Burma (MNN) — When you’re a refugee in Burma trying to hide from a government that wants to kill you, health care is a luxury.
Since the British gave Burma its independence following World War II, almost every ethnic minority group has been engaged in an armed conflict with the military junta. On the surface, Burma has seemingly taken steps toward democracy. Over two years ago, military leaders formally handed power to the “civilianized” government led by President Thein Sein.
However, reality on-the-ground paints a different picture. Destruction of villages, killings, torture and armed fighting continues throughout Burma, including in Karen areas.
That’s why Partners Relief and Development is taking action in Karen state. They’re working alongside the Karen Health and Welfare Department to help build up health care in Eastern Burma.
In conflict zones, one in five children dies before the age of five, usually from treatable diseases. Partners is helping reverse the trend through seven mobile health clinics, and by training and equipping village health workers.
According to a recent post on Partners’ Facebook page, these clinics treated 10,206 people in the first six months of 2013. Pray this lifesaving work will continue.
As believers care for physical needs, the door opens for spiritual conversations. A worker in Thailand shared this example recently on Partners’ blog.
“I don’t believe in your faith,” a father told Partners’ medical workers as they assessed his sick child. “But my friend here does,” he said, indicating one of the local medics.
“I don’t mind if you pray for [my son].”
Beginning with prayer, the workers began assessing this man’s 11-year old son, who had a fever, severe jaundice and hallucinations. After making a diagnosis, they gave him the best medication available. After two days, the boy “was turning the corner towards recovery.”
But, victory didn’t come without another challenge. The boy spit out his medicine and glared angrily at everyone around him.
“This was a boy whose heart was closed off,” wrote Marci. “Through lots of prayer, cajoling, and sugary sweets, we got him to take his medicine.”
Eventually, the boy grew strong enough to walk. On the child’s last night at the clinic, workers gathered around his bed to pray.
“This time, we started by thanking God for healing the boy,” penned Marci. “But there was so much more than physical healing that he needs…we prayed that God would show in a tangible way how much He loves these two little boys and cares for them.”
For many, these mobile health clinics provide their first opportunity to hear the Gospel. Pray many will come to know Christ as they learn about His love.