Friends of Burma, Inc. Newsletter Spring 2016

We are thankful for the opportunity to work together with friends from the U.S.A to help meet the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ in Burma. The Lord has been great to us and we want to highlight some of the success stories as well as a new initiative for supporting orphan students who finish high school and plan to attend college or trade schools.

Lightning for Learning

Back in January, 2016, FOB was approached by a dynamic, mission oriented, family in Tacoma, Washington. This family of mother, father, son, and daughter, were actively raising funds to allow those graduates of the Childcare Centers who had successfully matriculated (passed the final secondary school testing) to continue attending college or trade schools.

This family has given concerts, run races, and solicited donations for these outstanding students. They call themselves Lightning for Learning. In April, Friends of Burma sent the first $4,500 for the further education of 10 of these young people. This is $450 per year for each student. FOB is honored to be able to assist in this project, which will be continuing.

Saw Si Lah



His parents were lost in the Nargis cyclone which killed 134,000 people in May 2008. Pathein-Myaungmya Association leaders sent him to the Childcare Center with his brother Saw Ger Gler. He finished 11th grade in 2011-2012 academic year and currently he is in his second year in the university distance learning program. He has a job from Go Forward press by KBC (Karen Baptist Convention). He works very hard to become a good leader for serving the Lord. He is now studying at Liberal Arts Program from K.B.T.S.(Karen Baptist Theological Seminary).
[Read more]

Micro Credit Groups

Naw Paw Gaw works with the Yangon Karen Women’s Development Group and she sets up microcredit groups of six to twelve women who each develop a business plan to provide income for her family. Projects include sewing, raising chickens or hogs, small retail shop, gardening, buying wholesale and selling retail, etc. The group works together to help each develop her business.

Here is a report from Naw Helen Htoo (with only light editing).
My name is Naw Helen Htoo. I have one sister and she is a school teacher. We both are single women. We still have both parents who are in old age. To take care of my parents, I choose to work at my house while my sister is teaching at school. I took loan from my micro finance group and with my own money, I did betel leaves plantation nearby my house. As our culture, we can use betel leaves for herbal medicine and especially my required market is those who eat betel quid every day. When the leaves grow mature enough to eat, we pick the leaves twice in a month. We can sell it during four months, and we get 2500 kyats for one viss. Approximately we receive net profit 400,000 Ks ($400) per season.

We thank FOB for giving us financial resources to organize micro finance group to get loan in reasonable rate. Now I can support my parents not only by my strength but also by financial support. As my sister has income as a teacher, I also get income even while staying at my home. This experience makes me to have more confidence in my life as a single woman headed household. [Read more]

Report from Saw who helps us in Burma



I am going to Pu Saw Bu tomorrow to send five kids from Bago Yoma to study there. I will give the last portion of donations for clinics to Myaungmya clinic too. I distributed 37 mosquito nets at Ywathit Village at Twantay Township. That is the place of mango and mosquitoes. It is about 3 hour drive from Nyaungywa. We participated in worshiping program. My cousin preached and I have to pray for them. Each of 36 families received a net. They thanked Friends of Burma (FOB) so much. I also thank FOB for receiving mangoes from them. Some said they were using the old dirty nets, and kept the new ones for visitors. [Read more]

Twenty Dollar Christmas gift

Sometimes we stumble on to a meaningful program.

A report from Neil:
A person in our church at Fort Wayne gave the minister $400 with the instructions he was to give twenty dollars to twenty members with the instructions to keep $10 for themselves and give $10 to a person that $10 would encourage, make them feel good about receiving it, and feel someone cares about them. I thought it was a good idea. Most of the people I love do not need Christmas gifts but Christmas is the time of giving. So I decided to repeat the project in Burma. I gave out five gifts to five friends with the same instructions.

Here is a letter from Naw Paw Gaw:
Dear Neil & Diana, Thank you so much for receiving $20. As you want me to give $10 to those who are in need I've already given to them but I also want to participate in this contribution and I added my $10 to this contribution. The needy people are 3 Indian Christian orphans, and their mother recently died and their father died 10 years ago. They live in Aung Kyaw Gone. The elder girl has to have a medical checkup because she takes care of her mother who has HIV almost 3 months closely without knowing about AIDS. Their house also needs to repair it because it is not safe for young girls. I've never known them before but when I heard about them I felt so sorry for them I went to their house and give this $20.
I am sending you a picture taken before their mother died, and their house.



In His service,
Naw Paw Gaw
[Read more]

Burma (Myanmar) Tour: We are hoping to do a joint tour with Baptist International Ministries in 2017. It will probably be a two week tour and participants would meet many of our fine Christian friends there and also many of the fabulous tourist sites.  If interested, please contact Leslie Turley for more details at: leslie.turley@internationalministries.org

Annual Meeting:  The Annual Meeting of Friends of Burma, Inc. was held in Peoria, AZ.  Michele Kessler and Dr. John Graveley joined the board, Judy Lundy came back on the board, and Baptist International Ministries was represented by Jim Wiegner and Leslie Turley.  It was a very good, positive meeting. The next annual meeting will be in Fort Wayne, IN in July 2017 because Adam is going to work in Burma.  

Wish List.
  1. Microcredit:  $300 to start a group of six women to do business.
  2. Scholarship money for an aspiring composer and musician studying in Silliman University.  He is from Ko Tha Byu Seminary.  About $4000 more per year is needed for 4 years.
  3. Ongoing support of orphans and children in need at the childcare facilities.  $360 per year per child.  This does not completely support each child.  The other funds are raised there in Burma.
  4. Medicated Mosquito Nets: These are treated so mosquitoes won’t bite through them.  They are quite effective in preventing malaria because the mosquitoes bite mostly at night. Cost is $8 each.
  5. Eye Glasses.  $17 per student.  For the whole story go to: https://goo.gl/6WCVxd
  6. SakHanTha Health Workers Training School.  They would like to give each graduate a copy of “Where There Is No Doctor” books at $4 each.  160 books are needed each year.  $640. They would also like to give each student a copy of “Where There Is No Dentist” book at $4 each.  160 are needed $640.  For a write up about this school, go to: https://goo.gl/7xM31M
This newsletter was prepared by May Pearl Cartee, Diana Sowards, Neil Sowards and Lwin Moe.

Wanted: English translation of Saw Aung Hla, History of the Karens, 1939.  Does anyone have this book or know where we can get it?

Critical Thinking.  We are gathering material that teach Critical Thinking.  Can anyone help us?

Resources:The Last Missionaries, May Pearl Cartee & Neil Sowards, Amazon.Games Played in Mai Lai Refugee Camp, Neil Sowards, Lulu & Amazon.Life in Burma, Neil Sowards, Amazon & Lulu.Electronic copies are freely available on Friends of Burma website: http://friendsofburma.org/resources

Friends of Burma, Inc. 548 Home Ave. Ft. Wayne, IN 46807Tel. 260-745-3658, Email: neildianasowards@juno.com
Website: http://friendsofburma.org, Blog: http://blog.friendsofburma.org
E-Newsletters: http://news.friendsofburma.org

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