The humanitarian crisis in Rakhine state of Myanmar against the Rohingya people is of epic proportions not too far removed from the numbers and brutality of tribal conflict in central Africa (Rwanda, Burundi and Congo) of yesteryear and the terrible plight of Syrian and Iraqi refugees of recent and present times. People are being killed, displaced, tortured, raped, beaten and abused at every level. The numbers are expected to be near 1 million affected before this crisis is over. Authorities are struggling to bring order, and some are questioning the effort altogether.
The Free Methodist Church in Myanmar is poised and desiring to help. A leader has already initiated efforts to begin church planting in Rakhine state, so he and the church have some relationship and access. Yet their ability to raise finances for relief is very meager. We have dispatched $6,000 through the Bishops’ Crisis Response Fund (BCRF) for an initial wave of food and emergency support and will likely need to send much more. Of the money raised, a boat is being purchased to assist in evacuation efforts in areas where people are unable to escape to freedom. We ask the Free Methodist Church in the U.S. to give funds to the BCRF to help us bring much-needed relief. We also ask the church to pray for the crimes to cease and the innocent to be spared and the hurting to be relieved.
Give at fmcusa.org/bfund or send donations to Bishops’ Crisis Response Fund, 770 N. High School Road, Indianapolis, IN 46214. The Bishops’ Crisis Response Fund is the first line of rapid response to aid Free Methodists affected by natural disasters, famine and persecution. It is a means for the U.S. church to provide immediate, focused assistance through our church’s local, international and missions infrastructure.
Matthew Thomas is the lead bishop of the Free Methodist Church – USA. Eric Spangler is the Asia area director for Free Methodist World Missions.