"If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
-David Livingstone

The Karen Story

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"This morning dawned cloudy in the borderlands between Thailand and Burma, but as the sun breaks through, the beauty is breathtaking; high, rugged mountains; thick green jungle; rich fertile valleys surrounding free-flowing rivers. The beauty is so exhilarating it nearly makes us forget why we are here. It seems almost impossible to believe that this apparent paradise is a place more like hell for hundreds of thousands of people around us. The conflict of emotions caused by the contrast between the beauty of the land and the enormity of the tragedy of the oppressed and displaced people nearby is made even more acute by another bittersweet contrast - the brutality of the regime which inflicts immeasurable suffering on countless suffering victims: dignity in deprivation; generosity in destitution and a love that transforms brutality into miracles of grace." (Taken from the book "A Land Without Evil")

We live in Thailand at the moment, right near the Burma (Myanmar) border (about 500 yds away). This map shows Karen State (inside of Burma - the white part) which is what we border.

At this time, we mainly serve the Karen people, namely the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) here along the border on the Thai side.
Kawthoolei (Karen State), which literally means a 'land without blemish', has long been a land with mines and a killing field. The Karen people living in Burma have been forced to flee a military dictatorship. And, not only that, but the Burmese Army is set on exterminating the Karen (and all other ethnic minorities) as a people group. War and killing have been a regular part of their lives for the past 60 years, but they haven't given up. This is the longest lasting civil war in history. The KNU (Karen National Union) fights mainly only in self-defense. They don't want to fight, but this is what they are forced to do to protect their homes and families.

The Karen are a beautiful, gentle, and giving people with a good sense of humor. They know how to make the best of the little they have. Most are caught in extreme poverty. Many of them only know a hand-to-mouth existence.

In the KNU's own words, they desire Kawthoolei to be a Karen State with the right to self-determination. They want all the people to be given democratic rights, politically, economically, socially and culturally. They want to have freedom and quality of all religions. Burma is, at this point, one of the least developed countries in the world. Incidentally, about 40% of the Karen are christians, while the remaining number are either Buddhist or Animist.

"...To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free... To deal they bread to the hungry, and to bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked that thou cover him..." Isaiah 58:7,8