One of the two assistant pastors arrested by army officials last Christmas Eve is suffering deteriorating health from malnutrition. Pastor Dom Dawng Nawng Latt, 65, has become weak, lacks energy and suffers from asthma and dysentery, according to fellow pastor La Jaw Gam Hseng, 35, who is on trial with him.
Khon Peng, the wife of Pastor Dom, reported that he is increasingly discouraged: "He has to share the room with 40 people in custody. So it is very tough for him.... He suffers both mentally and physically." Even though Pastor Dom was transferred from Mongko town in Muse Township to Lashio in April, Khon has been able to visit her husband a few times, bringing him needed food and medicine.
The two assistant pastors were arrested for helping local journalists cover news of attacks on a church building in northern Shan state (eastern Burma) in November 2016. On December 24th, they went to the Byuha Gon military base to negotiate the release of a civilian couple who had complained to army officials about the destruction of their house. The military officials decided to release the couple and, instead, detain the clergymen.
An army prosecutor has charged the two pastors with recruiting and spying for armed ethnic groups such as the Kachin Independence Army, the second largest ethnic armed group in Burma. The two pastors, along with other denominational leaders, deny the charge. Sources believe the army arrested the two pastors for enabling the three local journalists to take pictures of a church building that was bombed by Burmese army jets last November. To learn more about persecution in Burma, review the Burma Country Report.
Pray that the Lord will be with Pastor Dom as he battles illness in prison, providing him the comfort, healing, and strength required to carry on. As both pastors await deliverance, may they be given opportunities to minister to others - including the prison guards and workers. Also remember the pastors' families in prayer, that they will draw resolve from our Almighty God who promises to be a "refuge from the storm" (Isaiah 25:4).