Category Archives: Karen
At our First Wesleyan Church in High Point, NC We currently have the following Burmese people groups:
Karenni (Kayah): http://legacy.joshuaproject.net/print.php?rog3=BM&peo3=12587
Pwo Karen (eastern): http://legacy.joshuaproject.net/peoples.php?peo3=15395
I came across this detailed ethnography of the Sqaw Karen written by Harry Ignatius Marshall and published by Ohio State University in 1922. Get ready for some serious reading, but be rewarded with a great understanding of the Karen people:
Today I met a single adult, Esther Moe. She is a distant cousin of One Kiss and lives in their home.
While growing up in Myanmar her local church pastor challenged her to go to Bible school. She attended Bible College in the Insein suburb of Yangoon, Myanmar. After she finished, the school placed her as minister in a Karen village close to the capital. She labored for 2+ years but found a people who did not have a heart relationship with God. Facing no support for food and a non-responsive ministry, she and her aunt traveled to the Thai refugee camp. She told the Lord she would worship Him in her soul but wanted to put ministry behind her. God had other plans for her. At the refugee camp she taught a pre-school class. After three attempts to seek refuge, she came to the US.
She arrived in San Jose, Calif about 6 years ago from a Thai refugee camp. She was brought in by Catholic Charities. She was eventually taken in by a Christian family and began babysitting for 3-4 families. The ladies taught her English which made more sense when she took ESL classes at the area school. After 3-4 years she moved to Dallas, TX where she earned her Certified Nursing Associate (CNA) certificate. While she was living in TX her former Burmese pastor visited the US and called her on the phone. He asked her what she was doing to serve God. She was challenged by him to get back into an active ministry situation. One month ago she came to visit High Point. She saw the need for ministry help in the Karen congregation and is getting involved. Now she has decided to stay here and is looking for work wanting to help in the church in her spare time. Here is a link to the last part of her sermon she preached last Sunday.
Please click on this link to read details of the flooding during this last rainy season (July 2013).
Thursday Eh Paw, Eh Yah and Than Naw Tu came to my house to pick green beans and apples. After we finished we went for a drive and saw a chicken farm with 10,000 chickens near Joe Stallings‘ house, we saw a couple of men flying their 1/36 scale planes at the RC airfield, saw a llama, the water of the Randleman dam, a cowboy store, and a rodeo arena.
Yesterday was a great day of festivities with the grandchildren. We had a cook out, they went and saw their uncle perform in a concert, and we wound up the day watching fireworks. Creekside Park in Archdale provided an excellent display of illuminating fire-flowers and resounding booms seen by thousands in the park and surrounding neighborhoods. I took along Key Rey and Than Naw Tu because there is nothing like watching fire-works through the eyes of a refugee.
Two documents from history should accompany this post, and some pictures.
Preamble to the Constitution: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Previous July 4th Posts:
This month we have had a number of new arrivals. Two brothers of Paw Kyet Yaw arrived following their sister to start a new life in High Point. I was talking with the World Relief director, Andrew, and he indicated that the number of refugees in camps on the Thai border is now 70,000. The UN is setting a deadline for these folks to apply for refugee status. This final group will filter through to various countries over the next few years. The UN has already combined camps and is closing down the refugee camps in this border area. In Malaysia and India there are still a number of Chin and Kachin refugees seeking asylum from persecution on Myanmar.
Today I went to the Karen service at FWC (1:00 PM) and they were singing Onward Christian Soldiers. I’ve uploaded it to You Tube and you can link here.
One of the new arrivals (2 weeks in the states) sang a solo accompanied by his brother on the drums, click here.
A young girl read the Scriptures in Karen, click here.
Then the Karen youth sang the offertory, click here.
We had a balmy Saturday and that has prompted many families to want to start their gardens. In our region they say to wait until April 15 to plant most of the garden vegetables. In fact this week we are supposed to have another freezing night. However between yesterday and last week Soe Doh, his brother, Awngah, and Bye Bye have helped deliver compost to six different families. Three of the families. Cha Dah, Cal Lay Ve, and Kyaw Eh Su used to live in apartments on South Academy and have now moved to single family homes in town. The last family we delivered to yesterday was Hla Win Kyi. They just moved into a house on Enterprise (near Grace Church). Here are some pictures:
Eh Ta Mwe Paw, a female single, is a cousin of Nin Nin Yee and she is living in Cal Bin’s family.
Aung Thein is a brother of Nin Nin Yee. He has one daughter who is 4 years old. He is going to be living at the Hamilton Street apartments.
Saw Heh Khu Htoo is Karen but his story is quite different from other Karen Burmese arrivals. First of all he grew up in the Irawaddy Delta area of Myanmar. The Delta area is subject to flooding and cyclones especially during the rainy season of Burma.
Eh Khu Htoo is approaching his first full year in High Point. He is now 41 years old. He arrived February 28, 2012 at our Triad airport. He has been a blessing since he arrived. With his friendly smile and fluent English he has been very helpful. He has two sisters and one brother who remain in the Delta area of Burma. However they live in a town which is safer than the vulnerable villages which experience frequent disturbing visits by the junta military.
Around 2002 Heh Khu Htoo traveled to Malaysia to seek work. He got a job at a Chinese owned restaurant and both the customers and workers would speak in English. So Heh Khu Htoo learned English on the job. He found a Karen congregation that worshipped our Lord as part of a large Chinese Church in Kuola Lampur, Malaysia. In fact on Sunday afternoon they had Karen, Chin, and Kachin congregations meeting simultaneously in their facilities.
In 2007 Heh Khu Htoo applied for refugee status with the UN because he felt it was unsafe to return to Burma. He got his refugee card in 2010 and came here two years later.
As our Burmese young people are enculturating in America they are latching on to and mastering technology. In fact it may be a bridge to quicker acclimation to all things America.
Oh Oh arrived in High Point around September 27, 2012. His parents and 2 brothers and 1 sister are still awaiting their UN refugee cards in the Thai border refugee camp. Oh Oh has a Christian heritage with a grandmother who was a believer and their family lived in a village of believers.
In 2006 the family decided they couldn’t stay in their village, it was not safe. The parents were afraid soldiers would return and harm their family as they had done others. So they made the two day trip on foot, to the Thai border. The youngest sibling was just 10 years old. At the border they crossed the river by boat and sought refuge in a camp in 2006.
While Oh Oh was in high school in the refugee camp he was doing poorly in his studies (reading) and he prayed and said Lord if you will help me to graduate from high school I will go to Bible school. The Lord intervened and Oh Oh enrolled in the Karen Baptist Bible School that was inside the refugee camp. He did two years of studies in the school. He has been a blessing to our church helping with the preaching duties. He also has some talent with music. Below is a picture of he and Pastor One Kiss just before Oh Oh preached this morning.
In my language we call Him Yeshua. That is what Ta Tae Po’s oldest daughter said as the family and I went out to see the Christmas lights in Archdale. While we viewed the various manager scenes, this more Jewish sound to His name rolled around in my head. Thank You Lord for yet another fresh way to reflect on that first Christmas morn.