram which you can share with or without a prayer.
- Write to your local MP or Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, to share your concern for Myanmar.
- Let us know what you and your church are doing. Email our team so we can let Burmese Baptist leaders know that people are taking action.
We do not know what happened in the years when Mary and Joseph fled with their son, far from home. What we do know is that God is faithful, and that his plan for the restoration of the world flows through us – hands and feet, salt and light. This is discipleship in action.
As we look to the people of Myanmar, may we see Jesus.
As we listen to the people of Myanmar, may we hear Jesus.
As we feel for the people of Myanmar, may we feel the heart of God for His people.
As we act in solidarity with the people of Myanmar, may we act as Jesus taught us.
As we pray for the people of Myanmar, may we come closer to Jesus.