Persecuted From The Womb- The Story Of A Christian From Burma
This is part one of a two part story of a Christian man named Elijah from Burma. Take a moment to read his amazing testimony!
Elijah* carried a confidence not often seen among his people. He had hosted and translated for several visitors from other countries in the past that his English was almost flawless, even though he did not go to a university. Besides English, he also spoke several languages, and the ability, he said, was of divine origin. “I speak English and many Myanmar tribal languages because I asked God for it,” he nonchalantly explained to his guests from abroad as he sat to join them for lunch and… for a short talk.
“My parents and my grandparents were very strong Buddhists,” Elijah, the youngest of four children, began his story. “My grandfather was known in our community to have very strong connections with the spirit world. He could cast spells on people. He could tell what was going to happen in the future. He saw things that ordinary people could not see. He could read the stars. He was, what you might call, a priest in the spirit world. My father too could see things in the future, but he was not as strong as my grandfather.
“When my mother was pregnant with me, she had a dream. In it, somebody warned her that the baby in her womb would become a strong leader, but not in Buddhism. The baby would grow up and worship another god and become a leader in another faith. My mother was shocked. For her, it mustn’t happen, because they were known in the community as strong Buddhists.
“So, she tried to abort me, trying different tactics, from taking herbs that would induce a miscarriage to even throwing herself in front of a speeding car! But none of these worked. She just had to carry me through to full term and eventually gave birth to me. But I was a very sickly baby and practically spent my first year of life in the hospital. That I am alive today is a miracle!
“When I grew up though, I was a problematic child. Into my teens, I started using drugs. I tried to become an army officer but failed. I was frustrated, and so I decided to go to the Thai border to work. I waited on tables; became a kitchen helper; signed up for menial jobs. But while there, I also became more addicted to drugs.
“One night, my boss told me to take the garbage out at the back of the restaurant. As I was about to, I saw two thick books in the big trash bin. They looked so nice in their blue leather cover that I wondered why such nice books would end up in the trash. And because I loved to read, I immediately got the books and showed them to one of my workmates at the restaurant. He told me that it was a book containing God’s word. My workmate asked if he could have the other one.
“When I realized that it was an important book, I kept the other copy and started reading it. But it was written in English and Thai. I could not understand a thing! I told my workmate about my dilemma. He said that if I really wanted to understand what the book said, he could introduce me to his pastor’s wife who then could teach me English and Thai. I was surprised that she would be willing to teach me, a Buddhist. So I agreed to go and see her.
“Somehow, at that point, I had a deep desire for something. I was looking for something but I didn’t know exactly what it was. I just knew deep within that Buddhism could not give me answers. It was not satisfying my deepest needs. This made me more open to learn more about the book and to attend Thai and English classes with the pastor’s wife.
“She patiently taught me every week. I kept reading and reading the Bible even though I couldn’t understand it. Then, the pastor’s wife, my teacher, asked me, ‘Do you know Jesus?’ I told her that I had seen a movie about Jesus, but I could not stand to watch the part when he was being nailed on the cross. She told me to pray to Jesus and ask Him for wisdom so I could understand the Bible. I asked if I could pray to Jesus and to Buddha at the same time. My teacher said I should pray only to Jesus; that I should try and see if Jesus would answer my prayers.
“For a week, I studied Thai, read the Thai part of the thick book, and prayed to Jesus. After seven days, I began to understand what I was reading! I realized that the Jesus film I saw was from the books of Matthew and Luke. When I read Mark’s Gospel, I remembered something. When I was 16, my grandfather gave me a book. My grandfather, the sorcerer-astrologer-priest-Buddhist strongman, gave me the book of Mark when I was 16! I did not-and I still don’t-know how or where my grandfather got it…
Tune in next week for part two of this amazing story!
*Name changed and other details withheld for the believer’s protection