How Will You Use Your Freedom?


This year, on the Fourth of July, while everyone else was celebrating, I was thinking about the Karen people.

The country Myanmar (formerly Burma) is torn by the world’s longest civil war—it started in 1948. The government is doing whatever it takes to wipe out many ethnic groups, primarily the Karen.

On July 11–14, our church is hosting something called “Run for the Border” to raise money and awareness for the refugees who have fled their homes because of the war. About 10 people are running 100 miles in four days, with about 30 people joining them for shorter distances on day three, and several groups who committed to set a mileage goal to run/walk/bike between Memorial Day and July 14.

The idea is to make a physical sacrifice while also raising money and awareness. The money will be used to send food to the refugees living on the border between Myanmar and Thailand. They can focus on rebuilding their lives if they don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. The funds we raise aren’t actually paying for the food (Feed My Starving Children is doing that), but it will cover shipping. Ten cents is enough to ship one meal.

Jonathan and I decided to ask our small group to participate. Four of us are, and we’ve committed to raise $500 and log a total of 425 miles over the seven-week period.

To be honest, I decided to do it mostly because I wanted something to force me to be active—I needed a goal if I was going to get in shape. And I’ve spent a lot of hours working on promotion and registration details because our department is responsible for the whole thing. It felt like just another church event. Just another thing we’re doing. Just another big production coming up fast with not a lot of time to plan. Just another reason to be stressed out.

But then I watched this video and everything changed. (If you have the time, please watch this 40-minute video and do something with what you learn. Be warned that it is graphic at times.)

I couldn’t believe how awful some of the stories were—women tortured, raped, and killed in ways I can’t bring myself to put in print; doctors and nurses killed for caring for those the government had injured; and people with missing limbs because they stumbled across land mines when they returned to find loved ones in villages the government had torched. And I know there are more, even worse things happening.

So this year, while my country was celebrating our Independence, I couldn’t help but think about the people of Burma. My freedom seems unfair when I think about what they experience on a daily basis.

In the video, a colonel of the Karen army says, “Fighting enemies in the forest is not going to win the war. We need like other support. Media support and also publicity overseas . . . especially in America. I think that the moment we can move the population, then the government can also do something . . .  the government will not do anything unless the American people support.” So that’s what I’m doing. I’m taking advantage of the freedom I have to fight for freedom in Burma. Please join me and do the same.

If you can help provide meals and hope for the people of Burma, visit our donation page. Help us meet our goal of providing 5000 meals.