By Luke Mammana —
Nyan* was a cop in Myanmar — until he started using drugs. Then he became an inmate in the local jail, serving a three-year sentence for possession.
A ministry leader visited the jail, sharing food, testimonies, and preaching the Good News about Jesus, according to a report by Christian Aid
During his 3-year term he heard the message of salvation, but remained closed to Jesus.
Then after he got released, he ran afoul of the law a second time and was sent back to prison on a new drug charge.
Nyan saw the same preacher visit the prison again. This time Nyan plied the man with questions. “Why would Jesus would willingly give himself over to death by torture? he asked.
The two talked for a time, then during fellowship afterward, Nyan felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, and he began to read the tracts and Bible the preacher left with him.
The power of the Word and the Spirit caused Nyan to surrender his life to Jesus Christ and he was born again, not too long after the preacher’s visit.
After the ministry team left the jail, the preacher had no way of knowing his impact on Nyan.
Two months later, he received a call from a native missionary in the area.
The man said, “One of the prisoners was born again and is released now – his name is Nyan. He got saved in March when you preached at their prisoners’ camp. He wants to study at Bible school. He wonders whether you can accept him or not…”
The preacher didn’t hesitate: “Yes!” he exclaimed.
Nyan was worried that he might not be accepted – partly due to his previous crimes, and also because he contracted AIDS.
But he found love and acceptance from the ministry team affiliated with Christian Aid that began to train him as a disciple. Today, he is studying in Bible school and preparing to become a native worker himself.
He needs prayer because he is suffering from AIDS and also has liver problems, according to Christian Aid.
Nyan has a wife and four children. His wife supports the family with whatever wages she can earn. The people of the region are poor farmers and have to contend with Shan and Palung rebel guerrillas who harass the population and try to force people into their military uprising. If villagers refuse, they are run out of town, and their crops are burned, Christian Aid reports.
“When our church people refused to follow them, they persecuted them and overtook all their fields and cast them out of the village, saying that if they stayed in the village they would be killed,” the leader said. “So our church helped them with shelters and some emergency food.”
Villagers survive on two simple meals a day and families usually have one or two members who are sick with malaria, dengue or dysentery. There are no hospitals nearby and transport is scarce and expensive.
“We try our best to help these poor and afflicted people spiritually and physically,” the leader said. “We try our best to equip our church planters with some medicines and motorcycles. Our missionaries help the patients with free medicines and share the gospel. When these sick people and family members can have medicines, they are so happy and listen to the gospel.”
Christian efforts to reach these remote villages have paid dividends — like Nyan. Native workers are given motorcycles to carry the message of Christ to more and more hamlets. They’ll drive kids to school or adults to work to show the love of Christ in a practical way. Some help with school tuition of the village children.
“These people are very poor, and they worship evil spirits, so their life is full of fear,” the leader said. “But when they know about the sovereign and living God, they are so interested. Early this year, one woman came to faith and decided to follow Jesus Christ with her children. We were so worried about her relationship with her husband, but the Lord worked in her husband’s heart, and he said, ‘OK, I will also learn about God.’”
“Though we will never stop from doing the Lord’s ministries, inflation hits our ministries, and it is a big challenge to face and overcome it,” the leader said. “But the more we are in difficulty, the more we put our faith in the Lord.”
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Luke Mammana studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.