Myanmar (MNN) — A new day appears to be dawning in Southeast Asia.
Myanmar’s Parliamentary election, held this weekend, could redirect the country from junta rule to democracy.
“This is actually the first free general election in 25 years,” explains Dyann Romeijn with Vision Beyond Borders. “Burma has been under military rule for five decades.”
Votes are still coming in, but initial results show a win for the National League for Democracy (NLD). According to Reuters, the party currently ruling Myanmar–also known as Burma–openly admitted defeat as election results were announced yesterday afternoon.
“We lost,” Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) acting chairman Htay Oo told Reuters.
Once all the votes are counted, if the NLD does end up winning Parliament, “The people believe that that will mean more freedom, less oppression,” says Romeijn.
“There has been a lot of genocide, a lot of ethnic cleansing.”
Tribal lands, rich in valuable minerals and other natural resources, are a prized possession sought by the military.
Christians are among those persecuted by the government, but they don’t react like you might expect.
“They’re very joyful; they’re very forgiving. They actually pray for the soldiers that persecute them,” Romeijn shares.
Open Doors USA ranks Myanmar at #25 on its World Watch List: a compilation of 50 nations where persecution of Christians is the worst.
Nonetheless, something within every soul in Myanmar longs to know Truth.
“There’s just a great hunger and a great turning to God right now in Burma,” shares Romeijn.
“Our contacts are sharing the Gospel as much as they’re able, distributing Bibles, using the Children’s Homes as outreach.”
An election like the one just observed in Myanmar signifies a general desire for democracy and freedom. Problems like persecution will exist for a while because the country won’t change overnight, Romeijn admits.
But, the general election is a step in the right direction. Your prayers can help the momentum continue.
“Just pray that it’s a peaceful transition to democracy and that God’s purposes would be done in these elections,” Romeijn requests.