Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - Why is Ko Aung from Myanmar on the run? - Open Doors UK & Ireland
29 August 2023

Why is Ko Aung from Myanmar on the run?

The military in Myanmar are increasingly using sophisticated technology to watch people – including Ko Aung*. Despite trying to help others, the young Christian is instead viewed with suspicion, making it unsafe to stay in the country. He dreams of returning home to help others, just as you’ve helped him.

Ko Aung

The authorities' surveillance of Ko Aung in Myanmar has forced him to flee the country

Ko Aung* realised he was in danger when his access to not one but two banking apps was suddenly blocked. He tried to open a new bank account, but couldn’t. His fears came true when he discovered that his identity card had been flagged by the authorities. This has serious consequences. “It means I am no longer a citizen of Myanmar,” he says. 

could give Bibles to five believers, so they can meet God in His Word.

The suspicions against Ko Aung emerged following the military coup in February 2021 and centre around his relationship with a group of tribal believers. Having earlier converted to Christianity from Buddhism, he had got to know them after returning home at the beginning of the pandemic and, working as an Open Doors local partner, he helped provide practical and spiritual support for them.

“Before the military coup, me helping Christians would not have been a big issue, but now things had changed,” says Ko Aung. “They [the military] believed I was against them, working with the youth rebel groups.”

Cautious communication 

As surveillance intensified, Ko Aung was fearful of arrest and even death. With the help of Open Doors local partners, he fled to another country, but with the military’s increasing use of sophisticated technology – much of which comes from China – he must tread with extreme caution. Even use of basic technology to communicate with family back home is risky.

“In Myanmar, people are afraid to comment on political issues over the phone,” Ko Aung says. “They are afraid that the military might be eavesdropping their phone calls. We also don’t normally use Facebook Messenger, because the military checks Facebook messaging apps and phone call lists whenever they check phones.”

Hope and forgiveness

Since escaping, Ko Aung’s heart has softened towards those persecuting him and other Christians.  “At first, it was very hard for me to forgive them, but now I can say that I have forgiven them,” he shares. “God taught me through His Word that all things happen for good. Since I have experienced persecution, I can now better understand the pain experienced by Christians suffering for their faith.”

"God taught me through His Word that all things happen for good" Ko Aung

He even sees the hope of the gospel in the military coup. “I think that after the coup, the younger generation is now more open to faiths other than Buddhism,” he says.

Gratitude for prayers

Sadly, Ko Aung’s mother died after he had escaped. “I was extremely grieved as I didn't have the chance of seeing her one last time,” he says. He longs to return home to be to see his family and continue his calling. “Once the coup ends and the situation is better, I want to go back home place and continue to support ethnic Christians in remote areas as an Open Doors partner.”

*Name changed for security reasons

Please pray
  • That Ko Aung will continue to feel upheld by the presence of God and the support of his global family
  • That Open Doors local partners will be equipped, empowered and encouraged as they serve our persecuted family in Myanmar – and that Ko Aung will be able to rejoin them soon
  • For the safety of Christians in Myanmar.
Please give
  • Every £32 could help encourage secret believers like Ming with discipleship, so they can be effective witnesses for Christ despite persecution and opposition
  • Every £54 could train three Christians so they understand the dangers of being digitally spied on – and remain connected, resilient and fruitful.

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