Hi, I’m Erin
I’m Erin Kerber, your LCA International Mission Myanmar Program Officer. I’m here to help you and encourage you to join God’s mission in Myanmar.
Among the ethnically diverse nation including the officially recognised 135 distinct ethnic groups, the beautiful people of Myanmar are living in a country which has gone through vast changes in the recent past. It is only under reforms introduced since 2011 by a new government, that strict state controls imposed after the 1962 military coup have eased. I’m meeting people who have hope for the future of their country, as they come to know God’s love for them and place their trust in his goodness and grace. It’s an exciting time to be involved in God’s mission in Myanmar. I’d love to visit your congregation, school or group to discuss ways you can partner with our Lutheran friends in Myanmar.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, was long considered a pariah state while under the rule of an oppressive military junta from 1962 to 2011. The generals who ran the country suppressed almost all dissent – symbolised by the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi – and stood accused of gross human rights abuses, prompting international condemnation and sanctions. A gradual liberalisation process has been under way since 2010. Burma’s first civilian government after more than five decades of military dictatorship was sworn into office on 30 March 2016. The dominance of the largest ethnic group, the Burman or Bamar people, over the country’s many minorities has been fuelling a series of long-running rebellions, although a gradual peace process yielded a draft ceasefire deal in 2015.
Christian missionaries first came to Myanmar in the 1500s and again in the 18th century, but they saw no results for their labours. After American missionary Adoniram Judson arrived in 1813, six years passed before even one Burmese turned to Christ. Other missionaries began serving in Myanmar and the Gospel gradually spread, before most workers were expelled in 1966.
Today, the LCA works in partnership with the Lutheran Church in Malaysia (LCM) and in partnership with the LWF Mekong Mission Forum (MMF) to help to build the theological capacity of the four Lutheran World Federation Churches represented in Myanmar (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Myanmar, Lutheran Church of Myanmar, Mara Evangelical Church in Myanmar and Myanmar Lutheran Church).
LCA International Mission support in Myanmar
- Short-term scholarships at ALC/LCA for 2014 have been given to Rev Victor VeU of the MEC and Mr Luke Andrew of the LBC. In 2012 short-term scholarships were given to Rev Martin LalThangliana (LCM) and Rev James San Aung (MLC).
- Rev Pa Hmo of MEC (lecturer at Lorrain Theological College) received part scholarship funding for his Masters of Theology studies (2 years) commencing in June/July 2014 at Trinity Theological College, Singapore.
- Continual provision of $7,000 to Lutheran Church in Malaysia for support for the theological training program in Lutheran Distinctives offered annually through Lutheran Church in Malaysia to the pastors of the 4 LWF member churches in Myanmar.
- Provide biannual funding for a LCA female teacher to conduct teaching for the Women’s Bible Conference in Myanmar. This is a partnership shared with the MMF.
Support for other off-budget programs via LCA website donation facility
Currently there are no programs for Myanmar listed on the LCA / LLL donation facility. The Australian government and banking system has placed strict restrictions on the transfer of any funds to Myanmar. Therefore currently no programs are funded directly to Myanmar, but only through the support for Lutheran Church in Malaysia.
You already support mission work in Myanmar through your prayers and weekly offerings. But if you would like to work more closely with the Lutheran Church in Myanmar, you could talk to the Ipswich Lutheran Church, Qld, about the blessings of their partnership with Evangelical Lutheran Church in Myanmar (Lutheran Bethlehem Church).
LCA volunteers in Myanmar in recent years have included:
- Margaret Hunt (LCA theologian) taught at the LWF Women’s Ministry Conference (for all four churches) in Myanmar in November 2014
- Kathy Bensted (LCA theologian) taught at the LWF Women’s Ministry Conference (for all four churches) in Myanmar in November 2016
- Pastor Cecil and Jayne Schmalkuche were guests of the MEC at the anniversary of the church’s formation in Maraland in Myanmar in November/December 2016
- Dr Pauline Simonsen (LCA theologian) taught at the LWF Women’s Ministry Conference (for all four churches) in Myanmar in November 2018