A young participant at the Karen Youth Conference
We had the opportunity to announce the start of Foundations Judson Communties classes at the Karen Youth Conference
The food line always drew a crowd
Evening services had the church full to capacity
Youth came of all ages
Karen clothing was on sale as well.
We led three, 1 1/2 hour workshops on theological education in the US that were well attended
Lunch was popular whether inside or out
There is always lots of singing
A soccer and volleyball tournament was held Saturday afternoon
Its not the Olympics, but trophies were given to volleyball and soccer winners
Thra Toh Lwee of Ft. Wayne was ordained on Sunday afternoon
Sorting books for the Bible School in Mae La with Polly Sedziol of the Used Book Depository of Montgomery Community Church in Cincinnate
20 Boxes of books that arrived from Birmingham, Al
Over 1400 books so far ready for shipment to Mae La
Below is another update about some recent developments in our ministry that we thought you would be interested in:
Karen Baptist Churches – USA Annual Youth Conference
Recently, on July 26-29, we attended the annual Karen Youth Conference sponsored by the Karen Baptist Churches of the USA and the American Baptist Home Missions Societies (ABHMS). This was the fourth year for the conference and the second time that it was held in Ft. Wayne, IN. at the Ft. Wayne Baptist Church. This year 350+ youth attended the conference from about 20 states and 30 cities. The theme for the conference was “Walk in Wisdom” (Colossians 5:7a). We presented three workshops about theological education in the US. We enjoyed interacting with the young people and hearing about their dreams and aspirations for the future. To those that are still in high school, we encouraged them to stay the course and finish their high school diploma as that is the key stepping stone for any further education that they may want to pursue. Some of them were already in college so we presented information about considering theological training as a calling and a career. We emphasized that with many new churches and congregations forming among the immigrant communities from Burma, there will soon be a need for trained church leaders to help these emerging churches. The younger generation is in a unique position to serve as a “bridge” between their traditional Karen culture and their adopted American culture in the years to come. Other activities included worship services, lots of singing groups, volleyball & soccer tournaments and good fellowship. The last day of the conference was highlighted by an ordination service for the Karen pastor of the Karen congregation in Ft. Wayne and a baptism service. To see photos of the Youth Conference go to: http://karenkonnection.org/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=2010
Donations for Karen Baptist Bible School/College that Burned Down
When we went to Ft. Wayne, we took boxes of theological books that Central Baptist Seminary had collected to restock the library of the Karen Baptist Bible School & College at the Mae La refugee camp in Thailand that was destroyed by a fire at the end of April. At the conference we picked-up more books collected by the Rothang Chhangte of ABHMS. After the conference in Ft. Wayne, we went on to Cincinnati to pick up another load of books. These books were donated by the Used Book Depository of the Montgomery Community Baptist Church. Then, we drove to Lexington, KY. and delivered the books to a Christian organization called “The International Book Project” that ships books to various countries around the world. Waiting for us at the Project office were boxes of donated books from Catherine Allen and the Mountain Brook Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. and books from two seminaries in the Lexington area. Already over 1,400 books have been collected and more donations are expected from Duane’s sister in Ohio who runs a non-profit used book business and others. So, all together, we estimate that about 1,500 to 1,600 books will be donated and shipped to Thailand around the middle of August! The shipment should arrive in time for the start of the second semester at the school. We are grateful for all the donors and the efforts that people have made to help this book appeal be a success! To see some photos of the book collection you can go to: http://karenkonnection.org/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=2330
We would also like to thank all those who sent in donations to International Ministries and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The classrooms, auditorium and dining hall have already been built and classes started at the end of June. The ABC and CBF donations will be used to re-build the new Library building at the Bible School and now with the donated books, we can also help re-stock the shelves of the library! It is a blessing to see the Baptists here in America play a visible role in helping our brothers and sisters in the faith in a refugee camp in Thailand so they can know that they are not forgotten.
FOUNDATIONS-Judson Communities (FJC) Classes
We had thought that we were set to have the first classes start in mid-August, but due to a scheduling conflict that same weekend, the first classes will now be held on Sept. 14-15 at the Ft. Wayne Baptist Church in Ft. Wayne, IN. The classes will be held once a month over the coming months through the middle of next year. The subjects that will be covered are: Home and hospital visitation; Services such as Weddings, Funerals, Communion; Baptist Legal matters: Non-profit status, tax deductions, performing weddings, licensing; Counseling: Trauma and family issues; Youth ministry; Congregational nurture; Spiritual Formation of new believers; Sunday school & Christian Education; Music and worship arts. The other courses in FJC include: New Testament: A Brief Overview; Old Testament: A Brief Overview; Baptist Heritage: A Brief Overview; Church Administration; Ministry Contextualization; Ministry Ethics; Missional Church; Proclamation and Theology. We are grateful for the partnership we have with Central Baptist Theological Seminary that allows us to adapt their FOUNDATIONS program to serve the needs of the immigrant congregations from Burma that are forming here in the US.
US Policy on Sanctions against Burma/Myanmar
We recently received the following report from the US Campaign for Burma:
Congress has passed the renewal of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act: “Because of your phone calls and emails, Congress recognized that much more needs to be done to ensure genuine democracy, national reconciliation and human rights for all in Burma by renewing the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act (BFDA). The passing of the renewal of the BFDA shows that Congress agrees with you; that looming problems in Burma still need to be addressed. Even today, there are hundreds of political prisoners still behind bars. The violence and cruel treatment against ethnic minorities, predominantly carried out by the Burmese military, is as prevalent as ever. In anticipation of foreign investments, land confiscation cases are on the rise, leaving many villagers and farmers without land or a home. The passing of the BFDA signifies that Congress recognizes the need to maintain some leverage in Burma in order to ensure genuine democracy, national reconciliation, human rights, justice and accountability for all the people of Burma. Thank you for helping us to take steps to fight for freedom in Burma and for speaking out for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
We ask that you continue to pray for the leaders of Burma/Myanmar that they will have the commitment and desire to keep moving forward with significant and lasting reforms that will ensure that all peoples of whatever ethnicity, class or religion will enjoy equal freedoms and opportunities as full citizens of Burma.
Finally, we thank all of you for your donations to our ongoing support, as well as the gifts that were given during the recent “Matching Fund” program. With your help, we hope to be able to reach our Personalized Support Goal (PSG) for this current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30th!
May God continue to guide and direct all of us to even more effective service for His glory.
Duane and Marcia Binkley