Christians Navigate Ministry in Myanmar After Military Coup

Photo shows a boat in the delta region of Myanmar, where World Concern has worked since Cyclone Nargis in 2008. (Photo courtesy of World Concern)

Following last week’s coup by the military, thousands of people in Myanmar have taken to the streets in massive protests and a nation-wide strike. Citizens, ranging from celebrity athletes to Buddhist monks, have demanded a return to democracy. The demonstrations have been relatively peaceful, with only a few injuries so far.

Military officials in Myanmar tried to justify the coup, claiming fraud in the November elections. However, an election committee looked into the matter and found no systemic voter fraud or errors. The military party suffered badly in the elections.

In light of the protests, General Min Aung Hlaing promised new elections and a return to civilian rule. But Mark Estes, Asia area and Haiti director for World Concern, says that promise doesn’t comfort locals very much. “From our national staff especially, there’s a deep sense of sadness, of remorse. Most of these people were around when the military regime was in power more than a decade ago. Over these past 10 years, I think there’s been a lot of hope in Myanmar. There’s been a lot of progress in many ways. But now we seem to be taking a significant step backward.”

Many have concerns the military will mistreat ethnic and religious minorities, as they did the Rohingya in 2017. Estes says World Concern is largely staffed with people of these minorities, including Christians and a few Muslims.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray World Concerns’ workers in Myanmar can continue blessing many with the Gospel despite the coup.
  • Ask God to strengthen Christians in Myanmar, especially those in ethnic minorities that may suffer under military rule.

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