“We have no hope, no house, no land, no job - how can we go home?” the young man said with quiet intensity as we sat on the bamboo floor of the Bible school after the worship service. He is only one of the 2 million refugees who fled Myanmar due to fighting in their homeland. Over 150,000 have been confined to refugee camps on the Thai-Myanmar border over the last 30 years – imagine a whole generation for whom ‘home’ looks like a bamboo prison! These are the forgotten ones – you hardly ever hear about their plight in the news.
A young Christian woman who now lives as a refugee in another country shared her story with me. She and her family fled for their lives after her mother refused the demands of some soldiers to open her shop on a Sunday. Shortly after, her village was burned to the ground. Her new home is only slightly better. Recently when she got into a taxi, the driver saw she was an illegal immigrant and threatened to take her directly to the police station unless she paid him the equivalent of $48, or nearly a week’s wages. She begged him to take her to her parents’ apartment, and they scraped together every penny they had so she wouldn’t be sent to a detention camp. Yet, incredibly, our sisters and brothers remain strong in their diaspora, faithfully testifying to God’s goodness. They wait and pray for justice and compassion in their homeland as well as where they now live. The young women and men that Ann taught at a Bible school in a refugee camp minister in remote communities on the weekends. Some refugee churches have started drug and alcohol recovery programs. They bring healing and hope to broken lives … in their own brokenness.
Please remember to pray for these dear ones - for safety, comfort, and for hope and a future. (Jer. 29:11)