Life Story: Saw Ler Phaw
Saw Ler Phaw grew up in the village of Te Tah Klo in the Deh Moss Soe region of the Kayah State of Burma. He has a brother and sister who still live there. His wife grew up in Dar Tah Klay village in the Pru Soe region. Their families were farmers primarily raising crops for sustenance but did harvest peanuts for resale.
In 1984 Saw Ler Phaw moved to the Thai/Burma border region so that he could travel into Thailand as a migrant worker. He lived there from 1984 until 1996. During that time he was active in the Karenni National Association and their resistance army. They were fighting the Burmese government for freedom and autonomy as a state.
During this time, in 1992, he met JB. This man had moved his family to the Thai/Burma border to learn the Kayah (or Karenni) language. Saw Ler Phaw became his teacher. JB recruited Saw Ler Phaw to help translate the Bible into the Kayah language. They worked together on this project from 1994 to 2004. This monumental project has yielded a first time New Testament of the Bible in the Karenni language. Always before they had to hear the Bible in a foreign language.
In 1996 Saw Ler Phaw fled the Burmese military with his family into a refugee camp in Thailand. He lived in the refugee camp from 1996 until he came to America in June of 2009. Two of his three children were born in the camp.
Saw Ler Phaw was taught to type on a computer and began translating the Bible from the Burmese and Karen texts. He would read it then write it in the Kayah language and then check it with his fellow countrymen for accuracy. JB would check the translation for alignment with the original Greek and Hebrew texts. In between, while working on this major project, Saw Ler Phaw translated some 34 children’s books out of Burmese and Karen into Kayah.
Saw Ler Phaw’s mother, Beh Ah Mah died in 1974 and his father, Yo Peh passed in 2008. Saw Ler Phaw’s wife, Hla May Pray is the seventh of twelve siblings. The rest of her family remain in Burma where they farm rice, corn and many other vegetables. Saw Ler Phaw and Hla May Pray have three children named Soe Me, Saw Reh and Sher Mei. Hla May Pray has skilled in using fabricating with her hand loom which she is able to utilize in her home.
Saw Ler Phaw wants to begin using the completed first translation of the Bible in studies with his people. We will be exploring ways for him to put this gift of the Word to work. Fast Forward Link. Another Fast Forward Link.