In April, we asked you to support wartime security training for pastors in Myanmar (Burma). You stepped up! The training, led by Concilium and organized by one of our country leaders, Pan*, took place during the last week of April. Below, we share Pastor Pan’s and several other leaders’ experience of the training.
For context of the circumstances that these leaders are living in, here is a summary from one of the Free Burma Rangers in May. In response to a westerner asking if it would be safe to visit the city where Pastor Pan lives, he said:
“There are gun battles, artillery, rockets, and grenades everyday in [the city]. Jets are dropping bombs on the villages directly outside the city. To get to the city you have to go through several Burma Army check points (very dangerous for the locals, especially with foreigners along) or you have to know how to sneak through the jungle, know where gaps between check points are, and not run into a Burma Army patrol. [The city] has a lot of spies/informants, so once you are there your presence would be reported to the army. You would be questioned and detained, and if they don’t like your story you will be killed. The locals who hosted you could be tortured and killed.”
This is why this training was so important. Thank you for making it possible! Pastor Pan shares:
“A brief review of the training: It was not easy to organize the training due to the political situation here in Myanmar, because it was hard to cross the border [into a neighboring country where the training was held]. We expected about 40 people for the two trainings, but we had 50 people attend the training and it went very well. The Lord has blessed us beyond our thoughts. I praise God for His wonderful leading and His protection throughout the trainings. The Lord brought us together for the training and made us come back to our home safely. He is good all the time!
Really, it was a great joy to learn so many new things from the training which is exactly what we need in our daily living in our country. We need safety as we do the ministry, since we are living in a very complicated situation. So, what we learned from the trainings gave us more wisdom to have more safety in our lives in this time of hardship and difficulties.
Really, the Lord knows our situation and He allowed us to train ourselves through such godly men so that we can pass it on to others who are facing the same situation like us here in our country. I want to mention some stories from some of the pastors who attended the training, as follows.”
“I serve as a Sunday school teacher and my father is a pastor at our village. Fighting takes place in our village, and we ran many times from our home to the jungle. One day was worse than the other days, and more than five bullets hit the roof of our home. On that day, we didn’t have time to run and we were hiding inside our home. The Lord protected us and we escaped. We were too much afraid of it. But some of the people got injured and one innocent child was killed on that day. There were many lessons I learned which were helpful for me. One particular thing was the medical aid training. This was wonderful for me. If had I trained and knew a little knowledge of such medical aid earlier, the child who was killed may not have died. I am sorry for that. But, I can help others with what I learned from the training.”Nem*
“I started serving the Lord since 2019 as a missionary among the Burmese Buddhists. I faced and experienced great challenges. Moreover, after the coup, it was more dangerous. Some people were killed by landmines, and I saw them by my own eyes. But we don’t fully understand the danger, even after the explosions, so we would still go near [the landmines]. Now I learned myself and can pass it to my community to protect ourselves from such explosions. Really, the training was very helpful for me, and I hope that it will also be helpful for my community as I teach them what I learned.”Khual*
“I want to share with you one particular lesson which I learned through the training. That was about how I can know if someone is coming after me. In our daily living, we have to be very careful while doing the ministry since we are serving among the Buddhists who are closely working with the military junta. It taught me a great lesson, and now I learned how to escape from such people before I am harmed.”Cin*
“I was greatly blessed by all the teaching. But I want to share with you one particular lesson which was greatly meaningful to me. As I travel to the villages for sharing the Gospel, I have to cross checkpoints and have to face some questions. I have learned a very good lesson from that teaching about what to say or what not to say. It gives me more clues to answer in appropriate way to escape from the possible problems.”Nang*
I serve as a pastor and I face many challenges because of the coup. At least two of my church members were arrested and given long-term jail. The families were afraid and ran away from their home and now are finding a place to live in [a neighboring country]. There are many dangers we faced in our daily living such as fighting, landmines, airstrikes, etc. Four people have been killed from my village, and many villagers fled to cities and neighboring countries. It is hard to have a regular service even on Sunday. When I heard about the training, I was so thrilled to attend and I made it. I enjoyed the training and we learned so many things to protect ourselves. Especially important was what I learned was about the phone, which was greatly helpful to me. I totally understood that the phone and the media are useful, but on the other hand, it is so dangerous. Yes, we know that because of the phone, many young men and women are detained; some of them were taken to the jail and some of them were killed. It really taught me many lessons, and I can teach my people how to use the phone in order to escape from such dangers.”Mang*
“1. God’s provision to help the refugees inside Myanmar who lost their homes and property.
2. God’s provision to help the refugees who fled to other bordering countries because of the war.
3. To use practically what we learned from the training and pass these lessons on to others.”
As this training illustrates, we continue to be adaptive to the needs of our pastors and missionaries in Myanmar. To support their unique needs and opportunities, you can give to our Myanmar fund.
And as always, a gift Where Needed Most allows us to respond strategically in all of our countries.