A Heart for Her Own People
As you read statistics and see charts, do you ever wonder where the life is within it all? It is easy to see the ranks on our World Watch List, and not be moved by the numbers alone. This is normal. We were not created to be moved by percentages or graphs, but rather, souls. While Myanmar (also known as Burma) is #23 on this list, we share the stories and lives of the persecuted with you in hopes that, along with the Spirit, their stories would be unavoidable to you. These brothers and sisters hold our hearts from thousands of miles away. For Monica*, a Christian from Myanmar, who is persecuted herself, has a heart for the lost in her community. Her strength is unending, and her joy is in the Lord. “I want to be a missionary,” says 25 year old Monica, a seminary student. “I want the people in my community to know God and His salvation, just as I do. I want them to experience His love, care and goodness.” Monica belongs to a Christian family. Since hearing about Jesus at a youth camp, she has committed her life to sharing the gospel. She wants to start a ministry in her hometown in Rakhine state, because, as Luke 2:10 says, “the harvest is plenty, but the workers are few.” Out of 60 households in Monica’s village, only six believe in Jesus Christ. “A long time ago, some people came to our village to serve and to preach the gospel, but they lost their lives because of persecution,” shares Monica. “When that happened, the Christians disappeared. Now, there is no pastor, evangelist or missionary working in my community. In later years, it is possible that nobody will serve the very, very few Christian believers here. Seeing this, I knew that if I don’t work among my people, God’s work might disappear here.” On a recent trip to a neighboring state to share the gospel, Monica shares how those she was preaching to became angered, and tried to beat her and those with her. “Many times I felt I should stop, I should quit my commitment in serving the Lord because of the suffering we faced in the community. But as I took time to pray, God stirred my heart and I realized that I am following Jesus’ footsteps, I am going through the road of Calvary, the way of the cross.” “I am suffering but I will still pray and study the Bible; I will not stop,” she goes on. “In Christ, I can do all things.” Philippians 4:13 is Monica’s favorite Bible verse. “I am also inspired by Moses’ story,” she says. “When God first called Moses, He didn’t accept the call saying he was not able and he could not speak well. But when God chooses you, you cannot say no. Like Moses, I cannot say no to God’s calling because I can see how very few Christian workers there are.” “I am still young in the ministry,” she continues. “I am still learning. I am still in bible school, but during vacation, I serve in the mission field and I face several difficulties from these areas. Still, I know that when I have graduated and have committed to serving the mission field, more difficulties will come.” Monica is finishing her biblical studies in Yangon. Through the help of Open Doors, she expects to graduate in March 2014. Monica seeks to glorify God with the opportunity placed before her. In the Rakhine state, a missionary must serve and befriend the community before ever having the chance to share the gospel. The community knows and trusts her, and by God’s grace, we pray that the gospel would extend to every ear around her. *Name changed to protect the believer.