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A Difficult Place for Missionaries

Myanmar

Adoniram Judson was a missionary to Burma (Myanmar) in the 1800s. Most of the people were Buddhists, and they were suspicious of the few Christians in their country.

So Judson decided to visit the king of Burma. Perhaps the king would help the Christians and make it easier for Judson and other missionaries to share the gospel.

He hoped to please the king with a special gift. He took six Bibles covered with gold leaf. During Judson’s visit, a servant handed the king the Bibles.

“Take them away!” ordered the king. “I have no use for (such) books in my realm.”

So Judson understood that Burma would still be a difficult place for him and for other Christian missionaries to work. But he continued to serve God in harsh circumstances.

(Source: Adoniram Judson: Bound for Burma, available from VOM Books

Gold leaf is a thin sheet of gold, just as aluminum foil is thin aluminum. Buddhists press small pieces of gold leaf onto statues of Buddha. Some statues are covered with several layers of gold leaf. Buddhists believe that decorating Buddha statues with gold leaf will bring them merit. Merit is somewhat like points saved up toward earning spiritual rewards. Buddhists hope to earn a better “next life.” They believe after they die, they will come back to life in a different body.

Christians know that we have one life on earth. Also, apart from God and Jesus, no one is righteous and deserving of rewards, no matter how many good works they do.

(Source: Bold Believers in Burma, available in the Downloads section)

Find a chart about Buddhism here.

Read another post about Adoniram Judson here.


Hope in Burma

“The hope of heaven always keeps us moving ahead whether we are persecuted, whether we are beaten or not. The hope that someday we will be in heaven keeps us going ahead.”

— Christian in Burma

At times, Christians in Burma have a hard time getting government permission to build new churches or repair old ones. Sometimes officials destroy places of worship and treat Christians harshly.

In this video clip, Christians in Burma share what gives them hope when they are persecuted.


Led by the Blind

Reading
A Buddhist boy monk reading a Bible storybook

In recent years, many people have left Burma to escape violence and the lack of freedoms. Burma has been making some changes and improvements. But thousands of refugees still live in camps for people who had to leave their homes to stay out of danger.

John grew up in a Buddhist family. He was 15 years old when he left Burma. John’s father was dead, and he didn’t know where his mother was. He thought she was probably dead too. Children in places where there is a lot of fighting sometimes get separated from their families.

A blind man also wanted to leave Burma, so John helped him. As he was leading the blind man along the path, they came across five children between the ages of 5 and 10. The children joined John and the blind man on their journey.

Finally the group arrived in Thailand. They quickly found the help that they needed. John realized that everything would not have worked out so well if God had not been with them. He gave his life to Christ!

One day John went to a clinic to help take care of some sick children, and he saw his mother! She was alive, and is now walking with the Lord. She, too, helps the children in the refugee camps.

A VOM friend who visited John in the camp and heard his story said, “What a testimony of how great and mighty our God is!

(Source: Vision Beyond Borders)


Ngun Si Par

A girl in Burma
A girl in Burma

On January 4th, the people of Burma celebrate their Independence Day. Burma (also called Myanmar) became independent from Britain in 1948.

Most people in Burma are Buddhists. Buddhism was started by Siddartha Gautama, a prince in India. He was called “Buddha.”

Buddhists do not have regular worship services at their temples. Instead, they may bring gifts to a temple and bow to a statue of Buddha to show respect.

VOM contacts talked to Ngun Si Par, a 13-year-old girl in Burma. She told the contacts about her life in Burma. Read what she said below.

Read the rest of this entry »


“No Prayer, No Power”

Burma

Stephen was born into a Christian family in Burma. “I was born again when I was 9,” he said. Stephen thought a lot about tribal people in his country who do not have Bibles in their own language.

Most people in Burma are Buddhists. Fewer than 10 percent are Christians. Stephen would like to see the numbers rise to 50 or 60 percent in his lifetime.

Stephen decided to go to Bible school to better learn how to share the gospel. School was difficult for Stephen because the classes were taught in English, and he did not speak English. But he asked God to help him, studied hard, and learned English.

Stephen said that he will not be satisfied until he has personally led 50,000 people to Christ! “There are people who are ready to receive Christ,” said Stephen. “We pray the Lord will use us to bring light into this dark country.”

But Stephen will need help. “We are strong in faith, and we need people who will pray for us faithfully….No prayer, no power.”

It is not always easy to share the gospel in Burma. “Even though we are persecuted, it is for the advance of the gospel,” Stephen said.

(Source: Brad Konemann, Youth Director, VOM Australia)


To Think About:
If God allows Stephen to preach for 50 years, how many people will he lead to Christ each year for 50,000 to follow Jesus? How many people each day?