In the last few weeks we have had a number of additional Burmese arrivals in our church. This week a new Chin man arrived. Also we had Than Hla (a widow) and her two sons arrive via Austin, Tx. Tun Tun Win, a Burmese medical technician, was serving at Dr. Cynthia’s medical clinic in Thailand which Laura Bush visited earlier this fall (2008). He just arrived 3 weeks ago. About two thirds of our Burmese attendees are from the Karen [Caw Rin] region of Burma. This area encompasses several provinces of Myanmar (Burma) along the Thailand border.
The folks arriving in America, from Burma may have left their country five to fifteen years ago. Some fled to Malaysia and others to refugee camps located in Thailand. The refugee camps along the Thai/Burma border were subject to Burmese military attacks and human trafficking schemes. In the last several years the government of Thailand has sought to relocate the hundreds of thousands of refugees they have underwritten for a number of years. These folks are now being resettled in Japan, Australia, Europe and predominantly in America. We have made contact with groups of resettled Burmese across the United States.
Among the arriving Burmese we have met skilled furniture makers, former medical workers, truck drivers, teachers, city mayors, ministers and university graduates. Each one has a story to tell about their flight from a country they love and their dreams as they start a new life in America.
When a person is displaced from their culture of origin they are subject to disillusionment and discouragement. The Lao congregation of First Wesleyan Church in High Point, NC has sought to show the love of God by befriending Burmese arrivals, welcoming them into their worshipping congregation and providing a place for Christian community.