Do not forget about Burma

By February 26, 2015

Burma (MNN) — It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the horrific activity taking place all over the world. But God is gracious to keep many of His workers focused worldwide on the ministries to which He’s called them.

The conflicts in Burma have affected countless lives (Photo by Partners Relief and Development)

The conflicts in Burma have affected
countless lives over the past several decades.
(Photo by Partners Relief and Development)

We spoke to a field worker of Partners Relief and Development about the country of Burma. If you’ve kept up with the country, you know there is a lot of hardship there. Just a couple of weeks ago, fighting along the Chinese border erupted again, and refugees poured into surrounding villages and into China.

Read about that here.

The Partners worker and his wife are focused on domestic ministry to ethnic people in Burma.

Ministry in Marriage

One desire the worker and his wife have is to help Christian couples pursue a healthy, biblical marriage. They take groups of up to 12 couples and go through a course with them.

He says, “In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small part of Partners’ work, but it is, we believe in the long-term, significant. We [work] with couples inside the country on marriage issues.”

The training is simple so that the participants can go back to their communities and replicate it.

The field worker says even though the information may seem very basic to us, it’s often stuff the people of Burma have never heard before.

He explains that they’re not trying to teach the married couples how to be American Christian couples, but they also don’t want to encourage some of the harmful cultural marriage tendencies.

To keep away from any harmful extremes, Partners makes sure they stay grounded: “What we do, which kind of sounds like a no-brainer, is that we just focus strictly on what does the Bible actually say? If the Bible really is transcultural […], then that is the common ground.”

An example of this is the cultural tendency of married couples to depend on their parents and devote themselves to their parents over their spouses.

One of the verses they focus on during the first day of the course is Genesis 2:24 which says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (ESV)

Using Scripture is essential to this ministry, as the worker explains, “All of the training material that we are using is essentially straight from the Bible. We have it translated into the Burmese language, and during the week that we do the course with them, we are actually reading it out loud.”

Not only do these couple brush up against God’s Word, but chances are, their community will as well.

The worker explains: “We’ve heard tremendous reports back, not just of marriages literally being saved, but of these marriages becoming kind of a sign and a light to other people in the communities that they’re living in–that something is different about them now, something is palpably different in their lives, and they want to know more about it.”

These discussions open up opportunities to learn about the Gospel.

But this isn’t the only impact Partners is having on communities in Burma.

Community Development

Community development is another way to introduce people to the Bible (Image by Partners)

Community development is another way to introduce people to the Bible (Image by Partners)

Using Nehemiah as an example for teamwork, Partners engages communities in working to better how things work.

While it may seem weird to use Nehemiah, our contact explains that when this Scripture is read through the lens of community development, it makes sense. He says, “Community development is just finding ways to mobilize and create opportunities within communities.”

Partof this is helping communities realize that many of the issues they have, even the generational difficulties, can be solved or helped by resources right within the community itself. Helping a community see its independence from outside donors seems crucial to helping the long-term improvement.

So What?

Have you ever had those days and months, or even longer, where the problems of this world seem too big to be fixed? Have you gotten used to reports of execution, starvation, war, etc.? Then you might be wondering why you should care about the relatively minor problems within marriages and communities.

The field worker knows how that goes; there are just so many people in trouble. He says, “I get the compassion fatigue issue. My answer is actually short, but I think it’s absolutely right on and it’s this: […] ‘If God cares about and created those people and will do whatever it takes to find ways to rescue them, we should be finding ways to do the same thing. In other words, if they matter to God, they need to matter to us.”

He goes on to say that because God created the 16 million people of Burma, they should matter to us just as much as our own children.

We can show our love to God by loving and caring for the people He cares about. The field worker explains that often we can learn something from people suffering.

Despite what is going on all around the world, the worker says this: “I would really encourage your listeners to not forget Burma, not forget Myanmar and what’s happening there.”

After 60 years of oppression and conflict, these people desperately need the hope of the Gospel. Partners Relief and Development has a unique niche in Burma because they are a small organization. They can move quickly to action. They appreciate the help from partners.

If you would like to partner with them, click here.

Pray that God would make Himself known to the country of Burma.

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