3.12.08

Christmas refugee

A story written by a Myanmarese refugee boy:


"...My school was miles away from my house. Even though I had to walk to school I never gave up because I want to be a scientist. I believe Myanmar will be a rich, peaceful and democratic country in the future so now I’m working hard in my studies. I left Myanmar because of the unfair government. One day when we celebrated Christmas we ran out of engine oil so my dad went to the town and bought some oil. While he was away some of the police and soldiers came and ordered us to stop the ceremony and asked who was in charge of it. Two pastors were arrested. I was so worried for my dad and searched for my dad. Fortunately I found my dad on the way. I told my Dad what happened and from that day he left the village. We faced many problems, the soldiers were searching for my dad and threatened us. They forced us to do hard labour. Later we managed to contact my dad who was in Malaysia so we left our country to join him.

My mother, brothers and I took a bus from Myanmar to Thailand. We stayed there for 10 days. Then we went to Malaysia by bus, boat, and on foot. On the way we were very hungry and thirsty. We didn’t eat for 5 days. And we were really, really cold and shivering. It took 20 days to get to Malaysia. We were so happy to see our dad in Malaysia. We feel unsafe here because we don’t have any documents. So we have terrible nightmares everyday. When someone knocks on our door at night we run and hide under the bed. My hope for Myanmar is to be a developed country so I am trying my best. When I am relocated to another country I will study hard and be educated so I can serve my country as much as I can. Please pray for democracy in Myanmar."


And another story from a 13 year old refugee:

"I fled the Burmese government because of the unjust rule in my country. Everyday soldiers were searching for my father. They accused him of celebrating Christmas without permission from the authority."


Both of these boys are refugees because of Christmas. Celebrating Christmas forced them to flee their family and their country. Not for lighting their tree or hanging their stockings or going to see Santa in the mall, but for simply recognizing and celebrating Jesus' birth.


Although I'm sad that I will miss a greater part of my traditional Christmas celebrations this year, at least I have the freedom to celebrate it as I choose. Not the freedom to go see Santa or make Christmas cookies, but the freedom to celebrate the birth of our Lord. So may we appreciate Christmas so much more this year knowing that others are persecuted for it. Let's be grateful for the freedom we have to express our faith in such a way.

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