On February 1, 2021 the Myanmar military staged a coup; detaining the newly elected parliament, declaring a state of emergency, and raising concerns among ethnic minorities of renewed persecution and violence.
This page is meant to keep you updated on what is taking place so you can know how to pray.
Click on the table of contents below to jump to a section.
A Relentless Thanksgiving
Over the past two months, November in particular, more than 8,000 people have fled their homes to escape bombings, mortars, drones, beatings, abductions and death by attacking Burma Army jets, artillery and ground troops.
Because there is no financial incentive to attempt to resolve the conflict, to my knowledge, the whole world seems to have lost interest in the brutal genocide of certain Burmese ethnic minorities.
It's almost been a year since the people we helped were brutally murdered by their own government.
These videos were taken in the last 30 days.
10,000's flee as their villages are burned.
As of May, 12, it is estimated that over 11,000 homes have been set ablaze by the Burmese Military. Some homes house children, parents, and grandparents. It is not uncommon to see multigenerational families sharing a home.
If 11,000 homes have been set on fire, on the conservative side, it would seem that over 50,000 people have been displaced. It could be double that.
Of course this number doesn't include people who didn't have their houses burned, but have preemptively fled for their safety into the jungles, caves, mountains, or even coming across the border into Thailand.
A Christmas Update 2021
We should be rejoicing that in 6 years, through Gospel Multiplication, we have grown from one church in one city to 34 churches in 11 provinces. We have discipled and trained over 100 leaders, and 2022 has nine men coming out of our churches who are being trained for over a year to be pastors so they can plant churches in their villages. This makes 13 men who our leaders are training.
I have so many stories of the work of the Holy Spirit moving powerfully in villages all over Thailand… but all I can think about is Christmas Day, 2021.
As some of you are aware, since the beginning of February 2021, Timshol Ministries has faithfully ministered to the refugees who have made their way across the borders from Myanmar into Thailand.
There was a coup in Myanmar in February 2021, which saw the military attempt to do an ethnic cleansing of Rohinga Muslims and Karen Tribe people, mostly Christians.
For the last ten months, the Myanmar military has bombed many tribal villages. They have also set villages on fire, and as the people were escaping for their lives, the military would beat, rape, and shoot those trying to flee.
Some escaped and crossed the border from Karen State into two of our border cities.
(Mae hong son & Mae Sot), We have multiple pastors who serve near the area.
At first, we fed and gave supplies to these refugees, but before long, we coordinated with other Karen churches in my city and Mae Hong Son to be more proactive in taking care of these people. They were being hunted by the Thai military and shipped back to Myanmar, where the military would shoot them or worse.
So I had the opportunity to speak to other Karen leaders in Thailand and encouraged them to consider bringing some of these refugee families closer into the city, closer to one of their churches - away from the border. We ended up building some bamboo shelters for 11 families on a piece of land next to one of our churches, and the people of God ministered to them daily, in their heart language, as best they could.
The Thai military captured some of these Burmese families and other refugees hiding on Christmas Eve. This included the men, women, and children we built shelters for and had been serving. They were captured and driven back to the border - where they were made to march back through the river into Myanmar. The Myanmar military was waiting for them.
The Myanmar military loaded these frightened men, women, and children into trucks and drove them into the middle of one of the Karen Villages in the Kayah State. Then the Myanmar Regime hanged some people, shot others, and then set the trucks on fire, burning everyone inside alive. Some 35-37 Karen Tribe people were killed... men, women, and children.
While I can't confirm that the people we've been caring for over the past few months were the ones killed, it doesn't matter because it's a tragedy either way.
These predominantly Christian farmers, villagers, grandmothers, men, women, children, and babies are massacred by their own government in broad daylight.
The next night, under cover of darkness, it was reported that some 10,000 – 20,000 tribal people crossed the border back into Thailand… back into the two cities where we had strategically planted churches. (Mae Sot and Mae Hong Son)
I had a meeting with the Karen leaders and a time of prayer with them after what took place on Christmas. They have a different caliber of faith than I do. After your people have been persecuted by their government for generations, they just seemed unfazed by what happened. They remained steadfast in trusting in the Lord.
On the other hand, I don't hide my anger well, or, for that matter, nor do I handle any other emotions that manifest from that initial point of anger.
We had a long time of prayer together, and one pastor said he was contacted by a pastor in Myanmar in the Kayin State who said his wooden church was burned to the ground, and he wanted to rebuild it because of what it represented to the community of believers.
So Long story short...
We purchased all the concrete we could in Thailand, took it to the border away from the chaos, and paid a few men in a few "canoes" to help us take it across. And tiny little men and women received it on the other side and, what I assume must be the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, they carried it away to lay a new foundation to start again.
And just like that... the Lord reminded me... the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who would believe. If we indeed received it, we will stand firm in it.
Our Initial Response
Let's pray together. I'm serious. Grab your family or friends or neighbors - either in person or through video calls... commit to a time and pray together. Not just one time, let us take this matter before the Lord in faith daily.
Here is a map of some of the ethnic states in Myanmar and some ways you can pray.
Make others aware of what is going on in Myanmar. Encourage them to pray.
As this humanitarian crisis continues, we have been purchasing the following items to be distributed to those who have made it into Mae Hong Song Province:
1) Water, rice, eggs, veggies
2) Metal Pots and Plates
3) Large Tarps for Shelter (In some cases, bamboo for building a large shelter)
4) Stuffed Animals
5) Karen Audio Bibles on Mp3 Players
6) Led Flashlights
Our pastors and people in their church will be working with others to engage with the displaced refugee families.
We have intentionally planted churches along the Thai / Myanmar border. The idea being, we'd have an opportunity to minister to both Thai and Burmese people, as well as displaced refugees who have taken solace inside the Thai border.
The following map shows the approximate location of our churches in relation to the Myanmar border. In the last year, we started training three new pastors in the area of Mae Hong Son, which, as you can see below, borders Myanmar.
Over the past few weeks I have been getting reports that the Myanmar army has been burning the villages of many ethnic groups in the country. One, in particular, is the "Karen Tribe" people. (pronounced Kuh-rin) They live along the Thai / Myanmar border. We serve and minister to many Karen Tribe people in Thailand, as they are usually Christians. We've even bought many Karen Tribe Bibles that we have distributed in both countries.
Many Karen people have had their villages burned; some have even had family members slaughtered by the army. Consequently, they have sought shelter in caves, and many have flooded into Thailand - specifically Mae Hong Son.
On February 1, 2021, the Myanmar military staged a coup; detaining the newly elected parliament, declaring a state of emergency, and raising concerns among ethnic minorities of renewed persecution and violence.
Myanmar, known as Burma until 1989, was a former British Colony that gained independence as a parliamentary democracy in 1948. Since then, the country seems to have been in a constant state of civil war as their army has fought with various ethnic minorities.
These internal wars have been so violent that the International Court of Justice has pursued its investigation of human rights abuses - including claims of genocide, forced labor, rape, torture, and the use of child soldiers. As of 2020, nearly 3 million Burmese people had been displaced.
A brief history - (a little biased, but a good source of historical information)
On the first day of the coup, the military shut down international airspace, turning away planes carrying Covid-19 vaccines. With the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, plus a poverty rate that jumped from 16% to 60% last year, compounded with more than 700,000 Rohingya people displaced since 2017 and other continued ethnic cleansing conflicts, the coup just adds an already troubling storyline for the people living in Myanmar.