Burma (MNN) — In a recent United Nations report, the Kachin Women's Association of Thailand (KWAT) says poor living conditions in refugee camps are triggering outbreaks of respiratory infections, skin diseases, and malaria. As temperatures drop, health workers warn that needs will multiply. Medicine is already in high demand.
The timing couldn't be better for two Vision Beyond Borders teams who recently delivered food, winter supplies, and medicine to VBB-supported refugee camps near the border of Thailand. The ministry's contact in these camps said the delivery of much-needed medical supplies and malaria kits were "such a blessing for the Karenni refugees."
"No other ministry has ever brought so many vitamins for the children and adults as VBB," the worker said. "With the food rations getting less for the refugees, these vitamins are necessary now."
VBB team leader Wes Flint confirms the need for supplements.
"[Refugees] get very poor nutrition through the foods that they have, especially in the jungle," he explains. "So we try to improve their diet and their standard of living a little bit."
Since refugees are unable to provide for themselves, VBB brought in truckloads of veggies and other nutrition-packed fare.
"By bringing those vegetables in, and more rice, we can help their diet at least where they can eat two meals a day," Flint says. "In many areas, they're now eating three."
There's high demand for medical supplies in the refugee camps and clinic supported by VBB, states Flint. Since the clinic is located on the border, patients come from both Thailand and Burma.
"There's a Christian woman that runs this small clinic, and the amount of medicine that she had there: you could've put in a shoebox," said Flint. "That's all that was available for approximately 18,000 people."
The leader says he felt compelled to do something to help the clinic and increase support of this ministry. You can learn more about VBB's medical ministry by clicking here.
"The idea is that we want to set an example; we want to be a light in this village so that they could see that there are believers there," explains Flint. "It's the Christian community there that's actually reaching out and helping these tribal people."
Along with supplying medicine and food, teams also ministered to orphans.
"They each have their own tragic story. And yet God is doing a very beautiful work in their lives," Flint says. "It's really wonderful to be able to fellowship with the saints and to share a message of hope for these desperate children."
He explains that this "message of hope" only comes from one source: Jesus Christ.
"That is the only message of true hope: what Jesus Christ does in the lives of human beings," says Flint. "That's what brings hope, and that's what brings joy on the faces; you can see it on the faces of these children."
Would you like to share the message of salvation with orphans and refugees? Click here for upcoming VBB trips to Southeast Asia. There are other ways to help, too; you can collect supplies for refugees or purchase medical supplies by clicking here and designating "Medical Funds."
"We would be happy to plug them in to a ministry where they too can be involved," says Flint. "Not only involved, but they can participate in the Kingdom work that God is doing through Vision Beyond Borders around the globe."
And don't forget to pray. In addition to the thousands of people displaced by ethnic fighting, land grabs have forced a spike in human trafficking. Pray that Burma's government would create new legislation that addresses this issue; and pray for peace.
"Burma needs much prayer," Flint says. "Ultimately my prayer is that…these sanctions would be lifted on Burma so that the United States would help to bring peace throughout this region, and that these refugees would be able to return home."