Burma (MNN) — While January 4 marks Burma's independence, the Karen people of Burma aren't celebrating this year.
Thousands of Karen are facing an oppressive government. Thousands have been killed and forced to flee from their homes, now living in refugee camps along the Thai border. Last week, more than 200 Karen refugees were sent back into Burma by the Thai military, saying that the situation had stabilized. According to those working in Burma, that's far from the truth.
President and founder of Vision Beyond Borders Patrick Klein says their contacts along the border say, "The war is increasing more and more. They're killing more and more people, especially the Karen, but other tribal groups as well. We're hearing about [an increasing number] of refugees. And a lot of kids — orphans — are being sent into Thailand."
Klein says the Karen are facing genocide. "It's estimated that over 3,300 villages have been burned to the ground. Women have been raped and murdered. [They're] putting land mines around the villages and starving people to death. And it seems like the international media is not talking about it."
Vision Beyond Borders has produced a DVD documentary and prayer guide to inform Christians about the plight of the Karen people. Klein says, "Throughout Scripture we see that [Christians] are the ones who are to stand up for the oppressed. We're supposed to stand up for the widows and the orphans in their affliction."
VBB has sent in clothes, food and medicine to help. Klein says they need something else. "We've been asked if we can bring more teams of people. We need people to come with us. It really blesses the kids and the people in the camps to see the Americans and the Europeans."
Many are responding to the Gospel, says Klein: "They had a Christmas outreach, and many people are coming to Christ now. They're just hungry for truth. They see the compassion of Christians and that Christians care about them."
Vision Beyond Borders is making available a free copy of their Karen DVD Documentary and Prayer Guide to help you understand the problem a little better and share the needs with others. "We're praying for a grass roots movement. We're praying that Christians in America would rise up and say, 'This has got to stop!' First and foremost pray. But also start talking about it. Tell their neighbors; tell their friends. Show the DVD to Bible study groups."