Hope for democracy in Myanmar is even weaker now that the country's ousted leader is in prison. Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, faces possible life imprisonment over charges filed after the military coup in February. This development means less freedom and likely more persecution against the country's Christians.
A day ahead of the expected verdict on Suu Kyi, a military truck rammed into young protesters, killing five and injuring many others. Protesters wanted the release of Suu Kyi and other elected leaders who were arrested when the military seized power in the February coup.
The 76-year-old Suu Kyi was recently sentenced to two years imprisonment for alleged incitement and violating COVID-19 regulations, but she faces multiple other charges that may land her in jail for the rest of her life.
A senior pastor in Myanmar told CBN News the church is working behind the scenes. He requested we hide his identity for security reasons.
He said, "The church is silent, however, it doesn't mean that we submit to the sentence. We are grieving for that. The churches do not agree what the military is doing but we are vulnerable, we are powerless to make a statement officially at this point. But we keep fighting in prayer as Christians."
"We take care of the poor people around us which the military is not doing. We don't have to take the gun. The battle is the Lord's but from our side, we do not tolerate evil. We join the protest in a peaceful way," he said.
Scattered violence has escalated as civilians defend themselves from the military's brutality. In one town, 11 people including children were reportedly shot and burned in apparent retaliation for recent attacks of a guerilla army against the military.
In Chin State, where 90% of the residents are Christian, the military burned more than 420 houses and five Christian churches.
The pastor believes it was intentional. "There are Buddhist monasteries but it was not touched. But Christian churches, they were burned down," he added.
He also said that freedom of religion supposedly exists in Myanmar but with many restrictions. "A law still applies we cannot gather more than five people in one place, so churches, if we gather together, if they want to arrest us, they can use that law to arrest the Christian."
When asked how Christians around the world should pray for Myanmar, he answered, "Please pray for the Christian leaders. Because of COVID, many pastors died. Many churches are affected by that. We need courage as Christian leaders to lead our congregation, lead our people."
"Secondly please pray for the Christians to stand up for their faith. Even if this is the darkest hour in Myanmar, that we can shine like stars for God. For the opportunity to shine for Christ. We need reconciliation in this country."