This afternoon at about 4:30 we'll be boarding the night train back to Bang Kok. Roger asked me if anyone in our group needed to get up a lot at night (how would I know?). I guess it's no fun to sleep on the top bunk if you have those issues.
Yesterday we spent the day at an orphanage. The pastor who runs this orphanage has a church right there, so we attended their service for the worship part and did a children's church during the sermon for the kids. Some of the older kids from the orphanage led the worship. They had a great band, and very interestingly, were able to project their songs in both Thai and English--should we look into the possibility of doing it in Karen?, or at least translating some of our songs into Karen? Sophie and Katy commented that their worship is much more lively. I told her that we Americans like control--is that symptomatic of all of our life, even our relationship with God? I need to think about this more; maybe I'm not the only one who has control issues!!
This morning at 9 a.m. we had a briefing from the media director of the Free Burma Rangers. I thought they were a para-military organization, but that's not really the case. They do operate secretly within Burma, however; their purpose statement says something like their purpose is to free the oppressed and stand for human dignity, justice, and reconciliation in Burma. They are a Christian organization. It's hard for me to do justice to his presentation, which was very helpful to me. He gave us 9 reasons why we as Christians should bother with Burma:
1. Freedom from violence; 2. Ethnic rights and lasting peace; 3. Freedom from forced labor; 4. freedom from religious persecution; 5. freedom from forced drug production; 6. public health acre is non-existent; 7. restoration of democracy; 8. environmental protection; 9. BECAUSE GOD CARES ABOUT THE OPPRESSED.
All these different experiences/presentations have helped me to better understand the refugees among us. It was interesting to hear again from Richard, our presenter, that they work within Burma to help internally displaced people (IDP's), who want to return to their homes!! They don't want to go to refugee camps, or even come to America--sometimes we want to solve their problems by bringing them home with us, but that's really not the best/easiest/or even preferred solution. Anyway, Richard began his presentation with a youtube video that you can watch, youtube.com/watch?v=nAWHQ1YYo3Q. If that connection doesn't work do a search on raging forest. You can also learn more about the free burma rangers at freeburmaranger.org.
A note to Hannah: I haven't had any reception on my phone, so I'll have to read all your texts when I get back!! And a note to the fam in Kennewick: I think we want some of those big, juicy hamburgers for dinner when we get back:)