Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Voice of the Martyrs, country to pray for this week: Burma (Myanmar)


Burma (officially known as Myanmar) was ruled by an oppressive military junta for 22 years. The economy is one of the least developed in the world, suffering from decades of mismanagement. Little wealth reaches the population. In 2010, Burma held a flawed parliamentary election that officially disbanded the junta but gave government positions to members of the former regime and heavily favored the military. Authorities have perpetrated numerous human rights violations, including forced labor, genocide, rape, torture and detention. Most of these abuses have continued under the new government, though some political prisoners have been released. About 2 million people have fled the country, and many within the country have been internally displaced. Ceasefire agreements signed in 2011 and 2012 offer hope for an end to longstanding conflicts between the government and rebels from the Karen and Chin ethnic groups.

Category: Restricted Nation
Religion: Buddhist 80.0%, Christian 9.0%
Ideology: Buddhism/Military dictatorship
Head of State: President Thein Sein

Though the Burmese government claims to support freedom of religion, in 2010 it banned independent house church activities and carried out a variety of abuses against ethnic minority Christians, including forced labor, relocations and destruction of religious sites. A 2009 law bans independent house churches. In the last two years, the military has closed churches, imprisoned pastors, forced Christian children to work and offered money and promotions to soldiers who convert Christians to Buddhism. Christian minority groups, particularly the Karen and Chin groups, are singled out for the harshest treatment. In the last 10 years, more than 3,000 Christian villages have been burned. VOM provides tools for evangelists, helps rebuild churches and resettles displaced Christians.

Daily Prayer Requests:
February 19:  Pray for Karen and Chin ethnic Christians, who are singled out for abuse.
February 20:  Pray for Christians among the Naga, Kachin, Shan and Karenni people.
February 21:  Pray for Voice of the Martyr's efforts to provide Bibles and assistance to pastors and believers.
February 22:  Pray for "Luke," "Peter" and "Paul," who share the gospel in this hostile environment.
February 23:  Pray for a strong church among the Rakhine tribe, Burma's most unreached people group.
February 24:  Pray for Stephen, a Christian teacher severely beaten for sharing Christ with his students.
February 25:  Pray for President Thein Sein.

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