Pope Francis’ trip to Myanmar this week has highlighted its small but inspiring Christian community. Less than 10 percent of the population, Christians are most likely to be represented in the country’s minority ethnic groups, communities that have long clashed with the Buddhist-influenced federal government.
Despite this decades-long violence that’s persisted even as the country has transitioned to a constitutional democracy, the Christian community has remained passionate about their faith, says Steve Gumaer, the founder of Partners Relief & Development, a ministry that has long worked with Myanmar’s minority ethnic communities.
“These young guys were running around in a war zone where people were getting raped and killed and beaten to death, and they were out there starting churches among these displaced people,” said Gumaer, who first traveled to the country in the 1990s. “I was completely inspired and blown away.”
Gumaer joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss Burmese Christians’ support of the persecuted Rohingya, how Christianity first traveled to Myanmar, and why the pope’s visit has disappointed him.
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