What does the Lord require of us?
Only this, to seek justice, to love tenderly and walk humbly with our God (Micah: 6:8).
As one among the D. Min Cohort from CBTS, KS, on March 11, 2014, we visited Myanmar Institute of Theology, Yangon. Also, we visited people who are making differences to human beings, Pagodas, Churches, Restaurants, white Elephants, Myanmar Museum, and also, at CBTS friends’ houses.
There is a saying in my culture (Rwandans), “If a bird does not fly it will never discover where the wheat is harvested.”
I discovered that the Rwandans saying makes sense when we arrived not only at Myanmar International Airport, but, also, at Myanmar life hotel, the first impression I got from the people who received us, really challenged me. Their smile and exceptional care was exceptional. Though there was a language barriers for some Burmese people, but I was humbled by their service and generosity.
I thought that Americans and Rwandans have wonderful customer services, but in comparison with Burmese people, I admit that they superseded us. For example, Wherever, we visited either at restaurants, Pagodas, Churches, Myanmar Museum and at Institute of Theology, there were people available not only to open the car’s door but also, the house where entering. They also, helped us carrying wherever items we were carrying.
Another thing which impressed me in Yangon City is that for the some restaurants I visited, I did not feel lonely because of language barriers. People I met there paid for my food and drinks. But, also, I established, deepened personal relationship with sensitivity, openness and respect. I strongly feel that a minister should be guided by Christ-like love that seeks understanding, respect, and concern for fellow brothers and sisters.
I constrained my mouth, and brain, and opened my heart and eyes to keep Burmese people as central figures honoring them where they are in their life situation, so they may grow to feel their worth.
Also, I asked myself, ‘what other ways can I learn to communicate other than through conversation
Presence: Even when it seems to be unnoticed this is one way I have learned to communicate with Burmese people. Just simply sit with them.
I have learned that seeing a smile is very important for Burmese people. For example, Wherever, I visited I smiled, and they smiled. We created a warm atmosphere and we started to understand each other.
Learning the language, learning to care for one’s needs, acclimatizing to both physical surroundings and to life among people who culture is so completely new, each asks of the missionary a period of childlike dependency. This is at best difficult for adults, yet an important element in the process of entering the world of the people and establishing the kind relationship that says, often without words, that the missionary does come as someone with who knows everything and has all the answers.
Rev. Valery Burusu
D. Min Cohort 2014.
My name is Thawng Hnin Zam. I come from Chin State in the most western part of Myanmar, near the border with India. Presently, I am serving as the Principal of the Union Theological College, a member of the Association for Theological Education in South East Asia. I received a B.Th. degree in Madras, India, as well as a B.D. (Bachelors of Divinity) from Serampore University, also in India.