Below is the second part of a sermon Pastor Bill has prepared for his visit to Thailand. He preached it at First Baptist on December 28th and will be preaching it in the camps in Thailand.
Part Two of Two
Three quarters of my church members are Karen. Here, today I preach to you in English using an interpreter. Later today in St. Paul my Associate Pastor Saul Lu will preach in Karen using an interpreter. Karen people have changed my church for good. A few years after Karen people arrived at First Baptist a deacon in my church said to me: “Pastor, Isn’t it amazing how God works! How did God know that First Baptist Church of St. Paul would need spiritual revival at the beginning of the 21st century so God sent missionaries to Burma 200 years earlier.”
Personally, my life has been blessed by Karen brothers and sisters. Many Karen people have become dear friends. They have been with me in good times and hard times. When April, my 21 year old daughter, died suddenly, Karen people surrounded me with love. At April’s funeral a Karen choir sang “Does Jesus Care?” So many of them had lost loved ones or were suddenly separated from family. When they sang “O yes, He cares; I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief” it was a great comfort to me and my family. I will never forget the kindness I experienced.
One Karen member of my church told me, “When I lived in Burma I thought the U.S. was far, far away – like the moon. Now that I am in America I know that we are not so far apart. I can telephone and communicate with people on the border. Her daughter, who just graduated from college, is volunteering for five months with the Karen Women’s Organization. I hope that other young people will be able to come to Thailand and volunteer to help as well.
I was told that “even though Karen are in the city now, with lots of people we still continue to meet in small home cell Bible Study groups. Some of us continue to meet with people who we knew in Burma or in the camps. When we meet we take offerings to help our friends and families on the border and in Burma.”
Because of the political situation in Burma I know it is impossible to return right now. My Associate Pastor Saul Lu told me that when he was in Tham Hin camp, every morning before sunrise he would pray that his family would be able to return. I know that many of you make that same prayer to God. It is hard to pray and keep praying. There is no easy way for Karen. If you stay and wait to return home or if you apply to go to a third country, either way is difficult.
If you stay and wait to return to Burma be faithful to God. Be patient. Make a difference where you are. Care for one another and encourage each other. If you choose to go to another country, be faithful to God. Be patient. Start learning the language spoken in that country now. Don’t wait. It is not easy, but starting over in a new place will be so much better. Karen people are making a difference around the world by letting the light of the Gospel shine through them.
(Sing “This Little Light of Mine”)
Ta Blut Doe Ma God Bless You All