Austin UMC in Mission Together with Matu Speakers from Chin Province

In Rio Texas, many experienced, firsthand, the devastation of severe flooding. Meanwhile, our Christian brothers and sisters on the other side of the globe have also experienced devastating floods. The difference is while flood victims in Texas have seen support from the government, relief agencies, and churches; the people of the Chin Province of Myanmar have faced the destruction with little to no aid.

One Rio Texas Church is trying to help. Parker Lane United Methodist Church has a clear mission to reach out to their community. When a group of Christian Matu speakers from the Chin province of Myanmar needed a place to worship, Parker Lane opened their doors. Rev. Dr. Tina Carter, Associate Pastor for Community at Parker Lane quickly discovered that there are close to 200 Matu speakers in the local community.

What started as an offer for a place to worship turned into something more. Under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Rev. Sharon Stewart, over 50 adults have now joined Parker Lane. On Sundays, up to 60 children and youth and many adults attend English worship in the morning and Matu service in the evening.

Now the entire church is coming together to help the people back home in Myanmar. The Chin province was in trouble before the floods hit. The reason there is a community of Matu speakers in East Austin is the same reason there are similar communities across America and across the world. The people of the Chin province are heavily persecuted. Many have fled and those left behind face life in one of the most impoverished parts of the world. The flooding has made it even worse. The area is remote and difficult to reach and little in the way of aid has reached the victims.

Parker Lane is currently gathering relief funds and is working closely with a Matu speaker visiting from Myanmar. According to Rev. Carter, "He is known and trusted by our community and will carry aid directly to the affected families for us and make sure it is distributed."

"We know every dollar makes a difference. What the Chin people need is prayer and monetary support," said Carter. "Our Matu speakers are calling for all their UM brothers and sisters to pray.  If your community is also able to give - even $20 or $50 makes a difference - those checks can be sent to Parker Lane UMC with 'Matu relief' in the 'for' line."