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Thankful in Prison

Children in Myanmar

Pastor John Cao did not spend Thanksgiving last year with his wife and two sons in North Carolina. Instead, he spent the holiday in a Chinese prison.

“John committed the crime of doing good,” said a Christian friend of the pastor. Pastor John helped build 16 schools in Myanmar (Burma). The schools provide an education for 2,000 children in poverty. The students study the Bible in their classes, and many have come to Christ.

Pastor John’s wife and sons are American citizens, but he was born in China. He has kept his Chinese citizenship to make it easier for him to minister in Asia. In recent times, the Chinese government has increased control over Christian activities. Christians believe Pastor John may have been imprisoned because of stricter government rules.

Pastor John has been sentenced to seven years in prison. He is allowed to write only one letter a month. He misses his wife, children, mother, and siblings. He has several physical ailments.

But this is what Pastor John said in a letter to a family member: “Rejoice with me because I count this as kind of a privilege to suffer with my Lord. I am serious. I am not joking. This is a privilege.”

Pastor Cao hopes to be back at home with his family soon. But like the apostles in Acts 5, Pastor John is thankful for the opportunity to endure hard times for the name of Jesus.

This Thanksgiving, remember Christians who are in prison (Hebrew 13:3), and thank God for their faithful example to us and to those in prison with them.

(Sources include: vomradio.net and prisoneralert.com.)


Treats to Try

Mangos

Mangos are a favorite fruit in Myanmar (Burma). Try the mango cake recipe below.

1. Mix 2 cups of flour, 2 tsp. of ground cinnamon, 2 tsp. of baking powder, and 1 tsp. baking soda.
2. In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of oil, 3 tsp. of vanilla, and 3 eggs.
3. Add 1 cup of sugar and ½ cup of brown sugar to the egg mixture, then add the flour mixture.
4. Next add 1 cup of mango pulp from fresh mangos or from canned mangos mashed in a blender.
5. Then add 1 cup of crushed pineapple, ¼ cup of chopped canned or fresh (not dried) papaya spears, and ¼ cup of raisins.
6. Bake in a greased and floured 13-inch by 9-inch pan at 350 degrees for about an hour or until done.

Palm Sugar Sago is another treat in Myanmar.

People in Burma use sago and palm sugar to make palm sugar sago. The variation below uses tapioca and maple syrup instead.

1. Boil 7/8 cup of water in a saucepan. While the water boils, add ½ cup of tapioca, and stir until it dissolves.
2. Then add ¾ cup of maple syrup, and stir until dissolved.
3. Stirring constantly, return to a full rolling boil for one minute. Remove from heat.
4. Pour into a shallow baking dish or cake pan about 8 inches by 8 inches. Let it cool at room temperature a few minutes until set. Scoop small portions with a spoon or melon baller, roll them in grated coconut, and eat.

Learn more about Christians and life in Burma in Bold Believers in Burma, available in the Downloads section.


Burmese

Burmese is the main language of Myanmar (Burma).

The Burmese language has two forms: formal and informal. The formal form is used in official publications and speeches, and in works of literature. The informal form is used in daily conversations. Burmese writing is made up of circles and curves in different combinations.

Here is how to pronounce some Burmese words.

A formal way to say “hello” is pronounced “MING-gah-lah-bah.”
“Jesus” is pronounced “jee-SOO.”
“Yes” is pronounced “HOW-deh.”
“No” is pronounced “mah-HOW-boo.”
“Water” is pronounced “jee.”
[Pronunciations are approximate.]

Learn more about Christians and life in Burma in Bold Believers in Burma, available in the Downloads section.


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.