Peter, writing to the church persecuted and scattered throughout Asia, encourages them by saying, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.”
Over the past ten days an Elder of my church plant and I had the privilege of visiting and spending time with the leaders of the Karen people, 200,000 of which are living as refugees on the border between Thailand and Burma. Brutally oppressed by the Burmese army as 'insurgents' and rejected by the Thai authorities these people live in appalling conditions, and yet are some of the most generous, faithful and joyful people I have ever met!
After arriving on the border, we were chauffeured around in a 4x4 by the personal body guard of one of the Karen leaders. It was weird being driven around the beautiful countryside by a professional body-guard bearing the nickname 'skinhead'. We visited christian orphanages, schools, churches and church plants scattered throughout the jungle, however the majority of our time was spent teaching the leadership from 1 Peter and Acts. We sweated, laughed, cried, ate and prayed with our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. And when we had to come home a bit of our heart stayed behind with these beautiful people.
Peter's message of joyfully standing firm in the amazing salvation of Jesus Christ in spite of cruel and oppressive persecution remains a message for the church today, especially for our brothers and sisters amongst the Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand. Please pray for them. They are oppressed on every side and yet joyfully standing firm in Jesus. If you would like to find out more about supporting the work of planting and nurturing churches amongst the Karen people please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org