Myanmar, better known to many as Burma, closed its borders to much of the world after a military coup in 1962. There were numerous Baptists in Burma at that time, and they were reflective of American, and to a lesser degree, English Baptists – fundamentalist Baptists and liberal Baptists. That distinction continued until the government began to ease open its doors a decade or so ago. During the last decade, many of us have been able to visit the country and create new links with the Baptists in that country. The decades of isolation did not seem to hinder the Baptists. They developed their schools, planted churches, remained faithful to God’s Word, and did what indigenous believers are supposed to do.
After decades of oppression by the military, a new president, Thein Sein, a former military leader but also a proponent of more freedom in the country, was elected in 2010. The military junta was disbanded in 2011. Aung San Suu Kyi — a 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner who has been kept under house arrest for the past 15 years — was elected to parliament this past weekend. While her opposition party won less than 10% of the total seats in Parliament, her victory was a significant change in Myanmar.
We are thankful that the years of oppression and, at times, persecution, may be coming to an end. We pray for the thousands of faithful Baptists, and we pray that increased freedom will mean increased opportunities for the churches and schools in that land.
Maranatha is examining the possibility of a January or February 2013 tour to Burma, highlighting Judson’s ministry. If you are interested, please contact the Seminary office (firstname.lastname@example.org).