Just four days after the National Council of Churches (NCC) and American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) expressed concern for the safety of two Baptist Clergy in Myanmar, God has answered their prayers. A lawsuit against Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson, which could also endanger Pastor Lanjaw Gam Seng, was withdrawn. News of the lawsuit being dropped came one day after ABCUSA churches were urged to have a special time of prayer for the pastors in their September 8 worship services.
On Thursday, September 5, the NCC reported that Rev. Samson, President of the Kachin Baptist Convention, faced worrisome legal action. Samson, also former General Secretary for the Baptists, was being sued by a Myanmar military commander. The NCC statement decried “this move meant to intimidate and silence dissent by people of faith across Myanmar.”
In an appeal to church member communions, the NCC explained, “Both of these clergy, our brothers in Christ, attended the recent Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom hosted by the U.S. State Department.” Both the NCC and the American Baptist Church believe that the lawsuit, instigated by Lt. Col. Than Htike of the Northern Command, was a response to Rev. Samson and Pastor Gam Seng’s presence in Washington, DC.
Rev. Samson was part of a group of victims of persecution that were invited to The White House to meet President Donald Trump during the Ministerial. The Kachin leader discussed the state of religious freedom in Myanmar with President Trump. According to The Irrawaddy news service, court documents revealed that Lt. Col. Htike’s complaint cited a live broadcast of the conversation between Samson and Trump from the Facebook page of the ABC program “World News Now.”
In addition to collaborating with the NCC statement, the American Baptist Church USA put out an urgent request for prayer to its member churches for the upcoming Sunday, September 8. ABCUSA General Secretary Dr. Lee Spitzer reminded church members:
In the book of Acts, when Peter and John were detained and threatened by authorities in Jerusalem, the church received their news and “raised their voices together in prayer to God.” In part, here’s what they prayed: “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:24; 29-30). Now, it is our turn – indeed, our responsibility – to pray with faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit!
On Monday, September 9, the ABCUSA shared the great news that the lawsuit against Rev. Samson had been dropped that day, the day that Samson had been summoned to appear in court. Spitzer declared that it was “A special and significant answer to ABCUSA’s churches’ prayers and advocacy.”
Christians everywhere should join the ABCUSA and the NCC in rejoicing to this answer to prayer. God has not only come to the aid of His faithful, courageous servants in Myanmar, but He has demonstrated to all that He is a God who answers prayer. The NCC, ABCUSA, and churches of all denominations should continue to pray in the same manner for all brothers and sisters in Christ across the globe who are being oppressed, imprisoned, and persecuted for their faith in Jesus.
And just as an extra little wink from God, today, September 10, coincidentally, just happens to be the day designated for prayer for Myanmar by Operation World!