We returned to the Ranch and helped with a mailing and sorting through a storage shed:
When we were planning this trip, we thought we would be able to visit Karen refugees in the camps in Thailand. We were apparently not allowed in this time. Visitors are not generally allowed in (and Karen are not allowed to leave), though sometimes visitors can come in based on Dave Eubank’s connections. Not sure why it couldn’t happen this time. We did see the camp from the road, though.
There is a barbed wire fence around the camp and guards at the entrances. There are a lot of checkpoints along the road, too, to look for refugees leaving.
We next got to Laytongku, where there is a Christian-run clinic, and where some of the longest-running Christian mission efforts in Thailand have finally paid off in the past few years, with 10 out of 300 households being Christian.
The Christians in Laytongku gathered for a great time of worship. We sang a song, they sang some of their favorites, and Matt shared about Matt. 10:8 with translation from Doh Say. We didn’t understand their language and they didn’t understand ours but we all understood what God was doing in that service.
Pastor Edmund and the local pastor gathered the village for a Good Life Club (a miniature Vacation Bible School). After some singing, Doh Say explains the gospel in pictures.
Doh Say narrarated the parable of the Good Samaritan, while we acted the story out. In the parable, a man (played by Matt Deseno) was robbed, and left for dead. A priest and a Levite each walk by but do not help. Finally a Samaritan (someone from hated Samaria, played by Shalei) comes to help, taking care of him.
The message is that though there are a lot of tribes, like Karen, Kachin, Shan, Wa, etc., and the Burmese, they need to help each other.
Other activities of the day included making bracelets with colored beads representing various ideas of the gospel. They got to learn English color words and we got to learn Karen color words (yellow: ah blah, black: ah tum, red: ah woh, white: ah wah, green: ah lah).
Pastor Edmund brought us to a Karen village where people fled after the Burmese army destroyed their previous village.
The people are here because the Burmese army attacked their previous vllage, and they managed to hide here. One of the Karen national rebel groups protects the approach. Now, there is a cease-fire, supposedly, but many of the villagers are too afraid to return. Those that did return found the Burmese army looting their stuff.
The Ranch is where the founders of FBR, Dave and Karen Eubank, live with their three children. It’s also where we stayed our first night here. A lot of FBR stuff runs out of this location as well.
We brought with us a bunch of items that were donated to FBR, mostly camera equipment. We unboxed and sorted these with FBR members.
After dinner there was an impromptu concert/recital where the Eubank kids showed what they were learning with music, and several others from FBR and Shalei showed their talents. Matt Deseno led us in worship to close out the evening.
We next stopped at the Free Burma Rangers office. Free Burma Rangers is a missionary group that brings medical supplies and other needs to people being displaced by the Burmese military and seeks tribal unity and reconciliation with the hopes of a free Burma. The first photo is of Doh Say, a leader in FBR from the Karen tribe in Burma.
Below is Hosanna, who has been working at FBR since 2006. Hosanna is the main person organizing the logistics behind the FBR effort.