In the early hours of Monday, February 1st, the Myanmar (Burma) military staged a coup and seized power after detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders. Both of our country directors – Pastors Pan* and Thang* – and other pastors were concerned that this would happen, as the military-backed party had been claiming the election would be fraudulent even before it was held on November 8th, 2020. After the election, they continued making these allegations without evidence of widespread fraud. Now the military has arrested Aung San Suu Kyi and has declared a state of emergency for a year, seizing control of the country.
Pastor Pan and many other pastors have begun holding small prayer fellowships three days a week, where they pray together and share information which is then spread to their wider communities. Many pastors and Christians are becoming leaders in the peaceful resistance to this brutal military dictatorship. As Pastor Pan has said, this is not about fighting for one leader – Aung San Suu Kyi – it is for the sake of saving the lives of Muslims, Christians, and many ethnic minorities who are at great risk, and also for the sake of their children’s future.
Below, you will find updated messages from our two directors in the country, Pastors Pan and Thang, about the ongoing coup.
Several notes –
1. Some messages have been shortened or people and place names redacted, so as not to share identifying details.
2. Messages begin with the most recent date and move backwards.
3. Messages from Pan are marked with a “P” and messages from Thang with a “T”. Pan lives in a more rural part of the country, and therefore has slightly more open communication, as major cities will bear the early brunt of military crackdowns. Pastor Thang, on the other hand, lives in a major city. So, we have received many more messages from Pan within the first two weeks of the coup.
4. We are sharing the messages we are receiving from our leaders as we receive them. In such a time of uncertainty, not all of the information they are gathering will turn out to be accurate. However, so far most of what they have found out from local sources have been confirmed by international news organizations within days. They also share their opinions on how the world should respond, and they may change those opinions based on how the coup continues to unfold. We feel it is important to share as much as we can directly from the citizens of Myanmar in this moment, with no filter on their words (as long as it is safe to do so). Not all of their messages will include explanations of what they are referring to. To follow the whole situation more closely in the news, we recommend Frontier Myanmar as well as NPR and BBC Asia.
5. As this continues, our commitment to coming alongside the men and women we support in Myanmar will continue. It will certainly look different, but as always, our focus is to come alongside believers reaching their own people for Christ in the most effective ways possible.
*Names changed for safety
Wednesday night (Myanmar time), February 24th:
T – “I do hear from our partners; they are all having the same problems even among their church members because no work due to the protest. We need your prayers for all our partners in different parts of Myanmar.
There is nothing we can do just cry to God to save our people from the difficulty that we all face and will face in the coming days. Please keep remembering us in your prayer for our freedom.”
P – “Lydia* has come back and they are ok right now.”
Monday night (Myanmar time), February 22nd:
P – “More and more people are coming out for demonstration in my town. No one is harmed here and it is peaceful here today. But banks are still closed and only a few ATM machines are functioning.
Sunday morning (Myanmar time), February 21st:
T – “Thank you for all the prayer, till today many people are arrested and injured. We are still alarmed and fearful. Please keep on remembering us in your prayer. Within a few more days I think many people will suffer – due to the protest all offices and banks are closed with no service and no work. We have no idea how long will it be. Till today we are taking care of our quarter/ward under the leadership of the people who live here and we take responsibility. Please keep on remembering us in your prayers with many thanks.”
Saturday night (Myanmar time), February 20th:
P – “Today, the military shot dead 2 people and 21 people were seriously injured.
It happened near to Lydia’s* place [in Mandalay] and she and her family fled to another village for safety. She said that most of the community left to the other side of the river.
Just now the RFA news confirmed that 35 people injured and 7 people died.”
Wednesday night (Myanmar time), February 17th
P – “More and more government workers are participating in the CDM including the International and Domestic airline aviation. Attentions are higher and higher and more and more people have come out to the street though the police and army were so stuck to their duties. Aung San Suu Kyi was accused with three cases which all the World leaders have strongly condemned. Banks are still closed except the Junta owned bank. The Junta owned bank called Myawady Bank was open today and all customers who came to the bank went just to withdraw their money from the bank. They closed the bank at 12:00 noon because they are afraid that they will lose all their customers.
The Chinese troops are mixing with the Myanmar Military. The Junta leaders said that the Chinese troops came to help our cyber system. It shows that there are Chinese troops on the ground already.
The Junta leaders said that they will take one year and conduct a new election. No one believes that and that’s why people are strongly standing against them because we have experienced their acts in the past 30+ years. What the people of Myanmar are saying is if we lose this time, we will never get back a civilian government or democracy. Definitely, the Military will continue on their path to win and rule over us. If they lose their power they will immediately have to face the ICC which they already have a case against them. They are very much afraid of that. On the other hand, they don’t care for international condemnations on their activities unless the the UN troops or the US Army take action on them. I want to call upon the UN troops or the US Army to come and save the people of Myanmar before many lives are lost.
Very disturbing news: ‘Counterfeit banknotes from Chinese bank have arrived in Myanmar. According to a report from the Central Bank of China, 5,000/10,000 tonnes of counterfeit goods were produced in China because the military council did not have the money to pay the salaries of its employees.’
The Myanmar Military announced that China is not helping them. But just before 3 hours, there was a great problem between the Military and the protesters at the main train station in Mandalay. There were more than 60 gun shots happening, confirmed by the RFA. No detailed news has come out yet but the situation seems so worse. The people there confirmed that there were many Chinese speaking gunmen among them.
Five popular artists who participated in the CDM have been arrested by the Military just before 1 hour which was confirmed by the MRTV news. Now 427 people were arrested according to the news. They released their names as well.
You may not hear me again until 9:00 am tomorrow. I still have another 10 minute before they block the internet.”
Tuesday morning (Myanmar time), February 16th
P – “The internet was blocked 12 am to 9 am this morning again. Internet will be cut out from 1AM to 9AM everyday.
Cyber security law has been enforced (Announced on MRTV 8PM News). It’ll be stated in the newspaper tomorrow. Note: They’re amending the existing E Transaction Law to look like their Proposed Cyber Law Draft since amendment does not need public reviews.
It is said that there are more than 50,000 Chinese troops and there are another hundred thousands Chinese troops on the border line to guard the Junta leaders. Many people believed this would happen soon. We couldn’t sleep in the night and we are full of fear.”
T – “We believe Chinese troops are here in my city. We are in great danger. If something went wrong, they will not have compassion and concern upon the people since they are not from here. So, we the people are encouraging one another to be careful and sensitive as well as wise. Please keep on remembering us in your prayer. With many thanks.”
Monday evening (Myanmar time), February 15th
P – “Many Chinese troops have come to Myanmar last night by planes to help the Junta leaders. Very sad. Today, we have seen many Chinese army on duty in Yangon and Naypyidaw.”
Monday morning (Myanmar time), February 15th:
T – “The most important need is prayers and safety because all government, university students, teachers, nurses and doctors, engineers, and company workers are involved in CDM [Civil Disobedience Movement] and protest. These people’s lives are uncertain and they are also urged to move from where they live. Please pray for all these people and their safety. Thank you for your great concerns and prayers because the prayers of the righteous are fervent and powerful. It has been always a blessing and encouragement for us that we know that HB, as well as the church, are with us spiritually and mentally.”
P – “We have been back online after 8 hours ban.
Two MAI (Myanmar Airways International) flights made six round trips from Yangon to Kunming last night…There is no flight list for these planes at Mingaladon Airport or Kunming Airport. What makes it even more suspicious is that when these planes take off and land, the radar is turned off and the airport is connected to an air traffic control tower. Radar disappears near Yangon Airport and near Kunming Airport. However, the radar path can sometimes be seen as evidence. This is what happens during the time when the internet is blocked. Many people believe that the Junta leaders’ families have fled to China. Min Aung Hlaing’s family had fled already to Russia and Thailand on Feb. 2.
The Chinese Xinhua confirmed that the US drone entered into the Myanmar air space [still a rumour]. That gives a great warning to the Junta Leaders. These Junta leaders are not afraid of the UN council since China and Russia are on their side with veto power. But they are always afraid of US. Whenever the US decides to do things, the US really does. Also, as we know the US is always concerned for human rights for the whole world and freedom of the people. It will be a great help.”
Sunday night (Myanmar time), February 14th:
T – “We are in a great need of your prayer. As I have said, we are always alarmed, especially in night time. Please kindly remember us in your prayer for our lives and our people.
My family and I just went one day to the protests. According to the news, our internet will be cut off at 1:00 am very soon. We are urged to be awake the whole night because army released thousands of criminal prisoners to cause problems in every township. We have seen an increase in danger because they arrest people at night. Thank you for everything and your prayer with the great concern.”
P – “Update Feb. 14: Internet will be shut down from 1 am to 9 am (electricity also) tomorrow at the same time.
There are lots of light tanks, many police cars and water cannon trucks on Yangon’s main roads this evening, and over 20,000 prisoners were released during these days and they had been threatening for two straight nights in Yangon and Mandalay. We are feeling upset and unsafe.
I believe the military can shut down internet still, but because of the international pressure they still allow access.”
Sunday morning (Myanmar time), February 14th:
P – “It’s Feb. 14, 00:12 already and we are still able to access our internet.
Thank God our internet connection doesn’t fail till now [5 am].”
Saturday night (Myanmar time), February 13th:
T – “Thank you very much for your prayers and concern. We really need your prayer for safety. At present, everybody is afraid of people who have been released from prison causing problems everywhere. Even in our street we all are taking security turns for the whole night. Please pray for our people.”
P – “The protesters are continuing and the situation is worsened. The Military used their arms and shot the peaceful protesters and more and more democratic elected leaders are arrested day by day.
It is worse in my town now also since the military couldn’t stop the peaceful demonstrators and they are using what they have. There was a man who was hired to fire on the [redacted for safety] town. He said that he was given Ks. 500,000 [$350]. He also admitted that he was given two injections at his neck and after the injections he could only think how to destroy the [redacted] town. He was found and arrested by the peaceful demonstrators and he is under the control of our people. Our people don’t want to submit him to the hands of the police because they know that he will be released if he was submitted to hands of the police. He was one of the men who was released on Feb 12 from the jail and he also said that there are many people like him throughout Myanmar. This is a very dangerous situation.
This has been shared from a fellow civilian and has been circulated on Feb 13 at 2:30 am:
‘There have been threats to our lives in our neighborhood in the past three hours. As announced on the military government TV channels, more than 20,000 prisoners have been released early morning on February 12. Those prisoners were intentionally sent into the different parts of the cities and towns all over the country almost at the same time with the only intention being to threaten the peoples’ lives in different neighborhoods late the same night. They were dropped off in small vehicles and they also brought some tools to set fires. Some of them used motorbikes and rode on different roads to cause trouble to people. Therefore, people in the same neighborhood have been gathering in small groups in their quarters to guard all our houses, our families and our lives. There have been a lot of live updates on Facebook telling each other that this is happening in most parts of the country. There have been some footages of the drones in some locations where they started those threats. Their plan is definitely to create big lies to the world that people are gathering late at night to violate. Actually they are setting them up so as for them to have a stupid excuse for their coup. This is what is happening in Myanmar and our lives are now at risk. We need immediate and serious actions to be taken on this situation.’
This is from a circulation from protestors:
‘The moves the military successfully used against the protesters in 1988 are coming back.
They release prisoners with criminal cases. After intoxicating them, they make them mix in with the crowd and cause violence. At night, the intoxicated thugs will move freely, without restrictions from the 144 law (The curfew). They’ll make false alarms and bang ironware. They’ll all give different answers during interrogations by the locals. They’ll attack random people among the crowds. The cops will come only when people are dead, or severely injured. They’ll destroy houses and shops. They’ll break into warehouses. They’ll rob rice shops and stores. They’ll poison water supplies. They’ll sacrifice about 5 cops and blame it on the citizens. They’ll spread rumours that lawlessness is spreading. Then, soldiers will take over in all cities, and they’ll patrol the streets and kidnap people.
The military will kidnap some leaders of the protest. They’ll break the spirits of teachers and other bureaucratic staff. They’ll make them choose between giving up their jobs and licenses, and promotion. They’ll kidnap members of parliament. They’ll kidnap and torture members of the opposition parties. They’ll make them choose between denouncing their party and quitting it, and long prison sentences and oppressions on their family members. They’ll make announcements and press conferences saying that party has connections with armed insurgent organizations, and made deals with foreign powers. They’ll sue the party for state treason. Then, they’ll announce that the party has been abolished. They’ll arrest anyone who possesses that party’s symbols. They’ll write a new constitution, this time with the PR system. They’ll hold a new election without NLD participation.’
Myanmar, my country, right now is like zombie movies. We have to stay in fear when the sun goes down and the dark comes. Police and soldiers are arresting people by force at night. The criminals – intentionally released from prison – are causing violence in the dark. Our only hope is serious action from UN Human Rights Council and international community.”
Friday night (Myanmar time), February 12th:
P – “Update for today: Myanmar Military & police have been conducting illegal arrest with armed forces without warrants every late night & now it has been over 220 political activists, elected government leaders, Union Election Committee members, and civil servants, such as teachers and doctors who are doing civil disobedience movements, etc.”
Friday morning (Myanmar time), February 12th:
P – “According to news this morning, more and more people were arrested throughout the night by the Junta leaders.”
Thursday night (Myanmar time), February 11th:
P – “Breaking News: Internet line will be cut off for 14 days from Feb 14 to Feb 28 in Myanmar. Very sad. I call everyone to speak out on our behalf to international leaders. We are in a very dangerous situation. If it is shutdown, it will not be possible to communicate. There is no way to get other connectivity. We are not sure yet if the phone line will be shut down or not. Previously, only local calls are available, though the phone was opened. If the phone lines are working, I still don’t think we can communicate by phone. I am sure that international calls will be cut off. Many people believe that during this time the Military will hurt the people and will do whatever they want to the people since they can’t control the people right now. Till now, 174 political leaders have been arrested and some other protester leaders. They also began to arrest the government workers who participated in the demonstration.
More updates: Just now about 8:00 pm, the military is forcing a move of government workers such as health workers, school teachers, bankers, municipal workers, tax workers, etc., those who are involved in the Civil Disobedience Movement. Most of the head leaders are arrested and the rest of the people are forced to move by the Military from where they live since these workers are housed freely by the government. Some of the workers are housed by the government. Not all government workers, but those who are transferring from another place are given first priority. Now some of the charity organizations are taking care of them as they move out. These people are in a serious condition and need a great help for their housing and their daily food. They were not allowed to take any of their property also. This is a very serious situation.”
Thursday morning (Myanmar time), February 11th:
P – “According to the news, more than 10 state officers – NLD political leaders – have been arrested last night. Their families didn’t know where they are and they can’t contact them.
I have seen Biden announced sanctions. That was very encouraging news. The people of Myanmar are encouraged to know that the US stands with us. But this kind of sanctions will not hurt the military, as they aren’t afraid of it. Because China is always with the military.
Now the NLD, as well as the demonstrators are calling on UN for a concern. This Saturday the 47 countries of the UN Human Right’s Council will have a meeting on the military coup in Myanmar. Of course, now also India is watching the military activities very closely. This news came out after Biden had a talk with the Indian Prime minister.
[On preference of name of Burma vs. Myanmar] Actually, the US always used Burma. Here in Yangon, the US embassy still uses the word Burma not Myanmar. I think, we all prefer Myanmar. Why we called it Myanmar is because there are many tribes living together. That is why we call it Myanmar. The original name of the Burmese is Burma. If we use this word, it focuses only on one tribe, which is Burma. When we call it Myanmar, it focuses on the fact that many tribes who live in Myanmar belong to this country. This question is asked frequently even by the citizens of Myanmar.
The lawyer who defended the case of Aung San Suu Kyi and our president has been arrested just now.”
Wednesday night (Myanmar time), February 10th:
P – “Today more and more protesters marched peacefully in all cities. Thankfully, many police, lawyers, artists and charity organizations and all the departments of the government workers have been involved. We have also seen the military and armed forces with full weapons. We are also glad to learn that the US, UN and the other countries have been condemning very strongly the activities of the Military Coup. We pray that all these things will result in a good way.
There is a need for help for the protesters. Since they have no time to go for jobs and they can’t make money for their family. Especially in Yangon, we have seen some people donating to some families, those who are fully involved in this activity. We believe that this will take time and there will be a great need for the people.
According the FB news, many of the cyber experts have arrived last night from China and we are afraid that there will be internet limitations. We have heard today that Aung San Su Kyi and our President’s FB accounts were hacked and released fake news. Some of high ranking members of the NLD warned the people to not believe that fake news.
There are organizations that can give direct help to protesters in a secrete way but not publicly. We will not be able to help all, but there are leaders who work tirelessly. These are the people we want to focus on. Also there are some Christians who participated in this activity and these are also who we want to focus on helping.”
Wednesday morning (Myanmar time), February 10th:
P – “We believe the world could do something to the Junta leaders.
This morning, the Junta leaders are blocking all the main roads. We can’t go here and there freely. The food supplies are available right now with the same price as before. But we are in shortage of food at our home since we have taken many new children recently.”
Tuesday evening (Myanmar time), February 9th:
P – “Demonstrators have been continuing. One college student has been shot dead and another four were injured seriously in Naypidaw. In my town, many people come and there are lots of armed forces around the city. The situation has worsened. Please continue to pray for us.”
Monday evening (Myanmar time), February 8th:
P – “Many, many people came out on the street today in every city. It is estimated that nearly 1.5 million are marching. All government offices are closed including the banks because everyone participated in the Civil Disobedience Campaign. The Junta has announced curfew from 8:00 pm – 4:00 am and it effects from today onward. Though the demonstrators peacefully marched, the police and military are watching to fire. The tension of the people is higher, and on the other hand the Military is launching the fire cannon and many people were hurt very badly. There is not a single plan for the pandemic by these Junta leaders. Our mentality is badly hurt and we are in a danger situation. Now many army people are changing their uniforms and wearing the police uniforms so that the international community cannot blame the military being involved in this activity.”
Sunday evening (Myanmar time), February 7th:
P – “We have just re-accessed the internet after 39 hours banned. I don’t know how long they will open. Thank you for your prayers. All phone lines and internet will soon be closed again according to the news. I and my family as well as the orphan children are safe but our future is uncertain. On the other hand, the Covid 19 positive cases are rising up here in our town. Thank you for your continued prayers. Demonstrators have come out to the street in all cities to condemn the Military activities. Firing order has begun. It is worse.
The military will shoot the demonstrators. I hope that there will be some changes/ accomplishments because of all the people involved in these demonstrations. But I think this will take time.
I believe the junta re-opened the internet because there are many pressures from around the world. We cannot communicate with other parts of the world when internet is shut down. But we can communicate locally this time. On Feb. 1, phone lines were shut down and we could not communicate even locally. We are not able to get news when the internet is shut down. Thank you so much for their [churches] prayers for us.
I hope that there must be changes because the way the Junta acted was shameful before the world. Let the US stand with us this time to save Myanmar. I believe if the US troops are sent to Myanmar, they will immediately stop what they are doing. The Junta will not be able to go against the US troops. If these kind of actions will not be taken, the Junta will act as they are. I wish the US troops or the UN troops will be sent to Myanmar immediately before many people lose their lives here. Otherwise, they will shoot people and kill as they did in 1988 since they control all the weapons.
One good news is that there are some armed forces and police forces who do not agree with it. They are on the civilian’s side. This is according to the local news. We have learned through FB that some have been resigned from their military service. But they are in danger and they don’t want the news widely spread out. I talked with [the pastors who do some ministry with soldiers] and they can’t get into the army base. The military base is totally shutdown from all communications from outsiders. Some will side with the people. Especially the military Christians would be on our side.
The biggest hospital here in my town was closed because the health staff are involved in civil disobedience campaign. Many health workers have also resigned because they said that they don’t want to serve under the Junta. Some patients were sent back home and some were transferred to military hospital.”
Friday afternoon (Myanmar time), February 5th:
P – “The members of the Government are being arrested one by one.”
Friday morning (Myanmar time), February 5th:
P – “I was 14 years old when the Junta took over control in 1988. I have been experiencing how painful it was to survive under the dictatorship rule. I do not feel safe and free even right now.
In my town, we don’t see much police and army around us but in Yangon, Naypidaw and Mandalay, there they are full of Army and Police with full weapons roaming here and there. They don’t care for a small city like my town; if they take over control of those main cities, they can easily control over the whole of Myanmar. At my town, things move as normal so far, but everyone is with fear and uncertainty.
Now we cannot talk openly about our government as some of the people who were involved in the civil disobedience campaign and young activists have been arrested. The Health Organization has started the Civil Disobedience Campaign, refusing to work under the new appointed leaders. The one worse thing is the Covid 19 vaccination has been blocked by the new leadership.
Thank you for your continued prayers.
I have talked with Pastor Thang and he is safe and he is still in his home town. He will be going down to Yangon on Monday.
We have not heard yet about the new plans for Covid 19 by the new leaders. Definitely, it will hurt more people and more people are in need of food since many businesses are not running right now or will close permanently. Please pray for us and if funds are available and if you can send us, this would be a great help for our people here who are poor and suffering because of Covid 19 and this new leaders’ pressure.”
Thursday morning (Myanmar time), February 4th:
P – “Morning news: The Junta leaders announced that Facebook will be blocked for three days in Myanmar and anyone who opposes the new administration will be arrested immediately.
I have not heard more arrests so far in my place. Things are worse in the bigger cities. Everyone is silent in my place and scared for the future. Our pastors have not been facing any problems so far and they are doing well.”
Wednesday evening (Myanmar time), February 3rd:
P – “As of today, we are sad to hear that the president and our state counselor have been charged to be in prison. Some of the senators have been released and asked to leave and to go back to their homes by the new government. The banks are operating as before. But nobody can predict whether it will continue or not. It seems the international pressure will not work because China is on the military’s side. China it seems used their veto in the UN council. We also read that the military started beating some of the government workers in Yangon division. Also the internet was blocked for six hours in Yangon, but it’s good in my place.
We are discouraged mentally, and our hope to have a civil government is still far away here. But we put our trust in God, that He will do the best for us. Thank you all for your prayers.”
Tuesday evening (Myanmar time), February 2nd, a day and a half after the coup:
P – “The worst news [about the coup] is that the Buddhist organizations agreed with the military, because what they have always been trying for is to make Myanmar a Buddhist country. Christians will suffer more and more.
Today onward, the Myanmar health organizations have started a civil disobedience campaign, as they don’t want to serve under these new appointed leaders. We are in a very hopeless situation. We need your prayers. The Covid-19 vaccination is also terminated by the new leader. Also, the vaccine carrier plane was sent back by the new leader.
I heard that the Military Junta leader visited some churches in Yangon, but nobody knows what they are doing. There is not any news released by them. Everyone is effected very badly. We are in fear about our future. The banks are open today – Let’s see how they will operate. We believe there will be great problems. Those struggling for food will of course be affected. We believe that there will be a shortage of food because the new leaders shut down companies. My children feel very bad, and they fear because the military is roaming here and there.
I was told that at midnight the internet and phone lines will be blocked again. But let’s see… Thank you for the prayers. We don’t see anyone taking immediate action internationally for this to be reversed. Unless international action is taken, there is no way for us, the people of Myanmar, to reverse this. I will share updates whenever I can.”
Monday evening (Myanmar time), February 1st, half a day after the coup:
P – “Since midnight, we cannot access any phone or internet. All are shut down. We do not know any news yet. Thanks for your prayers. The arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi is very sad. I do not know if the internet will continue to be blocked, as it has opened just now. Even right now, our internet connections are very slow.”