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Chin Refugees In Lewisville. An Introduction to the Chin People of Burma and the Chin Refugee Ministry Chin Refugee Ministry April 10, 2011. Quiz.

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Chin refugees in lewisville

Chin Refugees In Lewisville

An Introduction to the Chin People of Burma and the Chin Refugee Ministry

Chin Refugee Ministry

April 10, 2011

Chin refugees in lewisville


  • At the end of this training, you will be given a quiz to see what you can remember. It’s an “open-slide” test so you can go back and find the answers.

Who are the chin

Who Are the Chin?

Know your geography

Know your geography?

  • Find Burma on the map on the next slide

  • Bonus question: Why is it called Myanmar on some maps and not others?

Chin refugees in lewisville

  • How many states does Burma have?

Chin refugees in lewisville

See Hakha – That’s our Chin

Our group is from the area around Hakha – speak Hakha Chin

Why called chin

Why Called Chin?

  • No one knows the origin of the name

  • It is the Burmese name for them, not their name for themselves

  • Most of ours are Laimi from Central Chin State, around Hakha, and we have a few Zomi, who are the northern Chin

  • Ours are called the hill people and a Zomi told me with disdain that the Laimi boil their food until it is tasteless

Chin tribal story

Chin Tribal Story

  • Two brothers left Mongolia to find new land.

  • The impatient older brother went faster, breaking banana leaves to mark his trail.

  • But banana leaves reproduce so fast that the trail grew back and so the younger brother stayed, in the land of the Ka-chin

  • The Chin went to Chin land and they still build an extra room on their homes, waiting for the younger brother to arrive

Chin refugees in lewisville

Chin State: Land of Mountains

Rural: no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no refrigeration

Chin refugees in lewisville

Dirt Roads – No cars

Chin refugees in lewisville

Beautiful Land of Rivers & Hills

Chin in lewisville

Chin in Lewisville

Why do they leave their country

Why Do They Leave Their country?

What is a refugee

What is a refugee?

  • By definition, a refugee is someone who has left their country because…

  • What are some reasons you think people become refugees? (list some reasons on your paper)

Chin refugees in lewisville

Than Shwe ranked No. 4 on Parade Magazine's 2009 "World's Worst Dictators" list.[15]

Thein Sein, “elected” in March, Than Shwe still making the decisions. Nothing has changed.

Chin refugees in lewisville

Who is a Refugee?

  • An individual fleeing his/her country due to persecution based on:

    • race,

    • religion,

    • nationality,

    • political opinion, or

    • social group membership.

  • Poverty is not a qualification for refugee status

There are more than 11 million refugees in the world right now.

Chin refugees in lewisville

Qualify as Refugees in 3 Ways

  • Chin persecution based on:

    1. Race (traditional ethnic tension between Burmese & Chin. Two separate countries until the British colonized them and put them together)

    2. Religion (Chin are Christians; Burmese are mostly Buddhist)

Persecuted christians

Persecuted Christians

  • Ann & Adoniram Judson introduced Burma to the story of Jesus Christ in 1813

  • Arthur Carson first missionary to Chin 1899

  • The first Chin believer was baptized in 1904; faced great opposition among Chin

  • Christian missionaries expelled 1966

  • Chin are now 70 - 85% Christians

  • The Chin in Lewisville are the children & grandchildren of those first converts

Program to destroy the christian religion published 2007

Program to Destroy the Christian Religion: Published 2007

  • “There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practiced,” the first sentence of the Program to Destroy the Christian Religion, published in 2007 and assumed to be sanctioned by the Burmese government since they control publishing

  • “The Christian religion is very gentle. Identify and utilize its weakness to destroy it” From Voice of the Martyrs

Where were you in 1990

Where were you in 1990?

3 Reasons You Can be Classified as Refugee

  • Ethnic

  • Religion

  • Political Opinion

  • Burmese military in control. Held “free election” May 1990. The military lost. The Chin overwhelmingly did not support the military, so government began to kill their leaders/pastors, harass and intimidate the people with forced labor camps, rape, and beatings

  • Intimidation continuing – new free election in 2010, was not free. Military didn’t allow places to vote where they knew they would lose. Heavy intimidation. Some tribal areas now in civil war.

Chin flee burma

Chin Flee Burma

  • As the violence against them continues, the Chin flee their homes in Burma and travel to surrounding countries where they settle in refugee camps

  • Malyasia is where most of our Chin are coming from – they generally stay there anywhere from 2 to 11 years before being resettled by the U.N.

  • Hakha – Rangoon – Bangkok - Malaysia

Chin refugees in lewisville

Problem: No refugee rights in Malaysia – they are illegal, no official camps can be built for them.

A chin refugee camp in malaysia

A Chin refugee camp in Malaysia

Chin refugee camp life

Chin refugee camp life

River for drinking water, bathing, washing clothes, bathroom

Men come first families follow

Men come first; families follow

Families separated

Families Separated

  • Men in Malaysia from 2-8 years before families join them

  • Wife & children in Malaysia from 1-3 years before family can come to US

  • Wives & children often live 20-30 to a house in the city

  • Some men come to US and then try to get families out

What adjustments

What Adjustments?

  • List the “adjustments” the adults make when they move from Malaysia to Lewisville

  • List the “adjustments” the children make Lewisville

How many are in lewisville approximately 2000

How Many Are In Lewisville?Approximately 2000

Are they legal yes

Are They Legal? Yes

I 94 admitted indefinitely

I-94 – Admitted Indefinitely

Chin refugees in lewisville

The Process: How A Refugee Comes To Dallas

Refugee is interviewed by the Joint Voluntary Agency (JVA) representative to grant refugee status (if a refugee has relatives in the USA, they must file an affidavit of relationship form at this time)

The refugee flees homeland to a country of first asylum

In the country of first asylum the refugee registers with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the American Embassy



1 to 2 weeks later, the refugee flies into DFW Airport and is met by agency staff/volunteers

Refugee is interviewed by U.S. Citizenship Immigration Service (formerly INS) to grant refugee status. *


If Rejected: Refugee must file request for reconsideration; Second interview with JVA, if approved; Second interview with USCIS if approved

If not approved, refugee must stay in country of first asylum OR if approved by JVA but not by USCIS, they may apply to another country

The national agency allocates the refugee to one of their local offices, such as Dallas, to begin the resettlement process

If Approved: Biographical Data is sent to the Refugee Processing Center in Arlington, VA

Refugee is now allocated to one of ten national resettlement agencies at a weekly meeting

* It can take several months to a decade before a refugee is approved to come to the U.S.!

Agency services to refugees

Resettlement (up to 6 months)

Case Management

Furnished Apartment*

Limited Financial Aid

($400 per family member for 4 months)

Social Security Card, Texas ID, Food Stamps

Health care (Medicaid)

School enrollment for kids

English Classes for adults


Initial Employment.

Ongoing services (up to 5 years)

Employment Help

Job Retention, Upgrades, Reemployment

Education and Training



Cultural Orientation

Work Readiness

Vocational Training.

Agency Services to Refugees

Why lewisville

Why Lewisville?

Spontaneous refugee community

They weren’t supposed to come to Lewisville

Spontaneous Refugee Community

They come because

They come because…

  • Ten years ago their pastors settled here as defectors and went to seminary here

  • Ten years ago their pastors found jobs here

  • Today they can still find jobs here – almost 75% employed

  • Of churches. Every Chin in Lewisville belongs to a church. They “wilt” apart from each other.

They come because1

They come because…

  • They are related. You can’t come to Lewisville unless you are related to or have a friend already in Lewisville

  • America is safe. Every Chin in Lewisville is trying as hard as they can to get their whole village out of Burma/Malaysia

5 churches

5 Churches

  • Chin Evangelical Baptist Church - Lewisville

  • Chin Baptist Church - Irving

  • Chin Texas Baptist Church - Irving

  • Chin Revival Church – Dallas

  • United Pentecostal – Lewisville (30)

What is chin refugee ministry

What Is Chin refugee Ministry?

Cebc fbc fm partnership 1

CEBC & FBC FM-Partnership 1

FBC FM, pastored by David Williams, sponsored Pastor Zam Mang and CEBC as a mission

In June 2007, FBCFM began Chin Refugee Ministry by request of Zam Mang with Becky Nelson, leader.

Zam s charge to becky

Zam’s charge to Becky

Help the refugees.

From 70 to 700 cebc

From 70 to 700+ CEBC

  • Chin Evangelical Baptist Church is now 700+ members

  • They have 3 pastors

  • They are run by a deacon board elected by the congregation

  • They worship from 2-4pm at Lakeland Baptist Church (they rent space)

Cebc is baptist

CEBC is Baptist

  • They are very Baptist in theology and in church structure: congregational

  • They are Baptist in ministries: They have Sunday School, small groups, choir, women’s fellowship and a strong youth/singles ministry

  • They are active members of the Chin Churches of America, Baptist General Convention of Texas and Denton Baptist Association

Cebc is evangelical

CEBC is Evangelical

  • The Chin are known as the evangelicals of Burma – the local church sends money back to Burma to support the churches there in their quest to evangelize Burma

Cebc is young

CEBC is Young!

The majority of our Chin are young adults just starting their families, trying to figure out parenting itself, as well as how to be Chin parents in America where nothing is the same

2 fbcfm crm the village partnership

2. FBCFM (CRM) & The Village Partnership

  • Under the direction of CEBC

    Pastor Zam Mang, Becky Nelson

    has led the CRM from June 2007

    to the present

  • Dan & Jenn Potter began assisting her in Feb 2009, with plans for the Village Church to become partners in this mission effort- TVC partnership launched in January 2010

3 world relief partner nov 2010

3. World Relief Partner – Nov, 2010

  • World Relief in Fort Worth, an evangelical resettlement agency, received a federal grant to partner with CRM Nov 2010 through Feb 2012.

  • Becky Nelson coordinates the Lewisville case management initiative as an employee of World Relief

  • Jenn Potter coordinates the ESL efforts of CRM as a part-time employee of World Relief

4 fbc lewisville nov 2010

4. FBC Lewisville – Nov 2010

  • In November 2010, First Baptist Church of Lewisville, as part of a service on the persecuted church, also began the process of learning about CRM and have joined the partnership

What they bring

What They Bring

What refugees bring with them

What Refugees Bring With Them

  • Their faith

  • Knowledge that they will be welcomed by their loved ones

  • Chin identity – they are not individualistic as we are

  • Strong extended family ties; the children especially miss their grandparents

What they bring1

What They Bring

  • Strong work ethic

  • Strong desire for education but have never been expected to participate in it

  • Reverence for America

  • Love of democracy

  • In general, respectful

  • Educational backgrounds vary

    • Elementary school – 4th grade

    • High school – 10th grade

Hakha private chin school

Hakha, private Chin school

  • If you lived in Hakha, the main city, you went to Burmese school, but you also attended Chin school, held by the churches, and you learned English and Chin.

  • If you lived in a remote village, you went to school in Burmese, and did not learn English or Chin in the school.

Totally different culture

Totally Different Culture

  • In general, stronger in math, music and motor skills

  • Some very artistic children among them

  • No science background at all

  • A hearing culture, not a reading culture

  • Primary way of relating is by telling stories

  • Reading a real issue at all age levels, including adults

So poor

So Poor

  • Inability to speak English

  • One suitcase per adult, including hymnbook and ceremonial clothes

  • Already in debt – must pay back their flight cost

  • Alienation from most “institutions”***

    (bribery is the way things get done in Burma, and Chin are very poor)

What they face

What They Face

  • Have never faced a society based on paper as America is

  • Jungle is definitely paperless – including no toilet paper or Kleenex

  • Bad teeth

  • Most of younger ones do not understand respect for property – don’t have any property

Bad effects of malaysia

Bad Effects of Malaysia

  • No education in Malaysia – most kids have been out of school at least a year – sometimes 2-3 years.

  • Health conditions deplorable in Malaysia

  • Low wages and often victims of extortion to keep from getting put in jail by civilian vigilante groups in Malaysia

Barriers for chin community

Barriers for Chin Community

  • Must find job

  • No English

  • Often illiterate in their own language because Chin language is illegal in Burma

  • Even those who have learned to speak English cannot read and write it

  • No money or possessions – starting over


Put yourself in their place

Put yourself in their place

  • What are the consequences of living in Lewisville with no transportation?

  • What are the consequences of living in Lewisville without being able to understand or read English?

    • Jobs?

    • School?

    • Driver’s license?

Life in america

Life In America

Life in america1

Life in America

  • Chin feel ashamed because they do not speak English. They are extremely competent people who are often judged ignorant because of language barrier

  • Do not answer telephone if no one present who speaks English

  • Lack confidence to talk to Americans“

Life in america2

Life in America

  • They just nod and say yes

  • “Yes” does not always mean agreement or even understanding – it means I know that you are talking to me.

Life in america3

Life in America

  • Those that have jobs have the “worst” schedules – most work afternoon or night shift

  • Large contingent who work 4 days on, 3 days off – so different schedules every week

  • Parents usually alternate shifts for child care, so don’t see each other much

Life in america4

Life in America

  • Do not have the things at home most Americans take for granted – notebook paper, rags, scissors, screwdriver

  • Kids have to learn to wear underwear

  • It’s so much easier to just be with your Chin friends than to try to navigate the cultural barriers that exist

  • Their church is the center of their life

Chin refugees in lewisville


What crm does think 5e

What CRM Does – Think 5E

  • Establish

  • Equip

  • Engage

  • Encourage


Establish newcomers

Establish: Newcomers

  • From 2004 to 2007, CEBC took care of its own refugees

  • In 2007 CEBC was overwhelmed with approximately 100 newcomers and in May 2007, First Baptist Church of Flower Mound began the Chin Refugee Ministry

  • In 2008: approximately 80 newcomers 2009: approximately 100+ came,

  • 2010: approximately 200+ have come

How many more are coming

How Many More Are Coming?

  • No one knows

  • There are 50,000 Chin still in Malaysia

  • Zam says we will only get a couple thousand of those

Lay offs


  • The Chin are fragile economically.

  • Lay-offs create crisis conditions

3 ways to get involved in crm

3 Ways to Get Involved in CRM

For example see ministry opportunities doc for complete list

For example: (see “Ministry Opportunities” doc for complete list)

  • Donate furniture, household goods

  • Help sort clothes and assist with clothing give days

  • Deliver furniture or welcome baskets

  • Help enroll kids in school

  • Volunteer in the CRM office

  • Teach or assist with ESL classes

  • Building Captains & Life Skills Mentoring

  • School Buddies

Warning not an easy ministry

Warning: Not an easy ministry

  • List some challenges you can already see for American volunteers working in this ministry?

Challenges for american volunteers

Challenges for American Volunteers

  • It is truly cross-cultural!

  • It’s like going to another country except you have to teach them “survival skills” for America because they are not planning on going home.

  • You have to become creative in communicating because of the language barriers.

  • It is not immediately gratifying & often feels awkward.

Next steps

Next Steps:

  • Watch Pastor’s Zam’s testimony and the CRM u-tube video.

  • Take the CRM training review and submit to the New Participant Coordinator.

  • When invited to join the CRM yahoo group – do so! This is how ways to serve are made known to the CRM team.

  • If interested in relational engagement, join our school buddies program

Finding hope

Finding Hope

  • According to research done on refugees in the US, it takes on the average two years for a refugee to begin to feel safe enough to look forward to the future

  • Some never make it – they keep the refugee mindset their whole lives

  • As Christians, our Chin brothers & sisters have a strong hope in Jesus Christ but they can use our help

Chin refugees in lewisville


  • What country are the Chin from?

  • Why are they called Chin?

  • What are 3 reasons a person can be classified as a refugee? Which one fits the Chin?

  • What is significant about 1990 for the Chin?

  • What makes living in Malaysia difficult?

Quiz 2

Quiz (2)

  • Are the Chin illegal or legal in the US?

  • List at least 3 reasons the Chin choose to come to Lewisville

  • List at least 3 things the Chin bring with them to the US

  • List at least 3 barriers the Chin face in Lewisville

  • What does CEBC stand for and who is its pastor?

Quiz 3

Quiz (3)

  • Name some of the churches partnering together in Chin Refugee Ministry

  • List the 5 E’s

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