I texted my 23-year-old Burmese daughter, Doi, last week right after I read the ASSIST News article titled BURMA: Chin State Government Orders Removal of Cross, Elder Prosecuted. Her reply to me has inspired this blog and my homemade map below.
I remember the night our teenage daughters from Burma stepped into our house for the first time. Doi and her sister Li (not her real name) were hungry on the way home from the airport, so we stopped and got them McDonald’s food. They’d never been inside an American home before. Li sat her Big Mac down on the piano stool and looked around. She turned to us, stood with her back straight, and announced, “I am CHIN.”
Doi piped right up and pointed at her chest and said, “I am KACHIN.”
I thought, I am American. Nice to meet you . . . I held my tongue. Obviously, their state origin in Burma was a matter of great pride to both of them.
Li turned to pick up her Big Mac and it was gone! She looked around, at a loss for the English word (they knew very little English upon arrival), and put her hands up in the air as if to say, “Where did it go?”
I looked in the corner and spied our dog Jasper licking around the paper that used to hold Li’s sandwich! We all laughed and I was thankful that the tension was broken.
Christian friends of mine had given me an “adoption shower” weeks before. Our two biological daughters gave up one of their single rooms to room together so that these two Burmese girls could sleep in one of their bedrooms.
We climbed the stairs. Doi had very little. Li had more. Their bedroom was filled with colored Asian paper lamps hanging from the ceiling, a nice contrast against the pale green painted walls. Their names were tacked onto the door in large white letters. Two white beds with two matching white dressers fit perfectly inside. I looked at my two biological daughters. Doi and Li’s bedroom furniture was new and much nicer than anything they’d ever owned. I made a mental note to make it up to them later with new curtains and bedding.
Doi and Li each had a basket of personal items on their dressers. Doi picked up a bottle and sounded out the letters, S-H-A-M-P-O-O. I helped her with the SH and double OO sound. I was thrilled! They understood our alphabet, so I had something to work with here in teaching them English. Yay!
Immediately, Doi pulled a black book out of her backpack. She handed it to me. The lines were all squiggley inside and I saw that their native language was indeed foreign to me. The question was in my eyes. One of them said, “Bible”. Li pulled her black book out as well.
I said, “Bible? You know the Bible?”
They nodded. I was in tears. We had no idea if our daughters who were coming to us would be Christians or not. Scott and I knew God called us to bring home two daughters from ANY nation where a child needed to escape from being hurt. Here they were holding BIBLES! You could fit all their worldly possessions on a bed. Doi’s would fit on the bed pillow. The Bible HAD to be important to each of them to carry them so far by plane, taxi, and cars. Hallelujah!
What’s more, Adoniram and Ann Judson are heroes of mine. I wrote several high school and college biographies on the adventures of Adoniram and Ann Judson. The Judsons were the first missionaries ever sent out by the United States (in the early 1800s) and without them and their careful translation of the Word of God, our daughters would not own these Bibles.
Li said, “Yes, Mom. I know JUDSON.”
We both got excited but neither had words to communicate. The pictures would have to do.
Later, when Li’s language skills improved, she explained that she knew all about Adoniram Judson and Ann Judson. They learned about the Judsons in Burma and they are highly esteemed in Burma because they were the first missionaries who ever came to them in the early 1800s. She mentioned another missionary who came later on–in the 1860s I think.
Doi did not know Judson, but her family was Christian. Her father died when she was only four years old. He died fighting the Burmese military who tried to kill the Burmese people in the Kachin State. Her mother died about eight years later of tuberculosis. Doi and her older sister were alone in the world.
I’ve never before told Doi and Li’s stories. They were kept close to my heart as the girls grew up in their teen years here in our home. Each one is moved out now and lives in two separate states. I am sharing their stories now for one reason. Doi asked us to pray with her this Saturday for the Christians in Burma.
After I sent Doi the ASSIST News article about the 54 foot cross being torn down in Chin State, Doi responded with more news happening inside Burma. (I hope to share her inside stories tomorrow on this blog). Then Doi said:
“I announced to all our neighbors and churches to pray on February 7th, this Saturday. We’ll meet all our country’s peoples and we’ll pray for this situation.”
I’m her American mom. Of course, I offered to tell all my neighbors (YOU!) and churches to join Doi in her prayers this Saturday.
I created this map–it’s not great, but I had to draw a picture for Doi to show her that I want to help her surround Burma with prayer this Saturday. Doi’s Kachin State and Li’s Chin state are colored in. I want them to see that we are HOLDING UP Burma in prayer.
Maybe you’ll want to join us Saturday?