Burmese refugee children had a unique experience to study the American form of Christianity in a Vacation Bible School in South Tulsa, United States, this week. About ten Missouri Synod Churches took part to organize this bible school in this vicinity.
The Bible school was organized at Riverside apartments, 7901 S. Riverside drive, which is home to numerous Burmese refugee families.
Apart from the Burmese refugee children, some children belonging to Hispanic community were also present in the school accompanied by some white and black youths.
The school is held from Monday to Thursday in a playing field at the apartments. Children are provided with all the regular school work along with all kinds of extracurricular activities. They also do recreational work in the meantime at the school.
But, as the name depicts, the main purpose of the school is to give these immigrant/refugee children some knowledge about Christianity in an interesting yet proper manner.
Rev. Leonard Busch of Good Shepherd Lutheran church and the director of the missions for the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in Oklahoma was one of the chief organizers of the schools. He said that it always came as a pleasure to him to work with the immigrant population in the vicinity. “The primary goal of the Vacation Bible School is to get the gospel to people who may not have heard it before,” he said.
Busch said that this was the first time that they had worked with the Burmese ethnicity of immigrants, but he said it was worth their while. He said that refugees started to arrive in Tulsa in the early days of 2011 from Burma, “Many of them settled in apartment complexes in South Tulsa.”
Busch said that the children are mostly introduced to the basic Christian concepts. He said that the school tries to teach the children about God, about how he loves and about his blessings. He said that the community is doing all it can to accommodate these refugees with all types of necessities that they can get for them. He said that by doing this they are demonstrating God’s love through helping them in their time of need.
“We are setting up a Lutheran immigration volunteer network for the Burmese,” said Busch. He said that, later, the same kind of network will also be established for immigrants belonging to other ethnic origins.
The director of Oklahoma Immigrant Outreach for the Lutheran church, Dani Hendrickson, said that Burmese immigrants come to US as refugees escaping from religious and tribal persecution there, as many of them are Christians.
“I have been told that Tulsa has a reputation among refugees in Southeast Asia as a good place to go because people here are nice,” she said.
Other church representatives also commended the arrangements of the event and said that due to these events more people will get encouraged to help refugees and their children in getting the basic and personal attention they need as human beings.
More than a 100,000 people have come to, and are living in, the US from Burma, the US Census Bureau stated. The country, Burma, has been suffering badly from half a century of military rule due to which it remained internationally isolated. In the light of recent improvement in the Burma’s condition, after the 2010 elections, the United States has re-initiated its diplomatic relations with the country, in order to help it regain its position in the world.