The Karen Story
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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.
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