Thailand and Myanmar share a long border, extending down the peninsula. They also share a history of finding ways to cope with the droves of people who have been pushed over the border (always in the direction of Thailand) because of religious liberty, public dissent against the government, or a voluntary trek toward freedom. The focus of much Baptist mission work has been to find ways to assist these displaced people.
The Karen people, who have suffered so much, captured the hearts of Duane and Marcia Binkley, and since returning to the US, they have continued to support the aspirations and ministry preparation of Karen leaders. Central is fortunate to work alongside these faithful colleagues, and Duane will be guiding our pilgrimage this week.
Our Women’s Leadership Initiative cohort arrived last evening after a grueling thirty-one hour period of travel, crossing many borders. Weary, but delighted to be here, they are prepared for a spiritual encounter with the ways of God in Thailand. That will begin this morning as they worship with the oldest Protestant Church in Southeast Asia, the Maitrichit Baptist Church. (I do believe in wasting no time, the sign of a good, if relentless, schoolmarm).
Yesterday, I had some fun with colleagues as we visited a floating market a couple of hours out from Bangkok. It is a remarkable experience to shop by boat; simply pull alongside a vendor’s stall or sit still and a boat full of mangoes and other fresh delicacies will come to you. A meal can arrive on water also, for many of these hand-paddled little boats are fitted with grills. You can only imagine the sights and smells of this bustling scene.
Tonight I will head to Myanmar for two days of teaching and then re-join our group in Chiang Mai, which is in upper Thailand. While only the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, I would very much like to be in two places over the next couple of days, but I must cross a border.
Myanmar is crossing a political border in these days, and I am eager to learn of continuing progress. A Christian friend in Myanmar gives this perspective:
It is an exciting moment in our history. For many of us, all these things are
new in life . . . We do hope and pray that things would turn toward the
common good of our people in Myanmar and finally peace and justice would
Today, March 13th is Global Day of Prayer for Burma, and Christians of the land welcome spiritual support. I encourage you to sustain this praying, especially in this delicate time as Myanmar crosses the border from military rule to a democratically elected government.
Molly T. Marshall
Central prepares creative leaders to engage and transform the world.