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BosNewsLife – Ronald Lathanliana, a persecuted Christian who colleagues say became “one of the most effective native missionaries” to work in Burma has died at the age of 89, BosNewsLife learned from missionaries Friday, September 16.

He reportedly died in July, but news of his death apparently took time to reach the outside world from relative isolated Burma , also known as Myanmar , which has been ruled by a military government without a constitution and legislature since 1988.

Despite persecution under different dictatorships, including years of imprisonment “Lalthanliana was a key figure in a spiritual renewal across Burma ,” said Christian Aid Mission (CAM) which supports native missionaries in the region.

Born as the son of the first native missionary in Manipur, a nearby Indian state, he traveled to Burma in 1955 and started a small fellowship in Upper Burma with 10 people, which eventually grew into a massive operation, CAM said. “Today, after 50 years of ministry, churches planted by Lalthaniana’s mission comprise over 18,000 believers,” the organization claimed.

It was often difficult to work under different dictatorships, CAM suggested. “For many years, he was one of only a few men in this Buddhist country standing for the true Gospel. As a result of his unbending faith, Lalthanliana was persecuted by both religious leaders and government officials,” CAM told BosNewsLife.

“At one point, he was imprisoned for four years without trial under false charges. Yet even in prison, Lalthanliana was a consistent witness for Christ, leading 40 inmates and four policemen to the Lord,” CAM said.

It stressed that his “undaunted determination to take the true Gospel to the people of Burma is the legacy Lalthanliana leaves behind today.” Lathanliana is survived by six children, over 30 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and his wife…[Go To Full Story]