(Note: As Kara and Craig Garrison send out their emails from Thailand, I'll continue to post them here on Namasté. Keep in mind they're involved in Christian relief and their faith may fall within the definition of evangelical initiative. Nonetheless, my experience in human rights work with Cuban political prisoners confirms for me that the power of projected goodness, whether that be defined as prayer / meditation / positive thoughts, etc. really is the most powerful and sustaining force in the lives of those who suffer on the scale that those in Myanmar do at this moment.......~Tanya~)
Dear Family and Friends,
It has taken a week to recover from the emotional fury that we have experienced. The pictures that were being sent to us along with reports of nationals who were able to penetrate the depths of the delta region were overwhelming to say the least. For several days I (Kara) felt unable to function, one day in particular was difficult and even the most menial task of making Jake's lunch was a mental challenge that I struggled with.
Many of you have written and told us of your prayers and the prayers of your Bible Studies and Churches. In the end, we want to tell you that we believe this to be the most effective thing that you can do. We honestly mean that. Obviously, many of you have agreed with this assessment and have shared with us the things you have prayed for...things that we ourselves have prayed. Of particular interest is Psalm 25, a psalm I have prayed over the country of Myanmar since the year before we left the States. Someone recently wrote and said that they were also praying this psalm over the country. We are declaring that the ancient cities, and ancient peoples lift up their heads and let the King of Glory come and usher in a season of justice upon the government and mercy upon the poor and oppressed of this nation.
Throughout history, God has been concerned about the plight of the poor and the abuses of power targeted at them, even among nations that are dedicated to worshipping other gods. We believe that this is true today.
While Craig and many other Americans–who are dedicated to the victims of the cyclone and the criminal lack of action by Burmese government–have been frustrated about "getting in and getting things done," they have not been deterred. The rebellious spirit that tends to run through our blood when we are incensed with injustice and forbidden to act, tends to be stirred up, and injects us with new adrenaline. New strategies are formed, new risks are taken, new alliances are made. While clear-cut paths to helping have been barred by nature, soldiers, and politics, many organizations have met together to strengthen networks, pool resources, and get goods into the delta region through courageous nationals.
IS THERE ANYTHING GOOD HAPPENING? Yes. While we admit that all the horror stories you have read or heard about are probably true AND worse, there is a positive issue arising. Individuals from the Christian community who have played it safe to avoid skirmishes with the government, have come forward to assist their people. One pastor came out of the country and announced, "I am tired of being afraid, and I am tired of running and hiding from my government! I want to help my people." He was loaded up and sent off with a team of nationals who were in agreement with him. People inside Myanmar have been immobilized by fear long enough and if their own government won't help the people these people will.
Tens of thousands of people in the delta region of Burma are still squatting in rising puddles with tarps draped over them, children are still crying from hunger, parents are still mourning their lost children, the government leaders are still lying to the world BUT there is a glimmer of hope where there was previously only increasing darkness. THANK YOU for the various ways you have personally helped. People have been writing and asking how to give and it has been a great privilege to channel your giving. Most of all, thank you for praying and for assuring us that you are praying... we feel this is the greatest advocacy we can provide ... asking people to pray not only for the survivors and their physical needs, but for a spiritual change in the nation.
If you are interested, this appears to be an informative article:
With love and gratitude,
Craig, Kara and Kids
P.S. For those still wanting to know how to give with assurances that the money you give will go directly to help people on the ground, the organization Craig works with, Partners Relief & Development, has already sent in tens of thousands of dollars worth of cash and equipment to assist those caught in this crisis. We have people that we are working with directly on the ground (who we worked with before when we lived in Myanmar/Burma) who are getting all the necessary items to those in need. Additionally, the areas that this group on the ground can't reach as effectively (in the delta region) we are supplying nationals with resources to get crucial items to those desperate for food, water, shelter and medicine. Visit our website at http://www.partnersworld.org/ for more information on how to give.