A week in Yangon

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.

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My Experience:

Joshua Smith


“The vocation of the “pastor-theologian” is one that appeals deeply to my personal sense of calling. I have never felt particularly gifted as a “shepherd pastor,” or a “CEO pastor,” but have always had an abiding spiritual curiosity that has led me to seek God both intellectually and in community. Working on a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree at Central gave me the valuable freedom to explore theology and biblical studies more deeply than I could have imagined. I not only learned how to conduct research in my field of New Testament studies, but I learned how to better form my own questions in search of answers. Central helped me to realize my own vision of making biblical scholarship accessible to the local parish, a vision that I hope to carry well into my future.”

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