Rising Above Poverty in Myanmar
Forty-year-old Myat (not her real name) was born into a Christian family. In Myanmar, that meant being born into a life of poverty, discrimination, and oppression. It meant being contained in one village, monitored in all travels, and left out when it comes to education and employment opportunities.
Although she was third among four children in the family, Myat’s parents saw to it that she graduated from high school. Unable to pass the placement exam for college, Myat left her home and her Sunday School class to find a job in another place. There, she met a missionary couple who took her in to help with household chores. Slowly, Myat developed a desire to serve God through sharing the Gospel. “The couple sent me to a training class on evangelism and my faith in God was renewed. I felt peace in my heart, assured of Jesus’ salvation for me,” said Myat.
Myat had a particular heart for the Burmese Buddhists in her country and desired to become a full time Christian missionary. Culturally, this was frowned upon so she started praying that God would provide work, or at least some tools to help her earn. Year after year she prayed.
Meanwhile, Myat agreed to help in a local church, got married and was blessed with a son. Then, in 2008, cyclone Nargis struck her village. Having previously taught in Sunday School, Myat couldn’t stand seeing the children in her village left without a family and home. In the midst of her own poverty, she adopted nine of these children.
“My salary was no longer enough. I wanted to be a blessing to others, but how could we, since we were the ones who were hungry? The pastor kept encouraging us that when we share the Gospel to others first, we will be fed [by God].”
After seven years of praying, Myat’s prayers were answered in the form of a sewing machine from Open Doors. With this equipment, Myat now earns more than enough to bless others. “Because of your help, we are strengthened spiritually and physically. With this machine, I can make clothes for my own children and then produce more for selling. May God bless Open Doors forever!”
Open Doors hopes to be a conduit of God’s provision this year to at least 20 more pastors and church workers in Myanmar through Social Economic Development programs in the form of livelihood grants and skills training. In increasing their capacity to earn, ministers, like Myat, learn to combine their faith with industry, thus becoming more effective bearers of the Gospel in their communities.
Thank You, Father, for the passion You have given Myat to reach out to these children and to the Burmese people. And we praise you for equipping her through Open Doors to make her vision for ever increasing ministry a reality. Amen