Category Archives: Myamar – you – the next chapter…..

Catch on to what God is doing right here!

Have you donated a car lately?

This week I was privileged to help a more established Burmese family finish the process of donating a car to the church so that it could be used by a new arrival.  The family will be able to take a tax deduction for the fair market value of their donated car and the new arrival will have a “starter vehicle” to begin their new life in America.

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Names Index

In an effort to make this blog  more functional I am beginning the process of indexing the 360 posts on this blog by names referenced in the posts.  In the margins are the alphabetical categories.  If you know the name of the person you can look them up using the categories.

Washers and Driers

Donate your old laundry set.These days many Americans are upgrading to the newer front loading washers and driers.   If you are getting ready to do so, I would like to encourage you to consider donating your older appliances to one of our arriving Burmese families.   This week two of our Karen widows requested assistance with finding washers and driers for their homes.  Another family found their old washer broke down.   Let us know if you have appliances to donate.

Teach me to make Toast.

It really is just simple little things that you can do to bless our Burmese friends.   The other day I helped a friend set up a gmail account so that he can contact his girlfriend in Thailand.  Kay had a girl ask to show her how to make toast.  Recently we took some of our Burmese friends for a ride to see Christmas lights.   There are many simple things we take for granted that are matters of inquiry by the Burmese.  For instance, when does the tenant need to take care of something and when is it the landlord’s responsibility?  What is the smartest way to call long distance to Burma or Thailand?

Do you have a passion for gardening?  You need to meet Nu Nu or Peng Len.   Do you like to do knitting or needle work?  Visit with Dawt Hlei Tial.  Are you pretty good at selecting reliable used cars?  You are needed.   Can you write a good story?  You need to capture stories for this blog’s life stories category.  Do you want to do missions?  Visit Little Burma (the William and Mary Apartments).  Can you drive a car?  Take a family to the store or to do laundry.   There are many opportunities, it’s easy, it’s fun, it’s fruitful, it’s fulfilling!

Guest Post: Melody Henessee

 Dear friends, 

First, I want to thank each of you for all that you are doing to care for our Burmese children and their families.

 I understand that we have about 130 people from Burma in our church body at present and we expect that number to double in the next year. There are at least 30 elementary-school age children in the class that I help teach. There are an additional 10-20 younger children; and I would guess another 10-20 older teens/young adults.

  This is a wonderful ministry that God has brought to our doorstep.

Second, I really want to tell you what I see as the needs of these children (and their families in general):.img_3305

 1. The Burmese children need to hear God’s word in English as well as their own languages. We must remember some of them are Christians; some are not. Some of them speak and understand English very well. Others are just learning! This is quite a challenge, as the people in the Laos congregation understand very well. John and Kay McMurphy are doing a wonderful job of teaching the adults, and we are just beginning to teach the children.

 2. The Burmese children need to know that God loves them. They have come from very difficult circumstances and their lives are still not “easy.” They need to know that God – through this church family – loves them!

 3. The Burmese children need to have their physical needs met. They need warm, good clothes that fit. They need food to eat – especially a snack when they come to church. They need chapstick, toothpaste, lotion, shampoo, soap and other necessities.

 4. The Burmese children need to have fun in a safe, well-supervised and loving environment.  Just like in all of our children’s Sunday School programs, these children need to have fun, to play games, earn prizes, sing songs, and look forward to coming back to church each Sunday.

 With these goals in mind, we can help meet all of the needs of the Burmese children (and their parents) by becoming more active in the Burmese Ministry. We need our ENTIRE church family to see these children, to understand their needs and to help meet the needs of these precious children and their families. We need help! At present, we have two volunteers from the American congregation – Joe Stallings and myself – who help the five or six Burmese adults each Sunday.

 We could use at least five more American volunteers to help in the class on Sunday

  

We need people:

 * to help teach the lesson,

 * play games with the children,

 * bring them with a nutritious breakfast,

 * donate prizes,

 * lead them in crafts or fun activities, and help clean up.

 But there is so much more that needs to be done for these children and families!

 With the Burmese ministry (and, might I add, the Laos ministry…)

 1. We have families who are looking for work and who need jobs.

  Perhaps, we can help them find a job, take them to a job interview, read the help wanted ads to them, show them the bus lines. …

 2.  We have families who could become “homeless” if they can not keep or find a job. If they can not find a job and provide for their families, they become hopeless. Perhaps, some of them are living with friends and relatives now and are “homeless.” Perhaps, they need a place to stay for a week or a month, and meals made for them for a week and brought to them.

 3. We have families who need to learn English to survive in this culture. If they learn to speak and to read and to write English, they will get and keep better jobs. Perhaps, we could offer to help more in the McMurphy’s ESL classes. If we had 10 or 20 more American volunteers in their ESL classes, think how much faster the adults could learn!

4. We have families who need to be driven to doctor’s appointments and to the grocery store. We could have a group of retired people or single adults who could volunteer to take people to appointments or run errands. We could see if the Wesleyan Transportation Ministry could help meet some of these needs.  

Adult ESL Class Eats Pumpkin Pie

Adult ESL Class Eats Pumpkin Pie

Sunday Morning ESL Class

Sunday Morning ESL Class

 

 5. We have families who need food from a canned-food drive.

 6. We have babies who need formula and diapers. 

 7. We have families who need blue jeans, warm shoes, heavy winter coats, long-sleeved shirts, gloves and so on. Maybe, a clothing drive…

 8. We have Burmese families who need to be  “sponsored” by our American church family and befriended.

 9. We have families who need our help in so many ways. Perhaps, we need a liaison between the “English” congregation and the Burmese congregation to help facilitate and coordinate getting these needs met.

 Thank you for listening and for caring.

 In His Hands,

 

Melody

Karen Arrivals

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.

Karen Flag

Karen Flag

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.

Why serve with the Burmese?

Burmese Mothers

Burmese Mothers

Heb 13:2  (MSG)

Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it!

Mat 10:42 (MSG)

Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”

Who is waiting for your help?

A few weeks ago, I was visiting some friends, Thang Tlang and Hlamay, who live on Asheboro street here in High Point.  We first met them last December when they had moved into a rough neighborhood where they had no Burmese friends.  The first visit was to help them because their heater was not working.  Susie Curtis loaned them a space heater which I took by their house.   We also looked at their fuse box to try to get things working.

God has now blessed this family with three neighboring Burmese families.  When I was there last month one of these neighbors, a Moslem wife, was hanging around outdoors while we were talking inside the house.   Finally when we went out the door she said “Water”.  My friend, who can translate said they were having a problem with their water.   So I went over to their house.   I found the hot water faucet in the shower had broken off and water was gushing out.  I realized this had been going on for a while because the water was no longer hot.  Well we tried to shove the faucet back in place, that didn’t work, then I went under the house to see if I could find a shut off valve.   Finally I took the husband out near the road looking for a water meter box.  We found a box.  When we opened it instead of their being the regular valve, which requires a special tool, their was a hose bib valve which we could shut off by hand.  We were able to put the crisis on hold and have them make arrangements with their landlord for repairs the next day.

I was thinking how we can go through life not sensitive to the needs around us.   This lady was waiting patiently in the front yard while my friends and I were just chatting away.  Meanwhile hundreds of gallons of water were pouring down her bathtub.

Right now there is a gentleman, Rah Wah, who can’t get his refridgerator to work and I found out, from a friend, it seems to be the electrical circuit.  I know about the problem but have been busy with other Burmese needs and can’t look at it.   Maybe you could loan him an electrical cord until we can get it fixed by the landlord.    Have you thought about getting involved with the Burmese?

Another Burmese mother is facing a scheduled major surgery in a couple of weeks.  She speaks very good English.  She needs a friend to pray with her and encourage her through this procedure.  Yesterday she told me she woke up very fearful.

There are three Burmese right now that need someone to take them to our church parking lot during the week and to teach them the basics of driving.  They need to learn basic control, parking, backing up, signaling and stopping correctly.

A mother, Sui Khen [Swee Can] and her adult daughter Esther Mon, were picked up at the airport on Saturday night at 9:00 as they arrived from Malaysia.   Esther speaks good English.   They need friends to welcome them and encourage them.

A family that arrived in High Point a few weeks ago needed to learn how to shop in an economical way for their groceries.  They are receiving money for food but need to learn some basic things.  I think one patient shopping trip with them would get them on track to make their money stretch for the month.

Who is waiting for your help?

Count me in – I want to serve with the Burmese ministry!!

The exciting thing about working with the Burmese, is that as you get to know them, you will see little things you can do to minister to them.  But if you are trying to imagine some of those kinds of things, here are some ideas:

Little Things You Can do help

1.  Many are buying cars with cassette players.   They know hymn tunes, if you have old cassettes to donate to the “new” car owners let me know with a comment.

2.  If you can provide a day job for a refugee it would meet a great need.   Usually we offer $7 to $8 an hour and will need to help with transporation.  Some of these folks would benefit greatly from learning new work skills.

3.  Offer to help provide rides to church on Sunday.  Even if you can only help one direction, it would be a blessing.

4.   Plan to pray regularly for our churches ministry efforts and direction.

Bigger Things you can do to help

1.  Become a friend of a Burmese family.  If you as an American would visit a Burmese family once a month it would make a tremendous difference.   During this visit you can meet them, call them by name, welcome them to our land and just love them.  We have over thirty Burmese/English interpreters in the congregation you can call on your cell if you can’t communicate.

2.  Volunteer to help with occasional game nights, picnics, trips and fellowship times organized by our Lao resettlement team.

Extreme Ministry-right here in High Point

1.  Teach a Burmese person how to drive.  Van Lian, Frosintina, Biak and Nan Lian Khup need driving lessons.  They have their learner’s permit.  If you just take them to our big church parking lot and let them practice turns, signals and driving straight lines, it would be helpful.

2.  Share a skill or hobby you like with a Burmese individual.   I have met people who like to fish, listen to music, play guitar, travel, garden, sew and knit.

3.  Take a Burmese family on a day trip the mountains, the zoo or the lake, we have such beautiful country here in NC. 

Leave a comment here with me, John McMurphy, if you would like to get involved.

Myamar – you – the next chapter…..

Little Things You Can do help

1.  Many are buying cars with cassette players.   They know hymn tunes, if you have old cassettes to donate to the “new” car owners let me know with a comment.

2.  If you can provide a day job for a refugee it would meet a great need.   Usually we pay $7 to $8 an hour and will need to help with transportation.  Some of these folks would benefit greatly from learning new work skills.

3.  Offer to help provide rides to church on Sunday.  Even if you can only help one direction, it would be a blessing.

4.   Plan to pray regularly for our ministry efforts and direction.

Bigger Things you can do to help

1.  Become a friend of a Burmese family.  If you as an American would visit a Burmese family once a month it would make a tremendous difference.   During this visit you can meet them, call them by name, welcome them to our land and just love them.  We have over thirty Burmese/English interpreters in the congregation you can call on your cell if you can’t communicate.

2.  Volunteer to help with occasional game nights, trips and fellowship times organized by our Lao resettlement team.

Extreme Ministry-right here in High Point

1.  Teach a Burmese person how to drive.  Savy, Eh K’lu, Frosintina, Biak and Nan Lian Khup need driving lessons.  They have their learner’s permit.  If you just take them to our big church parking lot and let them practice turns, signals and driving straight lines, it would be helpful.

2.  Share a skill or hobby you like with a Burmese individual.   I have met people who like to fish, listen to music, play guitar, travel, garden, sew and knit.

3.  Take a Burmese family on a day trip the mountains, the zoo or the lake, we have such beautiful country here in NC.

Leave a comment here with me, John McMurphy, if you would like to get involved.