I think it’s 5:15 a.m. but I’m not sure because my electronic devices both inexplicably say 6:49. Barking dogs and a bird with a screech between a rooster and a peacock woke me before the alarm. We arrived around midnight, greeted at the airport by a crowd of friends from Myanmar Institute of Theology plus John Gravley of Central, who had arrived earlier in the day. They unfurled a “Welcome Central Baptist Seminary” banner, grabbed all the luggage, and put us into cars for the 5 minute drive to Myanmar Life Hotel.
It’s a gracious place – rooms are large and furnished with ornately carved wooden chairs, the wooden floor is cool on bare feet and packets of Nescafe instant coffee, heavy on sweetener and powdered cream are arranged on a tray.
Our gracious MIT hosts pick us up at 6:45 this morning for a lecture at the school on Buddhist meditation followed by a visit to a monastery and the golden centerpiece of the city, Shwe Dagone Pagoda. At the end of each day, we’ll gather for theological and other reflection on the day asking, Where did we encounter God? and What am I learning about God’s kingdom and purpose for the world?
I’m from Overland Park and in my last year of the Masters of Divinity Foundations program. I have appreciated that Central is concerned with us as whole people and is purposeful in equipping us as ethical, caring, conscientious and knowledgeable pastors. The courses have been academically rigorous, but also have required us to put our hearts and actions under a microscope. Being in classes with people from such diverse denominations, theological viewpoints, cultures and life experiences has also deepened and enriched the experience. Central has been a place of learning, training and stretching, and I couldn’t be more grateful for my time here.