Karen and Karenni Ministry:
We currently have the priviledge of serving a growing community of Karen (Kah - REN) and
Karenni (Kah - REN - nee) immigrants.
(If you have never heard of the Karen or Karenni, you are not alone! Many people have asked us the same questions.)
So who are they? Where are they from?
The Karen and Karenni are two different ethnic minority groups from Burma and Thailand.
Many of them came to the U.S. as refugees.
What language do they speak?
They speak Karen and Karenni respectively.
(Unfortunately, the Karen and Karenni don't understand each other
when they each speak in their native languages, so they use their
second languages or third languages of Burmese and/or English to
understand each other!)
So how did it all start?
Well, our ministry with them began quite simply, actually. God placed them right down the street from us and opened the doors for us to reach out to them. It began with a simple invitation from the Pastor! That Sunday, quietly and unobtrusively, dressed in their beautiful and colorful traditional Karen clothing, they trickled into the back of our church! What a pleasant surprise!
Soon after, they began to attend not only our church services, but also our English as a Second Language Classes, which up to that point, had been mainly attended by people from our Spanish-speaking community. After some time, as the ESL group grew, it was decided that to better serve the people, the group would divide into two - one to serve our Spanish-speaking neighbors and the other - to serve our Karen and Karenni-speaking neighbors.
God has truly been blessing them and us with a rich measure of His Spirit. First of all, he has given us people in the congregation who are very dedicated to this outreach ministry. What a blessing they are! On the Karen side, He has blessed us with not only faithful attendees, but also with several who speak English well enough to serve as translators in the ministry outreach efforts! At this point, we primarily use English and rely heavily on a few people within their group as translators. They assist in translating both in church (for the readings) and in our special Sunday morning Karen Bible study. (Currently, we prepare the studies in basic English and then use the Karen translation of the Bible verses from a Karen Bible we've found online. Then, we go back and forth with the translators to go through the lessons which include many questions and answers as well as points for discussion.)
We thank God for the blessings he has given us in our diverse family of faith! We hope to be able to work with the Karen and Karenni people more and to eventually be able to offer them even more Biblically-sound, Christ-centered resources in their own language in the future. Please pray for this growing ministry - that God would grant us wisdom and insight as we work with them, that He would continue to provide us with translators, and that He would work among them to raise up leaders desiring one day to be lay evangelists or pastors.
The Karen/Karenni ESL classes are held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Consider volunteering to help out in this important ministry! No previous teaching experience is necessary.
As our numbers grow, we can always use more help!
For more information or to volunteer, please contact Rachel.
In addition to the evening ESL classes, we also have the priviledge of working with some of the Karen children everyday as they attend our school, Christ St. Peter Lutheran School.
Join us in supporting this exciting and important ministry!
For more information - Contact Us