See the mother on the journey, tiny baby in her arms,
Running from the soldiers who’ve come to rape and kill
She’s tired from the running, desperate, hungry, full of fear—
How can she know God loves her, and that He walks beside her there?
He is there beside her in the dark and in the cold.
He knows what she is feeling, in the Bible it is told
That He was once a refugee. His parents ran to save His life
From the soldiers sent to kill him in Herod’s infanticide.
The way that God has chosen to loose the bands of wickedness
To give bread to the hungry and to help free the oppressed
Calls us to walk beside her in our prayers and in our hearts:
As the body of Christ, the servant king, it makes her burden ours.
But words and prayers are not enough, no matter how well spoken
God’s love requires our presence so He can walk beside His children.
Even though we’re broken, we are His feet and hands.
We stand in need of grace to obey His commands.
Though she sits in darkness, He came to be the light.
Though she now is hungry, He is the bread of life.
Though we turn aside sometimes or don’t know what to do,
We are all called in some way to help her make it through.
He chose to entrust us with His reputation
And to make us His body throughout every nation
As a king become baby, He risked everything
Calling us to embody the love that He brings….
“I was hungry and you gave me bread
Thirsty and you gave me drink
A stranger and you took me in
In prison and you came to me….”
Lord, when did this happen?
His answer is quite clear
“When you did it for the least of these
It was for me, for I am there….”
Teresa Norman March 2001
Friends on the ground in Burma now report another 300 IDPs have just arrived at a village near the Thai-Burma border (along with the 200+ who arrived days ago). These people are fleeing the continued fighting and oppression of the Burma Army and DKBA, usually arriving with only what they can carry. While this is a more secure location than being under attack in their home villages, this is still a place where kids have to learn in school what a landmine looks like so they don’t accidentally pick one up!
Urgent needs (other than peace and freedom) in order of priority:
1. rice and cooking oil
2. plastic tarps for emergency shelters
3. mosquito nets
Anyone wanting to help out with life-saving resources can donate through our friends at Partners Relief & Development .
We just got an email this morning saying another 33 families (204 people) have been forced from their villages in Burma and are moving to a safer location (safer, not SAFE) near the border of Thailand. The place they are fleeing to has been burned down by the Burma army several times in the past. Their situation is a direct result of the continued oppression of the Burma Army, which has destroyed over 3,300 villages in the last 10 years. If the world were just, fair, or remotely reasonable, it would be the generals on trial and Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma would be free. Instead, she faces prison, and they continue driving families from their homes and taking or destroying the little they own.
While oil revenue goes up and you build a brand new capital, you plunder your nation and send the people deeper and deeper into poverty; health care is neglected, rebuilding after the cyclone is a shell game, and education gets next to nothing…only the generals get rich……this commentary in Mizzima news explains the shell game of the Burmese generals and international aid….so FULL of contradictions!
This week the Karen Human Rights Group published a new report highlighting both causes of and the solutions to the food crisis in Burma.
It’s harder to ignore a news story or a set of uncomfortable facts when it’s about people you’ve met in places you’ve been. It becomes personal, not theoretical. When I asked Steve (World Aid director) today, what would be the best use of any funds raised through a joint benefit some friends from the Quest Life Together Group are sponsoring May 9th, he had an answer ready. “There are 100 Bible School students at Mae Ra Moe camp who need money for food. Rations have been cut again through Thai Burma Border Consortium due to lack of funds. What would it take to feed them?
The bare minimum:
1 person per 30 days:
1 tin of rice 400 baht,
salt, fish paste, lentils 400 baht = Total 800 baht
(present exchange rate = 34.87 to the $) = $22.94 per person per month
That’s not much, if you have it. If you don’t, it’s a lot.
Mother Theresa said, “If you can’t feed everyone, feed one.”
(Pictures were from a trip to that camp in 2003 where we got to attend a Bible School graduation at Ma Rae Mo. Many of the graduating students were going back into Burma to bring hope and encouragement to their people).
Benedict Rogers of CSW visited Seattle recently and spoke about what can be done about the problems of Burma. He listed ways for people to campaign for meaningful change in Burma:
- Advocate for a universal arms embargo to go through the United Nations (US Campaign for Burma)
- Advocate referral of the SPDC (illegal government of Burma) by the United Nations to the International Criminal Court to bring the generals to justice for crimes against humanity
- Support the democracy movement’s current campaign for a credential’s challenge in the United Nations to challenge the idea that this illegal regime has the right to represent the people of Burma (UN Credentials)
- Campaign for increased humanitarian aid to Burma, particularly to the areas where hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people are struggling with very little humanitarian assistance (Free Burma Rangers)
- Increased awareness and international response to the famine in Chin state caused by a plague of rats which have destroyed the food supply of 200 villages leaving at least 100,000 people close to starvation (Chin Relief)
The Change for Burma Campaign is run by Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Partners Relief & Development UK.