Karen Burton Mains, the stateside initiator of the Global Bag Project, has had a lifetime interest in refugees and marginalized people. About the church she helped plant with her husband David in the heart of Chicago, she says, "most of the lessons I learned about cross-cultural issues I learned during those ten years in an inner-city pastorate." Those lessons have carried forward to inform the rest of her life.
In her role as a journalist, Karen was invited to visit many refugee camps of the world. The book that highlighted those travels, The Fragile Curtain, won the National Christopher Award given for works that affirm the highest values of the human spirit. As a broadcaster, she was invited to tour the conflicted Middle East, visiting war-torn Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the PLO camps on the West bank. She is now the co-director of Mainstay Ministries with David. Mainstay Ministries has an immigration-counseling center in its office suite. "The plight of displaced people is never far from my mind." Karen says.