Though it is unknown to many, Burma is officially recognized and named the Union of Myanmar, a name that was given the country by its currently ruling military government. We have chosen to replace this week's UPG with this country as there is much about this country that needs praying for.
For a little history, Burma has thrived through over 30 years of political upheaval, civil war, and totalitarian government. In 1989 the leader of the National League of Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, was placed under house arrest for six years. One year later, the military dictatorship finally gave in to public protests and held a democratic election. The NLD party won over 80% of the votes, though the government did little to acknowledge this and jailed many. While she was under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her stalwart refusal to leave the country, and her belief in non-violence to bring about change.
As a country, the Burmese Army continues to oppress its people, killing, raping, and forcing them into labour and military service. There also remains their ongoing battle to eradicate ethnic minorities within the country, as well as the pro-democracy groups. Remember that whenever there is an UPG that lives in Burma, they are most likely being hunted down and killed. Most of the world's heroin comes out of Burma, and 50% of the national budget is spent on arms. The Burmese people slide deeper into poverty, living in what was once one of the richest countries in Asia.
What we are praying for is not only for the country and its people, but also for the church in Burma. Some estimate the percentage of believers to be over 7%, though persecution is widespread. The government has done all it can to set up discriminations and division among its people. Through all of this, the church has continued to grow and spread.
Please join us in prayer for this country and its oppressed people. Pray that the killing would end, and that love and understanding would connect all the people, regardless of race or faith. Pray that we would be able to do what we can to help them, and ensure that God's message of love reaches the Burmese.