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Kerry Olson All rights reserved. Used with permission
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|Christian Adherents:||1.00 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|Affinity Bloc:||Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples|
The Burmese originated in the hills of Tibet, and they speak a Sino-Tibetan language called Bama (Burmese). Today, they are the political, economic and religious leaders of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. They inhabit the country's central delta plains, an extremely fertile area that was formed by the Irrawaddy and Salween Rivers. This is the most economically important region in the country.
Myanmar has had a long history of coups, wars, and rebellions. Ethnic divisions and political unrest have been common since the first Burman kingdom in the eleventh century. Today, the Burmese military maintains forcible control over the ethnic groups who want equal importance in the government and in commerce. In May of 1994, over 17 battles occurred in Shan State alone. The military promises cease-fire; but at the slightest note of rebellion, they attack violently. Consequently, the Burmese have lived in a constant state of instability, defense, bitterness, and fear.
Most Burmese live in their home country, Myanmar, though there is a sizable diaspora, especially in nearby countries like Thailand. Other diaspora/refugees live further away, even in South Korea.
South Korea is a popular place for refugees to find work. They arrive seeking hope for their future.
Korea switched from a military dictatorship to a democracy resulting in an economic upturn, requiring more workers, especially in industry. There are, however, growing pains as abuses of workers' rights from employers, and discrimination from South Koreans. Many today remain illegally, because of South Korean archaic employment laws.
Life is hard for South Korean Burmese refugees in many ways and improving in others as the government catches up to the refugee/need ratio.
The Burmese are predominantly Hinayana Buddhists. The traditional goal in Buddhism is to seek the middle path to nirvana, or ultimate peace. The Burmese have mixed these Buddhist beliefs with their own animistic beliefs (belief that non-living objects have spirits).
Their animistic beliefs center around inherently evil spirits called nats. The Burmese spend their lives trying to appease the nats so that they will be protected from any other evil spirits that may seek to harm them. All Burmese homes have altars for the spirits, as well as a statue of Buddha.
According to their Buddhist faith, the Burmese believe that death is not a threat to one who has done good deeds. Instead, death is simply a "passing" from one life to another. Buddhists believe that those with less merit are reborn as demons, ghosts, animals, or inhabitants of hell.
The Burmese left their homeland, Myanmar, in search of peace. Unfortunately, the peace they desired has not been found in Bangladesh. They are in need of loving Christians who will introduce them to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Very few of the Burmese community have come to Christ. Fervent prayer and effective evangelism are the keys to seeing them reached with the Gospel. Bible resources exist in the Burmese language, but few are gaining access to them.
Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Burmese people in South Korea.
Pray for the Burmese people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Burmese people to change their society from within.
Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers disciples to make more disciples.
Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Burmese communities in South Korea.