Rick Burnette, (right) CBF Global Missionary

Ashworth Road Baptist Church adopted the Burnette family missionaries a few years ago. The Burnettes work with hilltribe people in Thailand referred to as the Palaung. Most Palaung people have no citizenship in Thailand and, therefore, have no rights. The Burnette family helps the Palaung receive basic needs (such a water and food) as well as sponsoring citizenship for Palaung hill-tribesmen.

I hope that we all remember the Burnettes in our prayers! they are spreading the word of God and helping those who are need, spiritually and phisically. Below is an update on their mission and items for which the Burnettes have requested specific prayer.


Dear praying friends,

Please pray for our family as we leave Thailand on April 4th for (what
we hope will be) a short time in the U.S.  After much prayer and counsel we are returning to the U.S. to attend to some special needs related to our two oldest sons.  We expect to be in Atlanta for 3-4 months.  Please pray for our sons’ well being and that we can return to our ministry in Thailand as soon as possible.  As this is not a scheduled home assignment, our time will be spent tending to the needs of our sons.

Please also pray for the son of Ajarn Sumit, Shane (age 10), who has a
congenital blood disorder.  He requires monthly checks, however stem
cell treatments are now available in Thailand.  Although limited
government assistance is offered for this treatment, a group of
Christians in Canada have shown interest in providing some of the
financial support needed to cover the 100,000 baht ($2800) cost.

A government-type project is moving into approximately 4 communities where UHDP is presently working.  We are very concerned that our participatory, grass-roots efforts will be displaced by this new agency.  Please pray for all concerned.

As always thank you for your faithful prayers and support.

In Christ,
Ellen and Rick Burnette


  • Currently 47 residents of the Pang Daeng Nawk hilltribe community who are in court facing a variety of charges including forest encroachment, traveling across districts without a permit and illegal residence.  Among these are 19 Palaung defendants.  Sumit from UHDP, is accompanying these people during the court proceedings and is coordinating assistance related to covering travel and meal expenses as well as the cost of the Palaung court language interpreter.  Please pray that innocent persons among this group will be excused and that just, merciful verdicts will be delivered otherwise.
  • A missions team from the King’s Cross Baptist Church in Tullahoma, TN will be serving with UHDP from March 18-23.  They will be assisting with the construction of water storage tanks at the UHDP Center and offering children’s camps at three village schools.  Please pray for their safe travel, good health and ability to interact and serve while they are with us.
  • The father and husband of Suporn, one of the Thailand Baptist Missionary Fellowship staff (who provide us and many other Baptist missionaries in Thailand with considerable assistance) passed away only one week apart from each other.  Obviously, this is a tremendous blow for Suporn and her family.  Please pray for their comfort and our ability to express God’s love during this time.
  • Additionally, the father of Chatchai Montriwat, the Chief Operating Officer of TBMF, passed away last week. 

Updates and Praise:

  • The combined University Baptist Church (Montevallo, AL) and Riverchase Baptist (Birmingham) missions team just completed more than a week of service and immersion in the Mae Jawn Palaung Village in Chiang Dao.  With their involvement, Mae Jawn’s village water system was completed.  The team also spent several days living with village families, thereby building relationships, learning about the community and sharing God’s love.
  • With the assistance of FBC Savannah, GA, FBC Huntsville, AL, FBC Atlanta Texas, Central Bearden Baptist (Knoxville, TN) and individuals, a new Toyota 4WD pickup was bought to replace UHDP’s aging vehicle.  This truck will be used to facilitate service among 18 hilltribe communities in northern Thailand.
  • Our family is grateful that a raging wildfire that started in a vacant, overgrown lot next to our house in Chiang Mai was put under controlled just in the nick of time.  Ellen, who was home during the wildfire, said that flames, reaching over 25 feet high as they consumed nearby trees, was within 20 meters of our house when six Chiang Mai fire department finally arrived to put out the fire.


We want to thank our numerous friends and supporters for faithful prayers over the past year.  In many ways, we’ve had a good year, particularly with regards to various UHDP milestones, including the successful registration of hundreds of our hilltribe partners related to citizenship and other forms of legal residence as well as UHDP’s 10th Anniversary celebration last month.  God’s love has been shared along with the activities related to these milestones and so many more.

Regarding our family, we’ve been blessed with all sorts of support and encouragement.  We’re grateful for our health and vocation. However, the past year has been a very prayerful one, particularly as parents, with regards to our two teenage sons, who are facing various struggles and challenges associated with this stage in their lives.  We continue to ask you for prayers that God would enable Ellen and I to have sufficient wisdom, insight and capacity as parents.  And please pray for the welfare and development of all three of our sons.


  • The past 10 years of service among the Palaung and other hilltribes of nothern Thailand through UHDP. Our UHDP team hosted a 10 Year Anniversary Celebration at the UHDP Center in Mae Ai on Saturday, Dec. 2, which was attended by an estimated 300 people, most of whom were hilltribe friends and partners; Buddhist, Animist and Christian. The event included a time of worship and thanksgiving as well as a featured message by an esteemed local physician who was a recent member of the Thai senate. The event wrapped up with a buffet featuring foods of the Palaung, Kachin and Lahu along with a presentation of dance and music offered by these same tribes.
  • The chance to travel to Burma to represent CBF Global Missions in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CBF Global Missions and the Myanmar Baptist Convention. The MOU states cooperation between our two groups related to rural development ministries, offering potential assistance (e.g., volunteer English and music teaching, short-term theological education) at some of the MBC’s seminaries and Bible Schools, leadership development as well as other emphases.

We request prayer related to:

  • The UHDP team’s efforts to wrap up work in these final days of 2006, particularly with regards to end-of-year surveys, reporting, etc.
  • Our family’s very busy December schedule in which we’re attempting to balance numerous Christmas activities related to UHDP, the Thailand Baptist Missionary Fellowship (in which Ellen serves as Communications Officer), church and as well as the boy’s school functions.
  • The new CBF Global Missions/Myanmar Baptist Convention MOU, that both parties will effectively engage with one another for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom.

  1. Thank you for sending me your blog. I wish my other adoptive churches did this so the members would have the prayer requests for the Palaung People in

    You are doing a good job and hope you continue this worthwhile ministry.


    Anne Lawrence
    Advocate for the Palaung People of Thailand

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