Thank you for interceding with us this week for David Van Lian from Myanmar.
Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar shares borders with India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand. Around 68% of Myanmar’s 58 million people are ethnically Bamar, with 90% practicing Theravada Buddhism. Christians represent 6% of Myanmar’s population and usually belong to an ethnic minority group, such as the Chin, Kachin, Karen, or Karenni peoples. Muslims make up around 2% of Myanmar’s population and mostly belong to the Rohingya, Malay, Panthay, and Kamein peoples. Following violent attacks in 2017, around one million Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar. In the aftermath of the 2021 military coup and junta crackdowns, nearly four thousand civilians have died and over 1.9 million remain internally displaced. Recent bombardment of a camp for internally displaced people, in Kachin State in northeastern Myanmar, killed 28 people, including 12 children, and destroyed several shelters, a kindergarten, and a church. Pray for our siblings and neighbors in Myanmar amid the ongoing civil war, that God would watch over them, supply their needs, and make known to them His mercy and might.
David is pursuing a PhD in New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary (Kentucky, USA). His research explores suffering and identity formation in 1 Peter. His scholarship is much needed in Myanmar, where religious and ethnic minorities face persecution amid military-sponsored Buddhist nationalism and Bamar supremacy. After graduation, David will return to teach at Myanmar Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (MEGST) in Yangon, where he has taught New Testament since 2016. He will become one of only two New Testament scholars with a PhD at MEGST. David has also taught at Yangon Christian College and Seminary and served as the lead translator for the Burmese Contemporary Bible Translation Project of Biblica (International Bible Society). David and his wife Cho Cho Aye have two young children, Irene and Jaden.
David shares the following message:
My name is David Van Lian. I am from Myanmar. I belong to the Chin, one of Myanmar’s ethnic minority tribes. I am in the faculty training program at Myanmar Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, an interdenominational, evangelical graduate theological college. I’m pursuing a PhD, specializing in New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, USA. My research focuses on how suffering shapes attitudes toward national, ethnic, and Christian identity in 1 Peter and how that applies to the context of Myanmar. This is my third year of coursework at Asbury Theological Seminary. I’m so thankful to God for the ways he has led me thus far.
I want to share a few updates on the current situation in Myanmar. Every day, I read the news, looking for signs that things might improve. Some days, there are a few encouraging developments. Yet, on many days, there are more reports of new suffering, loss, or death.
Several local resistance groups and People’s Defense Forces are continuing their revolution against the regime in Magway, Sagaing, and Mandalay regions. Intense fighting is still taking place daily after the military coup. As a result, the country is on the verge of economic collapse and widespread violence of various kinds.
Due to the intense fighting, tens of thousands of people have fled their homes in Myanmar, seeking refuge in India and Thailand. According to the UN, an estimated 1.9 million internally displaced people were reported across the country as of July 31. Due to the monsoon rains, food, water, and health assistance remain the most urgent needs, and more resources are needed because of the increasing number of new arrivals.
(1) Please pray for the suffering people in Myanmar and for peace, justice, and resolution to the current civil war. Pray for all the refugees from Myanmar in India and Thailand.
(2) In June, despite the ongoing national crisis and economic turmoil, physical classes resumed at the Myanmar Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (MEGST). Please pray for all the students, faculty, and staff at MEGST.
(3) Please pray for my PhD journey at Asbury with my family.
Finally, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Scholar Leaders for your generous financial support of my PhD studies at Asbury. May God abundantly bless you all.
David Van Lian