Myanmar has a small Christian population – estimated at about 4% of the total population in a country where Buddhism is the state religion. Myanmar’s Christians are often poor, lack adequate healthcare and education, and face persecution.
There has been a long tradition of Australian women teaching the Bible to women in Myanmar, to build up and encourage the church there. The work was started by Norma Dumbrell in the 1990s. Today, Anglican Aid works with Beverley Ovens and Christine Brain, who continue that ministry.
Beverley and Christine travelled to Myanmar in January at the invitation of Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo, to teach the Bible to Christian women in Yangon and Mytikyina. More than 170 women attended the conference at St George’s Anglican Church in Yangon. Beverley reports that the women were young with an average age of 30! Another 185 women participated in the conference in Mytikyina. The conferences were a time of fellowship, encouragement and learning.
Beverley, who travels to Myanmar on a regular basis, reports that although conditions are improving with new roads and new homes being built, many Christians still live in poverty. Beverley says, ‘Although the women are poor their generosity is out of this world; what they have they share with everyone around them.’
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