A message from DoMM Rev Daniel Bullock:
After the military coup in Myanmar earlier this month and the ousting of democratically-elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the nation remains in a state of unrest while protest and civil disobedience campaigns have continued throughout the week across the country. As the conflict intensifies over the weeks, hundreds and thousands of people continue to march on the streets, protesting the military coup.
The Protest in Yangon
The BUV has 47 churches and faith communities originating from different areas of Myanmar, mostly from the Chin and Karen areas. Those who are here in Victoria are all concerned for the safety of their friends, families and loved ones especially with blocked and obstructed communication lines.
As a Baptist community, we are personally concerned for the 1.7 million Baptists throughout Myanmar, but this also extends to every single citizen of Myanmar who are longing for peace and justice in their nation. We stand in lament with them and their family and friends who are in Australia who cannot contact their loved ones. Rev Dr San Lian from Kingsville Zotung Baptist Church in Victoria, who is currently in Myanmar, wrote to us saying:
“There is no more security, peace and happiness but fear, uncertain rumours and mistrust… As the Burmese dictatorship never cares about life, I dare not imagine how many lives it will take to fully bring down the military coup to reinstate a democratically elected government… We, [the] Myanmar people, are in crucial need of eliminating injustice as soon as possible.”
The Kachin Baptist Convention safely protesting on the streets.
These harrowing events have brought much sorrow to the people of Myanmar, especially for those who had lived through similar experiences. Saw Ah Eh Soe from the Werribee Karen Baptist Church is one of those who had witnessed this first-hand:
“The escalating violence right now reminded me of my traumatic experience during my childhood. I grew up in a small village in the Karen State. When I was twelve years old, I witnessed how the Burma Military Government mistreated people in the village. The Karen National Liberation Army often came into the village and sometimes accidently met with Burma Military group and such horrible things happen[ed] to innocent civilians…”
With the worrying safety of friends, family, relatives and loved ones in Myanmar, it is also important to note that this is all happening in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Health care (nurses) workers standing in solidarity together
CALL TO PRAY
Pastors from our Victorian Myanmar communities encourage us all to come together in unity in prayer and solidarity, asking God to be at the centre of all the injustice that is happening to our brothers and sisters in Christ in Myanmar:
“I would like to request prayers from you and our Baptist community for peace and justice in Myanmar, to release the detained leaders, stability and security of the people of Myanmar and for the Kachin Baptist Convention as they are leading the resettlement of war-fled Kachin IDPs… It would be such a strength for them to see the compassion and prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ.” – Mung from Kachin Baptist Church
“Pray for CDM participants who left their jobs to protest the military coup. They risk their lives and the lives of their families.” – Pastor Si Khia from Lutuv Baptist Church
“I would like to request you to ardently pray for Myanmar and please seek any possible ways to save Myanmar from dictatorship.” – Pastor San Lian from Kingsville Zotung Baptist Church
“We hope and pray that the long suffering may come to an end by God’s mercy. I also hope that our Baptist communities will support us in advocating and praying, so that all people in Myanmar will enjoy freedom as we do.” – Saw Ah Soe from Werribee Karen Baptist Church
“In this year of fasting and prayer, we would like to turn the volume higher on our prayer that the Myanmar military government will change. We pray they will reform the army, establish the rule of law, decentralize TMD power, introduce new security measures and stop operations in the territory of Karen in accordance with the wishes of the Karen people. We pray that they will withdraw their troops from places where the people have asked them to.” – Rev Gail Moe Dwai from Werribee Karen Baptist Church
“Pray for those who are detain and arrested; civil disobedience movement; to change dictatorship to true democracy and those who are suffer physical, mental and spiritual in terms of this crisis.” –Rev Sai Lian Thang, Melbourne Chin Church
“Pray for protection and the safety of the people, especially the Karen IDPs in the jungle.” – Jordan Pe, Croydon Hills Baptist Church
JOIN US FOR PRAYER DAY THIS SUNDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2021
The Baptist Union of Victoria and all our community of churches are standing together to pray on behalf of the nation of Myanmar, its people, and our Baptist brothers and sisters who are striving to make an impact in their communities at this crucial time.
Here are some specific prayer points for you to pray for from our Baptist Myanmar community:
- For justice and peace to prevail in Myanmar, especially to those who are on the streets raising their voice against
- For the general populace as they struggle with the economic crisis and the uncertainty that is before them.
- For the COVID-19 situation and the frontline health workers.
- For the children and the young people who have their education disrupted.
- For the tensions rising amongst the ethnic groups; that there will be no more violence and bloodshed but unity and love.
- For people to not get discouraged but to remain in hope as they trust in God to do the impossible and restore the situation.
- For the peaceful end to the Military takeover and for a clear pathway for the military to step back and reinstate the democratically elected government without violence.
- For the release of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and the regional Chief Ministers who have been arrested.
- For safe return of war-fled IDPs.
- For the Christians to be agents of light, resilience and peaceful protest.
- For the power and presence of God to comfort all believers.
- For ease of access to humanitarian assistance.
- For those who are discouraged in detainment and incarceration.
- For a change to true democracy.
- For the Civil Disobedience Movement.
- For pastors and church leaders as they minister in this challenging context.
- For particular protection for the women and children against violence.
- For hope in the midst of despondency.
- For those who are suffering physically, mentally and spiritually during this time.
- For our Burmese community in Victoria and praying with them for the protection of their families and friends.
- For our global Baptist family to stand together to ensure the people of Myanmar are not forgotten.
CALL TO ACTION
Together with our Asian Pacific Baptist Counterparts, we call onto our local and international community to bring reconciliation among the parties concerned and to restore democracy and stability to Myanmar once again. We join together in raising our voice in appeal and in prayer; praying for peace and reconciliation in Myanmar, for democracy to be upheld and restored and for the safety and protection of all citizens of Myanmar of all ethnicities from violence and brutality.
BECOME AN ADVOCATE
- Access and customise a letter to send to the ambassadors at your local embassies. Read DoMM, Rev Daniel Bullock’s letter on behalf of the entire BUV to Prime Minister Scott Morrison here and download your BUV advocate letter template here.
- Sign the ‘Take immediate actions in response to Myanmar (Tatmadaw) Military coup’ petition here.
- Download the BUV Advocacy 101 resource.
- APBAid (Asia Pacific Baptist Federation Aid & Development wing) are providing some relief work through their Baptist partners in Myanmar. Make a donation here.
Chin Christian Council in Australia are raising funds and giving directly to the Myanmar Baptist Convention. You can make a donation via bank transfer:
BSB 033155 A/C 198227 Westpac