This is a very interesting time. As I write, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is visiting Burma (Myanmar). She is the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit since 1955. It’s opens a whole new world of dialogue with this rogue nation and invites many questions. Overall, I applaud this trip as realistic foreign policy, but I’m cautious about our role.
Tag Archives | myanmar
A year-and-a-half ago, I went into the Myanmar (Burma) Embassy in Washington, D.C., to meet with the acting ambassador. It wasn’t clear what I was going to accomplish–if anything–but I knew the enemy of the persecuted Karen people had a facility on American soil. I got an appointment and we met. It was a wonderful meeting with the ambassador–more than I could have expected. I left not accomplishing anything, but building a friendship. We kept in touch and in my follow up email to him, I told him that I would be praying for him and his country. We said he appreciated my prayers (which was surprising from a diplomat of a deeply Buddhist country). And I did pray for him.
We’ll get back to this momentarily.
The last two days, I’ve been in Minnesota and helped host Dave and Karen Eubank and their family. Dave and Karen founded the Free Burma Ranges to bring relief and love to the people of Burma. My home church, First Baptist Church in Worthington, MN, is now home to at least 100 Karen families–many of which were assisted by Free Burma Rangers or admired the organization. I couldn’t forgo the opportunity to have the Eubanks speak to the church and Karen congregation. Continue Reading →
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
First Baptist Church of Worthington
If you will be in or near Worthington, Minnesota, on Tuesday, July 19, we are hosting "Relief for Burma: An Evening with Dave Eubank of the Free Burma Rangers." Join us and friends from the Karen community for a wonderful and inspiring evening with Dave Eubank and the Free Burma Rangers..
In 1997, a former Army Ranger and ordained pastor started the Free Burma Rangers in response to a particularly ruthless Army offensive against the Karen people. Join us for an evening with Dave Eubank, founder and leader of Free Burma Rangers (FBR), as he reports on the relief effort for the people of Burma. Free Burma Rangers strives to bring hope and love to people inside Burma's war zones. Since its inception, Free Burma Ranger teams have treated over 360,000 patients and helped over 750,000 people.
The Free Burma Rangers is a multi-ethnic humanitarian service movement. They bring help, hope and love to people in the war zones of Burma. Ethnic pro-democracy groups send teams to FBR to be trained, supplied and sent into the areas under attack to provide emergency medical care, shelter, food, clothing and human rights documentation. The teams also operate a communication and information network inside Burma that provides real time information from areas under attack.
Learn more about the event and the Free Burma Rangers on the "Relief for Burma" event page.
Long after dark on our March visit to Mae La Refugee Camp along the Thai-Burma border, we were preparing for bed after a full day. Suddenly and dramatically, we heard the loudest hallelujah chorus billowing up from under our feet. Our Karen friends were singing at the top of their lungs as they practiced the chorus for graduation. We ran down to experience it.
The chorus was beautiful and moving knowing that they live in the camp and cannot return to their homeland. Reverend Dr. Simon, pastor of the Bible school in the camp, penned this moving testimony in 2000:
Our Living Testimony
They call us a displaced people, but praise God we are not misplaced. They say they see no hope for our future, but praise God; our future is as bright as the promises of God. They say they see the life of our people as a misery, but praise God, our life is a mystery. For what they say is what they see, and what they see is temporal. But ours is the eternal. All because we put ourselves in the hands of the God we trust.
If you ever get the chance to visit Mae La Camp, I recommend it. The people there are incredible and their stories are moving. One day alone is worth the trip across the pacific. Enjoy the video below and congratulations to the graduates!
The epicenter of the earthquake that just struck Burma (Myanmar) lies almost directly where I would cross the border to visit Faifah, the orphange, and others.
On one of my first trips to Tachilek, Burma, in 2007, I stayed on the top floor of a tall hotel. It was a good hotel in Tachilek but, by no means, a nice hotel. I stayed on the top floor because it had the cheapest room rate. I can't recall the number, but it was only a couple dollars. My bed was a simple mat on the floor. The walls were paper thin and I could hear the people in the next room speaking in a strange language. Remarkably, there was a TV, but it only received bizarre channels from southern China. The door was a sliding door–like you might have out to your deck–there wasn't really a lock. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well.
Just when I was about to fall asleep, a rumble started drawing. The building shook and began to sway. I jumped to my feet and lunged toward the door. Earthquake! Only a small one, but the first I had EVER felt (even after living in California for 3 years). The rest of my night was ever more uneasy.
From personal testimony, I can tell you that I would not want to be in that hotel when this earthquake struck. I'm not sure much, if anything, is built to any kind of earthquake code in Tachilek.
As of this post, it sounds like 75 are known to have died in the quake and 111 injured. My thoughts and prayers go out to the people there, Particularly my good friend, Faifah, who I hope is safe.