3 Guys and a MovementRich Stigall
From: Joe Knittig, Home in KC
We ended our SE Asia visit in Mae Sot, on the Thai/Burma border, the birthplace of The Global Orphan Project.
Our first local church partner was led by Pastor Emmanuel (“Manny”) Sinoy. Manny ministers to displaced Karen people forced to flee Burma for their lives. The Karen are an ethnic minority within Burma who’ve faced and continue to face brutal conditions within Burma. Hundreds of thousands of orphaned and abandoned Karen children pack the Thai/Burma border.
The first 3 children Manny brought into care in 2003 were 3 Karen orphans. One of the very first was Moses, given the name “Moses” by his family in Burma before he was orphaned.
We had the great privilege of spending time with Moses and the other children, and hearing their hearts. Moses has become a huge help to Manny and the local church. He obviously speaks Karen, and helps raise and teach the little ones. He drives a bus to help get Karen refugees to church. This boy who was once lost is now a young man, a reliable leader, and growing stronger each day. Moses is ordinarily a very stoic young man with a firm contenance, and steady hand. Quiet. Unshakable.
Manny asked Moses if he’d be willing to share his testimony at church last Sunday. Moses gave no answer, neither a yes or no. He’s never done that. He prefers to quietly help behind the scenes.
We spoke at church of another orphan boy named Moses. One among an enslaved people, out of their homeland. One placed by his mother in a papyrus basket and left in the reeds on the river. One unlikely orphan, handpicked by the Lord to one day go to his people and lead them out of captivity.
At the end of the service, Moses walked to the pulpit, cleared his voice, and looked up to speak to all of us there (including the other 39 Karen orphans in the church’s care). He quietly and matter-of-factly recounted the challenges of life with his grandparents, who became unable to care for him. He coolly spoke of the great heartache and blessing – at the same time – of having a safe place to go with Pastor Manny, and hope of a future. He warmed as he began speaking of that future. He talked about the Karen people still in Burma; about the help they desperately need; about the need for Karen to take great risks to go back and serve the people where they are, no matter the danger. His passion became palpable. His lip began quivering with this conviction. Moses then set his jaw, and described how HE will be one who will go to seminary to become equipped to go back to Burma with the Hope of Christ. Him of all people. An orphan boy. As his words spilled from his mouth, Moses’ steely resolve broke. And he wept. Something Manny had never seen in Moses. Manny cried. We all cried. And we praised the Lord together for the unlikely, confounding way He works; the way He leads from the humble bottom up.
That night, the children – with Moses’ leadership – asked to have a special time with me and Mike in an upstairs room at the church. Of course we agreed! We showed up. With the help of some of the older kids, they had gathered enough money to buy a bunch of gorgeous roses. They had Manny, Mike and me stand at the front the church. One by one, each child came forward to say thanks for our love, and presented a rose as a sign of their love to us.
From Manny and Moses, the Lord has rallied all of you to birth a global movement of orphan care. It’s a movement of the Gospel. It’s a movement where the fatherless teach us about Fatherhood, and where the givers receive. It’s a movement that virally spreads here and there, the reach of which we’ll not fully know this side of Glory.
What a way to end our journey: celebrating what the Lord has done; dreaming of what He’ll do next; expecting more than we can ask or imagine!
Thanks, Manny. Thanks, Mike and Beth. Thanks, GO Family.
Faithfully yours, Joe