HERALD INTERNATIONAL (Printing In Over Twenty Languages)
Ministering In Myanmar (Burma)
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..." (Matt. 28:19).
Adoniram and Ann Judson arrived in Burma in 1813 to share the Gospel. Here is a brief account of their story:
"When the Judsons arrived in Burma there was not a single native who was a Christian. None of these had ever found salvation through Christ. The new missionaries realized the immensity of the task before them and set themselves diligently to the labor of learning the new language.
"It was some months before the missionaries were able to gain the complete confidence of the Burmese. The natives observed and listened, but it was several years before any of these ever outwardly gave their hearts and lives to Christ. The indifference on the part of the Burmese was disheartening, and yet after a year and more had passed with no converts, they were far from discouraged. They realized that they were as yet laying the groundwork and God would provide the harvest in His due season.
"On June 17, 1819, seven years after Adoniram and Ann Judson had landed in this pioneer field, Christian Baptism was administered by Mr. Judson to the first Burman convert....
Imprisoned and Persecuted
"…In May 1824, an army of ten thousand British and East Indian troops landed in Rangoon. At the time war was declared, Mr. Judson and other missionaries were thrown into a Burman prison. These missionary prisoners were treated with indescribable cruelty. Judson was shut up in a room with one hundred men. There was no ventilation in this room except for the cracks in the walls. He was forced to endure the terrible jails of the Orient for twenty long months and was kept almost continually in irons. Although frail and weak in body, Ann Judson came to her husband daily with food and provided him with as many comforts as she could.
"The terrific heat, together with the vermin, brought a severe fever upon Mr. Judson. His wife persisted with the governor to move him and finally Judson was placed in an old lion’s cage. This place was a palace in comparison with his former prison. Here his wife was enabled to more carefully provide his needs and he could enjoy many privileges hitherto denied.
"At the close of the war, all prisoners were ordered released. …It was not long after this that God took Ann to be with Himself at the age of thirty-seven.
A Solid Foundation Established
"Following the death of his beloved Ann, Judson, although lonely and heartbroken, was more determined than ever to bring the saving Gospel of Christ to the natives of Burma. He applied himself even more diligently to the task of translating the Bible into the Burmese language. It was in October 1840, that Judson finished this great task. It was his greatest contribution to the people among whom he labored and served the greatest part of his life. By this time over one hundred natives had been baptized as Christians by Mr. Judson.
"Adoniram Judson died and was buried at sea in 1850, more than thirty-eight years after he had sailed for Burma. At the time of Mr. Judson’s death, sixty-three churches had been established among Burmans and Karens. Surely he had laid the foundation of the Gospel in Burma – one that could never be overthrown. A work had been accomplished which will redound to the glory of God throughout all eternity." (From The "Hour" Series)
Pressing Forward in Hard Conditions
We can offer thanks to the Lord not only for what He did in Burma then through the lives and service of these precious missionaries, but for what He has continued to do through the years. Though most missions workers were expelled from Burma in 1966, believers there continue the work of the Gospel.
However, conditions are very hard in Myanmar (Burma). Brother Van Cung Tum, editor of the Burmese Herald and Hakha Chin Herald, recently wrote: "We are working in a country with a dictatorship, ruled by military regime. The country has a very poor economy, and is very down in many ways."
The policies and practices of the government have caused the country to suffer in many ways, including economically. The nation is one of the least developed countries of the world and suffers "from decades of stagnation, mismanagement and isolation." In addition, the people are still recovering and trying to rebuild from the devastating cyclone that hit the country last year.
Our brothers and sisters in Christ face the added pressures of opposition and persecution. For example, Compass Direct has reported that in some places the army is trying to turn believers away from Christianity toward Buddhism (about ninety percent of the population is Buddhist). Some pastors and church members are subjected to forced labor, arbitrary fines, arrest, detention, torture and sometimes death. The government places restrictions on the church, and in some areas is forcing Christians to stop gathering for worship.
For Praise and Prayer
There are, thankfully, a number of missions organizations working to provide spiritual encouragement and physical relief. We are grateful that the Lord is allowing Herald of His Coming to help by offering spiritual encouragement to believers through the Burmese and Hakha Chin Heralds. As Brother Van Cung Tum goes on to report: "People are hungry and thirsty for the Word of God. Herald of His Coming in Burmese and Hakha Chin is very useful and helpful to provide the Word of God to those who are thirsty and hungry for the Word of God. The Herald ministry is still working and reviving readers, and I hope it will be working till the end of the coming of Christ."
The Herald staff rejoices over such ministry, and we thank all of you who help make it possible through your prayers and financial support. As we think of the foundation laid by the Judsons, and by many faithful missionaries and workers since then, what an honor it is to join together with you to continue to have a part in helping build up the church in Myanmar. Please pray for the doors to remain open for the Herald’s ministry there, as well as other Gospel work. Pray for protection, anointing and provision for Brother Van Cung Tum and his family. Ask the Lord to continue to encourage, strengthen and revive the readers of the Burmese and Hakha Chin Heralds. And pray for God’s provision and favor upon all ministries that are working in Myanmar.
Pray also that our brothers and sisters will remain strong in the Lord in the midst of the hard physical and spiritual conditions they face. Pray for opportunities for fellowship between believers, and for the Lord to fill them with hope and encouragement. Ask the Lord to break the strongholds of spiritual darkness, and to open the hearts and minds of many in the country to the truth and grace that are in Jesus Christ.