The recent military coup in Myanmar, following their November elections and a failed challenge of election fraud by the military in that country’s Supreme Court, echoes a violent coup in that nation in 1988.
“Until two years ago, Myanmar, also known as Burma, was ruled by the longest-running military dictatorship in the world,” NPR reported. “A disagreement in a tea shop between university students and people linked to the government eventually grew into a student-led movement calling for democracy in the summer of 1988.” The protests led to martial law and banned public demonstrations. Violence followed with about 3,000 people shot, 3,000 Burmese sent to prison, and 10,000 activists fleeing the country.
Today, WorldVenture global worker Jonathan Stone serves in Myanmar. He writes, “Back in 2008, the country was deep under military rule, yet Paul (WorldVenture Ministry Partner) was actively planting churches. He said in those days that he averaged about five new church plants a year. After 2010, the country stabilized and became more prosperous. He said that planting churches [then] became very difficult. The prosperity of the times made it challenging even to plant one church a year. People were not interested in a Savior anymore because they thought they could build their hope on a stable democracy. But, in light of the recent events, people are ready to listen again.” Paul urges the Myanmar people to stand up with courage and go out with the strength and power of the Gospel, proclaiming the Good News to ears that are now ready to listen.
Jonathan reminds us today of Ephesians 6:12 (NIV), “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” The enemy is not any military regime or political party. The enemy is the forces of evil that push people to fear.
1 John 4:18 (NLT) says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Jonathan asks us to pray for the people in Myanmar:
“I welcome and encourage all prayers for Myanmar, but more than prosperity, stability, or safety, pray that the now tender hearts of the Myanmar people find their true hope, security, and courage in a relationship with Jesus Christ alone. Pray for the church to not resort to the same fear of the world around them, but that we would keep our eyes on Jesus and boldly hold on to and proclaim Truth with humble and contrite hearts.”
If you live in Myanmar, please feel free to submit prayer requests to our prayer wall anonymously or with your name. We are praying for you!
Photo Credit: Jonathan Stone (from a few years ago)
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“The United States Embassy here in Yangon issued a statement in support of the Myanmar people to protest the military coup while encouraging them to do so non-violently. The love of the Myanmar people for their country and for their beloved leaders was visible today. Vast numbers of local Yangon residents paraded through the streets opposing the coup and in support for the elected leaders who are still under house arrest, like Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. In some places, in the midst of the protests, locals gave flowers and bottled water to police officers standing at barricades behind plastic shields. The Myanmar people are clearly sending the message that they have no intention of becoming violent. And to one not knowing the situation, the noises and movement of people on the streets could seem to be some sort of festival. The banging of pots not only happens at 8PM anymore. It’s now done at 8PM and 2PM as well. Each time it happens, it has become an accompaniment to a time of prayer for these dear people. For now, we have power, Internet and phone service, but no one is sure if this will continue.” – J. Stone
“As I write this, all WiFi phone data has been disconnected in Yangon. So life in Myanmar remains safe and peaceful for the time being. Continue praying for [Myanmar people’s] hearts… we know our only true hope, security and peace can be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray for me as I stand beside my Myanmar friends. Pray for divine appointments and gospel conversations!” – J. Stone