Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 19: Mayanmar

As Anne and I were taking Perspectives, it was amazing to see God speaking through both Scripture and the stories of the speakers about his love for the nations and to see that love percolating into the hearts of our classmates and ourselves. One such classmate and his high school-aged daughter were taking Perspectives together, and on one of the last weeks of class, Joe announced he was presented with the opportunity to travel to Myanmar for a microfinance trip, helping locals start and run sustainable new businesses.

There may be an opportunity for me to take the same trip to Myanmar this coming spring, which I'm prayerfully considering. I'm sure Anne will blog more about it later if it materializes, but nonetheless, I thought Myanmar would be a great country to cover this month.

Myanmar is a dictatorship, which holds "elections" and has a history of finding a reason to detain the often-elected, opposition leader. The regime has recognized Buddhism as having a special status in Myanmar, as about 80% of the population practice the religion. Constitutionally, freedom of religion exists, but some Christian minorities often suffer at the hands of the military (who refer to Christianity as the C-virus). There is a lot of ethnic diversity, and the government deliberately understate minority ethnic populations in their official figures.

All-in-all, Buddhism is strongly entrenched and the Christian church is impoverished, isolated, and persecuted. However, we can praise God for continued growth and strengthening of the church in Myanmar through this persecution.

Myanmar Quick Facts
Population: 50.4 million
Primary Industry: Natural Resources
Annual Income per Person: $446
Political System: Dictatorship
Primary Religion: Buddhism
All facts found in Operation World

Lord God, please bless the nation of Myanmar. We pray that the persecution of the church there would cease, and that in whatever capacity it must remain, that you would use it for the overwhelming spread of the good news of your gospel. Lord, please encourage the missionaries living in Myanmar and continue to strengthen your church there. We ask this all for the glory of your name. Amen.

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