Ordination Service at the Karen Conference in St. Paul, MN
Duane Speaking at 10 yr. anniversary at Ft. Wayne Baptist Church
We hope that you all have had a safe and enjoyable summer. Our vegetable garden at home did pretty well in spite of the record-breaking heat! We did quite a lot of traveling this summer as well, related to work and family. So, the summer seems to have flown by! We are happy to report that, thanks to the generosity of many churches and individuals, our MPT ongoing salary support goal has been met for this current fiscal year that ends on Sept. 30th. The goal for the new year which begins on Oct. 1st , will be higher than this year’s goal, but through you, God is able to provide. Thank you!
Earlier this past summer, July 22-25, we attended the Karen Baptist Youth and Karen Baptist Churches in the USA Conference at the First Baptist Church of St. Paul, MN. Over 500 Karen attended from all over the US and some came from Canada, Australia, Thailand and Burma too. The conference had many educational workshops and special speakers. Other highlights were seeing six Karen pastors ordained in a special ceremony and forty-two people were baptized on the last day of the conference. They hope to make this a yearly event and are already planning for the next conference in Buffalo, NY.
There is a great need among the Karen and Chin communities across the US for trained pastoral leadership for their emerging congregations. An exciting opportunity was offered to Chin and Karen pastors who have been previously ordained, where they could take two classes on the campus of Central Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas on Aug. 26-28, 2010. One class was on Baptist Polity and was taught by Dr. Bob Johnson. The other class was on Ministry Ethics which was taught by Dr. Maung Maung Yin of the Myanmar Institute of Theology. The goal of the classes is to give these pastors further training here in the US and so be recognized as pastors within the ABC Regions where they are living and serving. We are grateful to Central Seminary for providing the venue and resources for these classes and we hope that this relationship with the Seminary can bring about more training opportunities for Karen and Chin church leaders in the future as well.
Another exciting development related to our work with the Karen, is a project to print the very first Sgaw Karen and English Parallel New Testament. This project was adopted and funded by the Scottsdale Bible Church in Arizona. The New Testament is expected to be delivered to the US in the coming weeks. This will be a valuable resource for the Karen churches here in the US and the churches and individuals working with these Karen communities. Since the Karen and Chin refugees began arriving in the US, we are aware of around 160 churches across the country that have made connections with these immigrant communities. About two-thirds of these churches are those within our American Baptist denomination.
On Sept. 12 we attended the special 10th anniversary celebration for the Burmese-Karen Baptist Church that meets at the Ft. Wayne Baptist Church in Ft. Wayne, IN. We were happy to celebrate this significant milestone in their church’s history and we wish them God’s blessing as they seek to be “salt and light” to their community there in Ft. Wayne.
We recently received a phone call from our friend Pastor Robert Htway who serves as the Director of the Karen Refugee Committee working on the border of Thailand and Burma. He asked for assistance and prayer for 120 Karen families who were trying to enter Thailand to escape attacks from the Burma army. However, the local Thai authorities would not let them cross the border into Thailand. If they are sent back to Burma they face death or enslavement. This illustrates the fact that there has been no improvement to the situation inside Burma. The Burma army continues to attack unarmed villages of ethnic minorities. General elections in Burma are coming up in November but there is no real hope that democracy groups will be allowed to participate and the ruling junta will again control the outcome of the elections and maintain its’ ruthless grip upon the country as it has done for the past 60 years.
This is the time of the year when the World Mission Offering (WMO) is received in our ABC Churches. Your gifts to the WMO provide support, encouragement and resources to the Baptist churches inside Burma where there is no missionary presence. The Baptist churches in Burma continue to grow while at the same time they have to endure severe restrictions and hardships on a daily basis. Burma remains one of the poorest countries in the world and the citizens of Burma lack access to resources and opportunities that we take for granted here in the US. International Ministries/ABC has maintained an unbroken relationship with the Baptist Churches inside Burma for nearly 200 years, beginning with the work of Adoniram and Ann Judson in 1813. Please give generously to the World Mission Offering so that together we, as American Baptists, can continue to show our love and support for our brothers and sisters inside Burma, as well as other people in need in over 70 countries around the world!
Thank-you for being partners with us in this mission!
Duane and Marcia Binkley