As the crisis in Myanmar continues to escalate, causing death and widespread disruption, a recent incident in which four pastors were arrested highlights how vulnerable Christians are to getting caught in the crossfire. Please continue to lift up the nation, and its believers, in prayer.
Your prayers are needed for the church in Myanmar (illustrative picture)
Four pastors were amongst at least ten people arrested in Myanmar after some 30 police officers raided a Baptist church. The incident took place on 28 February in Lashio, a town in the northern, predominantly Christian Shan state, after protestors sought refuge in the church after police tried to disperse crowds with tear gas.
“They beat up non-protesters as well as protesters after they crashed through our gate with their car,” a church official told Myanmar-Now. “They destroyed the doors as well.”
"With the growing violence, believers continue to be caught in-between, and we are concerned for their safety" Jan Vermeer
Thankfully, it’s since been reported that all those detained have been released. “While we note with thankfulness that they have been released, we continue to ask for prayers for them and their families as they process what appears to be an unjust arrest,” Elijah Brown, General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), said to the Baptist Standard.
“We are also continuing to call upon the Myanmar government to respect all people of faith and all ethnicities in Myanmar, and to stop targeted arrests that damage families and undermine community peace.”
The arrests look to be part of a growing crackdown against protestors by the military. More than 60 people are now believed to have been killed. Nearly 2,000 people have been arrested.
The incident in Lashio reflects concerns voiced by Jan Vermeer, Open Doors Communications Director for Asia, which we reported last week. “It’s been a month and both the military and the protesters do not show any signs of backing down. As instability grows in Myanmar, so does our need to pray,” he said. “With the growing violence, believers continue to be caught in-between, and we are concerned for their safety.”
Lord God, You know how this incident has affected people and what exactly they need to recover. Meet these needs in abundance, and may stories emerge that testify to Your love, comfort and healing. Move the hearts of military leaders to return Myanmar to democratic rule. Protect all people, and grant wisdom, strength and encouragement to all church leaders and Open Doors local partners as they seek to serve Burmese believers at this difficult time. Build Your church there. Amen.
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