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MYANMAR: Trapped Christians Reach Safety in Dramatic Escape

Source: Barnabas Fund, May 22, 2018

Two thousand Kachin Christians, who were trapped in the jungle by the Myanmar (Burmese) Army have now reached safety, traveling on foot and by elephant.

Barnabas Fund contacts report that although they are now free and safe, many are still in desperate need and thousands of Kachin have taken shelter in churches. There is also the threat of further attacks by the military: “Please continue to pray for the Kachin. The Burmese Army have sent more troops to other Kachin areas, and we are expecting a new flood of attacks and refugees soon when the rainy season starts.”

Attacks by the army, which began in April, trapped around 2,000 Kachin Christian civilians in the jungle of northern Myanmar, with the total number of Kachin displaced estimated to be as high as 10,000. Those who fled, including new mothers and the elderly, have mostly traveled without any mechanized transport through thick jungle. Several are reported to have been injured by landmines.

» See full story with pictures and other news about the persecuted church from Barnabas Fund.

» See also Fulani Violence against Nigeria Christians Hits Record High (World Watch Monitor). Note that this story reflects not just a clash of religions but also the age-old conflict between farmers and herdsmen. We would do well to pray for persecutors as well as persecuted.

USA: A Look at Refugee Foster Care

Source: Mission Network News, May 28, 2018

More than half of the refugees worldwide are children, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Many have been separated from their families or their parents can’t provide for them, leaving them in hopeless situations.

However, seeing the desperate situation of these children, Bethany Christian Services is helping to change their lives through their Refugee Foster Care Program.

“We have kiddos coming in from Central America. We have kids from Ethiopia, the Republic of the Congo. We have kiddos from Afghanistan in our program. Right now, we have a huge need for foster families to be able to open their home, their hearts to give our kids an opportunity to be part of their family,” [says Bethany’s Ana Jose].

After refugee children have fled their home country and end up in refugee camps, Bethany receives their referrals and helps to get them processed, then brings them to the United States to live with a loving foster family. Jose says there are millions and millions of refugee children who are in need of foster care. Bethany receives up to 60 referrals every week.

» Full story explains the placement process and how children are reunited with their families. For an MNN article concerning immigrant families separated at the US border, see a related June 5 story.

» Also read an interesting story about artists who paint portraits of Syrian children caught up in the refugee crisis (World Vision).

ASIA: First Believer in the Valley

Source: United World Missions, May 2018

For the past few years, we’ve been taking groups from the States to areas in the mountains with hundreds of pockets of unengaged, unreached minority peoples.

In 2016, we had an American leader come to see what this was all about and decide whether or not his congregation would get involved. We took him and some others high up in the mountains (14,000+ feet) in a very rural area where many of the villages consist of only a few homes. As they were driving through a village, the leader pointed west up another valley and asked what was up there. We didn’t know. A very outdoorsy person, he asked to be dropped off and allowed to hike up there by himself for the day.

At the end of the day they picked him up. He said he had hiked, worshiped, and prayed up the valley. At one point he had been invited into a home. These people didn’t speak any English, and he didn’t speak their language, but they had a great time drinking tea together. He prayed for and blessed the home before he left. After the trip, he decided his congregation would adopt that valley.

The next summer we were holding the semi-annual English camps which take place in our city for students from these mountain groups. One of the students, Z, trusted in God during the camp. Afterward, he needed a ride back home, so one of our colleagues gave him a ride back to his very remote village. His home was the same one that the leader had visited a year before. Z became the first believer in his valley.

» Full story.

INDIA: Pastor Beaten and Left for Dead Survives to Keep on Serving

Source: Open Doors, May 27, 2018

The Church in India is growing at an unprecedented rate, with village church pastors forging a burgeoning movement. In January 2015, more than 1 million people converted to Christianity at a single-tent revival event. Increasingly, the leaders of these churches are bearing the brunt of persecution in India, often finding themselves the first target of Hindu extremists, especially when extremists begin to see the impact of these leaders and their passion to share the gospel.

When Hindu nationalists learned Pastor Tilak’s ministry had led 40 families to Christ, they urged the Naxalites, a communist insurgency group in India, to silence him.

» See full story with picture and prayer points. This man went through a lot! Can anyone help us verify the conversion claim in the second sentence?

» See also the infographic Profiles of Some of Today’s Heroes of the Faith (INcontext Ministries). Note that it seems to be two pages long (two separate images).