The multiple attacks taking place every week in northern Rakhine State has left its citizens traumatised and living in fear. Many of them are fleeing their houses, farms and cattle, and relocating to camps and cities for safety. Hundreds of thousands of villagers seek daily access to food and drink in the midst of all the chaos, and for several months they have been desperate for care and hope.
Myanmar Care Network, an NPI project team, researched and found over 60 churches and mission projects in the conflict area. In August 2019, we called these groups together for the first time to attend a mission workshop. Nearly 30 church leaders and missionaries joined and had a great time sharing experiences, challenges, and prayer requests with one another. From the workshop sessions, leaders identified several needs: unity with one another despite denominational differences, leadership and capacity development, training and resources for community care, connection with the churches in Yangon and Mandalay, and legal awareness for Christian leaders in conflict areas.
In early February 2020, we held a three-day prayer-event in Rakhine States’ capital city, Sittwe. Nearly 70 church leaders and missionaries from 10 different towns and villages gathered at this event. Key ministry heads from Yangon and Mandalay were invited for exposure and encouragement. We had a special time of prayer, laying hands on one another and praying for the healing and restoration of the region through the churches and Christians there. Study sessions, workshops and resource-sharing sessions were also provided.
Following the prayer event, church leaders decided to conduct monthly prayer meetings in their villages and towns. Key representatives from churches based throughout the state were then invited to raise their voices at the Monthly Prayer Breakfast programs in Yangon and Mandalay. It was also decided that the articles and prayer requests of each congregation be mentioned in their bi-monthly, nationwide and internationally distributed, prayer booklets. Furthermore, preparation of a series of devotional and study lessons would be undertaken by a team of church leaders in Yangon. Focusing on the people of Rakhine State, the lessons would be used in camps and villages as a tool for devotion, evangelism and discipleship.
We ask that you please continue upholding Myanmar in your prayers. We ask through the churches and Christians here, that reconciliation, restoration and peace becomes possible and present in all conflict areas.