The slums of Hlaing Thar Yar Township in Yangon have long been a desperate place to live. Many families first came there when Cyclone Nargis destroyed their homes in 2008, leaving them little choice but to live as squatters in Hlaing Thar Yar ever since. Water sanitation is very poor and healthcare is only available during people's working hours. Disease is rampant and abortion rates are high. Some migrate to the area because small business owners are able to sell their goods there, but many others simply have nowhere else to go.
Previous government administrations have long struggled with how to handle the problem of Hlaing Thar Yar's shantytowns, making various attempts in the past to relocate families and demolish the slums for urban development. Now the military junta has addressed the issue with typical, brutal efficiency: After an attack by the People's Defence Force (PDF) involving some families from the slums, the junta announced in late October to the whole Hlaing Thar Yar slum community that they had about a week's notice to move out and demolish their own homes — or the military would come through and demolish it for them. Unlike previous governments, the military gave no guidance and made no provisions for where the families would go.
Now thousands of families are homeless once more, their homes dismantled and their prospects bleak. Yet not all of them are without hope: One believer, though not knowing where her family will end up, told a local minister, “Let it be God’s will. We believe God will provide for us.” A ministry partner that used to faithfully distribute food and soy milk in this slum has visited a group of about 300 now homeless families with food and whatever else they were able to provide. The need is overwhelming, but they put their hope in the Lord to provide in a miraculous way for these families who have nowhere to lay their heads.
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1. Pray that God would open the windows of heaven and miraculously provide for these families that have nowhere else to go.
2. Pray that the hearts of these families would be infectiously filled with the hope of Christ, who knew what it was like when He was on the earth to not have a home.