*Representative photo used to protect identity.
After years of service as a nurse in the government military, Kyaw* and his family settled in a remote village in North Myanmar. They were the only Christians in the community.
“It’s a very strong Buddhist community,” said Kyaw. “People here do not accept those from other tribes and other religions. They will not accept me, because I am a Christian.”
Kyaw set up a pharmacy and secured a license for it. Every day, people came to him for medicine and he never missed an opportunity to pray for the sick-and they got well. After one month, Kyaw was already sharing his faith with his clients, which quickly angered his neighbors.
“They start a signature campaign against me,” he said. “They demand that I leave the village and they sent their petition to the local authorities. The village chief immediately came to me with an ultimatum: I leave the village that night, or he’ll burn my house.”
The village chief was proud of his widely known reputation for pressuring, harassing, and expelling Christians and closing down churches for the last 20 years. After uttering a quick prayer, Kyaw made his choice and faced the village chief. “I am here because I want to serve the people,” Kyaw said. “I want to help make them healthy and offer God’s eternal life to them, so I am staying.”
“If you want to live long, move out of the village,” the village chief replied. “I cannot live with a Christian anywhere. You have three hours to make up your mind.”
The decision was simple for Kyaw, but as he continued his pharmacy and ministry posters of him, accusing him of false crimes, sprung up everywhere in the village; the message was clear-“Get out quickly!” Undaunted, he refused to be intimidated by the threats.
The Buddhist spirit mediums were the next to oppose Kyaw. In Myanmar’s villages, people seeking physical healing or blessing offer food, animals or money to spirit mediums. When God began to heal villagers through Kyaw’s prayers, the Buddhist spirit mediums tied to chase him out of the community. Still, he eluded these attempts and remained.
Kyaw has now been living in his adopted village for a little over three years. His pharmacy remains open and he still prays for clients in spite of pressure and opposition from neighbors, Buddhist monks, and village authorities.
Kyaw was recently able to attend one of the persecution-preparedness seminars Open Doors holds to strengthen Christian workers in Myanmar. After the seminar, he shared, “My faith is renewed and I am encouraged to continue in the midst of the ‘storm’ of persecution. Please remember me in your prayers always.”
Father, the testimony of Kyaw’s faith, as well as Your protection of him in the midst of persecution, encourages us, and we pray for the peace and protection of Kyaw and his family. Continue to grant them courage and faith to be faithful witnesses to Christ. And we pray for his persecutors who live in spiritual darkness, that You would save them so that Christ would be worshiped in great power in Myanmar. In the name of Jesus our fortress and strength, Amen.
*Name changed to protect identity.