I love traveling. It’s not just the amazing food and beautiful places and fascinating cultures – I love the history I learn through traveling. History that comes alive in crawling inside the pyramids at Giza, or scampering over temples at Angkor, or standing in awe at the sight of a 1,000-year-old cathedral in Europe.
But there’s a dark side to that history as well. I will never forget my first day in Cambodia seeing Tuol Sleng prison and discovering the horrors of Pol Pot’s reign. It was a history I had been completely unaware of up to that point in my life. Or the history I learned in Bangladesh looking at pictures of emaciated refugees in the famine of 1974, and realizing just how bad it could get when there were few organizations ready to help.
Underneath the horror of these things is one big question – How did I not know? These were catastrophic events from just the last 50 years and I hadn’t known anything about them.
I don’t expect myself or anybody else to keep up with every world crisis. But I do think we as Christians, in the age of globalization, need to examine what our responsibilities are in paying attention to other parts of the world. Maybe we need to think about how we move from passively absorbing the news that’s presented to us to actively seeking out news that God really cares about.
That said, there are two things happening in my part of the world that I want my Christian brothers and sisters to know and care about. The first is the slow genocide of the Rohingya people in Myanmar. Over a million human beings, referred to as the most persecuted in the world, are denied the most basic civil rights. Over 100,000 have been kept in camps for the last three years, in conditions that are so deplorable that many willingly allow themselves to be trafficked and sold into slavery rather than fade away slowly from malnutrition or lack of basic health care. Please take the time to find out more and pray.
The second crisis that has failed to reach the U.S. news is massive flooding right now across Myanmar. After two months of heavier-than-usual monsoon rains, the situation was worsened by a tropical cyclone that dumped an extra 3 feet of rain just in the last week of July. Over a million people have been affected. The flood waters contaminated the drinking water, damaged houses, and caused numerous landslides. Washed-out bridges and flooded roads have caused the prices of food supplies to soar. And with a million acres of farmland damaged or destroyed, the disaster is only going to continue as farmers lose this year’s harvest. Sadly, the Rohingya people as well live in one of the areas worst affected.
I realize the challenge in a busy world of trying to focus and truly care about people and places a million miles away. But Jesus actually gave us a very simple solution for it. He said, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Our hearts follow our giving. When we give, we are actively working to focus our hearts on what matters most to God.
Reconciled World partners with over 150 churches in the areas most affected by the flooding in Myanmar. Already our local leaders have mobilized and used local donations to help. But the scale of the disaster calls for more. Please click here to give and show that your heart is with the people in Myanmar.
Chelsea serves as Reconciled World’s TCT Myanmar Program Director. You can read more about her journey here.