In mid-October, 40 Baptist delegates from across Australia met in Canberra for Converge 2023 – Take Action for Myanmar. Coordinated by Australian Baptist Ministries, the group came to Canberra to meet with Members of Parliament and Senators to advocate with and for the peoples of Myanmar.
Converge 2023 brought together key national leaders from across our Baptist movement, but for the first time it also included some of our Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) leaders. The focus this year was on advocating for the conflict situation in Myanmar, so Baptist Myanmar-Burmese leaders from across the country were invited to participate and played a key role in this advocacy.
Our Baptist family in Australia includes over 20,000 from Myanmar diaspora communities, the largest Baptist diaspora to our knowledge. As a leadership group, our Myanmar-Burmese leaders are inspiring in the way they confidently spoke to political leader to advocate for the situation of their families back home, when their whole lives they’ve been afraid and suspicious of any government power or people in uniform.
Biak Nei Zing from Coffs Harbour Baptist Church was a part of these gatherings and meetings. “Over the course of three days, I had the opportunity to engage with leaders and pastors from various regions of Australia,” reflects Biak, “together, we joined forces and met with Members of Parliament and Senators at the Parliament House to advocate for the people of Myanmar”.
The delegation had many fruitful discussions across the week, including with Brian Mitchell MP, Lisa Chesters MP, Milton Dickson MP, David Smith MP and Mary Doyle MP. For Biak Nei Zing, this experience shed light on the remarkable dedication of individuals who are willing to sacrifice their valuable time in the pursuit of justice and becoming a voice for the voiceless.
“While we received positive responses from the MPs and Senators, I would like to encourage everyone to pray for the impact of our present and future meetings on Australian Government policy and our humanitarian programs,” says Biak, “May peace prevail in Myanmar as we continue our efforts”.
To find out more about what your church can do to help families displaced from their homes in Myanmar, visit https://baptistworldaid.org.au/resources/myanmar-humanitarian-response-church-resources/