In Myanmar, families and villagers who practise animism often persecute those who convert to Christianity.
Villagers with animistic beliefs take vengeance against Christians, claiming they are angering the local spirits. Church gatherings and church buildings are allowed in many parts of the country, but tolerance varies from state to state.
Active believers who share their faith face difficulties. Buddhist monks have actively opposed new Christian converts and evangelists.
A visiting preacher conducted a crusade in Thuta’s Buddhist village. Thuta knew the preacher’s words had depth and meaning; they left him intrigued and he desired to know more.
He had to wait another three years for the opportunity; the same visiting preacher came again. Thuta’s heart burned within when the preacher proclaimed, “If we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we become children of God and obtain eternal life.” Thuta wanted to be a child of God. It was at that moment that he put his trust in Christ, and his life changed for ever.
Over time, Thuta’s confidence in his faith grew as he gained knowledge and understanding, with the help of a local pastor. He decided he wanted to be baptised and the pastor willingly baptised Thuta in April 2019.
This public declaration of his faith in Christ confirmed for Thuta’s Buddhist family that this was not a passing phase. They decided to test him.
Thuta lived at home with his two brothers and one sister. Soon after the baptism, the siblings suggested they visit the grave of their late mother as an act of worship, as was customary. There they would offer food as a sacrifice. Thuta had taken part in the practice before, but things were different now; his new faith had changed him.
Thuta went along with his siblings to their mother’s grave but he would not bow down in worship at the tomb. Knowing the refusal risked their disapproval, when challenged, he said to them, “I am a Christian, I worship the living God, I will no longer bow down before idols.”
His siblings became very angry. “If you do not want to worship our parents, you must leave our house. We are no longer related; we cannot be your family.” At first, feeling saddened by the loss of his home and family, he wandered alone. After being homeless for two months, he went to his pastor for help. Thuta accepted the pastor’s offer to live in the church compound.
Thuta worked as a carpenter’s assistant to support himself but as word of his conversion spread, he started to face opposition at work. Once his family discovered where he was staying, they began to threaten Thuta’s pastor and they threw rocks at the church.
Thuta decided that for his and the pastor’s safety he must leave. He left his job and the village where he had lived all his life for a new area, many kilometres away.
He started work transporting people on a motorised tricycle, but after paying for the daily hire of the vehicle, Thuta had little money left over.
VOM’s contact heard of Thuta’s struggles. Thuta’s pastor advised the VOM contact that if Thuta owned a motor tricycle he would soon be able, with some additional help for basic needs, to provide for himself.
VOM’s contact reported, “Thuta didn’t believe me when I told him that there are people who would help him, but was naturally overjoyed when it arrived. He said, ‘When I asked Jesus Christ in my life, I accepted Jesus for my spiritual life, now because of Christ I am being blessed even in my physical life. All my family left me, chased me out of our house, I had no one to support me. Now I know I have extended family somewhere in the world because of Christ.’”
Thuta remains a faithful believer. He is earning enough money to pay for rent and basic living expenses and is now looking forward to starting a new life with his Christian fiancée, Kyi, whom he hopes to marry in late 2021.
Our contact has asked us to pray for Thuta, that he will continue to be strong in his faith. Pray too for his siblings, that they might come to know Christ.