Update, March 15, 2021
March 15, 2021
The letter below reflects our ongoing concern for the people of Burma, especially the family and friends of the San Francisco Kachin Baptist Church. The LABC community is invited to take a 5k walk or run on Saturday, March 20 in support of Burma and then make a contribution designated “Burma Relief” to LABC. We will send all gifts to the San Francisco Kachin Baptist Church for their relief efforts. A socially distanced walk will be leaving from the Linda Street entrance to Piedmont Gardens at 9:00 on Saturday.
CARING FOR EACH OTHER’S RELATIVES AND FRIENDS
Frequently at prayer meetings, individuals will share concerns for relatives or friends, usually because they’re dealing with significant health problems or other major struggles in their lives. As we pray in response to those requests, we are also ministering to the person who made them, helping them to feel that the load they are carrying for their loved ones is being shared by other caring persons.
It’s been reported that there are approximately 80,000 people from Burma (also known as Myanmar) now affiliated with American Baptist churches—directly through an ABC region and/or through one of a number of ethnic Baptist bodies that ABC officially recognizes as Associated Mission Organizations. Most came to the US as refugees, settling in over 130 communities in more than 30 states.
They are an important part of our American Baptist family—not only because of our historical ties with Burma starting with the arrival of Anne and Adoniram Judson in Rangoon (now known as Yangon) in 1813, but because of their active presence in our midst now. As we continue to learn about what is happening in Myanmar following the February 1 st coup by the military, let us keep in mind that the oppression and escalating violence in their homeland make for a very heavy burden for families and friends here in the US.
Let us therefore pray that peace with justice may come soon to Myanmar—and also that God would comfort and encourage those from that country who are in our midst. If you and your church haven’t already done so, now would be a good time to see if there are any “Burma diaspora” congregations in your community. If there are, this would also be a fitting opportunity to reach out to them with words of encouragement and solidarity.
In a meeting that I was privileged to attend recently, even some of their pastors acknowledged that they were struggling to know how to pray and what to say in their sermons during this very difficult time. Share a word of hope, and ask how you can continue to be supportive. You may also find more information at the Call to Prayer for Myanmar website issued by the American Baptist Churches USA Office of the General Secretary and the American Baptist Churches Burma Refugee Commission.
Having been in Burma ten times in the past twenty years as a mission volunteer with my wife, usually for six to eight weeks at a time, I have many close friends there. I know what it feels like to worry about them as I follow the news. I can only imagine what it feels like for those with family and life-long friends left behind. I hope you’ll join me in applying to our brothers and sisters from Burma the command to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
Paul D. Aita
When the Aitas returned from a summer of teaching in Burma in 2008, they discovered that refugees from that country were settling in their own community of Kent, Washington. They quickly got to know the Karens who started a church nearby and engaged in many activities with them. They later met and worked with Chin and Kachin refugees and the churches they started. Since January 1, 2019, Dr. Aita has served as Senior Pastor of the Washington Kachin Baptist Church.
No Soup, But Study meets tonight at 6:00 to study the 23rd Psalm. Church Council follows at 7:05.