He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Sunday, February 14, 2010 

The Persecuted Church in Burma

Adoniram Judson and Ko Tha Byu (“The Karen Apostle”) brought the gospel to the Karen people of Burma in 1828. Revival came and thousands from this animistic people were saved and baptized. Now 40% Christian, the Karen people are suffering and they need our prayers.

Christians receive harsh treatment in Burma (also known as Myanmar), where they make up only 4% of the population (89% are Buddhist). According to a thorough report from Compass Direct, “Printing of Bibles is restricted, and churches are destroyed on a regular basis.” Last January, 100 churches in Rangoon were forced to close. If a Chin or Karen (two states with high Christian populations) Christian wants a job or promotion, they are often told to convert to Buddhism first.

The persecution goes far beyond closing churches and discriminatory hiring practices, however. Over 150,000 Karen and Karenni people have fled to refugee camps in Thailand—over half are Christians. They were forced to flee their homeland by the repressive Burmese military, which has burned to the ground hundreds of villages, killed thousands of their own people, and put many more into work camps. The military carries out much of its violence under the pretext of stamping out rebel activity, but it seems many are seeking to crush Christianity as well. Voice of the Martyrs tells of a Burmese official who recently stated, “Soon there will be no Christians in this nation. You will only be able to see a Karen person in a picture in a museum.”

Though persecution has been ongoing for many years, this is an especially precarious time for many of our Burmese brothers and sisters. The Thai government is threatening to force Burmese refugees back into Burma in the next couple of weeks, where most would be tortured, raped, or killed.

Many other Burmese Christians are hiding in the Burmese jungle. For example, Mission Network News tells of 100 Karen children in hiding. Vision Beyond Borders is working hard to serve these children and other displaced Burmese Christians. They have produced a helpful 30-day prayer guide that you can download here.

Learn more, pray, and then spread the word.

- Gospel Coalition

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