In 2007 the children’s ministry of First Wesleyan Church raised money to purchase Bibles for the Burmese who attend our church. It was our desire that at least each family could have a Bible, in their native language. In researching our Burmese arrivals we found we had about 7% Chin, 7% Poe Karen, 2% Other and 84% S’gaw Karen. So we began trying to purchase the Bibles.
In the meantime, Ron Fairbanks, who attends our church and represents the Gideons, was able to bring 50 English Bibles for the families of our church. The Gideons have an international ministry of Bible distribution. Also Jacob Rodawla, a Burmese pastor in Gaithersburg, Maryland, sent us several Bibles in the Falem and Tedim Chin dialects.
After many tries, last April we contacted Pastor Joseph Shwe, a minister among the Burmese refugees in Thailand. He was able to locate Bibles for our minority languages but had a hard time obtaining S’gaw Karen Bibles. Finally in September he wrote an e-mail to indicate the Bibles had been shipped.
About a month later (October), Nyein and I happened to be working on some project at my house and one box of Bibles arrived by mail. The first box was the Bible in the Burmese language which can be used by the Chin, Poe Karen and others. But the S’gaw Karen Bibles did not come. I talked to my mail person and they had not seen a second box and Joseph made some inquiries as well. Interestingly, yesterday, I was scheduled to visit with Nyein and Sharon at the end of the day, when I got home from work, another box had arrived from Thailand. I took it to Nyein’s house and we were delighted to find a delivery of S’gaw Karen Bibles. Sharon said she had never seen this edition before, it was published in 2004 just as they were leaving Thailand to come to America. She says it is a study Bible, complete with maps.
We will be able to deliver these Bibles, that came to America the long way, to the children’s leadership this Sunday. This is the exact Sunday they should have come, we have been planning a Christmas party for the Burmese at the church for several weeks.
Now as the children grow up and rapidly learn English, the families can still read the Bible together in their native language, so that they might grow in their walk with the Lord.