Myanmar (MNN) — Myanmar is in trouble, and local believers know it. Religious strife and political tension have led to the abuse and persecution of Rohingya Muslims, and leaders are looking for unity in troubled times.
That’s where Wesley Thura believes the Church comes in.
Thura is the National Director for Asian Access in Myanmar and he has noticed how resistant both Myanmar and its Church are to change.
“Inside the Church, it’s very traditional so it’s very difficult for the Church to accept the new things God is doing,” Thura says. Outside the Church, Myanmar’s population is primarily Buddhist. “In one way, they are welcoming and friendly people, but they’re also very resistant to the Gospel.”
Much of Myanmar’s struggle to find unity comes from a natural distrust. “We have a culture that says you don’t even trust your own knees!” Thura says. “Nowadays the whole world is talking about transparency and accountability, but this is a very new concept for our people, so we are trying to build trust between Church and nation.”
So why a change of heart from local believers? Thura says the anger and violence directed at Rohingya Muslims has jarred much of Myanmar’s Church into wanting to help push change in their country. “The Church is trying to be a peacemaker. That’s not easy, but we know that we are ambassadors of Jesus Christ and this is our duty.”
And they’re not the only ones looking to make a difference. “Nowadays we can see many peacemakers even among government officials,” Thura says. “Everyone wants a change and they want it soon.”
But Thura says for the nation to change, the Church needs to change. And for the Church to change, its leaders need to change. That’s where Asian Access comes in.
“People can see, especially church leaders who are really in the field can see the need to be equipped more and more to become Christ-like leaders based on a love-relationship with God,” Thura says. Although in the past, local believers were concerned with theological education, Thura says Asian Access would rather find passionate leaders hungry to learn more than well-schooled leaders who are unenthusiastic about their position.
Want to support Myanmar’s Church? “Please pray for an individual spiritual awakening for each member of each church of each denomination so there will be a nationwide transformation and revival.”