The Karen were our first children, they are our staff and leaders now. God chose them and prepared them for this hour to rescue those lost in darkness here in Southeast Asia. Meet the beautiful People of the Lost Book.
Our First Children
When Lana came to Thailand, she started a prevention home working with a hill tribe known as the Karen. These beautiful people live in the remote jungle mountains of Northern Thailand and are the kind of poverty-stricken community upon which human traffickers prey. They, and all the hill tribe people in Thailand, struggle with poverty, discrimination, lack of education and job opportunities. They are separate from Thais in culture, language, religion and are one of the only people groups in all of Southeast Asia that are primarily Christian.
The People of the Lost Book
The reason for the great numbers of Christians among the Karen is truly an amazing story. The Karen have a long oral history of stories and prophecies passed down from the mists of time. One of these stories is of Y’wa who created the earth and a man and a woman who were our first parents. This first couple ate of the forbidden fruit which brought sickness and death into the world. An ancient prophecy spoke of three brothers who once had a book about Y’wa but they quarrelled and it was tragically lost. But the Karen always believed that someday their white brother would come on white wings to bring the book back to them and teach them about Y’wa. These stories were told around every camp fire in every Karen village as part of their tradition. When the Burmese tried to convert them to Buddhism, the Karen stubbornly refused to accept it because of their strong belief in Y’wa.
In 1817, one of the first American missionaries, named Adoniram Judson, came to Burma. For seven years he labored among the Burmese Buddhists with only one convert. Little did he realize that the Karen, who walked by his house everyday, were singing songs about Y’wa and waiting for their white brother to bring the lost book to them. A Karen man named Ko Thay-byu, who was a murderer and a robber, came to Judson looking for work. Judson hired him and Ko Thay-byu was amazingly curious about the white man and the book he carried. When he heard the gospel he was amazed! This was what his people had been waiting on for hundreds of years! He was baptized and immediately became a missionary.
Ko Thay-byu went from village to village telling his people that he had found the white man and the lost book. The Karen came pouring down the mountains to the missionaries and were baptized by the thousands.
God kept eternity in their hearts. These Karen are the key God has put in the heart of Asia for its salvation. We believe that God is going to use them mightily to reach Asia. The devil has tried to destroy them with ethnic cleansing, degradation and oppression but God has preserved them, just as He did for hundreds of years, keeping them from falling into idol worship. These Karen are our leaders in Life Impact Thailand and many of the children we raised up in our first prevention home have gone on to become pastors, teachers and business people. We can’t wait to see all God will do in these last days through His special people, the Karen. If you would like to read the story of the Karen and other groups like them you can read more in Don Richardson’s book “Eternity in their Hearts.” To purchase click here
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11