Bombs Drop Every Day

Today my heart is overwhelmed as I write this letter. It is heavy with the reality of the situations we face in Myanmar. The reminder of our mere humanity weighs heavy on my chest. This is life and death, and sometimes it feels as though our hands are tied. Yet as I write, the Lord continues to remind me that even when we do not understand, we must praise him even when we can’t see past the obstacle at hand. We must worship Him and walk in obedience to our King who sits upon the throne. We do not fight a losing battle. On the contrary, He already won. So as I continue to report about some pretty heavy news from our brothers and sisters in Myanmar, I ask that you praise the Lord in the midst of the sorrow and taste the joy that comes in resting in the ever-present arms of our heavenly Father who cares more for us then we can comprehend. 

On the night of 11/26/21 around 1 AM, over 20 military trucks, two by two, rolled down Pastor Naing’s street. The soldiers stopped at every house along the way, banging and yelling, waking up the owners so that they could search their homes. Pastor Naing informed us that when they reached his home, the gate around it was locked so they could not get in. He also told us, “In the morning, my neighborhood told me that the soldiers knocked at the fence door first, but we didn’t hear, and later they kicked and struck the door as well because my family was deep in sleep we did not answer. The neighbors also said the military is very angry, and they will be back.”

Pastor Naing asks if we would please pray for them. They don’t know what all of this could mean for them.

As further sobering reports come in about the state of Yangon, our team in the states has been informed that the homes of many burn while men, women, and children are missing or dead. On the bloody streets of a city we once walked freely, bombs now drop and many run in fear. Yet, there is no end in sight for those who do not know the Lord. The ever-present terror of a life without purpose plagues many, and the cry of innocent blood screams from the very ground it is soaking into.

Our people on the ground in Myanmar report that bombs are dropping every day, and they continue to get closer and closer to our ministry center. We also received word that a pastor in Chin state has been arrested, and many questions are being left unanswered as many cry for justice and peace.

Yet, in the middle of what seems to be a never-ending blood bath, there is a small-gated ministry center that has opened its gates to its neighbors despite the danger all around them. Pastor Naing, his beautiful family, and the Bible school students who live within those walls, gathered much-needed supplies such as rice, eggs, oil, blankets and masks, etc. They have opened their home to those around them. As they gave to those who have gone without for so long, they began to share the Gospel, using their hardship as a way to point back to a comforting heavenly Father. Their life has become an example of freedom in the midst of a country in bondage. 

As I end this report, I ask you to pray for Myanmar and our brothers and sisters who stand on the frontlines. Our dear family in Myanmar stands in a bloody land, yet they fight back in love. They fight back with comfort and food. They fight with refuge for the unwanted and prayer for their land and their enemies. 

This battle is far from over, and I petition you to stand and fight with us.

Stand and cry out on their behalf. Be the answer to their prayers and fight with us to keep them from being forgotten. 

Pray for our team stateside as we do our best to keep you all in the loop and pray for strength as we receive horrible news and quite literally stare death in the face in pictures that can never be erased from our minds.

Pray for courage to continue fighting back with meekness and love. 

With love, you sister in Christ,
Rebekah Robinette

Agonizing Reports from Chin State

Agonizing reports have come accompanied with disturbing pictures of those who were tied and burned alive. What the pictures show is something that once seen can never be forgotten.

I have withheld the images due to the horror of them. Yet, I think it is essential for you all to understand their circumcises. 

As their brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our call to mourn with them and understand their ever-present pain and sorrow, for that is what they feel—sorrow for the loss of their loved ones and pain as they see no end in sight of this bloodshed. 

The images of the victims show men and boys reaching and grasping for relief from the flames, yet the smoke and rope that binds them holds them back, leaving them with nothing but death to save them from the agony of their situation. 

Bystanders to this horrible event state, “We heard their cry for help and groans in agony, yet we could do nothing because of the military.” 

In addition, we’ve received reports that over 22 churches in upper Chin State have been burned to the ground, as well as over 1,000 homes left in ashes as the military grasps for control. Men, women, and children continue to flee this death and destruction, searching for shelter and safety amid the broken and torn country they call home. 

Pray and cry out to God on behalf of these weary souls. Cry out for rest and restoration of family and hearts. Pray that in this time, hearts and minds would be open to the Gospel so that they may find comfort in the name of Jesus.

Although we didn’t know those who lost their lives in this report, our hearts go out to their loved ones, and we choose to tell their stories as well as petition you all to pray for Myanmar as a whole from the friend to the stranger.

Your sister in Christ, 
Rebekah Robinette

Joy is Born in Seeming Chaos

We are overjoyed to announce that early on the morning of February 16th, 2021, way before the sun came up, we received the news from Pastor Naing that our dear sister Mae Swei had gone into labor, and we would soon see a sweet new face. Our hearts have been heavy through this pregnancy with the uncertain times and the birth complications. We feared for their lives, but God in his great mercy saw fit to answer our prayers and keep our dear sister and their newborn safe throughout the labor.

Mae Swei asked Pastor Mark to name the new addition to this ministry family. What a privilege! With great consideration he came up with Daniel Carson. Daniel means “God is my strength,” and Carson is after the incredible missionaries to the Chin people. Pastor Mark said, “I believe his name should be Daniel because of the times you are living in with great political turmoil. Your people need a man of faith, prayer, and courage right now and Carson after Arthur and Laura Carson who brought the Gospel to the Chin people.”

Pastor Naing said in response, “Thank you all for loving him. You gave his name Daniel Carson. That is great and meaningful on the condition we are facing now in our country. My wife wants to say thank you so much for giving his special name with such meaning.”

Our prayer is that this little one would grow to be a mighty man of faith, planting the cross in Myanmar and continuing the legacies of his family and the missionaries that have gone before him. 

We ask that you continue in prayer for the people of Myanmar and our brothers and sisters there, and our dear little brother “Daniel Carson Thang” and his family as they continue to lay down their lives for the people of Myanmar in the furtherance of the Gospel. 

Thank you all for your love and support for our brothers and sisters in Myanmar!

With love,
The Mission to Myanmar Team

Reach Them Oh Lord When We Cannot

Remind us it is You who has been helping all along, letting us participate in Your work.

As we walk through this difficult time with our brothers and sisters in Myanmar, we hear many of them cry out to us through messaging apps, begging us to remember them and pray for them as they either flee their homes or take shelter from war zones.

The country they know and love and believed was turning into a safe place, is now falling apart before their eyes. They are asking if we can find their lost families because they believe the military has burned their home to the ground.

“Help me! My uncle and aunt have gone missing, and I think the military could have killed or taken them. I am not sleep today. I am think about them all day all night if they are alive or dead!” 

Knowing there is little we can probably do we go ahead and ask for the names of his family so we can at least try. He is too afraid to say their names in case his phone is being watched. His fears are not paranoia. We have heard of several cases of phone messages turning into immediate apprehensions by the police. 

We share with him what information we have and tell them what we can do for them, but we often have to just wait it out.

While our brothers and sisters have no choice but to fight for their families, country, and the kingdom of God without losing hope, all I can do is stand back and watch. 

One of my dear brothers in Myanmar contacted me begging for prayer as he sends video of the streets below his hiding place. My eyes sting with salty tears and my heart physically hurts feeling as though something is squeezing it. I tell him I pray for them always and reminded him of his brothers and sisters here and how they are crying out on his behalf as well, reassuring him we will not forget him or his people. They are always on our hearts and minds.

A local Buddhist businessman who has become a very close friend of our family in ministry over the years said the times have become very desperate for them and that money is almost impossible to locate even for people who had quite a bit of it in the bank. They are also reaching out to see if we can help them. We want to be there for our friends too.

Younger ministries with less extensive in-country networks have been reaching out to us asking us if we can get finances to their loved ones in far flung places we’ve never been to. We passed their information on to our network and ask them to help if they can without endangering their families. 

Truthfully, a part of me feels bad for sharing these heartbreaking stories, knowing they hurt you all as well, but I believe it is important for us to understand the true persecution and hardship they face. These aren’t nameless or faceless people these are people we know and love. We are one body knit together in love with each other. We are called to mourn when they mourn and rejoice when they rejoice. So we don’t lose faith knowing that according to the Scriptures “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). 

We must not forget their current situation. We have no idea how long this will last. But I petition you all to remember them (always) in your hearts and prayers. May their story not grow distant and forgotten as life continues for us here. We pray the Lord would use this time of uncertainty and hardship to grow our love for our brothers and sisters in Myanmar and further connect our hearts with them, growing our faith and theirs.

Your sister in Christ,

Helping the Helpers

We hear the stories of the persecuted and downtrodden, the orphaned child, the homeless, the hungry, and those hurting because they are going thirsty and require fresh water to quench it, yet they have no well.

You can’t deny that all of these things move our hearts in some way and make us want to open our hands to help.

Am I right?

And truly, it is a wonderful thing to help needs like this. But sometimes we forget those who have given their lives to touch these needs directly and bring the stories of those in need to us. These people go to the hurting and work for them behind-the-scenes, raising awareness to all of these needs and becoming the voices of the voiceless.

Without them, we would never know the names of the orphaned and thirsty, and they would just be faraway people in faraway places. Truly, blessing these angels of mercy is just as important as touching the actual need.

In our work in Myanmar and now in the Americas and Africa, our main focus has been to directly help those indigenous workers or missionaries who have taken it upon themselves the burden of caring for our brothers and sisters around the world.

These, often selfless workers, point us to needs while they themselves are suffering and lacking while never saying a word. We all need to understand how important it is to take care of those who go when no one else will go, those who pick up the cross and truly follow without ever looking back. Although they go with the power of the Holy Spirit, we must not forget that does not shield them from hardship and pain. Many lay their lives down as they strive to build the Kingdom without a word of complaint.

For several years now, we have understood this, and one of our main goals is to bless these workers regularly. Over the years, the Lord has seen fit to open opportunity after opportunity to reach out and take care of many people like this.

We have had the privilege of providing phones, computers, motorcycles, and trucks as well as personal items we observe a need for while we are visiting and encouraging them. We watch as they put so many hurting people before themselves and the needs of their families. From simple things like treating them to a nice meal at a restaurant they could normally never afford because they would never spend ministry money on themselves, to fixing the broken window in their home, or putting in a new floor in their house, the needs are endless and mostly unseen. But for our team, the Lord has put it on our hearts and minds to bring attention to these needs and be the voice of the those who go unseen around the world.

Would you join us in blessing and caring for these incredible workers in the Kingdom? We would love it if you would join us in prayer and partner with us by giving toward this end.

The Myanmar Team

A Petition for Prayer

Yet again, we come to you with heartbreaking news from the front lines of Myanmar, where we are receiving reports of explosions and devastating disasters all over our brother’s and sister’s country. They look out upon blood-soaked streets and desperate people who have lost all hope for peace. Many go hungry and even starve because of the spiking food prices. This makes it nearly impossible to buy a bag of rice to keep their families alive, pushing people over the edge. Many become violent as they steal from others who are barely afloat.

As Pastor Naing Thang and his family overlook the city, they beg that we would pray for them and their people as they watch their country crumble beneath them.

“We ask you to pray for us because horrible things are happening here every day here in Yangon; bombs are exploding every day and everywhere in our area.” 

If this was our country or even our family facing this difficulty, I could imagine the utter despair that we would face, the hopelessness, loneliness, and even confusion. Truthfully, it would be easy to become overcome with doubt or even become angry with our situation, yet our brother Pastor Naing—despite everything they’re going through—continuously turns to Scripture and prayer to comfort his family and those around them. What an incredible testimony this is.

So as the Myanmar team, we are petitioning you to pray, pray for Pastor Naing and his family and those around him that he is caring for. Pray for their crumbling country. Pray for the church in Myanmar that it would become stronger and grow through this ongoing trial. Pray for the Myanmar team as we do our best to care and feed our brother’s and sister’s and that the Lord would give us the words to encourage them throughout their dire situation. 

Your sister in Christ, 
Rebekah Robinette  

Here is a Scripture Pastor Naing has been using as encouragement:

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19-20) 

Come Covid or Coup, the Kingdom Continues

The years 2020 and 2021 have been tumultuous for the country of Myanmar. First, they experienced the COVID-19 pandemic like the rest of the world. Unlike other parts of the world and being a third-world country, Myanmar was hit extremely hard by the pandemic. Sickness and supply shortages wrecked a country already assailed by poverty, war, and disease. Then the country experienced a military coup on February 1, 2021. The national turmoil and total lockdown in the country has been devastating.

Thankfully, God has allowed us to continue to be in contact with our brothers and sisters in Myanmar. Their work goes on no matter the winds and waves that surround them. They continue to minister to the fatherless. They keep on teaching God’s Word to Bible school students and in their church as well as translating the Bible into their language for the first time. The suffering around them has created so many opportunities to minister the love of Christ.

Since the coup in Myanmar, our ministry is helping to support 350 Christians who are in hiding. We initially raised the money to pay for their basic food and cooking oil for four months. For a $35 gift, you can provide food for one of these Christians in hiding. Perhaps you might even donate $70 to pay for the food for a month for two Christians. Please keep our brothers and sisters in your prayers in this forgotten corner of God’s Kingdom. And consider giving a gift today. God has allowed new channels to open up for us to get support to them which has been essential for their continued ministry.

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It was so surreal, it was like we were dreaming

Hello brothers and sisters,

For me, it is Saturday night here in Yangon and we have had yet another epic day hearing from the Kaang Chin Bible Translation Committee members and some members of the Kaang community. 

Something happened to us so surreal, that we feel like we’re dreaming. I know people overuse and misuse the word “surreal,” but I could not think of a more appropriate word for how we all felt.

It seems we are just starting to comprehend what God is doing here in Myanmar through this work. 

We are not only giving an entire people group the Bible in their own language, for the first time, but we are giving them a rally point for their entire culture.

There are not only thousands of Kaang Chin people in villages throughout the mountains of southern Chin State, but there has been a Diaspora of the Kaang around the world as they have been forced to leave their beloved Chin hills because of persecution and poverty. 

Being with these lovely people it is easy to see their cultural identity is at the very core of their lives and continues to be wherever they live. According to their oral history songs, one of which they sang and interpreted for us today, they have survived as a people for more than two thousand years. In all of this time, they have never read a book or story in their own language. 

If all we did today was hear this one song, that would have been enough to mark this day as unique in our lives. But there was more.  

Many of the Kaang Chin speak several languages, but there are scores of them who speak Kaang Chin only and nothing more. 

Today, after meeting a brand-new translation committee member, something wonderful and unexpected happened.

Ngui Thang, who was born and lives in a small village near Mindat, Chin State, told us how he has longed since the late 1980s to read the Bible in his native language.

He said, that after he became a true believer and disciple of Christ, he hungered to know and understand God’s word. 

The words of the other languages he speaks, at least four, did not touch his heart and mind like the tongue he speaks every day among his own people.

“They did not inspire me or touch my heart like what it could be to hear God’s word in my native language,” he said through Pastor Naing Thang, who interpreted his words for us. Smiling with the joy of being part of this dream come true, I asked him how it felt to read the Scriptures that are now translated into his language.

I was shocked and delighted to hear that he had only just joined the work and had still not seen any of the Scriptures himself. 

He was elected by the Kaang people to replace a committee member who had died, but he himself had been sick during the first two meetings and unable to attend. 

His patience and humility were amazing to me but knowing this dream of his had still not been realized, I nearly jumped as I urged anyone in the room to hand him some of the translated work immediately.

It was all I could do not to rip the wrapping paper off this gift he was about to get myself. I’ve never been more excited to see anyone get anything like I was right then.  

I asked for someone to get the man a computer or phone or find some of New Testament that had been checked for printing. 

Moments later, Thang Hung, my friend from Kruk village, jumped up and grabbed some papers off a nearby desk and put it in his hand. 

I asked Ngui Thang to read what he saw out loud from the page in front of him. 

Providentially, it was James 1.

My own tears started flowing as I and saw his eyes sparkle with the joy of what he was seeing for the very first time. Although I cannot speak Kaang Chin, I could see that his unquenchable smile was distorting his words as he read them and wondered at the sound of them in his own ears. 

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

The scattered people James wrote to were like his people, the 20 years of trials they had endured trying to produce this first part of their own Bible had been perfecting them too.

Committee member after committee member had just told us how excited they were to start their work nearly twenty years ago in 2000, but their own deep poverty, lack of help, and the deaths of several committee members had made them hopeless that they would ever see the Bible become a reality.

“But when you came and said you would help, it is like it has all been reborn for us,” one man said. “By God’s grace we will complete it all, you have given us hope again where we had none.”

This only happened a few hours ago and still in my heart, as I lay on my bed typing these words, I am standing with my hands raised singing the doxology. 

Will you stand with me now and sing it for all the goodness of God to allow us to share in His glorious work.

“Praise God from whom all blessing flow, praise Him all creatures here below. Praise him above ye heavenly host, praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”

Watch Ngui Thang reading the Bible in Kaang Chin for the first time!

The Wind Is Blowing In Myanmar

Pastor Naing baptizing new converts at the church in Bogalay, Rakhine

Pastor Naing baptizing new converts at the church in Bogalay, Rakhine

We are having a wonderful time with Pastor Naing Thang as he visits us again here in the United States. One of the things we enjoy are his great stories of God’s faithfulness to him as he works, dispelling the darkness in Myanmar by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I wanted to take the time to pass on this new story he shared with us about his recent evangelistic endeavor.

Just a few days before he was scheduled to come to America to visit several churches here and to take part in a denomination’s annual presbytery event, God put it on Pastor Naing’s heart to go to Rakhine State for a special time of preaching and teaching. I honestly thought it was a little crazy to try to cram in, and I was a little worried if he’d be able to make it back from there in time to catch his flight.

By God’s grace we were able to help him put on a three-day event at the church we built in Bogalay Village in central Rakhine. You might remember me telling you we sponsored several meals for the people coming to hear the preaching.

Bogalay is about a 10 to 12-hour drive from Pastor Naing’s home in Yangon in a very rural area.

Rakhine is a very dangerous place, torn by war and poverty, and often deadly for Christian workers. In fact, more than one Christian pastor has been killed and others taken prisoner in Rakhine in the past two months.

In addition to all of this impending danger, a monster cyclone was forming, and that’s not my description of it, that’s the official category given to it by meteorologists.

The cyclone formed in the Indian Ocean less than two weeks ago and began heading toward Rakhine on the eastern banks of the Bay of Bengal where Pastor Naing was preparing to hold his meetings.

Cyclone Fani, as the meteorologists called it, was the largest storm in this region in 20 years and packed with it deadly power.

As pastor Naing and his crew were preparing the food to feed those who had come to the meetings at the newly renovated church, they heard someone on a megaphone call for the people to flee the area and take cover to avoid the deadly storm.

Pastor Naing, feeling very strongly that God had called him to teach and preach at this specific place and time, reassured the people that they should stay at the church and that God would protect them.

He told them God was more powerful than the storm and he could turn it or stop if He wished or could preserve them in the midst of the storm at the church. Some were frightened and ran, and others stayed.

To reassure them and himself, God reminded him of another time in his life where God answered his prayers.

Naing’s own faith began to build as did those hearing him as he told them the story of how God protected him in a storm many years ago in what seemed to him to be very miraculous.

“I told them how we were on our way to a village to preach, and when we were walking six or seven miles into our trip, we began to see black clouds forming and coming our way,” he said.

“We stopped to see if we had umbrellas in our packs but we did not.”

Pastor Naing and those traveling with him wondered what they should do seeing they were about to encounter this harsh weather without proper cover. They had several miles to go on their trip, but they decided it would be best to continue no matter what because they had given their word they would be there for the special services. So they prayed and asked God to help them. And He did.

Swirling black clouds and the fighting sounds of lightning came crashing toward them as they continued on toward the village by faith.

“What happened to us was amazing thing,” Pastor Naing said. “A wall of rain came to us and stopped in front of us and another wall came behind us. All the way we walked to the village, the rain was moving in front of us and following behind us. I never see it like that before!”

When he arrived at the place where he was expected, the people were shocked to see that they were dry.

“How can this be,” they asked, “was there no rain?”

When he explained what had happened to him, the people were very glad to hear his teaching, and there was a great time of fellowship and faith.

After hearing this story and even knowing Cyclone Fani was bearing down on them in Bogalay, some said, “If Pastor Naing stays we stay, if he runs we run. Whatever he does we will do, God will be with him.”

This new attitude of faith set the stage for a good teaching time in Bogalay.

Pastor Naing said he often tells people about the wonderful things that happened to men of God in the Bible, but he is also able to tell people about what God has done for him. His own own personal testimony of God’s great care for him seemed to have a great effect on opening the peoples’ hearts and minds to the message of the Scriptures.

This story encouraged many who stayed for the teaching and preaching in Bogalay, and they were even more encouraged when the cyclone changed its course and turned northward toward India.

Today we are all praising God for the 17 people, including three entire families that confessed Christ and were baptized in these meetings.

When we are in great anguish and feeling faithless, we should take time to remember what God has done.

When you pray, you’ll find that it builds your faith to include what God has done and what you expect He will do as you come to him with your petitions.

Amen? Amen!!!

May God be praised for what He has done, what He is doing now and for what He will do through us. Past, present, future. He is the God who was, who is, and who is to come.

We can sometimes find it easier to believe what God has done – either what we read about in the Bible or what He has done for others in the past – or find it easier sometimes to believe what God might do someday in the future – but we have a hard time believing in the moment.

Be encouraged today by what God has done. Have faith He will never leave us or forsake us. Know that He goes before us as we walk with Him and work for Him.