Serving the Least of These in Wartime
By Gina Goh
04/28/2022 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – Located in Myanmar’s northwest, the Christian-majority Chin state has come under heavy fire after the Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) staged a coup to depose the democratically elected civilian government in February 2021. From its capital city Hakha, Thantlang, to Mindat, the brutal fighting has not spared any major towns. The ongoing offensive has already resulted in destruction of over 5000 homes and mass internal displacement of over 340,000 people in Chin State alone.
ICC’s Myanmar representative recently spoke with a Chin pastor who shared with us the challenges of doing the Kingdom’s work amid volatile times.
Pastor Um Ngar’s church is located in a village 40 miles away from Mindat. One morning, he received a call from his pastor friend. The pastor said he was coming over with some members of his congregation as their lives were in danger in Mindat.
“So we called for an emergency meeting to discuss how to help these people in need. With 600,000 kyat (equivalent to US$300), we started to buy rice and tarpaulin to accommodate them. Beginning that day, our village and my congregation have been hosting these Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) except the times that we also had to go and hide in the forest,” he said.
Now many IDPs have returned to their villages as their places are currently protected by local defense forces, but many still are unable to return home. Because of God’s guidance, Pastor Um Ngar and his congregation manage to serve many thus far.
Working with a pastor from Mindat, Pastor Um Ngar also goes out and helps nearby villages affected by the conflicts. He often finds himself having to convince his congregation to love the other, while also having to take care of their food, health, education, and other needs. For a pastor, it seems far beyond the day-to-day pastoral work.
But even in the midst of trials, Pastor Um Ngar sees an opportunity to share the gospel right at their town, although they have to be extra careful to avoid giving the impression that Christians are taking advantage of the IDPs’ vulnerable situation to share the gospel. Thankfully, two doctors from the Civil Disobedience Movement have shown interest in the good news.
Please continue to pray for Pastor Um Ngar, along with all the pastors in Myanmar, so that they can be strengthened and encouraged as they serve their congregation and reach out for the lost in a ravaged nation.
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