Area: 676,577 sq km
Basin and delta of the Irrawaddy River ringed by a horseshoe of high mountains that isolates the country from India, China and Thailand.
Population: 50,495,672 Annual Growth: 0.87%
Official language: Burmese Languages: 116 All languages
Largest Religion: Buddhist
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The missionary vision of the Myanmar Church continues to grow and mature. A number of nationals serve the Lord cross-culturally. There are many Bible schools in Yangon, accounting for at least 1,000 students; most of these include mission as a key part of the curriculum. Pray for a willingness to serve in the rural villages and not just the cities, for genuine love across deep ethnic divides, and for good training so that the indigenous church is well equipped to evangelize the nation.
Christian support ministries are coming into their own. The maturing of indigenous missions and the countrys desperate plight create many new opportunities to demonstrate Christs compassion. Prayer needs include:
a) The aftermath of cyclone Nargis, while tragic, created an open door for the practical ministry of providing food, water, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities as well as meeting the deeper economic, spiritual and psychological needs of the survivors. The response by many Christians and the openness of many Buddhists led to the cyclone being referred to as the blessed storm. Since foreign agencies are banned or heavily restricted in operating locally, indigenous ministries and international partnerships are rising to the challenge.
b) AIDS victims. Myanmar has one of the most severe AIDS crises in the region, with about 1.5% of the population infected, sadly much of it in the Christian areas. Inadequate prevention measures by the government, combined with large-scale prostitution (often involuntarily trafficked rural girls), destroy the lives of many. ATEM, Tearfund and the Presbyterians are a few of the key groups working to prevent the further spread of HIV and to minister to those impacted by this disease.
c) Drug addicts. Intravenous drug use is widespread (given the proximity to the Golden Triangle Area) and, unsurprisingly, closely linked to HIV/AIDS. The Myanmar Young Crusaders is one of several groups with effective ministry seeing the lives of addicts transformed through Christs power.
d) Children at risk are a populous group (more than 750,000), given the civil conflicts and the destruction by Nargis. Increasing numbers of local churches and missions run orphanages or work with street children, usually on quite a small and local scale. Pray for financial provision for these grassroots ministries, for the freedom to operate and for the children to meet Jesus in these difficult circumstances.
For an additional 10 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Myanmar.