A woman in Burma spoke to CSW about the horrific devastation the Burma Army has been wreaking on her village. The soldiers have been torturing, raping, and killing the mainly Christian civilians in Kachin State – and leaving churches in ruins along the way.
Burma’s ruling military junta is trying to convince the world that they’re making the country more peaceful and democratic. And it’s true that some changes have been made. But while rape, murder, and destruction of churches is taking place in Kachin and other states, the full story is clearly very different.
Churches Occupied and Destroyed
“Villagers had stored some of their property in the churches, thinking that the church would be safe, but the Burma Army troops took whatever they wanted...They stayed in the church for three days and destroyed almost everything – the leaves for the roof, personal property - and they burned down houses near the church.”
Helen (not her real name) had already fled to a refugee camp by the time we spoke to her. Her village had been invaded by the Burma Army with the troops occupying and destroying both the Roman Catholic and Baptist churches. “We never loot or destroy or disrespect Buddhist pagodas, but they do this with our churches.”
She also told us about the soldiers stealing money and possessions from the villagers. A heavily pregnant nursery teacher had saved 500,000 kyats (US$500) for the baby’s birth, but the troops robbed her of this money. When she pleaded with them to return the money, they gave her back a little but kept the rest.
Continue to pray that the reforming process going on in the central government will be extended to all parts of the nation so there will be an end to this ethnic conflict and mistreatment of minority peoples like the Kachin.
Burma: Current Crisis in Western Myanmar
In early June, three Muslim young men on Ramree Island reportedly raped a Rakhine Buddhist woman. After the story was published a mob of angry Rakhines attacked a bus of Muslims in central Rakhine State killing ten. A Karen/ Rakhine Christian worker witnessed these deaths. Riots then broke out across central and Northern Rakhine State killing hundreds, leaving 90,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs). On July 2, three Rohingya women were killed for simply attempting to purchase food at the central market in Sittwe. Leaders of the Rakhine Buddhist Background Believers Movement have been threatened by Rakhine Buddhists for providing aid to their Rohingya Muslim Background friends.
The Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya's latent religious tensions were aggravated by the successive Burmese Dictators. Crusading Buddhist monks as well as Jihadist Muslims have added to the already explosive situation. In 1982 the Dictators officially denied citizenship to the Rohingya this resulted in another round of Muslim/Buddhist riots and the expulsion into Bangladesh of hundreds of thousands of refugees. Bin Laden claimed to have warriors from Afghanistan to Arakan. Today the 2 million Rohingya are some of the most persecuted people in the world. Nearly half have fled to Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Europe and Bangladesh. In Rakhine State many Humanitarian Aid groups like the UNHCR and Doctors without Borders have provided aid primarily to the Rohingya. This perceived imbalance in aid has caused more resentment and tensions. If Rohingya leave Rakhine State they cannot return without significant bribes.
They are also denied movement inside Rakhine State. The Bangladesh government repeated pushes Rohingya back into Burma every time they try to seek refuge. Every time disaster or emergencies have happened in Myanmar we have seen a new surge of multiplication of disciples and churches. Jesus is an expert at turning crucifixion situations into resurrection situations.
1. Pray that the 250 Rakhine House Churches double in the next year. Pray that the Rohingya would find the Promised Land in Jesus, Isa Al Masih, and pray for the protection of hundreds of Rohingya believers currently meeting in several networks.
2. Pray that the 250 Rakhine Churches scattered across Rakhine State would have enough food, shelter, and security. Several Rakhine believers have been killed in the recent clashes between the Rohingya/Rakhine fighting. Pray for the Rohingya as they are one of the most oppressed peoples in the world.
3. Pray for a sister who is the coordinator of 200 church leaders and for a brother who leads hundreds of his Rohingya networks to study the gospel of Luke in their homes
4. Pray that God would provide the children in Rakhine State with an abundant supply of food.
5. Pray for a brother who leads hundreds of his Rohingya networks to study the gospel of Luke in their homes.
6. Pray for unity in the Body of Christ in Rakhine. They have been extremely fragmented at times due to competing for outside resources.
To help provide Emergency Aid to the Current Relief Situation in Rakhine State through the hands of the Rakhine Buddist Background Believers’ Movement and the Rohingya Muslim Background Believer’s network, please donate through www.lastfrontiersinternational.com
Myanmar (Burma) Still Needs Prayer for Healing and Reform
We are now on a relief mission in Kachin State, Northern Burma, and here there is no ceasefire. During the training of the new teams, we could hear shells explode as the Burma Army shelled villages nearby with 105 Howitzers, 120mm and 81mm mortars. Over 50,000 people remain displaced, and during this mission, we saw over 12,000 of them in eight different sites…Attacks have slowed down this month to three in our area, and one we witnessed, but there are still over 110 Burma Army battalions operating in Kachin State…
What can we do? For us it seems we can do very little - but those little things we can do, we do with all our might. We pray with and for the IDPs; we run a Good Life Club program of songs, health and spiritual teaching for children and skits and games for the families; we hand out sports equipment for schools to teachers and t-shirts for the kids, and set up a mobile clinic to treat basic ailments and pull teeth as needed; we interview the people here and send their stories out around the world; we go near to and recon Burma Army camps to monitor their activity and put a light on their actions. During this mission, we visited IDPs near towns as well as in the jungle and spent most of our mission on foot to reach different communities, document destroyed villages and report on the Burma Army activities…
We did multiple recons of Burma Army camps, usually only able to get no closer than one kilometer away, but sometimes we were able to move within 200 yards of their camps. We took photos of the Burma Army as they occupied the ground that belonged to the Kachin people and as they sat in dominant positions overlooking villages, towns, bridges and the Taping River dam they had taken. Even as we observed them, I felt sorry for them: they looked hungry, unkempt and not motivated. Their mission is not a noble one, and I believe they know it. So we crawl as close as we can, document as much as we can, and even though sometimes we do not want to, we pray for them. All of us are in need of redemption and while we stand with the oppressed, we know the line between good and evil runs between each heart, not between people. We also pray for ourselves to not be wounded, captured or killed as we do this…
I write this from a small dilapidated bamboo hut on the edge of a town ransacked and burned by the Burma Army, and it is clear that the situation in Burma is not simple. In Burma there is more than one government. There is the central government, and there are many representative ethnic governments. While positive changes have occurred, there are still attacks and oppression. We had a very good meeting in March with representatives of the central government, and we felt mutual warmth and a shared sincerity for change, but on the ground in some areas we see other realities as well: children killed, homes destroyed, churches desecrated, people fleeing. As changes occur in Burma, how can people under oppression and attack be helped in a more comprehensive way? What do you do when oppression which is destructive to both oppressed and oppressor goes on? We thank you for your part in standing with and helping those who are in need and not yet free.
Dave, Family and the Free Burma Rangers
Kachin State, Burma
While giving thanks for the signs of liberalization and reconciliation that have been reported on in the past months, let us continue to pray for His healing and transformation of Burma and for the ministry of Dave Eubank and other believers who are interceding and serving inside the nation.
Here is another report for prayer from local prayer leader friends in another area of Burma:
Thank you so much for all your concern and prayer for Myanmar. I would like to update the situation in Rakhine State.
More than 50 people have been killed and 54 wounded in the communal clashes, state media said on June 16. A total of 5280 houses were burnt including 9 Buddhist monasteries, 7 Mosques, and a school building. Nearly 31,900 people from both sides are being housed in 37 camps across Rakhine. According to UN, around 90,000 people fled including those who are in the camps. The Government as well as the local authorities and those who are helping the IDP said there is a huge need for humanitarian help (food, clothing, etc.) right now.
Those who remained in the Rakhine state capital, Sittwe, slowly started coming out on the streets after tensions between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas appeared to have eased after five days of rioting, torching houses, and knife attacks. Praise the Lord! We are witnessing God’s intervention. The situation is under control.
However, it is very important to pray that this conflict (between Buddhists & Muslims) would not be spreading to other parts of the nation. The U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomas Ojeas Quintana, said the escalating violence in Rakhine state represented a “serious threat to the country’s future”. “It is a threat to Myanmar’s democratic transition and stability,” Ojea Quintana said in a statement issued in Geneva.
Some people firmly believe that there are some who do not like the country’s democratization and reforms taking place in the nation, who caused to spread the spark to the whole Rakhine, and are wanting to see spreading the whole nation. Please continue to pray that the Lord who has answered our prayer by starting a good work in reforming our country will continue to do it until we see revival and transformation and His glory fully manifested. Pray that the Rakhine Buddhists and the Muslim Rohingyas will experience God’s love, God’s provision, and they will get saved.
Thanks so much for all your prayer support. May the Lord bless you all,
A Burmese couple in prayer ministry
Children in Prayer in Myanmar
The Lord is using the prayers of children to shape a new nation in Myanmar (Burma)!
“Here are some pictures taken on May 1, 2012. The multiple denominational children intercession conference was held in Yangon. We were more than 3600 participants (mostly children, their teachers, leaders and pastors) from more than 100 churches and more than 20 orphanages.
We were blessed to receive the visitation of the Holy Spirit while praying.
Thank you so much for your prayer support.
From a local pastor who with his wife helps lead the growing prayer movement
Burma – Some Encouraging Developments!
In January of last year, a colleague and I were invited to Yangon to help lead a special prayer initiative for Burma and for the raising up of children as intercessors. About 200 ministry leaders took part, and we had good unity and authoritative prayer for the nation. The participants developed plans to train and encourage prayer by children in various parts of the country.
My experience is that the united prayers of children can be especially powerful in bringing His transformation. We observed this while I was with World Vision in many of our development projects. What we are seeing now in Burma may well be the result of such intercession by kids and by adults who are uniting in prayer for the deliverance of the nation. Praise the Lord and thanks to all who have been besieging Heaven for breakthrough all these years and especially for the brave and compassionate efforts of David Eubank and the Free Burma Rangers who have stood in the gap and risked their lives to be instruments of His love and healing!
Please read the recent report of the Free Burma Rangers. David Eubank, took part in the launch of the IPC in 2002, and we have prayed for him and his work through the years. His report is an exciting account of prayer and reconciliation from the front lines for which we can rejoice and give thanks even as we must continue to pray for God's full healing of the conflicted nation of Burma.
John Robb, IPC Chairman
FBR REPORT: Unplanned Meeting with Burma Delegation
Karen State, Burma, 2 April, 2012
Last year we wrote a letter to the Government of Burma (Myanmar) telling them that we pray for them, encouraging them to reconcile with all people in Burma and telling them that we were willing to be of help in any constructive way.
The Burma government let us know indirectly that they were interested in meeting. We discussed this among our teams and prayed about the right steps and timing. We did not know if and when a meeting would take place but unexpectedly we met the government delegation last week. I will make a full report on the events of this past week- meeting the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA - a breakaway faction of the Karen and a prior proxy of the Burma Army), a surprise for all meeting with the local Burma Army in the field in Burma, the Lay Ton Ku and Talako visit, IDP programs and how our friends, the Bluegrass band-Dogwood Cross - opened many hearts and how Eliya, opened a door into Burma thru the DKBA. We were able to meet, play for and pray for many people who are enemies there - Karen National Union (KNU), DKBA, Burma Army, the two factions of the Talakoe Karen - all this was God's gift. Then back to Mae Sot where we had the unexpected meeting with former Burma Army Generals Aung Min and Khin Gyi and others in Mae Sot in the middle of a KNU/Burma government prisoner release/negotiation - Aung Min is the chief negotiator for the government and ethnic groups in the ceasefire process. He is the one we had been praying about meeting after the Burma government expressed interest in meeting FBR. Now with no plan from us to do so, here and now, we have met.
This is what happened.
We had just returned from the Lay Ton Ku and Southern Karen State areas and the IDP programs and were in Mae Sot. We drove in on Friday night from the border and then had meetings with some in the KNU until midnight. Prior to this we had been asked to meet KNU leaders and others to offer to facilitate a possible multi ethnic unity meeting in the future. I prayed to God and said, "Lord, I want this to be of You; can you just do all the arraigning of meetings? That way it will be of You and not be me wasting time or going the wrong way. Thank you, Lord".
The meeting with some in the KNU unfolded as soon as we got back that night. Then, the next morning- Saturday - we were preparing to go to Mae La refugee camp when I noticed KNU, local authorities and others starting to come into where we were staying. I knew most of them, and we started to talk. They told me that very soon a delegation of the Burma government would arrive to release Mahn Ye Maung, a KNU leader who was being held prisoner. Mahn Ye Maung is an old personal friend of ours (Karen has especially been praying for him) and is known as the Karen 'Robinson Crusoe' for his escape from Coco island prison. While on work details, he secretly built a canoe he dug out from a tree and his multi week journey across the ocean to the Burma/Thai peninsula and eventual escape back to Karen lines many years ago is a story of brilliance, endurance, and daring. He had been captured again last year after a trip to coordinate with the Kachin. As he was going between China and Kachin State, northern Burma, the Chinese arrested him in Kunming and sent him on request from the Burma regime to Burma where he became prisoner again. He has been an issue in the ceasefire negation process. I prayed about what to do and decided that I would try talking with the KNU and other friends and see if this was an opportunity to meet. The Burma delegation approached and right away I was identified and called by name. They came over to me and said, "You are David Eubank, leader of the Free Burma Rangers". I said yes and that I was glad and surprised to meet. I shook hands with the 3 Burma government ministers that led the delegation (ex-Burma Army generals) and some of the delegation including the president of Egress - a business oriented peace-making group. (Egress later told me to give them a month, and they would arrange a meeting in Burma for us.) The meeting was warm, and I told them, "It is good we did not meet on the battle field, one of us or all of us would probably be dead!", and we all laughed. I gave them our FBR DVDs and FBR annual report and told them they may be angry when they look at all of these but that we reported what was true and tried to speak the truth in love. I acknowledged we were looking at things from one side and one perspective but were open to seeing the other side and all sides. They told me they would like to meet again and invited me to come to Burma. They then proceeded to the meeting hall where the official release of Mahn Ye Maung would take place.
Many of us FBR joined the meeting and stood in the back of the room. When the official handover of Mahn Ye Maung to the KNU was over the delegation moved back out, and we hugged and prayed with Mahn Ye Maung. On the way out Aung Min saw Baby Suu standing with me. He smiled and introduced himself, asking who she was - Suu shook his hand and introduced herself as Baby Bear and Suu. I took Aung Min's hand in mine and asked him if I could pray - he looked surprised but smiled and said yes, so I prayed - first in Burmese - "May God bless you" then in English-asking God to lead, help, and bless us as we try new ways that we do not know. Aung Min squeezed my hand as we prayed, and I felt God's love with us. After this we took a photo together. Then the Burma and Karen delegations ate lunch together at the next long table over from our FBR and Dogwood Cross group - very amazing positioning. After lunch, one of the Karen leaders asked me to stay on as the Karen and Burma group would continue meetings, and he wanted me to meet briefly after that. So the team took Dogwood Cross to Mae La refugee camp for the evening concert and Karen, the kids, and I stayed on where I worked while the kids played. Later that afternoon, the meeting finished, and now the delegation met our whole family and invited us to Burma for a meeting. There were real smiles as the kids, with both monkeys - Wesley and the Luthaw Kid - jumping about, introduced themselves and saluted as a team. We talked about the FBR mission, the multi-ethnic focus of our work, how we do this together as a family and how this is grounded in love and the desire for freedom for all. I told the kids in front of the delegation, "See these leaders, they were generals in the Burma army and now we are meeting in a friendly way together - we are all human beings, and we can be friends." The kids smiled, shook hands and looked intently at the delegation. They showed a lot of interest in the kids and wanted to talk to them. We were asked about the children's schooling while we are on missions, and they were all glad Karen was home/backpack schooling them. At the end they turned to me and said, "We do want you and your family to come to meet us in Burma. We want to start a new way. Please come." I told them we had been praying about it, and yes, we wanted to come at the right time and looked forward to that.
We said goodbye and they departed. ...Thank you for your prayers. We do not know what will come of the meetings with the Burma government and if there will be any more.
Thanks for everyone's prayers for this.
God bless you all,
Dave, family and teams
The Free Burma Rangers' (FBR) mission is to provide hope, help and love to internally displaced people inside Burma, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Using a network of indigenous field teams, FBR reports on human rights abuses, casualties and the humanitarian needs of people who are under the oppression of the Burma Army. FBR provides medical, spiritual and educational resources for IDP communities as they struggle to survive Burmese military attacks.
For more information, please visit www.freeburmarangers.org
Let's continue to pray for the full healing and reconciliation of Burma and all its peoples. Pray also for David Eubank and the Free Burma Rangers that the Lord will continue to use them effectively in this process.
Burma: Inching Toward Democracy
“Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was one of 43 members of the National League for Democracy party elected to Burma’s parliament on April 1. Her party swept the elections, only failing to win one of the 44 seats it contested. But the elections filled just 7 percent of the seats in parliament with 25 percent of the seats filled by the military as required by Burma’s constitution. Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters are railing against the military’s role in politics, and the United States has announced that while it will lift some sanctions on Burma, it will keep the most significant ones in place until Burma implements more meaningful reform. Can pressure from inside the government combined with pressure from the West bring Burma closer to becoming a democratic state?”
Let’s rejoice at this answered prayer for Burma and its freedom from political repression. Pray for strong and steady progress towards political and religious freedom as well as for the end of ethnic conflict and true reconciliation among all the people of this land.
Global Day of Prayer for Burma
Dear Friends, please join us in observing the Global Day of Prayer for Burma: March 11, 2012. The Day of Prayer magazine is now available to be downloaded in English, Russian, Danish, and Thai languages. For more information, please go to www.prayforburma.org.
Christians Concerned for Burma
The president of Myanmar (Burma) has agreed to meet with a small delegation of three people in March. A Christian team needs real wisdom on how best to approach the issues of religious freedom and human rights.
Please pray for the resolution of Burma’s (Myanmar’s) ongoing ethnic conflicts even as there has been some improvement of the political situation in the nation with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other pro-democracy activists from house arrest and imprisonment. Pray for effective talks and actual, enduring ceasefires between the Burmese government and various tribal groups.
The Free Burma Rangers’ (FBR) mission is to provide hope, help and love to internally displaced people inside Burma, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Using a network of indigenous field teams, FBR reports on human rights abuses, casualties and the humanitarian needs of people who are under the oppression of the Burma Army. FBR provides medical, spiritual and educational resources for IDP communities as they struggle to survive Burmese military attacks.
For more information, please visit www.freeburmarangers.org.
Pray for Burma
Fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burma Army broke out on 9 June 2011, ending a 17-year cease-fire agreement between the two groups. As many as 20,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in Kachin State, according to local networks helping IDPs in Laiza. KIA sources have said that the number of standing Burma Army battalions before the conflict began was 93. Currently there are 113 battalions in Kachin State with more troops on the way, according to KIA sources. Divisions 33, 88, and 99 are currently operating in Kachin State.
On 16 October 2011, approximately 200 Burma Army soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 438 and Infantry Battalion (IB) 121 attacked Nam San Yang Village in Wai Maw District, Kachin State. The soldiers burned over 30 houses and stayed for 3 days in the village occupying the village temple. All the villagers from Nam San Yang Village have fled their homes and are staying with relatives or in IDP camps in Laiza. Other villagers are living in huts in their fields as it is now harvest time and they do not want to lose this year's crops. The Burma Army is still patrolling from their nearby camp down into the village making it difficult for the villagers to reclaim their left belongings and farm their fields.
For more information regarding this attack:
Democratic Voice of Burma, http://www.dvb.no/news/troops-raze-kachin-villages-locals-flee/18666
Christian Solidarity Worldwide, http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=press&id=1260
Free Burma Rangers’ (FBR) mission is to provide hope, help and love to internally displaced people inside Burma, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Using a network of indigenous filed teams, FBR reports on human rights abuses, casualties and the humanitarian needs of people who are under the oppression of the Burma Army. FBR provides medical, spiritual and educational resources for IDP communities as they struggle to survive Burmese military attacks.
For more information, please visit www.freeburmarangers.org
©2010 Free Burma Rangers