We came from different places on different flights from different time zones, flying from
Kansas and Kalamazoo,
Topeka and Timbuktu.
Ok, not really Timbuktu but definitely Kalamazoo!
We journeyed nearly 30 hours to arrive at our destination, Yangon, Myanmar, where we were to connect with Burmese students for our doctoral cohort at Myanmar Institute of Theology. Arriving near midnight, following several flight changes, one segment of which was 16 hours(!), we were glad to be on this “golden” ground. Exhausted from the journey but elated to be off the plane, we delved into our doctoral studies.
Once in class our ‘sacrifice’ in the sky seemed inconsequential compared to those students who had traveled days on foot, crowded buses, and un-air-conditioned trains.
During our time together we learned to
hold chop sticks
let go of shoes
loosen addictions to Wifi
find our way over bumpy roads and boisterous traffic
get lost in a completely new culture
We visited Buddhist monasteries and momentous Baptist sites,
pagodas and places of worship.
We ate together, worshipped together,
studied together, prayed together.
We discussed and debated,
discerned and dialogued.
We danced, a perichoretic dance in which the barriers and boundaries that had previously divided us dissolved into a dynamic dance of the Spirit.
We learned about God, One in three, three in one unifying activity of mission to the world,
inviting us to join in this auspicious mission and mysterious adventure.
We learned about different cultures and common bonds, atonement theories and three sadhus.
Sadhu is an exclamation usually repeated in threes, another kind of trinity, meaning “all right! You did it!”
But mostly we learned about each other who despite our differences were connected in and by one God. In this dance of being immersed in the other and the other being immersed in us, we were drawn into one harmonious whole.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu! All right! We are done.
But the real journey has just begun…..
Patricia P. Hernandez
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.