A pastor in Myanmar (formerly Burma) who was missing for two weeks has been reported dead. Five people kidnapped Pastor Tun Nu from his home at gunpoint on January 19. The kidnappers were part of a rebel army, and they abducted and killed several other people in addition to Pastor Tun.
“We are heartbroken to learn of Pastor Tun’s death, and we ask you to join us in praying for his wife, family and church at this time, that they may know God’s comfort, peace and strength,” said Dr. KP Yohannan, the founder and director of Gospel for Asia (GFA).
Gospel for Asia, founded in 1979, is dedicated to serving “the ‘least of these’ in Asia, often in places where no one else is serving, so they can experience the love of God for the first time.” Pastor Tun was a graduate of a seminary supported by GFA and was one of GFA’s field partners.
Faithful Service Amid Regional Unrest
Myanmar has been wracked by turmoil for years as it has struggled and failed to establish a stable democracy, but conflict in the region has recently escalated. The Rakhine state, where Pastor Tun served, has also become known for severe human rights violations against the Rohingya people group.
GFA says it did not receive any ransom requests after Pastor Tun’s kidnapping, although the leader of the rebel group supposedly wanted to question him. Neither local authorities nor the government were able to locate Pastor Tun in the weeks following his abduction. Notably, before Pastor Tun was reported dead, a local pastor anonymously stated that he believed there was not much hope Pastor Tun would be found. He said that no one outside the community had provided help for the search, and local people were too afraid to look.
Pastor Tun was 41 and had served in ministry for two decades. During that time, he founded multiple churches and led people to faith in Christ. GFA describes Pastor Tun as “an influential man in his community where he has been faithfully serving the Lord and ministering the love of God to families.”
In a video update about the kidnapping, Dr. Yohannan noted that this incident is the first time anything like it has occurred in the area. Besides the members of his congregation, Pastor Tun leaves behind a wife and three children. Churches supported by GFA have been caring for Pastor Tun’s family, both by taking up offerings for them and by visiting them.
It is unknown precisely what the kidnappers’ motives were, and it is unclear from reports how Pastor Tun and the other abductees were eventually discovered.
Dr. Yohannan observed that GFA tells all its workers to memorize Matthew 10, where Jesus sends out his disciples and warns them that they will face persecution: “All of the brothers and sisters on the field know that, as Jesus said, they go out as ‘sheep among wolves.’ Like Pastor Tun, they are willing to lay down their lives, if need be, to share God’s great love with those who have not yet heard the Good News.”