Category: This is Central

My Seminary Journey        

This blog post is written by Naw Htoo Htoo Kaw Shamo, current MDiv student, as part of the “Your calling. Your values. Your seminary.” blog series. 

Deciding to be a seminarian differed from my plans and dreams. I ended up in seminary after the prolonged closure of all other universities and colleges after I graduated from high school in my country in 1997. As a pastor, my dad encouraged me to join seminary, and I became one of the seminarians in 2000. After graduating from seminary in 2005, I planned to pursue further learning but did not get any chance according to life circumstances and changes. And so many other issues, including my health problems. My dream to continue theological education was fulfilled in 2017 after emigrating to the States in 2014. To start over a new life in a foreign land is not just a move; it took our family long enough to be stable where we were.

After several life experiences and many health issues, my husband and I could join Central. We became tools for our Karen people, who migrated to the United States a decade ago. We could be helpful to Karen churches in the USA by supporting the Spiritual needs of our congregations. Leading the Karen church from where we are and helping them grow spiritually is not an ordinary task. Still, it takes time, work, and endurance to be appropriate for our congregation and the situations.

I was so excited to be a student at Central. It was not just a learning experience; challenges such as language barriers, culture, and systems awaited. As a worker, student, and housewife, I must learn everything new daily. The most significant challenge in my seminary journey is a language for me. I need more vocabulary and terms to learn, discuss, and write my assignments. But from all the courses I took [in my previous education] and recently took from Central, the professors, classmates, and even student advisors, encouraged my journey and gave me the strength to keep going. I feel proud and comfortable taking my courses, although I struggled with some assignments and worried about writing and completing them and the tuition fees.

I was proud but also nervous and a little scared to continue my journey as a seminarian. Most of all, I lost my loved one, my dad, who always encouraged me to broaden my further learning in Myanmar in July 2021. By then, the third wave of Covid and a military coup added to the curfew that night; my dad didn’t get any medical attention, couldn’t get out to any clinic or hospital, and passed away. On top of that, I could not even get a chance to say last goodbye to him and attend his funeral in person because of the pandemic restriction and also the coup at that time.

But I am glad to make a [good] choice to join Central Seminary. Central provides several opportunities for the learners from the classroom until commencement. Central offers flexible courses, schedules, and tuition fees for students joining Seminary. I appreciate and am grateful for the opportunity to join Central. I am blessed to choose to be a seminary student at Central. I could plan my lifelong learning with Central. I gained a lot from all my courses, and I hope to see the best in future classes. It is a long journey to complete MDiv courses, but there is no blame directed to Central. [Central] gives all students a fair chance to participate in it in their convenient way and time frame. I wish to be a full-time student at Central, but I have yet to try to be one according to my life situation to be a full-time employee, tuition fees, and many other life tasks. I am in my mid-way to get to the end of my seminary journey. I hope to end up at my best by the time it comes is my future dream.