(MNN) — A little over a year ago, on May 2-3, 2008, Cyclone Nargis devastated
the nation of Myanmar,
killing thousands of people. Today, survivors are beginning to rebuild their lives, but not with much help from
"Thankfully the people are resilient and thus are able to
bounce back," said Patrick Klein of Vision Beyond Borders. "But it's really from Christian organizations
they're getting help; it's not from the government.
VBB is able to bring aid into the country of Myanmar and
deliver it to the people. Just recently,
VBB harvested 3,000 acres of rice for the people of Myanmar.
VBB distributes supplies through local churches, Klein
explained. "What we've done is use local
churches as distribution points. And so
people will come to the church to get rice, blankets, medicine, whatever they
need, and then at night we'll have Gospel meetings right there in the
church," he said.
"We try to do it through the local church, to keep building
up the local church so they can become stronger."
As a result, many Buddhists are becoming Christians. So far, they have been able to worship in
relative freedom, especially in the cities. Even in the cites, however, 50 churches were closed a couple of months
ago for not registering with the government.
Life for Christians can be more difficult in the
country. Many of the new converts are
also counted among Myanmar's
60,000 orphans. They face special
challenges, as the people often send them to be cared for in the Buddhist
monasteries in the Delta area.
At the monasteries, the kids "are being told they have to
renounce Jesus Christ and become Buddhists," Klein said. "They've lost their parents, they've lost
their home, they've lost everything, and then they're being put in Buddhist
monasteries and being told they need to renounce their faith in Christ."
One little boy was sharing his faith with a monk. "He said, ‘The god you serve is dead, but the
God that I serve rose from the dead,'" Klein related. "The monk slapped him across the face and
said, 'Don't ever say that again.'"
The challenge to the children's newborn faith also
represents an opportunity for American Christians to "take care of widows and
orphans in their affliction," Klein said.
VBB is constructing orphanages to house thousands of children in Yangon.
"I believe this is a great opportunity for the church,
especially in America,
to step up and really help these kids, to get them into a good home where
they're loved and they can grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ," Klein
You can help fund the construction of the orphanages and
the daily needs of the children who will eventually live there.