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Sheep without a Shepherd

I felt surprisingly fine when I first learned of the military coup here. The situation was so unfamiliar to me that I hardly knew what to worry about. I just hoped that things would transition without a lot of bloodshed and that we would all move on with life. 

Throughout the day, however, grief started to settle. There were no words to describe what I felt. I stepped out into our backyard to watch the setting sun and saw my neighbor sitting on her wooden swing. I waved, and she slowly got to her feet and walked over to our shared fence. Seeing her face, I knew that there would be no small talk that evening. 

“This is our fate,” she said, speaking of the coup. “I know, this will always be our fate. All the other countries are moving on, but there is no hope for us.” Her pain hit my heart in an unexpected place as I heard the defeat in her voice. 

Just weeks before, we had spoken about her two children who were living overseas. She had hopes to visit them after the pandemic, and a plan for her son to move back to Myanmar after finishing his degree. She had retirement plans. She had hope for the future, and had been excited about the last election, describing how people had lined up for hours to cast their votes, and then posting pictures of their inked thumbs on social media. That optimism has been shattered.

“My children will never move back here, now,” she said. “I know exactly what it will be like; we had fifty-one years of this before. Sure, we have a little savings, but have you seen the countryside? People will starve to death! We are like stupid sheep. They do whatever they want with us. I ask the gods, ‘Why?’”

I shared with her the words from John 10, that Jesus does not abandon us to the wolves and thieves of this world. He is the Good Shepherd, and he cares about his sheep. I don’t know if she believed me.

Jesus, would you adopt the people of Myanmar as your flock? Cancel the schemes of the enemy to destroy and oppress them. Bring them comfort, bring them hope.

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