Category Archives: Kayah

Burmese people in country Profiles from Joshua Project

At our First Wesleyan Church in High Point, NC  We currently have the following Burmese people groups:

Karenni (Kayah):

Sgaw Karen:

Pwo Karen (eastern):

Paku Karen:

Hahka Chin:

Matu (Chin):

Falam Chin:

Tedim Chin:

We the People of the United States….

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.

And because we have our constitution, Emma Lazarus wrote this quote etched on the Statue of Liberty:

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.”

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Previous July 4th Posts:






Welcome So Rey and Sue Mey Family

Another cousin of Saw Leh Pah arrived this past week.  The father is So Rey and the mother is Sue Meh.  They have two daughters.  They are living on Wise near So Rey’s mother and two brothers.  2013-06-09 12.01.38 A

Saw Ler Phar has new Home

Saw Ler Phaw & Son

Saw Ler Phar & Son

I talked with Saw Ler Phar [saw lay paw] the other day and he said they had just moved to a different house.   Whereas he had been paying $550 a month plus utilities for the last 4 years he is now living on South Road in High Point.  He along with a number of our larger Burmese families, have availed them of public housing.   Now Saw Ler Phar will pay a pro-rated amount based on his minimal income (probably $375 a month including utilities).  Saw Ler Phar commutes 100 miles each day to Rockingham, NC where he cuts chicken for Purdue.

The exciting thing about seeing our families utilize public housing is that it has been transitional.   I have already seen two Burmese families move out of the public houses directly into purchasing their own home in High Point.   These arrivals break the mold some have of people living in public housing generation after generation.  Instead the public house serves its intended purpose, to help people get on their feet and to launch a new life.

Phrai I Reh and Su Meh

Last weekend Saw Ler Paw, his daughter and I went to Greensboro visit a Karenni family because of concern about their situation.   We were delighted to meet the father Phrai I Reh and found that although he has chronic aches in his joints, he does have mobility and is getting about for shopping and ESL training.   After our visit with Su Meh (who works with Saw Ler Paw in Rockingham) and Phrai I, we also met several other Karenni families in nearby apartments.    When we asked these other families if they were going to church regularly they said not very often.

Phrai I Reh, Bu Reh (son) & Su Meh. (not pictured Me Reh, 5 yrs old)

Lea Rey An Orphan

Lea Rey arrived with his older brother, Baw Reh and sister Nae Mah (naming convention) about two years ago.   Their parents were dead before they arrived.  Lea Rey is under age 21 so he can attend high school until he graduates.   His brother got a job 120 miles away in Lumberton, but is now getting married and moving out of state.  His sister got married.  So Lea Rey, who is Karenni has been staying with Beh Reh, an unrelated Kayah (Karenni) family.  Lea Rey would like to get a summer job and I said we need to pray about getting a job.   Our church can give him a monthly bag of rice to help with his food.

Lea Rey

Burma/Thai Earthquake March 24, 2011

Here is a link to a story about the quake. I think this was in the Karenni region of Myanmar.

Toe Reh and Family are Here

A new Karenni family arrived in High Point about a week ago.   Here are the family names:

Toe Reh – father

Nway Meh – mother

Pray Meh – daughter

Naw Shar Ro-daughter

Naw Shar Too-daughter

Taw Reh – son

The naming convention in this culture is to have Reh in the male names and Meh in the female names.

Below is a picture of the father, he is in the middle, looking toward his right.  Toe Reh speaks Burmese and Karenni.  This was the first ESL class he attended.

Sunday Bible Dedication

Today our church learned about Saw Ler Phaw‘s work on translating the Bible.  Saw Ler Phaw and his family are new Karenni Burmese arrivals.   After news about a Bible distribution and a dedicatory prayer by Pastor Paul Coates, Hla May Pray read one of the Sunday morning scripture lessons from the new Bible.   Thae Rey received a symbolic Bible on behalf of 350 Karenni Burmese who live in Lumberton, NC.

Here is a copy of a handout distributed to the First Wesleyan Church congregation.

Karenni Videos

The Salween River flows along the eastern edge of Burma.  In the Karenni (or Kayah) region, the government is driving off the villagers in order to build dams to generate hydroelectric power.   To learn more about this southeast Asia river go to Youtube and search on the words “Salween River”.

A few weeks ago the British Broadcasting system did this clip on a trek into the Kayah state.

Cultural Profile: Refugees from Burma

The US Dept of State has provide a profile of various people groups.  For those who seek to know more about the Burmese, here is the link to a downloadable pdf.

Myanmar’s Kayah People

High Point has just a few Kayah (also know as Karenni) people who reside in town but ties to friends in other parts of North CarolinaHere is a link to a website that will serve as a portal to much more information about this people group formally known as Karenni.

On this website you will find some wonderful links to things like the Scripture being read in Kayah, hymns, a Kayah dictionary and the publishing of a first time Bible in the Kayah language.

I have confidence in the creators of this website for their accuracy and depth of information about this Burmese people group.

Use the search function on this screen to find other links to the Kayah people.   Also here is a flash forward link.

Karenni Bible

I want to recommend a trusted web address for you to get connected with progress on the release of a new Karenni Bible.  Just click on this link to check it out.

Or here is the URL for those who want to write it down to copy and paste to your browser

Also this link will take you to the parent website for this portal that gives you information about the Karenni people (Kayah people).

– John

14 Kilos of Rice per month for 7 people!

Dee Rah told us through a translator that at the refugee camp they received 14 kilos (31 lbs) of rice per month.   He said that at the end of the month they had just enough for each of the five children to have a little and they as parents did not eat.  I mention this not to disparage the efforts of Thailand and the United Nations but to focus on the desperation these families felt just before coming to our country.

They have been with us for a week and have easily gone through 10 lbs of rice greatly supplemented with chicken, beef, pork, eggs, fruits, and various vegetables.   Out of habit, at the beginning of each meal, Dee Ray will carefully apportion the rice to each of his children around the table, before serving himself and his wife.

Our grandson Gideon was over and when Kay told them he was two years old the mother exclaimed and told her husband about it.   Their little Soe Reh (click on his recent guest post) looks like a 12 month old American.  He is a little miracle baby, born 2 1/2 months premature.  His parents mentioned that one of his legs is shorter than the other.

When Burmese families arrive it takes 7-12 days for them to get emergency food stamps.  We need to assist World Relief with feeding these families.  I would like to purpose to provide a 50 lb bag of rice for Burmese arriving families so that they can relax and know it will be okay, we’re in America.  We can get this rice at Sam’s Club for $16.88 a bag.   If you want to join me I would encourage you who buy the rice to also commit to help deliver it to the family.

Guest Post: Soe Reh

IMG_5565My name is Soe Reh and I like corn.  I was sleepy last night but I just had to have another bite of corn.  I have 3 brothers and a big sister.   I just got to America last Thursday and been hanging out at the McMurphy’s.  Mostly I just play and eat and sleep.  You know I am two years old!

My father, Dee Reh, and mother Kay Heh, brought me here because they wanted me to be safe.  Its been crazy, with day being at night time and all.

I really like getting in the shiny metal wagon because when we get out we are with new people and are at different places.   We have met a lot of Burmese friends since we got to this place.  Some of them speak like my mother and father.

When we came to America each in my family were wearing string bracelets.  Our friends from before, tied these strings on our hands.  We came from a big camp and before I was born my mother and father lived in Sa-lawnghtawng, Burma.

There are some big people here that look very strange and act and speak funny.  Sometimes I laugh with my family.   I like my big sister and brothers they help me.  My other brothers play with me.  I really like the yellow toy with wheels that go ’round and ’round.  In fact I gotta go find that thing right now.

Oh in that picture that is my family, I was sleeping.IMG_5460