Jiho Choi and his spouse travelled to Shawnee from Venezuela where he has begun a campus ministry and is starting a college. His interest is in cultural ministry – music and art , which he taught in Korea before he began his mission work. Choi was the worship leader for the Global Baptist Church in Seoul, Korea – a church of over 30,000 members and probably the largest Baptist church in the world. His father was one of the pioneers of Baptist work in Korea as a church planter and pastor. Choi has expressed how appreciative he is of the scholarship provided by Central, as it would have been very difficult for him to pursue this degree otherwise. His mission work is not subsidized by his former congregation, nor denomination, so he has to raise the support for his ministry.
MIT DMin Students Empower Local Congregations
In October, thirteen Doctor of Ministry students (two women and eleven men) travelled from Myanmar (Burma) for classes at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. These students are the second group of DMin students from the Myanmar Institute of Theology who are part of the ongoing collaborative partnership between that school and Central.
The students, along with two faculty members from MIT, were in Kansas City from October 4-22 and participating in classes with both Central and MIT faculty, as well as, at times, with the two groups of Shawnee-based DMin students. The first group of US-based Central DMin students will travel to MIT next March for their cross-cultural immersion experience.
The collaborative work between Central and Myanmar Institute of Theology is transformative for both schools. Faculty and students are learning about contextual realities of ministry in a religious plural world, the impact of the shifting political landscape on issues of faith (both US and Myanmar), and the reality of economic disparities and educational privilege in global partnerships in a post-colonial world. It is inter-cultural learning at its best
In addition, Kansas City metro area churches, including newer congregations of refugees from Myanmar, graciously extended hospitality to the visitors from MIT by providing meals, connections to refugee communities, hosting the visitors for worship and community gatherings, as well as helping with travel while the visitors were in Kansas City. Central is grateful for the graciousness of those who welcomed the guests from Myanmar.
And finally, what these students experienced is empowering their ministries at home in Myanmar. President Marshall asked one of the DMin students about visiting his area of the country when she travelled there next. He told her, “Mum, you cannot visit my area. It is not safe (because of armed conflict) and it is in the jungle. Yet,” he continued, “you are touching my area—indeed, all of Myanmar—through MIT.”