International Ministries

Pray for Duane and Marcia Binkley

June 9, 2009 PrayerCall

Duane and Marcia serve Burmese ethnic Karen and Chin refugees both in the United States and Thailand. The Binkleys work with the tens of thousands of refugees coming to the U.S. while continuing to work with those still remaining in refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar (Burma) border. They are jointly appointed by International Ministries and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF). Within the U.S. they work with national and regional mission entities of American Baptist Churches USA and ABC and CBF local churches.

 Duane writes: I am sad to tell you that we got word from Thailand that the people living in Ler Ber Her in Burma have been temporarily moved across the Moei River into Thailand due to an attack. Ler Ber Her knows what being attacked is all about.  They were first attacked about 8 years ago.  They fled and rebuilt the village only to be attacked again.  So again, they had to flee and rebuild.  After being attacked yet again, they faced rebuilding but were losing strength. 

 So before they re-built the village, the Christians first gathered together to worship and to dedicate themselves, their homes and their village to the Lord.  To remind themselves of this commitment, they erected a large post and placed it in the middle of the village.  So every time they passed this post, they would be reminded that they belonged to the Lord.  Remarkably, even though they are less than 2 miles from the nearest Burma army outpost, after they first dedicated themselves and the village to the Lord, the village has remained unharmed for 7 years.

Sadly, the attacks began once again on June 6th and they continue with the result that more than 4,000 people have already fled the area and come into Thailand. It is the rainy season and it has been raining heavily.  That has been good in that it slowed progress of the attacks, but bad in that it makes conditions very difficult for those that are fleeing. Several organizations are trying to provide temporary shelters (plastic sheets for tents) and food for those that flee into Thailand.  

 Those coming into Thailand report that they are running from fighting, the expectation of fighting or fear of being used as a porter for the Burma army.  Many hope the fighting is temporary and that they can return in time.  However, it appears the Burma army has mounted a large and sustained effort to take control of that part of the border.