The Buddhist movement in Myanmar has been working with the government in setting up boarding schools and giving out financial assistance to needy students in Shan, Kachin, Rakhine and Chin States.
Chin eighth-graders Zang* and Thawn* were offered this financial assistance two years ago, and their parents allowed them to accept the support believing it was a government scholarship without religious entanglements. Zang’s mother now tearfully relates that she was not informed that accepting the financial support would mean agreeing to the requirement for her daughter to stay in a Buddhist monastery for three years.
“Zang’s mother did not know that there was such an agreement, and the document allowing her daughter to receive the support was signed by the school principal on behalf of her,” says a local believer. “We tried to get the two girls away from the monastery, but the monks in charge just ignored our pleas.”
When the same believer met with Zang and Thawn, they told him they were being forced to observe Buddhist practices by their superiors. “They told me they are not allowed to pray and read the Bible publicly,” he shared. “They are prohibited from going to church on Sunday because they also have Buddhism School on Sunday. They all have to observe and celebrate Buddhist teachings and festivals.”
“This kind of thing is happening all over the country,” the source continued. “Many Christian students are waiting for someone who can provide them good education and freedom from being forced to do Buddhist practices in school. Many Christian parents are crying for the future of their children because of this.”
*Names changed to protect their identity.
Father God, we bring before You the plight of Your daughters Zang and Thawn; that they might be withdrawn from the monastery and protected from the false teachings there. Grant much wisdom and patience to their parents as they file the paperwork in the long process to bring their daughters home. And, while they remain, we pray that the presence of Jesus in them will shine forth from their faithful lives, and that their testimonies will draw others into saving faith. We pray, too, for other educational opportunities for them and for the many Christian children trapped in similar circumstances in Myanmar. In the Name of Jesus, who said in Matthew 19, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Amen.