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Locked Doors, Open Hearts

“Jesus is with us,” said Myanmar Pastor Yoshua on a recent call from Thailand. “When trials come, we do not pray for them to stop. Instead, we ask God, ‘What do you want to teach us?’ This takes our prayers to a deeper level.”

In both Thailand and Myanmar, it is the marginalized who have been impacted most by the COVID-19 crisis. Myanmar migrant workers living in Thai factories are in lock-down, unable to leave the buildings where they work, eat and sleep. Other workers outside the factory have been locked out and are now jobless.

“When life is too easy, we forget God,” Yoshua pointed out. “But now we pray more, working to find creative ways to fellowship and disciple others. Myanmar migrant workers have always been transient, moving from factory to factory. This spreads the Gospel but makes it hard to be community. I tell believers, ‘Stay wherever you are! Reach your co-workers, your bosses!’”

During the crisis, doors are locked, but hearts are open.

The Myanmar believers keep in touch through their mobile phones. “I teach some short lesson by phone,” said Yoshua. “I tell them, ‘Pass this on right away! You have learned it, now teach this to someone else.’”

He also encourages them to pool their resources to care for whomever in the network is in greatest need. “There is a powerful presence of Christ when we do this,” he added. “It makes us feel like a big church even though we are very small. Though the doors of our building are closed, the church is alive.”

Across the border in Myanmar itself, the crisis is no less dire, but manifesting differently.

“There was already a lot of prejudice in Myanmar towards Christians,” said one long-term Multiply worker. “In a crisis, Christians are often blamed, because they refuse to appease the spirits with sacrifices.” 

Now, with the pandemic, there is even more hostility. Villages erect signs that say, “This is a Buddhist village. No Christians allowed!” Despite this, believers continue to deliver rice and truth to the villages, stopping at a safe and respectful distance. Hearts are opening to the Gospel as they serve out of the Father’s heart of love.

At the end of the call, Pastor Yoshua encouraged the Church in North America. “Don’t live in fear. God has already rescued us and saved us! We are all one family.
I am praying for you as you serve God in these days!”

GIVE

Migrant workers in Thailand continue to suffer from the economic impact of COVID-19 restrictions. You can join the efforts to help them by giving online here.

Multiply has been staying connected to the global Church during COVID-19. To watch recent video calls with key partners like Pastor Yoshua and to learn more about how they are living on mission in times of crisis here.

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