Myanmar Update 08.04.2021
8 April 2021
Dear Praying Friends of the Promise Schools (and Myanmar in general).
Many would have read our last mail-out of 18 March. We get regular requests for updates – so here is the latest . . .
THE GENERAL SITUATION
Sad to say, we cannot report any improvement in the situation. The Tatmadaw (the official government armed forces) continues to violently repress an equally determined and defiant population. Sadly, more than forty young children have been among the many hundreds of unarmed civilians killed by Tatmadaw soldiers. The ethnic rebel militias are uniting to form the ‘Federal Army’. Most people seem to see this development as the best (only?) hope of reversing the 1 February coup which overthrew the elected civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Full-on civil war seems just around the corner. The international community of nations is still seemingly unable or unwilling to intervene. Amidst the general breakdown of the country, the pandemic continues to rage, adding to the misery.
EASTER EGG PROTESTS
The Myanmar people have found more creative ways to make their peaceful protests – one of the latest being the Easter egg protests.
See this on YouTube at: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IIfi1edV6lQ
Such protests are hardly likely to scare the men with guns, but are intended to catch the attention of the world media where they can, and so draw attention to the plight of the ordinary people. The three-fingered salute, we understand, is a salutation originating in Eastern Orthodox religion and represents the Trinity. We are guessing that the predominantly Buddhist protesters aren’t aware of this connection – or of the significance of the Easter egg!!
Firstly we mention that we are deeply grateful for donations to the ‘Promise Relief’ Appeal. These funds are allowing us to provide help in various ways - even helping us to evacuate most of the expatriate staff families to neighbouring countries (temporarily, we hope). Five teachers have chosen to stay (a Fijian English teacher, three Koreans and our Ghanian sportsmaster). Several others are still undecided. Relief flights are scarce, prone to last-minute cancellation, and quite expensive. Quarantine and Covid test requirements vary from country to country, but are an added burden.
SCHOOL AND CLASSES
Wherever they find themselves, the teaching staff are still teaching online though this is getting more difficult. Restricting the media and communications has been a priority of the new regime, clearly to stop news of the Tatmadaw’s ‘activities’ getting out, and also to restrict efforts to co-ordinate the protests. Mobile data has been shut down (many of our families rely on this) along with fixed WiFi internet, and even cable broadband is expected to be closed down from 11 April. There will be few – if any – options for delivering curriculum after that. This is also the main conduit for banking and business transactions.
Some national staffers have been able to get out of Yangon to their families in the provinces. We hope to be able to continue some financial support to our national staff families, which are increasingly becoming more ‘extended’ families, using ‘Promise Relief’ funds. But there will be limits to this if the current stand-off - which has meant no work for many, so no income and therefore, no school fees - continues for very much longer. You can understand why we are so grateful to many who have contributed to help in this.
UPDATE ON MOSES
You might remember Moses, the young son of one of our national staff, whose serious health crisis prompted requests for prayer several months back. We have had requests for updates about Moses too. Here is what we currently know . . Moses is recovering very well. While there are some residual effects from the pressure on his brain at the peak of his illness, he has made great progress with his speech and motor skills, now being able to run about again. To all who know him, his recovery is seen as a miracle of God's grace.
Friends who have donated to the ‘Promise Relief’ Appeal should receive a tax receipt from the Transform the Nations Office shortly. Please let us know if yours does not come to hand. However, there are some donors whom we do not know and are not on our mailing list. They have obviously heard or read of the needs indirectly. We do want to thank these folks too. We continue to welcome donations to the tax deductible ‘Promise Relief’ Appeal. We still have ways of getting funds in to help, despite the banking system being in chaos.
Most important of all, we request prayer for:
· Peace, safety, justice and democratic freedoms to be restored to the nation quickly
· Students who are having their schooling so sorely disrupted – especially those in their final examination years
· The physical wellbeing of all – but also mental and emotional health in such stressful times
· The Acting Principal and Vice Principal of PAIS (evacuating this week to operate from northern Thailand) and all the staff seeking to keep school happening amidst these huge and unprecedented difficulties. (The newly appointed Principal of PSM is already working from Thailand).
· Friends caught up in the chaos to experience peace, encouragement and comfort in special measure from Him whom we know to be ‘the God of all grace’
Watching the nightly news is not a good experience, we find. No doubt we are all saddened to see so much trouble, hardship, selfishness, and injustice everywhere (not just Myanmar). We are reminded that the Lord said things would go increasingly ‘pear-shaped’ before his return. Maybe our Lord’s promised return is closer than we think.
In His Service,
D and S
Donations can be made to the 'Promise Relief' fund via:
Account Name: TtN Promise Myanmar Account
Thank you for your kind support.