Every other month our CLC Board of Missions updates us with recent news from various mission fields.
The CLC is in fellowship with two church bodies in Myanmar—the National Lutheran Church of Myanmar (NLCM) and the Church of the Lutheran Confession of Myanmar (CLCM). While the past year and a half has been challenging for just about everyone, it has been especially trying for our fellow believers in Myanmar.
From March through the end of 2020, the country was on strict lock-down. All worship services, church meetings, and classes had to be canceled with the exception of a brief reopening in July. This was especially unfortunate for the CLCM as Pastors Kham and Thang, the only two pastors with a formal theological training, had to postpone pastoral training classes they had begun with six men prior to the lock-down. Tragedy struck the NLCM in December when Pastor Charles Edwards, the only ordained pastor, unexpectedly passed away from a massive stroke.
The difficulties continued into 2021 as a military takeover in February has brought months of protests and violence between the military and citizens. Several hundred civilians have been killed or injured. Our fellow Christians are facing particular danger, since much of the violence has taken place near Yangon and Kalaymyo, where the NLCM and CLCM have their respective headquarters. Pastor Kham, his family and the orphans they care for have been taking shelter when gunfire erupts just blocks from where they live. They have found bullets lodged in the walls of their home. In order to prevent the military from seizing the funds of the citizens, all of the banks shut down their computers and ATMs. As a result, we have not been able to send our regular financial support, and it is hard to tell when we will be able to send funds again.
In spite of all of these challenges, the Lord’s work continues in Myanmar. In the NLCM Pastor Edwards’ brother Ivan and son Sam have been called as co-leaders of the church, and they are eager to resume worship services and outreach work once it is safe to do so. They are also eager to continue their online theological studies with Missionary Todd Ohlmann once regular internet access can be restored and the violence and COVID restrictions have been reduced. In the CLCM, amid the violence this year, Pastor Kham was able to travel to more rural areas during Easter weekend to proclaim the Good News of the Resurrection and to baptize several new believers. Praise the Lord for allowing His Word to be spread during these uncertain times and for leading hearts to repentance and saving faith in our Savior!
Please pray that the Lord will provide for and protect His people in Myanmar, and that they would know His peace which surpasses all understanding.
Robert Sauers is pastor of Luther Memorial Church in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and a member of the CLC Board of Missions.