Over the next few weeks, we invite you to discover our missions through a series of three testimonies, one from one of our Japanese sisters, who testifies to her life at the age of 90, and the other two from two lay people who are close to our mission. A good read!
2 - The life of our Institute: in Myanmar (part 3)
John is a Burmese teacher who obtained a scholarship and is currently studying for a Master's degree in Educational Administration in Bangkok. He has left his family behind for a year in a country where the political situation is very complicated. He testifies:
« It has been a challenging year for me as a scholar in another country. I balance my feelings and thoughts between stress from my studies and worry for my country’s situation. I am especially worried for my family, who are in Sagaing Division – it is now a war zone. Every day I pray to God that they are safe and alive.
My prayers were answered, and my family are now sheltered in an IDP camp in Chanthargone Church. They are safer there than those who fled to the fields and forests. They fled because our homes were completely burnt by the inhumane soldiers. It happened on May 20th 2022, a date I want to erase from the calendar. I can still hear the echo of my father’s voice as he cried over the phone, “Son, we have lost everything, and we can’t do anything.” My Mom choked as she said “Son, our houses were burnt by the soldiers. We ran to another village, we could only bring some clothes and a few things.”
How could I respond and comfort them? I felt so much pain in my heart and knowing that they felt much more. Father said, “Don’t worry, Son, nothing worse can happen to us.” I begged, “Mom and Dad, please stay alive and wait for my return. I will rebuild our home and God will give us a better one.” Then the phone went silent, the lines to the area were cut by the military.
It is still a nightmare to recall what happened to my family and village. Even though I feel the traumatic loss of our houses, I realize that no one can destroy the home we build in our hearts for our loved ones.
I felt encouraged after visiting two migrant worker camps at the Thai-Myanmar border a few months ago. Two Bishops from Myanmar came to Thailand to visit them, and I had the chance to accompany the Bishops on their trip. I could see the happiness of the workers when they met the Bishops and had Holy Mass in the camp. They work long hours under very hard conditions. Visiting them and listening to the terrifying stories of their lives both in Myanmar – as to why they left the country, and now in their current working conditions, inspires and recharges my energy to focus on what I must now do. I felt I am not alone to fight this horrible situation.
I can now discern that going for studies is God’s plan and that I am chosen by Him. I feel God has given me a chance to be out of the difficulties in Myanmar so as to help in rebuilding the future. Therefore, I must be holistically strong and continually believe in God that everything happens for a reason. The suffering of our people, especially the children has not stopped yet.
In this tragedy, friends from far and near and family members are a gift from God to us. I received many messages, prayers and support which helped release my sadness. This gives me hope to focus to do better in this present time. If you have a chance to read my story, I want to say that I do appreciate your helping hand for us in need. We need your prayers and hope for a better tomorrow. »