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Christian faith in Burma traces its roots to the missionary efforts of Adoniram Judson, who arrived in 1813 with his wife, Ann. The Judson Bible is still the standard translation used by churches. Most Christians are from the Chin and Karen tribal groups, with very few of Myanmar’s ethnic people group coming to faith. Many Bible schools exist throughout the country, and indigenous church planters and missionaries boldly proclaim the gospel. The church is growing despite widespread persecution by the government and the Buddhist majority. The Burman ethnic majority dominates and oppresses the other tribal groups. While political change has been much discussed in recent years, only superficial change has occurred. The military still effectively controls the country. U.N. sanctions have been dropped, but the average citizen has not been positively affected.
Most Burmese tribal members are Buddhist, while the Chin and Karen people groups are nominal Christians. Rohingya Muslims are a small but significant group that has suffered devastating human rights violations at the hands of the military government.
Buddhist monks, in cooperation with government officials, are the major persecutors in Myanmar, but local officials and tribal militias also persecute Christians. Families and villagers who practice animism often persecute those who convert to Christianity.
What It Means To Follow Christ In Myanmar:
The widespread, long-running civil war directly affects Christians when they are targeted for attack by the warring factions. Villagers with animistic beliefs take vengeance against Christians, claiming they are angering the local spirits. Church gatherings and church buildings are allowed in many parts of the country, but tolerance varies from state to state. Active believers who share their faith face difficulties. Within tribal groups, families oppose conversion and new believers are subject to close government monitoring. Recently, Buddhist monks have actively opposed new Christian converts and evangelists. In general, pastors are detained for a few days at a time.
Access To Bibles:
Bibles can be purchased and owned, but most people are not able to afford them. While bookstores in large cities sell Bibles, they are unavailable in many regions. Give Bibles
VOM provides materials for the growing church, distributes Bibles and provides training for Christians. Give to VOM’s Global Ministry
- Pray that Bibles will reach believers who need them in remote villages.
- Pray that hostile neighbors in war zones will not target believers.
- Pray that new believers in rural areas will reject drug abuse and the drug trade.
- Pray for the faith and health of nearly 100 Wa Christians imprisoned in 2018-2019.
- Pray that young believers will be inspired to reach remote and dangerous regions.