Authorities in a Buddhist village recently established a law forbidding Buddhists from hiring Christians for work and from renting or selling anything to Christians. As a result, believers in the village are unable to buy food.
Every day, village authorities pressure the Christians to return to Buddhism, promising that if they do they will be able to buy food again. The believers, however, are standing firm. “This is not a game”, one Christian replied. “We were baptised. We believe in Christ 100% and we will die believing.”
When a Buddhist vendor sold a banana to a Christian recently, he was detained for three days and fined the equivalent of $90. The man later decided to become a Christian, asking another believer to teach him the Bible and baptise him, because he saw that the Buddhists were wrong.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Thank the Lord for bringing blessing from suffering and pray that this man grows and stands firm in his faith despite the persecution he will likely face.
- Pray that all believers in the village will love those who persecute them and inspire other Buddhists to learn more about Jesus.
- Pray for VOM’s efforts to provide these believers with food.
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Churches, priests and Christian missionaries working in Wa, a mountainous region in the eastern state of Shan, are victims of the repression of Myanmar’s largest rebel army, the United Wa State Army (UWSA). It is the armed wing of the United Wa State Party (UWSP), the state’s China-aligned political wing.
On September 9 more than 200 Christian pastors, deacons and elders were arrested, along with 41 Bible students.
Our contact in Myanmar recently visited the state and reports the following:
More than 60 Churches in the WA State have been closed. Three Churches have been burnt down and several pastor’s houses have been destroyed by JCB (machinery).
Bibles from churches and Christian houses were confiscated and burned. The rule now is, that if the WA government sees a person in possession of a Bible he/she will be arrested and imprisoned for at least three years.
The 41 Bible Students that were arrested in September were forced to join the Wa army. No one knows exactly where they are.
The 200 plus Christians, who were arrested and imprisoned, were forced to sign a declaration, in front of the WA government and under threat of death, for their release.
The declaration included:
- I no longer believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour
- I will not preach about Christ
- I will not lead a church
- I will not worship in a church building or in a house church.
- If I do preach, worship and believe in Jesus, I will be fined, and sentenced to five years in prison.
More than 200 signed the declaration and were released. Nine pastors did not sign, saying they will never sign a declaration stating that they will no longer believe in Jesus. They are still in prison.
Sources Asia Times, Voice of the Martyrs
- Please pray that the nine pastors will be released, without having to deny their faith.
- Pray for the pastors’ families and churches
- Please pray that all closed churches will be again be open and that rebuilding of the destroyed churches and houses can begin.
- Pray for religious freedom in WA State.
Christians in the Wa Special Region of Myanmar have long endured persecution but the situation has worsened with church leaders and students recently arrested and over 50 churches closed.
The WA region is one of the most “secretive places on earth” according to the BBC. Bordering China in East Shan State, it is under the Myanmar Government, yet Chinese Communists still control the laws and limit the use of phones and electricity.
In the last few months, the crackdown on practising Christianity has been widely felt throughout the area. Ninety-two pastors have been arrested with no indication of their release; three church buildings have been burnt and destroyed, while 52 churches have been closed. The HuTuawng Lasho Bible School has been closed and 41 of its students, arrested.
Currently, Christians in the region are told to “recant, be silent and not speak of Jesus again if you want to enjoy freedom” according to a local source. Being caught with a Bible means a three-year prison sentence while authorities work to “cleanse” the area of Christianity.
Missionaries have never been welcome in the Wa Region but despite this, many conversions have taken place with whole villages turning to Christ since 2012.
Just four years ago, the Media4Christ mission group arrived under the Baptist church and although they were not welcome to preach, they booked a hotel room and invited people to hear the Gospel. A woman in the area was healed of a known disease and spoke of this to many others, because of her healing, many locals soon flocked to the hotel room to hear the Gospel and receive prayer.
Recently, the group was invited back by a local Baptist pastor but when they arrived, unbelievers filed a report to the government and local authorities drove them out of town. Because of this, the local Baptist pastor was arrested and kept imprisoned for 15 days and as of September this year, his church closed down.
Because of the many conversions, many soldiers in the Wa army have left to commit to church while new converts refuse to join, making it difficult for local leaders to build a reliable army and creating tension between Christians and the government.
Wa Leaders refuse to accept Christ and Christianity as they believe they are the “Lords of the Land” and Jesus Christ has not helped them.
Despite strict laws and surveillance, sources are still working to gather information and updates on the situation.
Sources: Voice of the Martyrs, BBC
Aye Nan was fifteen when her father, U Aih Cum, was killed for his faith after a house church meeting in Myanmar. U Aih Cum was passionate about reaching others with the true Gospel message.
His feet and hands were removed, he was stabbed and cut multiple times in a vicious attack.
Aye Nan, the eldest of five children, left school in order to support her mother and four siblings.
She lives and works as a servant girl in a wealthy man’s house where she is emotionally abused. She has not seen her mother for twelve months.
Voice of the Martyrs, with the help of our supporters, is able to free her from this abuse and return her to her mother and family.
We have committed to build the family a new home (to replace the tin shack they are currently in), provide them with clean water (via a water filter), provide them with chickens, goats, vegetable seeds and a sewing machine to help them provide for themselves.
Please pray for this dear family who have suffered much.
Update 10 October 2018
Aye Nan, her mother and siblings, have now moved into their new home. Aye Nan’s mother is overwhelmed with the support the family has received.
As many as 92 pastors, evangelists and church members in the ethnic Wa region of Myanmar’s Shan state were arrested recently, while others are missing.
The United Wa State Army (UWSA), the military arm of the de facto ruling party in the region, is systematically closing churches and removing crosses from the buildings and Christians have been warned not to meet.
Issuing a statement on Facebook, the UWSA declared that all existing churches, missionaries, school teachers and clergymen were to be investigated, with foreign church workers banned and those found to support missionary activities punished.
It also said that all churches built after 1989 (when the Communist Party collapsed) must be destroyed, with the exception of one built with the government’s permission, and that no new churches will be allowed.
Wa is a self-declared autonomous state in Shan, bordering China and Thailand, which is not recognised by the Myanmar government. UWSA is Myanmar’s largest non-state army and is believed to be backed by China.
In one encouraging incident, the Christian daughter of a high ranking official volunteered to take the place of 14 evangelists who had been arrested by the Wa Army. The evangelists were released after having their heads shaved so people could identify them. “We’re praying and trying to fight against fear” a VOM contact said. “But it’s very difficult to do”.
Sources: The Voice of the Martyrs USA, World Watch Monitor
- Ask the Lord to give the believers in Myanmar His strength to endure and overcome this latest wave of opposition. Ask the Lord to provide His protection.
- Commit to the Lord those who have been arrested and those who are missing – pray for news, pray for justice, pray that families will be reunited.
- Pray these recent incidents may be somehow used by the Lord for His glory and for the spiritual good of the church in Myanmar.