Life Story: Phon Shin
Phon Shin and his wife Zisar are from the northernmost reach of Burma. They lived near the northern border of the Kachin state which is sandwiched between China and India. The Kachin state is rich with natural resources like jade, gold and uranium. Phon is from Puta-O, other Kachin in our church are from the capital city, Myitkyina. Phon Shin and Zisar speak the Rawang language. It is one of 6 Kachin languages. Zisar can read some English and both can understand a lot of English and converse with Americans.
Phon fled his family’s farm nine years ago after being conscripted to porter massive payloads of rice at age 17. He was not able to carry the loads and so he left this unpaid position. Thereafter the army came to his village to solicit bribes and taxes to pay for his leaving their service. He had to flee southward from Burma to Malaysia. He has had little contact with his father and 10 year old sister, since the father has to travel one weeks journey by car to get to a telephone. In 2002 his mother died and a few years ago his 20 year old sister escaped the dangers of a wanton army attacking it’s own citizens by also fleeing to Malaysia.
Phon Shin met Zisar in Malaysia. Zisar’s family are also farmers. She has 2 brothers and 3 younger sisters. It has been one year since she talked with her parents who remain in Kachin, Burma. They have one child, Noa Mi Sar.
Phon Shin worked as a cook in a Chinese food restaurant while in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They had to apply for refugee status with the U.N. and then await assignment to a region in the United States.
Here is their picture: