Thank you for praying with us this week for David Van Lian from Myanmar.
The largest country in Mainland Southeast Asia, Myanmar shares borders with India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand. Around 68% of Myanmar’s 54 million people are ethnically Bamar, with 88% 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 4% of Myanmar’s population and mostly belong to the Rohingya, Malay, Panthay, and Kamein peoples. Following violent attacks in 2017, nearly one million Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar. In the aftermath of the 2021 military coup and junta crackdowns, nearly 24 thousand people have died and over one million remain internally displaced. Armed conflict persists throughout the country. Join us in prayer for the people of Myanmar, 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 how suffering forms community identity in Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. His scholarship is much needed in Myanmar, where religious and ethnic minorities face persecution amid military-sponsored Buddhism 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 a two-year-old daughter, Irene.
David shares the following message:
My name is David Van Lian. I am from Myanmar. I belong to the Chin tribe, which is one of the ethnic minority groups in Myanmar. I am a faculty in training at Myanmar Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (MEGST), which is an interdenominational, Evangelical graduate theological college in Myanmar.
I am currently doing PhD coursework in New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, USA. My area of study focuses on how suffering shapes attitudes toward national, ethnic, and Christian identity in Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. I will especially draw out applications for the context of Myanmar. I have finished my first year at Asbury by God’s grace.
The Situation in Myanmar
I want to share the current situation in Myanmar briefly. Since the military coup, Myanmar’s economy has been in a downward spiral, with major international investors leaving the country, banks hardly functioning, and inflation rising amid daily clashes between regime troops and anti-junta forces across the country.
Prices for basic foods, such as rice and potatoes, have increased significantly due to restrictions on the US dollar. As a result, people in Myanmar are finding it difficult to live. According to the latest report from the World Bank, Myanmar has reached a poverty rate not seen in over 15 years. In this situation, churches in Myanmar have faced a lot of violence and challenges.
(1) Please pray for peace, justice, and resolution to Myanmar’s current civil war. Pray for the suffering people and churches in Myanmar.
(2) MEGST has resumed in-person classes in this 2022-23 academic year after two years of shutdown due to COVID and the political situation. Please pray for MEGST to continue its mission amid national challenges.
(3) My mother passed away two months after I arrived at Asbury. This still affects me emotionally and, sometimes, I cannot concentrate on my studies. Please pray for peace and wisdom to overcome those emotional challenges.
(4) Please pray for my PhD journey at Asbury with my family.
Finally, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the leaders and donors from ScholarLeaders International for their financial support of my PhD studies at Asbury. In addition, I am very grateful for your prayer support.
David Van Lian