If you access news from Asia, you will know that for decades—and especially during the past four or five years—the military junta that rules Myanmar has increasingly committed atrocities against their own people.
Whatever chaos your country may have faced during the last few years of Covid lockdowns, it is probably little compared to the people of Myanmar, who in addition to Covid restrictions, have been forced to endure civil war, a genocidal campaign by the government, indiscriminate shooting of people in the streets, starvation, deprivation, economic collapse, and a military that has systematically raped and slaughtered many segments of the population, especially in the Christian tribal areas.
There is clear evidence that the evil genocide sweeping Myanmar has been conducted with the explicit help of the Chinese Communist Party, which seems to view Myanmar as a virtual vassal state of China. The bullets, bombs, tanks, and even air assaults have been done with machinery supplied by China. The stories and pictures we have seen from Myanmar are too gruesome to share here.
Amid this chaos, the stubborn pride that has kept generations of Buddhist Burmese from believing in Jesus Christ has been eroded, and in their state of humiliation and brokenness, tens of thousands of Burmese have repented and given their lives to God. Truly, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
From across the densely populated plains of Myanmar—inhabited by Buddhist peoples like the Burmese, Chaungtha, Mon and Rakhine—reports have emerged of families and sometimes whole communities being transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ. People who were dead in their sins have been given new hearts; the hopeless now have hope and purpose in their lives; families that have worshipped idols for centuries are now praising the Living God; and many broken people are being put back together as the Lord Jesus has pity on the suffering Burmese and declares: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:15).
Despite the wonderful breakthrough among groups in Myanmar that have long been considered resistant to the Gospel, the revival at this stage is numerically small compared to the tens of millions of lost Buddhist people there. But it is a blessed start. Please pray the Holy Spirit will continue to fan the flames, and that millions of people throughout Myanmar will find Christ and glorify His Name.
God is doing a new thing through this revival. In the two centuries since Adoniram Judson arrived in Myanmar, the Christian landscape in the country became very denominational, reflecting many of the divisions seen in the Western world. Countless Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Assemblies of God, and other churches filled the land. The faith of many Christians became nominal and dry, however, and the Body of Christ was in desperate need of a heavenly visitation.
The current revival has almost exclusively occurred through house church discipleship networks, where faith has been stripped of many man-made religious traditions and brought back to its basic, pure form. Gone is the division between paid clergy and “laymen.” Now, new believers from this revival are considered “kings and priests to serve our God” (Revelation 5:10), and all members of the Body of Christ are encouraged to use their God-given gifts to build up others and to reach the lost.
The current move of God is also unlikely to produce a single visible church building. Myanmar does not need one more cathedral or church building. Now, tens of thousands of newly redeemed brothers and sisters with a simple yet powerful faith gather in homes, basements, shops, halls, thatch huts, teahouses, or wherever else they may choose to meet.
Here at Asia Harvest, we have never had any interest in funding church buildings or visible places of worship. In fact, in the 35 years we have been serving in Asia, we have helped local believers plant thousands of fellowships of vibrant believers, but not once have we ever funded or constructed a church building.
There are practical reasons for our stance. In the countries we serve in, church-going Christians are easily identified and persecuted by militant Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, or Communists. Our goal when we help Asian believers establish a fellowship is that it is flexible from the start and able to go “underground” as soon as it needs to. It’s very difficult for the enemies of the Cross to destroy God’s children when they cannot locate them easily and there are no buildings adorned with crosses that point the way for the persecutors to go.
The nature of the current revival, which has been gathering steam for several years, is that many thousands of sinners have repented and surrendered to Jesus Christ. Each believer then disciples others, and in that way the Gospel has spread rapidly to their friends and relatives, who then share it with their contacts. Like every movement where many people come to faith there are challenges, but the Holy Spirit has brought peace and love to communities that for centuries had been trapped in spiritual darkness and depravity.
In this remarkable recent photo from Myanmar, new believers—mostly people from a Buddhist background—joyfully receive Burmese Bibles for the first time. Similar scenes are being repeated throughout the country as revival spreads.
A Rare Opportunity to Impact an Entire Country
Although no one except God currently knows the extent of the revival in Myanmar, what we can tell you is that when our co-workers there (who we have known for 30 years) began to field requests for Burmese Bibles, in a short space of time requests flooded in from more than 100 different Myanmar church and ministry leaders, begging for the Word of God so that new believers could be established in the faith and the gains from the revival would not fall by the wayside.
(Note: Although the Bible Society exists in Myanmar, Bibles tend to be very difficult to obtain from them and are priced so high that most normal believers cannot afford to buy a single copy.) All Bibles provided by Asia Harvest are distributed free of charge to believers, via existing ministries, which have to account for what they receive by sending us reports and photos of their distributions.
As a result of this first round of requests, we have printed 80,000 full Burmese Bibles, and as you read this newsletter they are being distributed to grateful believers throughout Myanmar. At $3 each, the amount of money needed to do such a project soon becomes large, but we are thankful for our supporters who have prayed and given to our Asia Bible Fund, which allows us to implement large printings like this.
After the initial 80,000 Bibles have been distributed and reports have been received, we envisage there will be a need for at least another 80,000 Burmese Bibles, plus thousands more in other minority languages. We will then evaluate the project, but in our experience in China and other parts of Asia, when much needed Bibles reach thirsty and desperate new Christians, the result is that the Scriptures act like fuel being added to a fire, causing the blaze to burn much brighter. This, in turn, results in a surge in the number of new believers, who also need Bibles, and so the need escalates.
As we were writing this newsletter, our long-term Myanmar Bible co-workers sent us this message: “Including the 80,000 now being distributed, we have received requests to print at least 150,000 more Burmese Bibles. Because of the civil war many people are turning to Christ. Buddhism doesn’t help the heart, but Jesus does.”
The main role of Asia Harvest in this move of God in Myanmar is to provide the Word of God to new believers. We expect to be busy doing this for at least the next few years. Please pray with us for the success of this project, so that God’s flock may be spiritually nourished and anchored in truth and grace.
We hope to give updates on the revival and testimonies from Burmese believers in future newsletters. It is a great privilege to be involved, and we see it as a wonderful, God-given opportunity to impact not only a people group, but an entire country for the kingdom of God.
ASIA Bible Fund
Current totals: 19,134,787 Bibles printed in 156 languages.
The Asia Bible Fund provides the Scriptures in numerous languages of China, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and anywhere in Asia where God’s people need His Word. These Bibles are distributed free of charge, equipping the Body of Christ and helping fuel the flames of revival.
Each Bible costs just $3.00 to print and deliver. We also print millions of Gospel booklets for evangelism through this project.
We invite you to join hands with us in praying for the revival in Myanmar. Please pray that all 150 people groups there will soon have vibrant Christian communities that are reaching the lost and glorifying the Living God.
If you would like to help provide Bibles to new Christians in Myanmar, please fill out the yellow response form in this newsletter and send it back along with your gift. One-time or monthly donations to the Asia Bible Fund or our other projects can be made via our secure website.
As always, our policy is that 100 percent of donations received for a project will only go directly to support that project. Nothing is taken out for administration or any other expense.