HPAKANT, KACHIN PROVINCE – Gospel for Asia (GFA World and affiliates like Gospel for Asia Canada) founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan – Discussing the miracle that happened amidst the tragedy of the Myanmar mudslide.
As July 2020 comes to a close, most readers will not have heard or read about the massive mudslide that killed more than 170 in the Kachin Province of Myanmar on July 2.
Far from being miners in a sense most familiar to us in the Western Hemisphere, these men and boys were of the Yay Ma Hsay or “unwashed” echelon of Burmese society (the local name for the groups of informal fortune hunters). They came to the abandoned Hwekha jade mine in search of treasures missed by the mining company that formerly operated in the mountain gorge.
These so-called miners sloshed through mud and mining debris with the simplest of tools and even their bare hands. They were from the poorest of the poor, dreaming of finding some overlooked scraps of the jadeite so highly prized by the neighboring Chinese. Like many of the California and Yukon gold miners, few find enough jade to make their effort worthwhile, let alone to be their path out of poverty.
The early bird may get the proverbial worm, but such was not the case for the “unwashed” miners on the morning of July 2. Just as they staked their claim to what they envisioned to be the most suitable spot for them that day, the mountainside, muddied by monsoon downpours, gave way and, in a flash, buried the early bird in a sea of mud and muck.
Personal stories from the few survivors are heart-breaking. Sons lost fathers and fathers lost sons. Brothers were slung to safety by the tumbling torrent while their siblings were swept beneath it.
Among the miners that day were several Christians from a nearby village where a Gospel for Asia (GFA World, www.gfa.org) pastor serves. Those church members were later than usual arriving at the mine site because they were late for their breakfast.
In retrospect, it appears God’s providence was evidenced in making a decision that saved them from the disaster. No one from the church was injured that day.
As it usually does, disaster opened a door for ministry. The GFA pastor now has the opportunity to minister to the families of the dead miners. The mud claimed the lives of the miners, but the aftermath of their loss may only multiply the misery of their surviving families.
Sharing in their pain, the pastor and his church will minister to their misery by assisting in practical ways during their time of need and by encouraging them in and through the love of Christ.
- Global Witness, Myanmar Jade Mine Disaster Highlights Government Inaction
- Bangkok Post, Death toll rises to 162 in Myanmar jade mine collapse
- Reuters, ‘Sacrificed on the altar’: Myanmar jade mine disaster fed by COVID-era desperation
- S. News & World Report, Death Toll Rises Above 160 in Myanmar Jade Mine Collapse
- The Deccan Herald, Myanmar’s worst-ever mine disaster buries jade miners’ dreams
- Gospel for Asia, Digital Media Room