Light In A Land Of Oppression

In a land dotted with pagodas and rice paddies, serves a man we will call Benjamin. More than a year ago, Harvesters received a message from Benjamin, a young pastor in Myanmar, requesting assistance for his ministry, Fellowship Bible Church.

In a land dotted with pagodas and rice paddies, serves a man we will call Benjamin. More than a year ago, Harvesters received a message from Benjamin, a young pastor in Myanmar, requesting assistance for his ministry, Fellowship Bible Church.

Harvesters frequently receives requests like this, but something about this one was different. A small survey team visited Benjamin in February 2008 to evaluate the ministry and its needs.

The situation we saw was one of tremendous need. The need has been increased exponentially in May when Myanmar was devastated by cyclone Nargis.

Many of the churches and homes that we visited in February no longer existed. Some of the people that we met are among the storm’s victims.

burma2During the course of our visit, the passion and dedication of the pastor, his family and those with whom he has surrounded himself is evident. The purpose of all that they do is for people to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. As with most of the ministries with whom we find ourselves partnered, this goal is met through a variety of means.

Pastor Benjamin is originally from the southern Chin State of Myanmar (south west part of the country bordering Bangladesh). His ministry began in earnest in 2003 after he completed his Bachelors of Theology degree at a missionary training school in Yangon.

Benjamin met his wife in school and they both decided to start their church planting ministry in the area outside Yangon. The current military junta, which governs the country, prohibits public gatherings of more than five people, so services are held in the homes of the men that serve as pastors of the fellowships.

Funding for some of the ministry activities comes from the tithes of the congregation. Other funding comes from the sale of pigs kept in the backyard of the pastor’s house.

The mission of Fellowship Bible Church is the spread of the Gospel through church-planting, discipleship and education. This mission is met through a collection of ministry activities including: Evangelism and Church Planting, Youth Programs, Men’s Ministry, Woman’s Ministry, Education, Sunday School Programs and Health Care Program

The vision of the ministry includes the expansion of church planting efforts into southern Chin State, which is relatively unreached with the Gospel. Pastors are already being trained to return to this area with the Gospel. In March 2008, Pastor Benjamin returned to his village in Chin State for the first time since leaving for school in 1997.

The homecoming was accompanied by a successful evangelistic campaign that laid the groundwork for the establishment of the church in this area.

Three-fourths of the residents of Myanmar claim to be Buddhists, with just over 9% claiming to be Christian. Animism, or ethnic religions, currently outpaces both Hinduism and Islam. Harvesters newest partner has already been the grateful recipient of your generosity through gifts that came in after cyclone Nargis. These gifts have been instrumental for the continuation of the ministry since that tragic event and has positioned the ministry to be able to respond to the great hunger and thirst of the Burmese people for the love and grace of Jesus Christ.