Jamez moved his hand under the clothes he had wadded up as a pillow to check for his knife. The jungle was never silent. There was always the constant noise of crickets, cicadas, frogs, and the occasional tramping of unknown animals. One of those animals was coming towards him. He dragged his knife out and held it close to his chest, expecting a boar he knew lived in the jungle around him. Months had passed since Jamez had found himself hiding in a jungle in Malaysia. When he had left his country, Myanmar, he’d never thought refugee life would be so hard. He wondered at that moment, ‘how did I get here?’
Jamez was raised by a Christian mother from the Chin tribe although his father was Buddhist. His family had wealth till the government was overthrown by the military and anyone who resisted them was put on a list for persecution. This was the beginning of 50 years of brutal rule by military dictators. His family lost everything, and many members fled to other countries for safety.
During this chaos of his life, James got mixed up with a bad crowd and turned to drugs, which were easy to obtain because they were grown openly in Myanmar. His mother realized that his life was headed for destruction and urged him to sneak across the border into Malaysia to try to make his way into Europe. From there, he could get a job, send money home, and help the rest of his family escape.
However, months had passed, and he was still in the jungle with no money, no food, and no place to live. All he had was the companionship of others who were in the same position. Even that was taken from him. One by one, his friends were able to get legal papers to enter Malaysia and find work. He was left alone. Finally, in desperation, he obtained forged papers and snuck into the capital city of Malaysia.
The only place he knew he could find refuge was in a church. One local church took him in, and he began to use his talents in media production to help them develop a media ministry. Editing their videos allowed him to feed his soul on God’s word, and he began to move toward a serious commitment. Jamez also started to serve in his church, helping people to recover from drug addictions. He used his testimony of recovery to help him to connect with the addicts he was ministering to.
Just when it seemed that things were going well, James suffered a terrible setback. Money was stolen from the church, and because he was a refugee he was the most natural suspect. The church members turned against him, driving him from the church.
He was, again, in the same state of despair in which he had lived in the jungle. Light broke through, however, and he was contacted by the United Nations regarding his application for refugee status. Completing these papers would ensure his entry into Europe or some other developed nation. This was the chance he’d been looking for, yet he was strangely uncomfortable with the decision. He realized that he needed to make God the center of his life and not just a helper when he was in trouble. He decided to make Jesus his Lord and commited to serious prayer about his future. He heard the words he never expected to hear from the Holy Spirit: “Return to your nation and your people. I will use you to bless your country and to raise up media ministry in the churches there.” Jamez abandoned his application process with the United Nations and returned home.
He started to serve in the media team at his church in Myanmar. Seeing his passion for media missions, a friend advised him to attend MediaLight. He had no money to come, but an Emerge donor sponsored him, and he was able to find systematic, intensive training in spirituality, leadership, and media for missions.
Though James had some basic technical skills, MediaLight taught him how to use media to reach his nation. “MediaLight helped me to improve my skills. After MediaLight, I now want to produce testimonies, Christian documentaries, and gospel films that can reach the youth in Myanmar with the gospel.”
You can be part of changing the life story of a promising young student like Jamez by donating to the Medialight Scholarship Fund. Click Here to make a donation and give an aspiring missionary the training they need to take the gospel further into their nation.
This story is originally published on emergemissions.org