I’m getting ready to head home today after a full week in Yangon working on D.Min. matters with our good friends at the Myanmar Institute of Theology. I had the privilege of meeting the new MIT D.Min. cohort and leading an orientation to the program with my gentle counterpart, Dr. Van Bik. This group of eleven pastors and denominational leaders, most of them Baptist, is the remarkable legacy of the Judsons’ work here 200 years ago.
Working with few of the amenities we take for granted in the States, it takes serious commitment to complete a program of study like the D.Min. One student traveled four days to get here from a remote part of the Chin state. Internet connection comes and goes. Even electricity may cut off unexpectedly. That happened once at the Golden Duck restaurant where we were treated to sudden, and brief, complete darkness. The staff know to race for the generator when that happens, our host explained. And the food was delicious, in the dark or light.
City travel can also be harrowing. Taxis do not seem to observe many rules of the road and when all else fails, the horn clears the way. Many people ride jammed into the back and hanging on the sides of open trucks. In fact, Central’s dean, Bob Johnson, and wife, Becky, who were here at the beginning of the week, went to the airport that way when the MIT van failed to start on the day of departure.
It’s been a great week. I am deeply thankful for the generosity of the Luce Foundation and the vision and imagination of leaders of Central Seminary and Myanmar Institute of Theology (as well as Ann and Adoniram Judson, who laid the foundation), for this opportunity to learn what it means to be one body of Christ.
Now off to breakfast of rice, noodles, and stir-fried spinach, then to the airport and home.
My joy is to see followers of Christ actively engaged in using their gifts, and blazing trails in effectively reaching the world with the transforming power of the gospel. As a servant leader of Christ’s church, I want to do for others what my leaders and mentors did for me: facilitate that transformational connection between life on the ground and scripture/theology.
I see the Christian faith as a journey, a way of life. Many people can affirm that “church” is the people, not the building, but were that to become a reality in how we actually function, the church would be transformed. I’m fond of using the designation “follower of Christ.” As I read the gospels, the essence of the call of Jesus is action: going, sending, doing.