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Elections coming to Burma, change may be real

By March 16, 2012

Burma (MNN) — Changes are being seen in Burma, even on national television.

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed on television to raise concerns about the fairness of upcoming elections on April 1. While she raised these concerns this week with visiting U.S. special envoy Derek Mitchell, she was allowed to raise them on national television, too. That's something unheard of in the country.

Patrick Klein with Vision Beyond Borders just returned from Burma and says the country is indeed changing, despite the report of a major offensive with government troops against the Kachin. "I think it takes time in these countries–especially in jungles–for the word to get out to the soldiers and the generals who are working back in the remote areas that the country is changing and peace is coming."

While peace appears to be coming to the Karen, Klein says he knows they'll need to continue working with the refugees and the children. "We'll need to keep working with them because there are so many land mines along the border with Thailand. It's going to take years to clean out those land mines. Hopefully we can help get the kids and the refugees back in to Burma in areas cleared of land mines so they can actually work to rebuild their villages."

According to Klein, "We're still working in Burma, helping to provide orphanages for those who have been orphaned from the war, to get them into a stable Christian environment where they can be discipled and educated and help change their government for good."

While the Karen and other Christians have gone through so much, Klein says believers have been the ones to shine in the midst of conflict. "We've really seen the Christians step up and help provide aid to them, and so a lot of Buddhist are coming to Christ now."

While freedom is coming to the country, the oppressed Karen are targets. "People are very naïve to the outside world; they don't know. So when you get people bringing in sex trafficking and trying to swindle them out of their money and gems and all the natural resources, we need to pray that God would open the country on His terms."

In the meantime, Klein thinks God will use the Karen people. "I really believe God is going to use them to bring the Gospel throughout their country. They've been through so many hard things. But they could come back and say, 'I have forgiven those men that killed my family and wiped out my village. I have forgiven them, and it's only because of Jesus Christ that I can forgive them and love my enemies.'" Klein believes that will lead many to Christ.

If you would like to help the Karen rebuild and help VBB assist in the process, go to http://www.VissionBeyondBorders.org.

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