Long before the world woke up to their plight in late 2017, the Rohingya people have been suffering tremendously. Decades of successive governments in Myanmar have denied them citizenship and basic human dignity. The thousands who fled from violence to refugee camps outside of Myanmar live in squalid conditions, as well as the bleak uncertainty of ever returning home. In Rakhine State, the traditional home of Rohingya people in Myanmar, the poverty rate is nearly double the national average at 78%. Rohingya people who choose to remain in Rakhine have few resources and little help to survive daily life.
Though the Rohingya have gained visibility and sympathy from both the international community, as well as a growing number within Myanmar, very little has been done to mend their deep wounds and meet their many needs. The world was shocked by the Myanmar military’s genocidal campaign of violence, arson and rape against the Rohingya in 2017, but little concrete change in their favor resulted. The recent coup has awakened the consciences of many within Myanmar. Many now stand in solidarity with the Rohingya on social media, but little has or can be done to improve their political or economic situation.
The National Unity Government (NUG), Myanmar’s shadow civilian government, has made the bold declaration that all Rohingya will have full legal rights under their administration. Some, however, have criticized this promise as an attempt to win international support — a promise that the NUG does not yet have the governing capacity or even sufficient internal unity to make.
Meanwhile, away from the strong voices and bright lights of political and media platforms, followers of Jesus have been quietly, faithfully loving the hurting Rohingya people for years. One ministry has been steadily ministering to Rohingya communities for over three years, bringing them everything from nutritious soy milk to the opportunity to watch the Jesus Film in their own language, for the very first time. Recently, this ministry helped install four water pumps in several Rohingya communities, inscribing each with Jesus’ words of invitation to the hungry and thirsty from John 6:35. Though the Rohingya continue to ache for recognition, citizenship, and the full restoration of their lives, Jesus offers them the only hope that will truly cause them to hunger and thirst no more.
1. Pray that God would mercifully pour out His relief and restoration on the Rohingya people, lifting them out of their suffering into lives of dignity, peace, and hope.
2. Pray that many Rohingya would respond to the invitation of Jesus through the love of His people, and find all of their hunger, thirst, and longings satisfied in Him.