He is a 35-year-old man who lives in a poorer village in Myanmar that IDES serves in regularly. Myo is married and has three children. For the majority of his adult life, he has struggled with an addiction to alcohol and tobacco.
Myo's addictions were taking a serious toll on his marriage and his health, and he and his wife were contemplating separation. But, this was not the end of his story.
"My income could not support the family [due to spending on my habits]. Her desire was to be far from me more and more, then to end up in divorce, because I was not a good husband and father," Myo said.
But recently, an evangelist from the local church in their village began to meet with Myo's wife. After many conversations, and much encouragement from others in the congregation, Myo's wife received the Good News of Jesus and confessed Him as her Lord and Savior, committing her life to His service. Her newfound joy in Christ gave her hope for her husband.
"All of our relatives encouraged her to divorce me, but the church pastor and congregation encouraged her not to divorce me, but instead to work on reunion," Myo recollected. "So she came back to me."
Over the next several weeks, Myo's wife continued to visit him and witness to him about the love of Jesus Christ. Despite his defensiveness to her and his resistance to the Gospel, she kept coming to him and offering help and hope.
"She said that she would take me to a place to start over with a new life if I was willing to surrender my old habits," Myo said. "But, I have had bitter experiences of quitting from my habits [in the past]. I get to be crazy when quitting by myself. But she said to me, 'You will be alright, just trust in the Lord that I will introduce you to.'"
Myo was curious as to who this "Lord" was, so his wife introduced him to the local church pastor. Soon thereafter, the pastor agreed to regularly meet with Myo to study Scripture together and discuss God's plan of salvation through Jesus.
"As I continued to study from him, I got peace in my heart. I decided to follow Jesus as my Savior, so I received baptism on December 18th from the pastor. Thank you pastor!" Myo reported.
It became evident to Myo that he did indeed love his wife still, but he knew that he had to rid himself of his addictions first. He started by committing to quit drinking alcohol. The withdrawal period was incredibly difficult and painful for Myo, lasting for five straight days. His wife and the pastor stayed by his side, encouraging him to continue trusting in God for strength and for healing.
"After five days I was delivered from it. But the smoking and chewing tobacco were still there. How could I let go! I didn’t know how, and I immediately got sick during withdrawal from the tobacco."
Only this time, his sickness was worse. However, his wife, the pastor, and the church congregation joined together to provide him with proper treatment at a hospital.
"I came back to the house as a new creature for God. God is good," Myo said. "He delivered me from the bad habits, and from death to life as a new living creature. I am very thankful to my wife and to the church including the pastor, for working on me without discouraging me while I was stubborn. You all are heroes to me!"
It is thanks to your generous support of IDES that stories like Myo's are possible. If it weren't for the fact that our fellow mission worker was in the area, empowered by your financial partnership, Myo likely would have continued to struggle. Your willingness to make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering provides help and hope for people just like Myo all over the world. Thank you!