They were wrong.
The Burmese population responded with demonstrations and strikes. After the junta retaliated with a brutal crackdown, they organized, trained, and armed local militias in a unifying effort. Their prevailing sentiment has been, We have nothing to lose—no matter how long it takes. Two years later, the people of Myanmar are still fighting.
Areas of active conflict are centralized in regions where these local militias, the People’s Defense Forces (PDFs), are based. With every victory the PDFs achieve, however, the military responds with severe force against civilians. Every time a military leader is killed, the junta bombs or burns an entire village, sometimes wiping out hundreds of homes. In April 2023, the military bombed a community celebration, killing more than a hundred civilians.
The constant fighting leaves the people of Myanmar in a profoundly difficult situation. Estimates of internally displaced people (IDPs) range from 1.5 to 2 million, including those who evacuated conflict zones and those who fled into the jungle when their homes and crops were destroyed. Many have lost everything. Even beyond the conflict zones, civilians face severe food shortages and economic collapse.
Amid these atrocities and pervading uncertainty, the door is wide open for indigenous believers to share the hope of the gospel. Wherever possible, Live Global partners in Myanmar are holding evangelistic events and continuing regular ministries at Bible colleges, seminaries, and churches throughout the country. They distribute aid, shouldering the burden of relief for those with no access to basic necessities. These local ministries have become invaluable as foreign aid has proven ineffective at reaching needs.
During this crisis, Live Global has developed existing indigenous partnerships and established new partnerships to reach both the majority Burmese population—of which only 0.35 percent professes faith in Christ—as well as other unreached people groups living throughout the nation.
The Touching the Future (TTF) home was established to serve elementary-age children from several unreached people groups by offering education in math, English, computers, the Burmese language, and practical skills like sewing. Through each class, teachers share the gospel and the love of Christ.
Mim came to the Touching the Future home in 2022. She had previously met a believer who gave her a copy of Live Global’s evangelistic booklet, “The Ancient Path,” and chose to trust Christ. Her new beliefs soon caused tension with her family. When she refused to worship idols during an important Buddhist festival, her mother beat her severely and her father disowned her. Mim was forced to flee her home in the middle of the night, passing through a dangerous military checkpoint before finally reaching the TTF home.
Photo credit: Live Global editorial staff. Mim lives at the Touching the Future home after being disowned by her family for her faith in Christ.
Burdened for her family, Mim asked the missionary who gave her “The Ancient Path” to speak with her parents. As he shared the gospel, explaining the difference between Christianity and Buddhism, her parents again responded harshly. Her mother violently attacked him, hitting and biting him. Their ultimatum for Mim remained the same: unless she returned to Buddhism, she could never return home. Mim chose to hold onto Christ. Even in the pain of losing her family, she clung to the comfort of Christ and prays that, one day, the seeds of the gospel she planted among her family might take root.
Many indigenous ministries feel the urgency of the current crisis and recognize that the light of the present opportunity may soon darken. As long as they have opportunity, they use every cent, every hour, and every bit of energy to reach the unreached, train new ministry leaders, aid those in need, and preach the gospel to a suffering population.
Live Global missionaries and indigenous believers offer four ways to pray for Myanmar:
- Pray for wisdom and protection for national partners serving throughout the nation.
- Pray for God to cause his Word to speed ahead in Myanmar (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
- Pray for those who are hearing the gospel for the first time to be drawn to Christ (John 6:44).
- Pray for national leaders to be overcome by the Spirit of God and come to Christ (Matthew 5:44-45).
In the midst of war and crisis, indigenous Live Global partners serve the unreached in Myanmar by meeting physical and spiritual needs. You can play a role.