What’s the history behind our Indianapolis Karen population?
Adoniram Judson and Ann Hasseltine, his wife, were missionaries to Asia in the 1800’s. They served long years in Burma translating the Bible into Burmese and working towards conversion of the Burmese people. The Karen tribe, a minority group of animists who culturally believed that things in nature have souls, responded to the Judsons’ mission work. This tribe lived along a river flowing from China and on the southeast coast of Burma and may have had a connection to a Jewish community in the 12th century.
“Today, however, the descendants of those people whom the Judsons and others brought to Christ in Burma (called Myanmar by the present regime) are fleeing their homeland, and many are coming to North America. Here they are connecting with Baptist churches as they seek to get settled in their new land…Duane and Marcia Binkley, are currently working with the Burmese through both the American Baptist Churches and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The Binkleys assist the tens of thousands of refugees coming to the US, even as they continue their work with those in the refugee camps along the Thai/Myanmar border…The work begun by the Judsons in 1813 continues today in ways they couldn’t have imagined, as Baptists in the US welcome their Burmese sisters and brothers to these shores 195 years later.”
Reprinted with permission from the Baptist Peacemaker, November-December 2008, by Evelyn Anneman, the BPFNA Operations Coordinator.
Check out First Karen Baptist Church of Indianapolis Facebook page.