Archive for May, 2011


Feeding the Five Thousand (in reverse)


If you recall from a few months ago, we wrote about spending part of our Christmas day at a camp of Burmese immigrants working construction at the university outside of town. We took some gifts and snacks for the kids and then spent a couple of hours picking up trash. Their camp was overrun with garbage, and there was no system in place to manage it, much less clean up what was already piled up. Our hope was to pick up the recyclable items, sell them for a profit, and then use that money to buy something for the camp. To our disappointment, we barely made a dent that afternoon and sold a ton of recycling for less than $3. Our big dreams were apparently unrealistic. Since then we have tried to find other ways to serve the people there, but our contact person has discouraged us from going out there. This is due to the fact that, as immigrants, they are fairly vulnerable. Therefore, our presence there can bring unwanted attention from the authorities, which could possibly lead to fines and/or deportation. As a result, our effort to bless them was starting to feel somewhat in vain.

Well, the other day Ryan and Chris ran into our contact person. She told them that since we visited them on Christmas, the people at the camp have started a system to manage the trash. They saw how the recycling could be sold, so they found someone who would come buy and haul away the recyclables once a week (the Burmese can’t drive so that was part of the problem). She described how the majority of the trash that filled the camp was now gone. And the people there were using the proceeds from the recycling to improve the camp.

We were obviously excited and amazed to hear how they had taken initiative to improve their situation. We thanked God for the better living conditions for the Burmese, particularly the women and children who spend almost every hour at the camp.

Our friend finished by telling Ryan and Chris that there has been progress with work permits and legal issues, so the level of vulnerability has decreased. She feels that we can visit the camp again without much danger of negative ramifications. Thus, we are going to visit them tomorrow afternoon and spend time playing games with the women and children who stay at the camp while the laborers are working. We look forward to seeing their faces again and pray God will use our effort, as feeble as it might be, to bring blessing upon blessing to them.