Thailand (MNN) — The Karen people of Burma have faced decades of suffering at the hands of the military government. Unfortunately there's no hope in sight, and world leaders are doing little to support them.
Christians, however, are doing all they can to be their voice in the wilderness and to be their support both physically and spiritually.
Rich Lively is a missionary with The Mission Society in Thailand. "The war against the Karen has gone unstopped. There are Karen who are fighting in the liberation army. It's in the third generation now, and all they've known is hiding in the jungles and basically fighting for their very lives."
The situation isn't getting any better. In fact, international groups are condemning the atrocities. "Amnesty International has officially called it 'war crimes against humanity' The United States Human Rights Watch is calling for an international investigation as to the allegations of war crimes," Lively says.
He continues, "Make no mistake: [the government's] goal is to completely wipe out the Karen — completely wipe them out, or at least completely subjugate them. But really, they'd prefer just to wipe them out."
That's why many Karen have fled their homes. Two million have crossed the border into Thailand.
While there are many organizations helping along the border, Lively says many of the refugees have migrated further south into the jungle regions where they've created new villages. And they need help. "We do medical clinics every month, where we go out in very remote villages and try to offer basic care with medical personnel. We also provide children's homes that are staffed by Karen."
Lively says in addition, their ministry helps with preschool education, and now they're being asked to build community centers.
Lively says it's all done to help them share the Gospel. "We want to just continue to show them the love of Christ. And as our leaders do the same thing, [the kids] will be curious and say, 'Wow, this is different than the way we've been treated before. What is it?' And then we share with them."
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