ENLARGE Photo courtesy of Jeremy Barrier
and Joey Barrier did travel to the troubled country to help the millions left homeless and hungry as the result of a May 2 cyclone that left 134,000 people dead or missing, according to The New York Times
first received word that a cyclone had gone through Myanmar while on a mission trip in Hamilton.
"We were talking about it, but we didn't know what was going on," Jeremy
..."They said that they just can't turn around and go back," said Jeremy, who is an assistant professor of biblical literature and director of missions at Heritage Christian University in Florence.Jeremy
said Don Posey, who had taken the last flight out of Myanmar the night before the disaster, couldn't go, so the church then suggested that Jeremy's brother, Joey, travel to the area.
volunteered to go and said he
had no second thoughts about going on the trip.
"My only concerns were my children," he
After a long period of not knowing whether they would be allowed to go to Myanmar because of the country not allowing any visas into the region, Jeremy
and Joey, who've both traveled to the area in previous years, arrived in the country May 23, landing in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city and former capital.
said that the devastation reminded him of the destruction Hurricane Katrina caused in the Gulf Coast.
"The number one difference is that the U.S. is a country of wealth, and building materials, such as wood, helped in preventing a large number of lives lost (during Hurricane Katrina)," Jeremy
said the villagers in Myanmar greeted them.
"The reaction was very positive," Jeremy
The junta, which Jeremy
calls "power hungry," gave no warning that a cyclone was coming and would meddle into relief efforts, he
said.For instance, Jeremy
said that the junta would take the good rice brought by aid workers from the U.N. and others, "sell it into the black market and they would sell the damaged rice into the public."
said that they weren't confronted by the junta, adding that a "good government contact" was with them at all times.
"At a refugee camp, we were asked by the police two or three times what we were doing and the person with us would explain what we were doing (and) would describe the aid," Jeremy
said."We would watch and take pictures, but we weren't allowed to touch them."Jeremy
said that a group from Double Springs church
will possibly be going back to Myanmar later this summer and in September and October.