"...you have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes" (Song of Sol. 4:9).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Burmese Refugees

I will be leaving for Thailand next month.  This will be a medical outreach for the Karen refugees who are living on the Thailand/ Burma border. I will be traveling with Vision Beyond Borders, founded by Patrick Klein.  Voice of the Martyrs  interviewed Patrick and his work with the Burmese people otherwise known as the Karen. (http://www.persecution.com/public/newsroom.aspx?story_ID=MjIy)   According to Patrick, in January 2010  more than 500,000 people have been killed in Burma (also known as Myanmar) in the last 30 years. More than 3,300 villages have been burned to the ground by the Burmese military, and thousands of children have lost parents from brutal attacks by Burmese soldiers. About 1 million Burmese refugees have fled across the border to Thailand, where they wait in uncertainty. At any moment they might be sent back to Burma to face certain death.

Even refugee camps in Thailand are not safe from Burmese soldiers. They frequently cross the shallow river separating Thailand and Burma to poison water supplies and kill or kidnap refugees, whom they sometimes use as human mine sweepers. The Thai generals who rule the area work hand in hand with Burma’s ruling military junta regime and grow rich through the illegal drug trade that profits them both.

Patrick said the genocide is both an ethnic cleansing and a reaction against pro-democracy movements in Burma, but it also has a specifically anti-Christian agenda. When the head of a monastery asked soldiers if he should warn Buddhist monks to leave a conflict area, the soldier replied, “No, we are not going to harm the Buddhists. We are only against the Christians.”

One heavily targeted Burmese minority group is the Karen people. Historically Christian, today about 40 percent of the Karen people are Christians. A Burmese official boldly stated recently, “Soon there will be no Christians in this nation. You will only be able to see a Karen person in a picture in a museum.”

In the midst of this horror, God is at work in Burma. Many people are trusting their lives to God. One of the believers went so far as to tell Patrick, “Without this genocide, maybe this worship would not be happening, and people would not be coming to Christ.”

The situation has not improved in Burma today and these refugees are without any medical care. Thailand does not want them and they cannot return to Burma.  We hope to provide care to these individuals.  I have attached a link for a video that shows the people we will be caring for, literally. 

Today Burma suffered 2 earthquakes that shook Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  We will be flying into Chiang Mai from Bangkok for the trip.   Please keep us in your prayers. 

God Bless

Saturday, March 19, 2011

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Well 2011 is proving to be a big year in a lot of ways.  I traveled to Haiti last February  with Healthcare Ministries through the Assembly of God.  We were there to support  Arise Haiti Ministries in Les Cayes, Haiti. We treated close to 700 people  during the teams stay, the majority of treatment was for scabies, anemia,worms, hypertension , headaches and minor traumas.  Shane asked me when I returned home what impacted me the most during my trip;  it was without a doubt the missionaries we stayed with, Rachael and James Courter.  They are amazing! This short blog is about that trip, the people of Haiti  and the plans God has for the Haitian people.

Haiti, once called The Jewel of the Antilles, was the richest colony in the entire world. Economists estimate that in the 1750s Haiti provided as much as 50% of the Gross National Product of France. The French imported sugar, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, cotton, the dye indigo and other exotic products. In France they were refined, packaged and sold all over Europe. Incredible fortunes were made from this tiny colony on the island of Hispaniola.

Today Hiati is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and has been plagued by political violence for most of its history.  A massive magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010 causing a major setback in its already cripled economy.  Haitis official religion is Voodoo.

Arise Haiti 's Vision  ...

Haiti, a Caribbean island nation of over 9 million people, is the least developed, poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Riddled with a history of political and social turmoil for over 200 years the country of Haiti has struggled to stand. Despite being only second to India for having the largest NGO force per capita in the world, Haiti today remains in a desperate situation. While the global community searches for a political, social or economic solution we believe the true hope for Haiti will be found in spiritual transformation. At this moment in history the evangelical church in Haiti has grown to an estimated of 30% of the population.

In the words of the prophet Isaiah we believe God is calling His church to: “give (ourselves] no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem (Haiti) and makes her the praise of the earth” (Isaiah 62:6-7 ). We are to: “renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations” (Isaiah 61:4 ). If we do this, Ezekiel promises, “the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE” (Ezekiel 48:35 ).
Now is the time, we believe God is calling the church to ARISE in Haiti and witness a supernatural reconciliation and restoration of the nation.  (taken from the Arise Haiti website)

 In just two short years Les Cayes , Haiti is being transformed through the love of Christ and the commitment of this family.Rachael and James run a small clinic out of their home in Les Cayes, Haiti.  She is a Physicians Assistant and he is Physical therapist. Although, when they came to Haiti they did not intend to start a clinic.
She treated a member of the community with some medication she had brought from the US for her family, she woke up the next morning to 100 people outside of her gate seeking medical care.  Today they see between 75-100 people a day when the clinic is open.  She will see residents of Les Ceyes after hours if it is an emergency, which extends her already 12-14 hour days. 

They have 4 children; Gabriel, Elisha, Grace, and Nehemiah.  She home schools the oldest three children and it was evident in a short amount of time that they are receiving a quality education in comparison to the American schools.  Gabriel, who functioned as my interpreter during my stay, is studying anatomy and physiology.  He was talking about the gastrocnemius muscle and its function.  The children are fluent in French, Creole and English. 

On Fridays they started a Kids Club  which averages about 300 children between the ages of 4-17 years of age. They learn bible verses, play games and sing songs.  Each child receives a bag of rice when they leave and because of this parents drop off their 2 year olds as well.  The hardest job all week was corralling the 50,  2 year olds for the 3 hours of kids club!  In addition to all this they teach an English class every week! 

Rachael was pregnant last year when the devastating earthquake hit Haiti.  She was on her way the the hospital in Port a Prince, Haiti for an exam and buy the grace of God was late due to car problems.  They were four minutes from the hospital  at the time of the quake.  They watched in horror as the buildings collapsed around them and were stranded in there for 1 week while rescuers made their way to them.  They were witness to the 55 aftershocks which tumbled another building each time. After the earthquake they sat out hurricane Tomas which killed four people. 

They  witnessed the Cholera epidemic and actually had a man die outside of their home as he waited to long to seek medical care.  The Haitian people see Cholera as being dirty and therefore are reluctant to admit that they have it, thereby delaying treatment.  Cholera can kill in less than 24 hours if not treated. 

I am moved not only by the love of the Courter family but that God loves these people so much that he sent the Courter family to this community.  Haitians are beautiful people.  They were so happy to receive medical treatment and glasses that they waited in line for 6-8 hours to receive care and had a smile of their face as they waited (with a few exceptions). 

The Courters see Haiti with the vision of what Haiti can be .  I am so grateful to have been a part of what God is doing in Haiti and am excited to return to Haiti later this year to continue my involvement. 

My next trip will be to Thailand where we will be caring for the Burmese refugees. I will be posting information about these refugees over the next month.  I will be leaving  May 4-13th ..

God loves you and wants to transform your life if you will let him...
For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11