“Share each other’s burdens and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
I have bittersweet news.
A tragic accident took the life of a faithful servant to persecuted Christians.
Marnie Scott, with her husband Joe, ran Christian Freedom International’s school for persecuted Christians. She was more than a teacher and administrator. She passionately cared for our students like her own children.
The gap she leaves – at Victory and in the lives of our staff and students – is huge.
We rejoice that Marnie is with Jesus! It is what she lived for. But the empty spaces she leaves behind seem especially tragic for our students. Many have already lost family members from Burma’s vicious attacks against Christian ethnic minorities.
Let me tell you why Marnie was special. Then I have a request:
Will you fill one gap and carry on her legacy?
A Mother to Persecuted Youth
A walk around Victory Bible Academy reveals Marnie’s creative touch. Christian Freedom International established Victory to train persecuted Christians to be ministry leaders with skills to earn a living. Our students survived Burma’s violent war against Christian ethnic minorities.
Marnie taught Bible and discipleship, world religions and evangelism, safe-food handling and culinary arts, and English. Each year as new students arrived, she identified what they lacked and developed hands-on, practical ways to learn.
“I can still see her animated gestures emphasizing the truth she was sharing,” said Brent Meyer, Chairman of the Board for Christian Freedom International.
She taught students to nurture a plot of hard dirt into flourishing “live and give” gardens to grow food for the school and for the needy. Pigs and ducks keep the garden fertilized and bug-free until they become dinner.
Students quickly learned that she loved them as fiercely as her own family. She would search for what they needed to survive and thrive, turning them from a persecuted minority to equipped missionaries. She taught them how to be Christian leaders with servants’ hearts.
When two students were lured away by human traffickers, Marnie and Joe tracked them down and arranged a daring rescue. After that, they personally looked for job openings and interviewed prospective employers before allowing students to apply.
Marnie grew up on a farm in Canada and brought her hard-working enthusiasm to all that she did. When Joe, her teenage sweetheart, nearly died from a motorbike accident she visited him every day for a year, bringing his homework and nursing his crushed body back to health.
“That tragedy was the catalyst for our lives,” Joe said. “We realized that life is short, and God has a purpose for us.
Joe and Marnie did everything together. In 2014, they moved to Thailand to run CFI’s school. They poured themselves into the persecuted, poor, and vulnerable, and watched them develop into new creations in Christ. Their daughters Kiera and Maĳa grew up on missionary adventures and helping at Victory.
“She never settled for good enough,” Joe said. “Kiera and Maĳa are reflections of this. Even when it meant that sometimes those lessons hurt. Sometimes they seem unbearable. Sometimes we are reminded that we can’t do this on our own.”
Victory’s class of 2022 graduated in March. Marnie prepared for a new school year with new challenges. Nearly all the students arriving this year grew up in remote villages and spent the last year escaping Burma’s brutal waves of airstrikes, bombings, and massacres.
In June, during a family vacation and just before their daughters returned to Canada to train for mission work, Marnie was hit by a pick-up truck while cycling.
On the scene of the accident, Joe approached the driver. He hugged the 23-year old man and said, “It was a mistake. Don’t let two lives be ruined.”
Joe is a chaplain. This year he was ordained a minister. He received his official papers of ordination the day after Marnie’s funeral. Reflecting on his future, Joe told me, “God has not broken any promises with me. I won’t break any with Him.”
“It’s at these times we grow strongest in our faith, and it is now that we lean fully on Jesus, because I can’t do this on my own,” Joe said.
Since the military coup in 2021, the situation in Burma has worsened. Christians have been detained, targeted, or caught in the crossfire. Dozens of churches have been burned, bombed, or ransacked. A pastor was murdered while trying to put out fires from airstrikes, and his finger was cut off to steal his wedding ring. On Christmas Eve, the army massacred 35 people in a Christian village.
Victory has kept on schedule. Classes began in July. We could not delay – because the students have nowhere else to go. Inside Victory Bible Academy, they can hear bombings across the river in Burma reminding them of families still there.
Our students arrived with huge needs. We supplied clothes and basic items. Most have never had indoor plumbing or electricity. Medical checkups by a team of volunteer nursing students from the U.S. detected a few serious issues.
As I write, we lack teachers to fill the gap of Marnie’s absence. Please pray for compassionate and qualified instructors.
But there is one thing that our students will miss out on and will be hard to replace. Marnie emboldened students by cheering them on. She counseled the girls and prodded the boys. She prayed during their risky mission trips into Burma.
Here is how you can help.
• Will you step into this gap by praying for our students and teachers?
• Will you write a note to encourage and inspire our students? They need spiritual and emotional support. At key times, when a student is struggling, they can be given a note to spur them on. It may be your note that encourages them to trust in God and overcome.
• Your donation in Marnie’s memory will provide the many ways CFI helps persecuted Christians. Food, teachers, tools, transportation, electricity, shelters, medical aid, and more.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
P.S. I asked Joe how people could honor his wife, Marnie. He said, “Continue the ministry she loved. She loved Christian Freedom International and Victory Bible Academy.”
Will you keep Marnie’s legacy alive and help our students and other persecuted Christians?
“Our goal every year is to get the persecuted to help the poor so that more people might get to know Jesus,” Joe said.
“Every year we add to our family. These students become like our own children to us. We do life with them. We share what wisdom we can with them. Then we send them out into the great big world.”
“This mama’s heart bursts with pride for them and also breaks a little knowing I will miss them. They are ready. They will, with God, change this world for the better and I am a better human for knowing them.”
For you are
all children of God
through faith in
There is no longer
Jew or Gentile,
slave or free,
male or female.
For you are
all one in