The day began with the create and DMin Cohorts meeting to go to a couple of religious sites. We visited the White Elephants. It was interesting to see a couple of the elephants chained up yet they are considered a national treasure. We were told that one of the elephants had killed the trainer the week before. I couldn’t help think about the Eco-theological implications of revering an ecological object but yet objectifying it. Our next stop was the largest Jade Buddha and the Reclining Buddha.
As I reflect on the trips to these past few Pagodas, I take note on the exuberant amount of money spent on the facility all the while dilapidated homes are surrounding the pagodas. What is the responsibility of the leaders of any religious entity to the poor? In addition, we went to a school where they teach young monks. It was interesting to see the amount of dedication to their belief system. We learned they eat their morning meal at 0400 and their mid-day meal at 1100 hours. The rest of the time they fast until the next morning meal. All their food is donated.
Our last serious stop was at the National Museum. There was a lot of information on the Myanmar’s history and culture. The most intriguing part was the room outlining Myanmar’s strategic objectives. It all focused on capital growth, economic stability, and peace in the nation. I kind of wondered what approaches would this country take to ensure those objectives were met. After all the seriousness, we went on a boat ride on the river. The create scholars were not shy on this boat ride providing their musical talents to entertain the whole boat even to the other guests. One of the guests I met was an Australian woman whose significant other was an Australian Embassy staff. I mentioned to her about my thoughts on Myanmar’s national strategic objectives. We talked in depth about the human rights issues of poverty and a lack of access to health care. Needless to say, this day was full of learning and observing. One of my goals is to see what are the issues that our Karen refugees saw that wanted them to come to the United States. Also, I want to see if we in the U.S. have helped in their plight or if our society committing the same sins.
Central DMin student
I belong to the Kachin ethnic group in Myanmar. I am now serving as an associate minister at a Baptist church in Kachin State, which is in the northern part of Myanmar. We have over 7000 church members at my church.
I have been in ministry for over 17 years. I know that in order to lead my congregation effectively, I need more education. I believe that this D.Min. program will enhance my ministry today and into the future.
Learning together with other students from Myanmar has been very valuable for me. I have enjoyed living together. I have also learned from the Shawnee D.Min. students as well. It is good to be able to appreciate each other’s cultures and ministry experiences.