Myanmar's Christians Tell Stories of Hope

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YANGON, Burma - In the midst of tragedy and what seems like countless deaths, there are many stories of survival and hope here in Myanmar.

Orphans here are cramped into a house church on their knees praying that God will provide them with the means to rebuld their house. They are thankful they escaped the bamboo shack just moments before it was blown to pieces by Cyclone Nargis.

Cin Khan Lun shares how the big church next to her house swayed back and forth in the wind when the cyclone struck at midnight. She believes God miraculously saved her and her family.

"I prayed to God to send His angels to protect us," she said. "He gave me the verse in Nahum 1:7. 'The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble for those who trust in Him.' I believe the angels stretched their big wings to keep the big church from falling in the direction of our house."

Pastor Steven Len Piang is deeply saddened by the death of one of his church workers and family who were serving in the Irrawaddy Delta area.

Zaw Moe Aung, 29, along with his wife and 10-year-old daughter were swept away into the sea at the height of the cyclone. But in the midst of this tragedy, Pastor Steven believes in God's divine purpose.

"Nargis is a Hindu term for snake. In the bible snake symbolizes Satan but Satan can't work without God's permission. I believe this is a wake up call to all Christians especially to the Karen tribe who is the biggest Christian tribe in Myanmar and the first recipients of the gospel," he said.

"Most of the people living in the Irrawaddy delta are Karen. Imagine 100,000 Karen die and their churches have spiritual revival. Because of their size it will be revival for the whole country," he said.

David Vunga, director of the Myanmar Center for Church Planting, says the desperate situation is not only stirring revival among Christian churches but also causing Buddhists to open their hearts to the gospel.

"We went to this village with 500 families all Buddhists," he began. "My dad had the privilege to preach about the living God and that He is sovereign. It was the first time that a Christian preach in their village. They begin to see a different light and they see that Christians are a loving people and care for their well-being."

With the Burmese government's recent decision to open its doors to foreign aid workers, Christians in Myanmar and worldwide believe the door is likely to be opened to them only a short while, not only to save lives, but souls as well.

*Original broadcast May 30, 2008.

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