Burma Forces Pastor to Tear Down Orphanage

Aug 10, 2007 01:39 PM EDT

A Burmese pastor has described how the military regime in the country made him tear down his orphanage stone by stone, forcing the children in his care to live in a tent - in the ruins of their former home, Release International has reported.

Before pulling his orphanage down Pastor Stephen held a funeral service for it – in the hope that his work for the children might later be resurrected.

The pastor explained: “The time that we dismantled the building it was like the funeral service, because we have no shelter for our children. We invited some pastors and they prayed for us. And then we begin to dismantle the building. It took about seven days.”

The turmoil inside Burma, or Myanmar as the dictatorship has renamed the country, has left many orphans, RI has reported. Such children are often taken in by Christian pastors, but instead of offering support for these orphanages, the regime sometimes just closes them down. Some pastors have even been accused of people trafficking and sent to jail.

Pastor Stephen was ordered to tear his orphanage down. The demolition order left 40 children living in a tent amid the rubble of their former home. But Pastor Stephen is not discouraged, RI has said.

The pastor explains: “In our land, even if we have different kinds of hardships and sufferings, the Lord has been so good to us. He blesses with spiritual blessings, so the more we face problems and hardship, the more our spiritual life has been growing to maturity. Hardship and problems perfect us in the lives of our ministry.

“The Lord has been so gracious to my life and to the life of the orphanage. The Lord did not keep us starving. We have food to eat. And even if we have dismantled the building and just have a tent to dwell in and a place to rest upon, we thank the Lord for whatever he has been providing in the life of the children.”

Pastor Stephen is convinced the Lord knows best: “He knows when to provide and when to meet all our needs. I just trust the Lord that he will one day reveal everything for his own glory.”

Release International’s CEO Andy Dipper said: “Please pray for Christians under military rule in Burma. Pray that the authorities would grant freedom of worship, freedom to set up bible colleges and freedom to run orphanages. Pray also for protection for Pastor Stephen and other Christian leaders.”

A RI film crew met Pastor Stephen during a recent undercover assignment to Burma. A compilation of all those reports - Burma’s Underground Believers - is now available to order from Release International’s award-winning webcast World Update on the Persecuted Church.

Please visit RI for more information: www.releaseinternational.org