Myanmar (MNN) — "It surprised us that many villages had not received any relief, any aid, from outside, and they were just barely, barely living," said Moses, whose name has been changed for security purposes. He's a native missionary with World Hope International working in areas where Cyclone Nargis killed thousands in May and left thousands of others with nothing.
The United Nations estimates that only one quarter of people in need of shelter have received assistance so far.
Moses and his team deliver aid to 22 villages in the Irrawaddy Delta. With everything they
provide, including rice, water, plastic for shelter and candles, there is Scripture relating it to how God loves and cares for His people. For example, when giving out candles for
light to people without electricity, they tell people that while a candle is temporary light, God is the light of the world. "People were just amazed. 'Wow,' they said. 'Christianity is involved with everything; our shelter, and our water, everything.' And we said 'Yes, there is much more. Our God is involved in much more," said Moses.
While some reports say the difficulty in offering assistance can be attributed to interference from Myanmar's ruling junta, in Moses' experience, the government is not as opposed to Christianity as the world thinks. "They know Christians are not a threat. We are not danger for them. So we pray for them, and we want to walk with them. So the doors are open for
Christians," said Moses.
Moses wants to jump into that great opening while it is there. Although that opening was created by a natural disaster, Christians in Myanmar believe it is a call from God.
They believe that because the same ocean that brought Christianity from the West also brought death upon thousands, God wants them to bring at least 100,000 more people to know Him. Moses said this can only be done by working together.
"This is a great, great time for Christians to wake up and start doing something," said Moses.
Moses told of a vision of a fellow believer who saw an elephant. Then an angel came telling him to kill it by hitting the weakest point. When he woke up, he began praying for understanding and realized that the elephant must be Buddhism, and that the weakest point of Buddhism is the children. From there, they began a children's ministry which now has more than 100 kids in attendance.
This ministry to the children reaches the parents, too. When the children refuse to worship Buddha, parents come to the team asking questions, "'What did you do to our
kids? They never want to bow down before Buddha.' We mix a cup of coffee," said Moses, "and we say, 'Please sit down. Let me tell you what we told your kids.' And we tell everything that we have taught to their kids. That means we preach to them directly. Later, those people became Christians."
Last year, Moses baptized 27 Buddhist converts, including one Buddhist monk.
After the cyclone, many children were left parentless. This was a prime time to meet the needs of orphans. Today, 28 kids are part of World Hope's orphanage ministry. When
those kids graduate from high school, they will be enrolled in Bible school. From there, they will be able to work in their native villages as pastors, missionaries, teachers and lay
Moses said there are openings for missionaries who want to work in the orphanage. They are
always looking for local and foreign missionaries to join them in the field. Prayer partners can pray for continued recovery for Myanmar. Pray for the economy which is making it increasingly difficult for people to rebound from the devastation. Pray also for refugees who still have not begun rebuilding their lives.