by Rev. Casey Southerland
PMU Field Director, Cincinnati, OH
the Missions Banner, May 2022: Print edition
It has been more than fifteen months since political crisis overtook the country of Myanmar. Since February 1, 2021, we have heard news reports of poverty, governmental uncertainties, widespread protests, the deaths of many due to COVID, military unrest throughout the country, and more than 52,000 people displaced in the last week of February 2022 alone. With all these trials, one could understand the temptation to meet each new day with fear and dread or to simply hunker down and wait for things to blow over. But that has not been the response of our brothers and sisters who remember that, “everything is under our Father’s control.”
More than fifteen months have passed… and it has been almost that long since we have been able to share any real news of our friends there. Our caution in communication stems from a desire to protect our friends and family as well as the work going on. The culture there is already distrustful of Christianity, and we want to avoid drawing unwanted attention. Even now, the news we share must be unspecific, though we rejoice to have news we can share.
Over the past several months our brothers and sisters in Myanmar have shown immense faith, hope and zeal for expanding the Lord’s kingdom. While the work slowed, it never stopped, even when members of churches fell ill. While citizens were forbidden from gathering in groups of five or more, the work continued with one-on-one type visits. Recently, however, we heard news that a church may return to having services in their church building. In other good news, we have heard that one dear sister, who had been hospitalized for 42 days with TB affecting her mental faculties and ability to walk, is recovering at home, though she is still having difficulty. We ask that you continue to pray for her. Also, the young people we have prayed for in the past are all doing well. And we are told, “the ministry in Myanmar is going well in spite of the pandemic and political crisis.”
There are still many uncertainties and political instability in Myanmar, but I am glad to be able to share that our friends are doing well overall and continue in faithful service to our Lord. There is reason to rejoice as well as a need to continue to be steadfast in prayer. One way we wish to share some personal connection and stir up your rejoicing for our friends is through this video link. On this video, you can hear the voices of some of our young friends singing at a recent gathering. We’ve included an image from within the country and the text of Psalm 100 which calls all the sheep of His pasture to rejoice, give thanks, and sing, “for the Lord; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” While the song you can hear is likely not Psalm 100, these words of the psalm are fitting and true, and they resound in the souls of God’s people, as you hear in the voices of these young believers in Myanmar.