Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thief comes to Christ in Burma, and villagers get angry

David was the neighborhood thief in one of the lake regions of Myanmar (Burma). Poor and without food, David stole from other residents to survive. And in a community that lives on the water, stealing is not an anonymous activity. Everyone knew David was a thief, and they ridiculed him for it. They thought he was possessed by demons, so they refused to associate with him. David could not get work, and he did not have a place to stay. He would sleep in boats and hope no one caught him. Then he met Peter, a Christian.

"Peter never scolded me," David said. "He never spoke any kind of bad words to me. He always showed love, and I felt happy when I was with him."

Eventually, Peter told David about Jesus Christ, and David accepted Christ about a year later. David cleaned up his act, stopped stealing and started working with Peter in his business as a boat mechanic. But soon the villagers found out and decided to put an end to Peter's evangelism.

One night in early 2009, Peter was awakened by yelling while he was sick in bed at a friend's house. He looked outside to see dozens of boats carrying 53 villagers with torches and machetes. "Leave this place," they shouted. "If you don't leave, we'll burn this house down."

Once Peter was kicked out, he lost not only his home but also his livelihood. He could not feed his family. He became a marked man, and no one in the lake region would rent him lodging, hire him or even allow him on their property. He was an isolated man living on an island.

The other 100 Christians in the lake area have experienced the same treatment. "Most of us are struggling to get our daily food," Peter said. "Yet I feel so happy, because I feel myself that I'm counted worthy to face that kind of persecution for Christ. Whenever we face opposition and whenever we face problems, it draws us closer to God and very soon we feel joy."

(from Voice of the Martyrs, March 2011)

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