Agape Ebenezer Karen Baptist Church
Influxes of refugees from Thailand and Burma, mainly Karen (kah-rehn) language speaking people, began about four years ago in southwest Fort Worth. Many Karen/Chin speaking adults began participating in the Agape’s Educational Outreach Program late in 2007. In 2008, the church began a Sunday morning Bible study for the Karen speaking people, and the church also provided transportation to the people, most of whom lived in apartment complexes within about a 15 minute drive from the church campus. Between 2008 and 2010, the Sunday Bible study class grew to approximately fifty adults (not counting children). Members of Agape would teach the class through an interpreter.
In December 2010, a new preacher came to Fort Worth who was trained at a Bible school in Thailand. In fact, a mission team from Agape had visited Thailand during the autumn of 2010. Agape’s Karen Bible study leaders set out, then, to meet the new preacher and to consult with another Karen Baptist pastor in Dallas, Texas about the possibility of starting a new church for the Karen speaking people. The new preacher, named Ebenezer Ku, along with the Dallas pastor and leaders from Agape gathered in January 2011 to discuss the vision of the Karen people. Pastor Ku shared that he and his people were grateful for a church like Agape, and he shared that the refugees desired to worship in their own language and context. He asked if Agape would open its facilities to the Karen people for both Bible study and worship services. It was agreed that that the Karen Bible study and worship service would run concurrently with the English speaking services. Also, Agape’s leaders would help the Karen people in any way possible to start a new Karen congregation with the help of the Tarrant Baptist Association and the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
On February 6, 2011, 96 Karen speaking people arrived by bus and car to Agape’s facilities for Bible study and worship. Currently, the Bible study and worship service has steady, average attendance at or near 100 people. The church starting process was initiated with the state convention and local Baptist association and is well on its way to fruition. God is so good! Also, the Karen speaking people have named their congregation, “Agape Ebenezer Karen Baptist Church.” Two other graduates from the Bible school in Thailand have come to the United States, and they are helping Ebenezer with discipleship for adults and children. In September 2011, Agape will host the southwest conference of Karen Baptist church pastors for the Karen Baptist Convention.