Newly Converted Christians Attacked in Village


Sunrise in Burma -- Flickr / Staffan Scherz
Photo: Flickr/Staffan Scherz (c)

On July 6th, about 150 angry Buddhists (including some monks) attacked seven newly converted Christians in Burma (Myanmar), destroying their homes and properties, as well as causing the victims bodily harm. A couple days after two families had committed their lives to Christ, members of the mob broke into their homes in Thi Taw village of northwest Burma's Sagaing Region. Altogether four women and three men were hit with stones and sticks, suffering injuries to their heads, faces and backs. During the attack, three motorbikes were also destroyed.

Prior to this outbreak of violence, it was reported that the Christian villagers sang and preached late into the night to celebrate and welcome the new Christians. A monk in Thi Taw had told the worshipping Christians to be quiet. Yet the villagers, who had been visiting from neighbouring Chin state, continued with their services for three days -- prompting the Buddhists to attack on the third day.

Unable to stop the attack on the victims' homes, the police elicited the help of other monks in the village. However, their combined attempts to intervene only fuelled the anger of the perpetrators. Police then shot into the sky to warn and frighten the assailants which again further infuriated them. Despite the warnings of police, the out-of-control mob proceeded to beat the Christians and destroy their household belongings.

As is common in Burma, the perpetrators also made unfounded accusations that the Christians gave money to the two Buddhist families so they would convert to Christianity. They also tried to pressure the newly converted Christians to return to Buddhism by making them choose between "re-conversion" and being banished from the village.

After the attack was put to an end, the compliant village monks further assisted police by sending the pastors and injured villagers to the local clinic for treatment. The Christian families have since relocated to a compound belonging to the local church until their homes can be rebuilt. More about persecution in this country is available here.

As they recover from their injuries and the destruction of their homes, pray that the faith of these assaulted new believers will be greatly strengthened. May they be encouraged with the assurance that the Lord is able to take whatever is meant for evil and orchestrate it for good (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28). Ask Him to touch the hearts of those who instigated and carried out the attack, bringing conviction for causing unnecessary destruction and bodily harm. May the ongoing work of His Holy Spirit lead them to repentance and salvation, ultimately bringing harmony among the people of this village -- with each one demonstrating His love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

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