Strengthening Partnerships

Friday, Feb 10th, 2012

    President Marshall and DMin student from MITFriday was full of opportunities to see the flourishing of Baptist work in Myanmar.  Mang Khan Sum, D.Min. student in the Central/MIT collaborative program, ably hosted us and offered a window into the varied ministries of the Myanmar Baptist Convention.  He is one of the younger leaders, working in the Christian Social Services and Development Department.  He is forward-looking in his vision for mission and advocates economic development to assist marginalized humanity.  Indeed, the intent of these churches is "to benefit the entire human society by building a new world of peace and prosperity."

    Comprised of 1.5 million people (4772 churches), this convention, which draws together 20 member conventions and churches, is approximately the same size as the American Baptist Churches, USA.  Working as a religious minority in this Buddhist culture, these Baptists understand that living the Gospel through sharing tasks for the common good is the most effective proclamation. We could well emulate this practice, also.

    CBTS Pilgrims visit The Myanmar Baptist ConventionVisiting the convention headquarters at the same time were students from scattered Bible colleges and seminaries throughout Myanmar.  They were there for an orientation to the work of MBC, and I was invited to speak a work of encouragement to them.  The verse that came readily to mind was Paul's exhortation in 1 Corinthians 15:58: "Be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."  (I think my translator, an Old Testament professor, wishes I had chosen an OT text that he had committed to heart!)  Dr. Dan Buttry also reminded the students of their horizon of promise as ambassadors for Christ at this historic time in Myanmar.

    A moving part of the visit was entering memorial hall which contains a wall inscribed with names of Baptist missionaries from 1813-1963.  We saw revered and familiar names: Judson, Gilmore, Condict, and Hackett--some whose descendants we know.  Myanmar Baptist Convention and American Baptists share a spiritual legacy, and as representatives of Central, we are grateful to strengthen our partnership in Christ's service.

Molly T. Marshall