Taking the Gospel to the Pwo Karen

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Jim and Louise Morris (OMF) received their field assignment to take the Gospel to the Pwo Karen people of northern Thailand. All of them worshipped demons. There were no Christians, no Bibles, no schools or hospitals. Their language was unwritten. Another missionary had analyzed the language and gave Jim and Louise six language lessons before he left. The following is their story.

We knew the best way to reach the Pwo Karen people would be to live in their villages among them. But they would not let us live in the villages because we refused to worship demons. So we rented a house in a Thai town where they came in to market. But they were afraid of our white faces.

Before we came, a team from Gospel Recordings had made a couple of records in the Pwo language. We had two records telling the story of the "prodigal son." It told them that Jesus can deliver them from demons and discussed what happens when people die. These became our main pool of instruction.

"Come hear this box. It talks your language." The Karen swarmed around the record player delighted to hear it speaking their own words. "It must be a very small man who lives inside this box! I wonder what they feed him!"

Eash day we took the record player and visited on of a dozen Pwo villages near town. "Can we play the records in your house?" In one village they were so scared they screamed. Mothers grabbed their children and ran inside the houses. But curiosity drew them out again. They wanted to hear that talking box. Soon a crown gathered around the record player listening to "Jesus Loves Me" and pelting us with questions.

Pwo Karen people became our friends and invited us to come up to their porches. They listened over and over until they memorized those records.

One man from a village -- a two-day walk away -- bought a record player from us and took it back to his village. He sold it to another man who became the headman. Sixteen years later this headman remembered the words of those records: "Jesus is stronger than the demons." He sent for Jim to come tell them more. On the first visit the headman and seven other families burned their demon things and turned to Christ. Jim had to return home the next day leaving the headman as instant pastor of this new little flock. Could they stand on this new-found Truth against all the pressures of evil?

They were given simple instructions:

1) Never do demon worship again; instead pray to God about everything.

2) Every Sunday come to the headman's porch and listen to the recordings. Talk about what you hear, sing the songs and pray.

When we returned a year later, five of those families still believed. Later the whole village believed and the Gospel spread to 40 surrounding villages.

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