Burma’s new day dawns

By January 26, 2012

Burma (MNN) — Burma's civilian government seems to be
keeping on the path toward democracy and freedom.

The United States kept its promise too, meeting action with
action. Patrick
Klein with Vision Beyond Borders says, "I really believe it's an answer to prayer. I  believe this because a lot of people have
been praying, and God is bringing this to the forefront. It's an exciting time, and I
never thought that we would see this."

In his most recent visit, Klein
says the climate in the country is very different. The team saw pictures of
Aung San Suu Kyi on billboards and covers of magazines, and there were articles
about her in several newspapers; that would have been outlawed in the past. The
people there seem excited and filled with hope at the changes.

Klein explains, "Hillary
Clinton was there in December, and she said that if they would stop the tribal
violence and release more political prisoners, they would work to normalize
relations with the U.S." Other reforms included easing restrictions on
media and civil society, and legalizing the main opposition political party.   

The question is: will it stick? Obvious concerns about broken promises
surface. The military regime has made
and broken many accords with various ethnic groups over the course of their
decades-long struggle. 

However, Klein says this time feels different. "As far
as we know, there has been a ceasefire signed with the Karen leaders. We're
seeing changes. I'm constantly in touch with our contact inside Burma, and he's saying
these changes are real, they are lasting, and it's starting to affect the whole

On March 30, 2011, military leaders formally handed power to
the "civilianized" government led by President Thein Sein. Klein remains cautiously optimistic. While
there have been scattered reports of attacks on the Karen despite the ceasefire,
he says it is takes a while for news to trickle into the outlying regions. Still, changing the mindset of a generation
will take some time. "There are a lot
of landmines. It'll take quite a while to remove those, but as far as I
understand with Aung San Suu Kyi, she's really working to try to help the tribals,
as well. They're getting a voice, which is good."

Since the restoration of civilian rule, Burmese leaders have
also opened the door for humanitarian groups to conflict areas, establishing a national human rights commission. Vision Beyond Borders is responding.  "We're working on setting up a program
to sponsor more kids. We're in the process of building more orphanages.
Hopefully, the refugees will be able to come back in and we can put them in the
homes, and we'll be able to help them re-build their villages as well. It's kind of a shift. It's like we've got to get the Gospel in as
well as helping with more humanitarian aid. "

Pray for Burma. The changes are exhilarating, but they also
come with a threat. After 50 years of repression, it's natural to
be eager. However, opening too fast allows not
only good but also bad things to come in. Klein says, "What
we're praying for is that they'll slowly open up and really protect the country
and not let the human traffickers come in. We're also praying that the church
will be wise and discerning and not allow false doctrines and
deceptions to come in."

Please pray that truth will be revealed
in this entire situation in Burma. Pray also for wisdom for leaders who are involved
in negotiations with the Burmese government.

Hope. It shines from the faces of
people on the streets. And it's infectious. The
team is looking forward to new freedoms and what they might mean for Gospel
outreach. "I think it will be a lot easier to travel. There won't be the restrictions that there had
been. I think it will also be easier for the church in Burma to reach out to
their own country."

Prayer is making a difference. Continue to pray for Burma.


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