A former police officer in Burma (Myanmar), Nyan*, had been fired from the police force after 10 years on duty due to his first drug offense, for which he had served three years in prison; now he was back again on another drug conviction.
He was one prisoner in a crowd of inmates listening as a native ministry leader spoke of Christ at his prison earlier this year. The ministry leader remembered Nyan from a visit late last year, when the inmate had plied him with many questions about why Christ willingly went to death by torture. Since then Nyan had read the Bible and Gospel tracts the team left with him.
As the leader provided the inmates with food and spiritual nourishment in his return visit, Nyan was impressed by the ensuing time of fellowship. He sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit. But as the ministry team left, the preacher had no way of knowing his impact on Nyan.
Two months later, the leader received a call from a native missionary in the area.
“He was unaware that his work would bring eternal life to someone who would be hit with a life-threatening disease.”
“He said, ‘One of the prisoners was born again and is released now – his name is Nyan,’” the leader said. “He said, ‘He got saved in March when you preached at their prisoners’ camp. He wants to study at Bible school. He wonders whether you can accept him or not.’ I said yes.”
Convinced that his life was ruined unless he followed Christ, studied the Word of God and served the Lord, Nyan was admitted to the ministry’s Bible school and is preparing to be sent to his own people to proclaim Christ – in spite of a debilitating disease.
“Unfortunately, he is suffering from AIDS and has liver problems,” the leader said.
Native missionaries work by faith, he said; just as he could not know how Nyan would respond, he was also unaware that his work would bring eternal life to someone to be hit with a life-threatening disease.
Dangers and Difficulties
The native ministry focuses on unreached people who live in poverty in remote areas. Nyan has a wife and four children, and she is taking care of them while trying to support her family from whatever wages she might earn from daily jobs, the leader said.
Unreached villagers’ poverty is compounded by dangers from rebel military movements.
“They’re farmers, but often they cannot harvest all of it, because they also need to pay some to rebels,” the leader said. “At the same time, they are also suspected sometimes by soldiers, putting their lives in danger.”
Earlier this year Shan and Palung rebels came to an undisclosed village and ordered all the men in one church to go with them to fight government soldiers, he said.
“When our church people refused to follow them, they persecuted them and overtook all their fields and cast them out of the village, saying that if they stayed in the village they would be killed,” the leader said. “So our church helped them with shelters and some emergency food.”
Poverty renders an everpresent threat. Surviving on two simple meals a day, families usually have one or two members who are sick, and malaria, dengue fever, dysentery and high fever are common, he said. Hospitals are far away, and they have no transportation.
“We try our best to help these poor and afflicted people spiritually and physically,” the leader said. “We try our best to equip our church planters with some medicines and motorcycles. Our missionaries help the patients with free medicines and share the Gospel. When these sick people and family members can have medicines, they are so happy and listen to the Gospel.”
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SOURCE: Christian Aid Mission