I want to highlight some of the political situation and current events in Myanmar.
Regarding the political situation, I will not provide details.
Since the military coup on 1 February 2021, there have been terrorist killings and armed revolutions in all regions in Myanmar.
I will present a few highlights only citing the United Nation’s report (27 February 2023):
- There are 1.6 million refugees who have fled their homes in Myanmar, and the people of Sagaing Division and Chin State are facing the worst.
- The conflicts are continuing throughout Myanmar, and the humanitarian needs of displaced people and refugees are increasing.
- IDPs are living in precarious conditions in displacement camps and temporary camps, and are mostly sheltered in the nearby jungles.
- According to Media Monitor Collective, since the military coup, 53 786 civilian houses have been burned and destroyed.
- In addition, there are 2 725 civilian deaths due to armed conflict, and Sagaing Division has the highest number of deaths with 2 047, according to Media Monitor Collective.
- 24 065 civilians have been arrested and detained as a result of the coup and armed conflict.
- According to information from the United Nations and civil society organizations, the people of Sagaing Division and Chin State are the most affected by the war and are in need of emergency assistance. (Most of our Mennonites are living in the conflict regions.)
We are also happy to record that MWC provided US$10 000 for food and medicines for 415 refugee families of Mennonite in last year. Thank you, MWC.
Inflation and food shortages
Due to the impact of civil war, conflict and domestic inflation, livelihoods have become rare. There is a shortage of jobs. Meanwhile, the price of goods is rising at an alarming rate.
Not only the war victims, but there is a lack of food in many places. More than 45 percent of the country is suffering from food shortages. In Myanmar, we people usually eat food three times a day, but now, many people only eat once a day. This number is increasing. Some don’t eat even once a day.
BMC Mennonite families are also greatly affected by the food shortage. Some members attend Sunday worship without eating at all. It is our great challenge to help the vulnerable Mennonite families in the congregations.
International organizations are unable to come and help.
Mennonite youth and armed revolution
After the military coup, young people took up arms against the military. The armed struggle is affecting our Mennonite youth: some Mennonite youth are also willing to join the armed struggle. Some young people are already participating in the armed revolution. They also have a bitterness and avid to take arms against the military.
Our biggest challenge is the Mennonite youth and the armed revolution. We are also guiding our young people not to get involved in armed revolution, violence and political conflict. We absolutely do not want our youth to participate in the armed revolution. We absolutely do not want our youth to be involved in the political conflict.
We are peace-loving Mennonites because we believe only in the nonviolence movement.
Therefore we are holding Mennonite Youth Peace Conferences in several regions. We fully believe that through the Mennonite Youth Peace Conferences, our youth will be trained as peacemakers.
We also request you to help us with prayer support for this project of the Mennonite Youth Peace Conferences.
I would also like to record my special thanks to our friends, Mennonite Church Canada for prayers and financially supporting for the Youth Peace Conferences and any other things we need in mission work.
Dear MWC and Mennonite Church Canada, you are the angels sent by God to Myanmar. You fed us when we were hungry. When we are down, you comfort us. You help us when we are refugees. You bring us a ray of hope when we are hopeless.
The world forgets our condition, but you remember us. You are true and very Mennonite.
Eventually Jesus Christ is still our hope. Shalom.
—Amos Chin is the president of Bible Missionary Church – Mennonite, and MWC member church in Myanmar. He also serves on the MWC Executive Committee.
Amos Chin’s presentation at Renewal 2023 – Jesus Christ, our hope – was delivered by John D. Roth in Abbotsford, B.C., Canada, 25 March 2023. This article has been adapted from her presentation.