Who would have ever thought that three (3) Filipinas would answer God’s call to go to Maesot, Thailand. I never heard of this place until recently when our partner in HIS1040 mentioned that he was going to visit 3 brave Filipinas in Maesot. To satisfy my curiosity, I went to search for the name in google and I found some entries about the place.
Maesot is located on the Western border of Thailand located just about 3.1 miles from Myanmar (Burma). It is a busy border town with dozens of ethnic groups living in the area. On any day one can easily run into 4 or 5 different exotic hats and faces. The Karen, Hmong, Yao, Lahu, Buddhist and Muslim Burmese all live together in this frontier town speaking different languages, wearing different cloths, eating different foods, and dancing different dances.
It is usually called “Little Burma” because the Burmese population is the majority group more than the Thai population. Burmese script is written all over on every store shop front and most of the men walk around town wearing longyis (sarongs). There are traditional Burmese tea shops on every street corner.
The nearest Burmese town to Maesot is Myawaddy. Foreigners can only cross the border to enter Myanmar for day trips. There are 3 refugee camps around Maesot. Many Burmese, especially the Paw Karen people, have crossed the border to flee the rule of a very repressive military Junta which does little to improve the rights and living conditions of the povery stricken people. Special target of the Burmese military are the Chin and Kachin minorities who are heavily Christian. They are severely persecuted by Myanmar’s repressive, pro-Buddhist military regime.
A group of Chin and Kachin activists met with U.S. officials in Washington in February 2007. Their reports included the rape of Chin and Kachin Christians, forced shutdown of churches, and the taking of children from their Christian parents, placing them in Buddhist monasteries to become novice monks under the false pretense of ensuring a good education. Also, government soldiers are driving thousands of minority Christians from their villages. Those hiding from their own government are called Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Chuck Colson has referred to Burma’s military government as “one of the most repressive and brutal regimes in the world.”
The battle against the Burmese Christians and other minorities which has been going on for the past 5 decades, particularly those from the rebel groups have caused the border town of Maesot to overflow with Burmese refugees.
Maesot is God’s opportunity for Roselyn, Pappet, and Joy. This is the place where they can share the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to Burmese migrant workers – mostly Buddhists – who cross the border, often times illegally, to find work and opportunity in Maesot. It will be a great challenge to demonstrate the love of Christ to Myanmar’s poorest of the poor.
Posted by: Lina