In 2006, Canada welcomed approximately 3,000 Karen people from Thailand, of which about 300 settled in Ottawa. Being Baptist by history and heritage, they gravitated toward two CBOQ churches in Ottawa: McPhail Memorial Baptist Church and Bromley Road Baptist Church.
The Karen families, in spite of the expected language barrier, found the love of Christ to be a bridge to their new community. Four years later, several native Canadians from these churches made the reverse journey. Joining a Canadian Baptist Ministries team, they worked in Karen refugee settlements in Thailand, and visited the Kawthoolei Karen Baptist Bible School (KKBBSC) set up within a refugee camp. They returned strongly impressed that God was active in the places they visited.
Three months ago, a fire unexpectedly razed the school buildings at KKBBSC. In response, Wayne and Carol Sollows from McPhail Memorial Baptist Church organized a fundraiser called the Phoenix Walk. Mobilizing other local believers, this grassroots effort was able to collect over $5000 in donations to help rebuild the KKBBSC.
Wayne Sollows remarks, “It’s amazing how God connects us across culture, language and geography, through the love of Jesus and the moving of Holy Spirit. We are moved by the way God grants large blessings on small efforts in work for the Kingdom.”