I was a stranger

Welcoming Burmese refugees
We sat crowded onto an old couch, kitchen chairs and the floor in a tiny second-floor apartment in northwest Rochester, New York. Nine newly arrived refugees from a Thai refugee camp near Burma (Myanmar) had agreed to meet with two volunteer interpreters and me, an American pastor. The refugees, Karen tribal people, spoke cautiously in rusty Burmese, a language they tend not to use often after years of persecution, war and exile. This was their first encounter with neighbors—a moment as full of fear as of promise.


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