While global attention remains focused on uprisings in the Middle East, Christians around the world Sunday, March 11, prayed for the country of Burma, also known as Myanmar.
Burma's military regime has committed just about every human rights atrocity imaginable against ethnic minorities and Christians.
In July 2010, an army raid on the village of Tha Da Der left Maw Hla and 36 other families homeless.
"They started shelling and then came and slept in our village," he recalled. "Before they left the following morning, they burned it."
Maw and his wife survived because they fled the village moments before the Burmese soldiers arrived.
"My wife and I went to the church and we prayed. In my prayer I said, 'All things belong to you, oh, God,'" he recalled.
"I couldn't carry anything anymore. I just carried my bible and my pistol," he continued. "We left to another place to stay with our nephews."
No Where to Go
But many villagers have had nowhere to go.
Government attacks during the past 18 months have caused more than 100,000 ethnic Chin Christians to flee to neighboring India.
Overall, an estimated 200,000 ethnic Burmese are living in refugee camps. More than one million are internally displaced.
Missionary David Eubank met pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi in 1996. Her request? She asked him to pray for Burma.
In response, Eubank started an annual global day of prayer for the nation the following year, and founded a humanitarian relief group called the Free Burma Rangers.
"The main job of the Free Burma Rangers is to give help, hope, and love and for all," he explained. "Most of our people are believers and our job is to give immediate help. That's medical help, that's tarps for places like this when they've lost their home, clothes, mosquito nets, pots, pans, food."
"It's also to put a light on what is happening when the Burma army destroys a place," Eubank added.
The 'Air We Breathe'
Helping the displaced Karen tribe inside Burma comes with great risk. Some of Eubank's team members have been killed in fire fights with the Burmese army.
Eubank has also had several close calls and was once arrested in a neighboring country.
Through it all, Eubank said he remains dependent on God. He and his team members seek protection and guidance through prayer.
"Prayer is the air we breathe and the spirit we have as we talk to God. We do everything as much as we can with prayer," Eubank said. "And I love it because God's answers are always very specific and very doable."
"They may be very scary, they may be embarrassing, they may be dangerous, they may be humiliating, they may cost you everything," he continued. "But they are very doable and they are very specific."
Tyrants Do Fall
The Karen and other Burmese ethnics the Rangers help are struggling to survive.
Many Karen became Christians because of the work of American missionary Adoniram Judson nearly 200 years ago. Maw Hla is confident the Karen's relationship with God over the years will save them.
"God loves the Karen people and will not allow the Burma army to destroy us," he said.
They pray to see a day when they will be free from the military regime that oppresses them. Eubank is confident that day will come.
"Like a friend of mine wrote me," Eubank recalled. "'Dave, I just read the book of Daniel and man, that book. I don't understand a lot about that book, but one thing became very clear. Tyrants fall, every last one of them.'"
Call to Prayer
In the meantime, he asks Christians around the world to pray for burma.
"Ask God what you should do. When we come to God with open hearts and minds and willingness, He guides us," Eubanks explained. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."
--Originally published March 10, 2011.