Amid death and despair in a country wracked by COVID-19, local missionaries in Burma (Myanmar) are going to streets, parks and prisons, daring to offer help and hope.
With 1,400 new coronavirus cases reported each day and a daily toll of 25 deaths, the pandemic has kept workers in the majority-Buddhist country from organizing evangelistic camps and other large gatherings. Instead, they are sharing rice and Gospel tracts in public places while taking the appropriate precautions, the leader of a local ministry said.
“COVID-19 causes many people to be jobless and hopeless, especially in the poor areas where we are living, but we bring hope to those people by encouraging them in the word of God and help them by distributing rice, which is our main food, for them as much as we can,” the leader said.
Local missionaries recently distributed rice to more than 300 people and Gospel tracts to at least 500.
They also made visits to a prison with 500 inmates, providing noodles, rice and coffee. They are allowed to visit prisoners individually in their cells.
“Most of them are Burmese people whose religion is Buddhism, but when they are in prison everyone is hungering for hope and encouragement, and spiritually they need some comfort,” the leader said. “Even though they are isolated and lonely, their future becomes bright when we share the Gospel with them. Whenever we visit a prison, we have seen a change of lives in the prisoners.”
One of the inmates, Aung Myint*, was addicted to drugs since his youth. He was a Buddhist who had never heard the Gospel before he went to prison for using drugs. Myint suffered such severe withdrawal symptoms while in prison that he often said he wanted to kill himself, the leader said.
“It is very difficult for drug-addicted people to overcome without the help of God,” the leader said. “The first thing we told him to do is to read the Bible every day and to meditate on the Bible every morning.”
Workers told Myint that if he put his trust in God, the Lord could change his life in a way that would eliminate his need for drugs. Prayer, Bible reading and meditation helped him overcome addiction in six months, and when he was released, he left prison a truly free man, the leader said.
“Now he gives his testimony to everyone he meets – how in his old life he used drugs and did not have a job, just spent his life on gambling,” he said. “But now that he has Jesus in his life, he’s stopped doing all those bad things and instead is spending time with Christ, reading the Bible every day and attending church every Sunday. A Buddhist found Jesus and became a new, Christian son of God.”
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SOURCE: Christian Aid Mission