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Sheep Without a Shepherd

When I first learned of the military coup here in Myanmar, I felt fine. The situation was so unfamiliar to me that I hardly knew what to worry about. I just hoped that things would somehow transition without a lot of bloodshed and that we would all soon move on with life. Throughout the day, however, grief started to settle on me like a blanket of fog. There were no words to describe what I felt. 

Later that day, I stepped out into our backyard to watch the setting sun. My neighbor waved, got up from her wooden swing and walked slowly over to our shared fence. Seeing her face, I knew that there would be no small talk that evening. The conversation turned quickly to the coup.

“This is our fate,” my neighbor said somberly. “You know, all the other countries are moving on. But this is the fate of our nation. There is no hope for us.” 

Her words landed heavy on my heart. Just weeks before, I had spoken with this same woman about her two children who were living overseas. She hoped to go visit them after the pandemic was over. She hoped her son would move back to Myanmar after finishing his degree. She talked about her retirement plans and reminisced about the excitement of the last election, describing how people had lined up, waiting for hours to cast their votes and, afterwards, to post a picture of their inked thumbs on social media. Now she had no such optimism. Standing there at the fence, she seemed defeated.

“Now, my children will never move back here,” she said heavily. “We have no hope. I ask the gods, ‘Why?’ We have some savings, but have you seen the countryside? People starve to death. I know exactly what it will be like; we had fifty-one years of this before. We are like stupid sheep. They do whatever they want with us.”

As I listened, I recalled the words of Jesus about an enemy of the sheep who came to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). But Jesus promised that he would not abandon us to our own fate with the wolves and thieves of this world. As I shared these verses with my neighbor, I prayed that she and others here would experience Jesus as the Good Shepherd. 

Please join us in praying for peace in Myanmar, so that the people of that country would be able to experience the life that Jesus intends for them. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). 

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