FBCS had the privilege of welcoming the Karen Baptist Church Youth Group, Akron, Ohio, and an amazing Christian woman named Sunday Moo. Sunday is an American Baptist Women’s Ministries Scholarship Student for Akron, Columbus, Marion and Rio Grande Association. Sunday is working as an administrator with Karen Baptist Church in Akron. In addition, she works as a full time employee at Akron Children’s Hospital as the Karen Interpreter. She plans to enroll in fall (2015) classes to pursue a degree to equip her for ministry in the U.S. She and her husband both work and have one daughter. She likes to play volleyball and participates in the church choir. In her spare time she helps people in the community solve their daily problems due to the language, culture and system barriers.
About the Karen People
From the website for Karen Culture and Social Support Foundation
The Karen people are an ethnic group living in South-East Asia. The Karen people are culturally and linguistically diverse. While most Karen people are Skaw Karen, there are other Karen cultural and language groups such as Pwo Karen and Bwe Karen.
There are about seven million Karen people living in Burma (Myanmar), about half a million Thai-Karen whose ancestral villages are in Thailand, and smaller groups of Karen living in India and other South-East Asian countries. There are about 140,000 Karen refugees living in camps in Thailand, and about 50,000 Karen refugees have been resettled in America, Canada, Australia, and some European countries.
Most Karen people are subsistence farmers, living in small mountain villages, and growing rice and vegetables and raising animals.
Some Karen people live in the Irrawaddy Delta in central Burma, and thousands of Karen were killed by Cyclone Nargis in 2008.
About one hundred and fifty years ago Christian missionaries started working with the Karen and now about 15% of Karen people are Christians. Most Karen Christians are Baptist but some are Anglican, Catholic, or Seventh Day Adventist.
There have been civil wars among the Karen people over the last 30 years. This has been due to the fact that the country has been run as a dictatorship despite the public elections for a democratic leadership.
Since 2013 there has been little fighting in Karen State; there have been on and off ceasefire negotiations between the Burmese government and several Karen armed groups. The Burmese Army has launched a massive offensive against the Kachin, Shan and Ta’ang (Palaung) peoples in northern Burma, and led the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in western and central Burma.
More than 150,000 Karen people have fled to refugee camps.
Sunday shared a part of this story with our congregation today. She also shared some of Moses’ excuses.
New International Version (NIV)
10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind?Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
“…if I can do it, we can do it.” Our congregation has been inspired. We do understand the grace that God gives through Jesus to attempt impossible things; because it is His Spirit that accomplishes these things.
The youth group shared songs and we worshiped and communed with our Karen brothers and sisters. For nearly ten years there have been families developing in our area. In a short time the Akron Karen Baptist Church has gone from a few refugees to 70 families! Praise God.