Monthly Archives: September 2018

Martyrs in Myanmar

After our family moved to Myanmar in 2003, we were struck by how every major governmental agency – health, education, finance – had languished under the ruling junta. The government had closed the universities because they feared the students would revolt. All the hospitals in Yangon, a city of six million, shared two ambulances. The exchange rate rose and fell wildly, sometimes day-to-day. After a few months, I remember Holli and I saying, “Think of the worst decision possible and that is the one the government will make.” Unfortunately for the Burmese people, we were right most of the time.

We weren’t the only ones who noticed the decay and corruption. International organizations condemned the human rights abuses and inept handling of routine government matters. The United States had levied an economic embargo on the leading generals and their cronies to force the country to change. Everyone knew Myanmar was in a bad place. The problem was no one knew how to press a change. The ruling elite continued to amass vast fortunes at the expense of everyone else.

Amid all of this, Holli set up home, organized chores, and found a good international school for the kids. We began language learning lessons, trying to master a tonal language that was opposite of English in every way possible. We found a house to rent and began buying everything we needed. Myanmar did not allow crates from the United States, so we bought all our household items after we arrived in the country. Our American appliances would not have worked anyway, Myanmar’s electrical grid ran on a different voltage system.

We started to offer small training events in discipleship, leadership, and church planting. I contacted the Myanmar Baptist Convention about hosting some of these events and they politely declined. The MBC continued to hold onto dreams insurgents or America would overthrow the military and the country would return to normal. They had lost buildings, churches, offices, and land to the junta, and dreamed of the day it would all be given back. That day, or course, never came.

The Burmese government continually tried to convince their people that their lives weren’t so bad. They argued the country was hurting because of outsiders. They tried to alter everyone’s views with propaganda. If that didn’t work, they used brutal force and imprisonment. Thousands of objectors found themselves in dark, damp Insein prison – known for its cruel torture and barbaric treatment of the inmates.

I met a man in a weathered red bandana who had been tortured for seven years because he was a Christian. U Soe Win* was docile as a child. The man who introduced this dear brother to me shared that U Soe Win had suffered until he lost his mind and then been released. My brother in Christ could only speak about 200 words, the rest of his vocabulary was gone. Rest peacefully tonight, U Soe Win. Someday Jesus will hold you in His arms and all will be whole again. Your tears were not for nothing.

In such chaos, Holli and I began to pray that God would change the hearts of the Burmese. That Buddhists in Myanmar would find the Rock that cannot be shaken. We remained firm in faith, though the spiritual warfare could take your breath away at times. Somehow, someway, we believed Jesus would show us the way to reach these people with whom we had fallen so deeply in love. Holli’s faith in God shown like a beautiful white rose amid the charred remains of a formerly great country. We had dedicated our lives to seeing Myanmar come to Christ and looked to the Lord with faith, hope, and love.

*name has been changed to protect his family



Victories and Challenges

-This is a message from Ruby, Gilbert’s wife, to everyone who partners with Love for Myanmar. Originally written in Burmese, it was translated by a Burmese person into English. I have kept the translation with a few parentheses of comment where I thought it would be helpful. Thank you for the difference your gifts are making in the lives of our dear brothers and sisters in Myanmar. Many of our house churches were destroyed by the flood. As God leads, please share sacrificially to help our brothers and sisters in Myanmar.


Mr. Vivian (our translator). Ruby, and Gilbert

Mr. Vivian (our translator). Ruby, and Gilbert


To our beloved leaders and members of LFM.

We pray that all of you are in the best of health in the name and the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ. The 16th was a very exciting day for the Myanmar LFM team. We went to a flooded area called “Pretty Woman Island.” The village of Saya Sai Lon. It was like a vast ocean with no land to be seen at the left or right or front or back. Just water. Some very deep, over 15 to 20 feet deep. Frankly, we were much afraid.


Going by boat with 3 people on each plus things (rice, cooking oil, vegetables, fresh water, small toys for the children) for the victims of the flood. While aiding the essential things right to their door steps of their homes, most of them were very surprised and much delighted and weren’t even able to say a single word. Our group wanted to cry over the hardship they were suffering. The leaders and members of LFM group members of LFM group must have been chosen by God to love Myanmar and obeying Him to follow His command to help Myanmar, may God abundantly bless you all for your kindness. (Gilbert, Ruby and Wai Yun also shared the gospel at each house they gave the gifts)

The trip was worthwhile for us. On the trip, Wai Yan and I fell into the water, but we were pulled up in time. (Most Myanmar people do not know how to swim, and Wai Yan and Ruby both would have drown, if they were not pulled out of the water) We were ok with a little bruise. We got to homes that were never given help by anyone since the flood hit them and God sent us to them and your help through LFM was very effective. Most of the family members were dumbstruck by our coming and the joy and happiness on their faces wanted us to praise our God, who is good, all the time. God’s glory did shine. We sowed your kindness on fertile land.


While success was on one side with God’s blessing the other side of devil’s battle we had to face. My daughter Melody’s hands got numbed and dizziness. We went to a clinic and had a CT scan. Later she was admitted to a hospital. Although no internal bleeding but being hurt badly, needs to be treated carefully. God is good and with all your special prayers I think everything will come out fine. (Some friends were playing catch with a water bottle and it hit Melody in the head, she passed out, and still has bouts of dizziness.)

Today, the doctor told us to take MRI, but my husband and I said we would like to see our daughter first and we would do it later if need be. I am writing from the hospital. While playing with friends, Melody got hurt and vomited 5 times, I hope you are not worried by my writing. God made it small (problem) from a very big one. While there are victory yet there are problems

So, asking for you to pray for my family and the missionaries of LFM far and near and especially more and more for Myanmar to know and accept Him.

From the family that loves you very much,