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Lang’s story

17-year-old Lang knitted his brow as he did the mental calculation: If the f of x equals x divided by 2 and x is 7, then.POW POW POW Lang instinctively dashed to a corner, keeping low. His entire 4’11 frame tight as a coil, he cautiously crept to a window and peered out into the field…not again.

The Burmese militia and rebel groups started exchanging fire some few hundred kilometers from Lang’s refuge, one of our shelter homes.

Lang was raised a soldier even before he could crawl. He was born in a war zone and knew no other space in which to exist. He was a classic “womb-to-tomb” soldier whose journey to the grave was a sprint; until we were able to reach him and gave him a tantalizing peek into a world of possibilities and a path towards it. 

In just a few months after arriving at our shelter hopes and dreams planted in Lang’s heart began to take root. Over time he learned to let down his guard, release his hyper-vigilance, and see the joy that was set before him. I could be a professional football player one day, he confided to us. 

But in that morning, when Lang took cover inside the boys’ room as the skirmish raged outside, the gunfire seemed louder, the fighting nearer. The familiar rush of concern overwhelming Lang had a new flavor. Are my family and friends safe? What if they make me go back and pick up a gun again? What about my football dream?

Our work brings hope to these darkened areas, starting as flickers and glimmers in the children, until they can become a steady flame. But in these areas, strong winds often blow, threatening to snuff out any progress we’ve made.

The Tatmadaw seized control of Myanmar’s government in 2021, and Aung San Suu Kyi was detained again. The country sank back into violence and parents’ nightmares of their children – kidnapped and bearing arms – came back to life. Forced conscription was reinforced by another civil war.

The fighting eventually ended, but the trauma tarried. Lang remained tense and anxious; instead of algebra formulas making sense in his head, memories of his classmates screaming in fear would invade his study period.

But in a short time, Lang successfully shut out those sounds and listened intently to the voice of Hope. Our partners conducted trauma release and stress debriefing shortly after the incident, helping Lang and the other sheltered children process and pray. Lang, fortified with ongoing support from our partners, was able to bring to mind how they have been miraculously protected. The fight was so close, yet not a single bullet strayed in their rooms. He knew God’s Hand was protecting them. 

We know that the safest place in the world is in the will of God. And since children are extra precious to Our Father, we partner with Him to provide the conditions for them to live out God’s plans for their lives, including safe homes. 

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