You will be among my reasons to send hope this Thanksgiving. Your goodness and generosity spread hope across the world, and I am grateful. You carry the Good News of Jesus Christ to the poorest of our world’s poor. You walk alongside our friars, and together we bring a measure of hope, peace and joy to the people we serve.
The Silent Conflict in Myanmar
Today, I ask you to offer hope to Brother Francis Saw Kar Zar Min, OFM and Brother Joe Unterberger, OFM and the poor they serve in the South Dagon slum area in Yangon, Myanmar. (formally Burma) Since 1948, civil war has embroiled the country, killing thousands of people and displacing hundreds of thousands of refugees. Peace agreement after peace agreement has been broken. Every day the friars hear stories of innocent people caught in the crossfire between the government forces and rebel forces. Many are killed or injured. Last year, an artillery shell hit a school in the village of Khamwe Chaung and injured twenty-one children.
War refugees have fled multiple times as villages have been shelled repeatedly, and the sounds of constant fighting permeate the air. Children, women and the elders are the most vulnerable, and many people now go hungry. Others have escaped to the relative safety of the city, but the government has few resources to care for them. As a result they must make a living in the slums or settle in refugee camps.
The Human Crisis
The Mro tribe, are from the state of Rakhine on the western coast of Myanmar. They have fled their traditional homeland because of the continued fighting between government forces and local rebels. They settled on farmland outside Yangon in December 2019. There are both Christian and Buddhist refugees in the camp. Many are women and children. They do not receive any assistance from the local government. They built their own shelters out of bamboo and struggle to find work just to feed themselves. This war is a silent, human crisis that is not covered in our nightly news. Only a few know of their great suffering.
The Fallout of the Pandemic
The global pandemic has only made matters worse. The governmental restrictions put in place to control the disease are only increasing the difficulties of the poor. Many have lost their ability to work odd jobs to earn enough money to feed their families. Hope remains for the poor served by our friars in Myanmar! Br. Francis and Br. Joe collaborate with religious sisters of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, civil authorities and other local people to help feed the poor and refugee families. As Thanksgiving approaches, it is my hope that you will support these Franciscan missionaries as they serve people trapped by this civil war and now the global pandemic.
Together, We Can Bring Hope This Thanksgiving
Food and medicine are desperately needed. Br. Francis and Br. Joe bought enough food to feed 500 poor and displaced families. The demand was high, but they managed to stretch their resources and provided much needed food to 850 families. The need is still so great that the Franciscan friars have asked for an emergency grant to help feed families during the civil war and the pandemic.
Today we ask you to share some of the blessings in your life to help feed suffering families. It only costs $38 to provide enough food to feed a family of six for two months! The emergency food rations consist of rice, noodles, beans, onions and oil. It costs $19,000 to feed 500 families. Every $38 you share will feed a family for two months! And $19 will feed a family for a month.
Share Your Blessings With The Poor
You have been so generous and kind by bringing hope to poor, vulnerable people through your support. Br. Francis and Br. Joe saw that hope in the beautiful smiles of the children the day they delivered food. I ask you today to once again be generous so that we might provide a brighter future for poor families struggling to survive a civil war and the global pandemic. What better way to truly give thanks to God for all the rich blessings of our lives and families by sharing those blessings with some of the poorest of the poor? Your gift today will help Br. Francis and Br. Joe feed poor and send hope this thanksgiving.
Please give generously from your grateful heart. Please renew your faith-inspired support of the poor in the missions. I thank you on their behalf and assure you of our prayers and lasting gratitude. May our Lord reward you for drawing vulnerable children, mothers and elders nearer to the hope, peace and love of God. Happy Thanksgiving!
Peace and good to you and your loved ones,
Brother Andrew Brophy, OFM
P.S. Please send a generous gift today to help Br. Francis and Br. Joe provide food to vulnerable children, women and elders trapped by a civil war and the global pandemic.