Many of our small groups are heavily invested in the lives of the Karen refugees from Myanmar (the country formerly known as Burma). Myanmar is on the news lately because of the pro-democracy demonstrations and the marching Buddhist monks. Channel 11 is doing a report (or did it last night) on the resettlement of Karen's in the Twin Cities and it will probably include interviews with Jennifer Dunbar and Denise Coronado of Five Oaks. Here's a note Jennifer recently sent to Dana Hayden (our Outreach Director) and me and I'll include it here to get the words out.
Hi, Henry & Dana.
I hope you both had a great weekend and had fun getting soaked at the Harvest Festival. Thanks for being such good sports. It's probably the first time any of the Karen children have been allowed to throw sponges at a pastor. :-)
Denise Coronado and I have been talking about the magnitude of the needs for the Karen and the need to get others involved. For instance, I know of 6 new families who arrived between Tuesday and Friday of this past week: 2 families of unknown size, 1 family of 8 (with another on the way), 2 families of 9, and 1 family of 10! I'm not sure if there were others we weren't told about. We've given some help with to the family of 8 and 1 family of 9.
Denise suggested that it would be good to let other churches in the area know of the needs. We could at least present them with information on the Karen, possible ways to help, and invite them to consider getting involved. Neither of us knows the proper channels for doing this or the most effective way to go about doing this.
Could you please give us feedback with your thoughts on how we might effectively spread the word to other churches in the area about the Karen and their need for help? I think the large numbers of recent Karen arrivals has overwhelmed the resettlement agencies, the Karen community, and the few churches who are helping already.