I am in a jet, somewhere over the Arctic Bay, heading toward Hong Kong and then to Yangon Myanmar. This trip is part of the program at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. I am working to earn a Doctorate of Ministry Degree. I am traveling with my cohort and two professors. We will join another member of our cohort, the president of our seminary, and professors and students at the Myanmar Institute of Theology. Last November students from MIT came to Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee Kansas to study with us. It will be good to see familiar faces in a new land.
In preparation for this trip I have been reading and writing. I’ve have read books about conflict resolution, incarnational theology, and Asian missiology and Asian theology. It has been a challenge to add school work to a schedule that was already full with work and family responsibilities.
The challenges are just beginning. We will have a twelve hour time difference to adapt to, an unfamiliar culture and language, foods that are new to us, and hotter weather. Most of us have experienced record low temperatures this winter. While snow is in the forecast for friends and family at home, we are flying into temperatures over 100 degrees, with high humidity. I firmly believe that I flying toward better weather!
I have decided that this trip is my Lenten journey. I am not adding a discipline or giving up anything for Lent. I am studying in Myanmar. Granted, it is only ten days, but there have been many days of preparation and there will be papers due about a month after we return. I will have at least forty days in this season. This is one of the perks of being a Baptist; we can chose if we participate in Lent and we can chose to what extent we participate.
I see Lent as a time to allow ourselves to live in a wilderness where we are questioned and challenged. It isn’t always easy, but if we participate in the struggle then we gain strength and wisdom. In the Lenten wilderness we learn more about who we are and who we are not. We also learn more about who God is and who we allow God to be in our lives. I am aware that this Lenten journey will also provide joy. There will be laughter, fun, and adventures. That is okay. Lent isn’t embracing misery, but embracing Christ. I look forward to the challenges of traveling to Myanmar.
Central DMin Student
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.