Taking Work with Youth to New Levels
After three years of teaching high school Chris Miller found himself less interested in the material and more interested in the students themselves. With a BS in Secondary Education & Theater from Southwest Baptist University, he felt a call to take his work with youth to a new level.
“My greatest passion has been my students at school and the youth at my church,” he says. Budget cutbacks that reduced his hours at school, increased involvement with his church's youth program, and much reflection and prayer led Chris to the create program. He hopes to find a full time position as a youth pastor.
Gospel in Action
One of the experiences that make an impact on the students who go to Myanmar on pilgrimage each year is a visit to Ywama Baptist Church in Yangon. Rev. Dr. Maung Maung Yin is the pastor there. He also serves as the Dean at the Myanmar Institute of Theology with whom Central has a partnership.
The Ywama Medical Clinic is staffed on Sundays by volunteer medical personnel who are members of the Ywama Baptist Church and see the clinic as their ministry. They are able to treat each person for what would be the equivalent in Myanmar of a day’s wage - $1. Should a person need treatment through the local medical system, the expense would be much higher and compounded by the need to take off from work to go for treatment. Often individuals cannot afford the treatment, much less the loss of pay from missing work. In addition to the continued suffering of that individual, often another result is the spread of disease and suffering is multiplied.
The Ywama Clinic has treated over 6000 people in the years since it began. It continues to be a thriving ministry, one the Central Seminary community helps to support through funds and connections with others who can offer help. See the story below from Central’s President Molly T. Marshall who helped make such a connection during the seminary’s last visit there.
From President Molly T. Marshall’s Trinitarian Soundings Blog, posted January 30, 2012
Sharing in Mission
I got to visit my favorite Sunday School class yesterday—no, not the one at Prairie Baptist where I regularly (that might be debated) attend. I was at Third Baptist Church in St. Louis for the launching of a new seminary program, so I went to the class I will not miss when there, the Prayer Partners class. Faithfully led by Linda and Howard Roos, this class is comprised of differently abled persons who love God, each other, and the larger world.
The class has a practice of contributing spare change to a common fund that is designated for some missional purpose. Over the years, the class has contributed well over $4000 to varied initiatives, creatively making a significant impact. Yesterday, the class presented an absolutely stuffed spaghetti jar to me containing $99.85, mostly in coin saved from bus fare change. It was a hefty offering! They knew I was preparing to go to Myanmar once again and wanted to share out of their substance with needs there. Members of this class have little margin to be generous, yet over time and together their funds can be transformative.
I offered two options for disbursing their funds: either Myanmar Institute of Theology or the Ywama Baptist Church Medical Clinic, located in the Insein section of Yangon, near the seminary. Quickly and unanimously they said it should go to the medical clinic. Often facing the challenge of adequate medical care themselves, they were thrilled with the impact of their gift: one dollar per patient. I am grateful to carry their funds and present them in their behalf. I will do my best to convey to the medical staff the sacrifice involved in this gift and the reservoir of love from which it flows.
This class reminds me of Paul’s commendation of the Macedonians: “. . . they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means . . . for the privilege of sharing in this ministry . . .” (2 Corinthians 8:3-4). Generous giving feeds the spring of joy, and the Prayer Partners demonstrate this fruit of the Spirit in abundance. Often dependent on others for transportation or special assistance, they enjoy and claim the empowerment of providing for others. They understand something of the mysterious calculus of grace; freely they have received, and freely they give.
After presenting the money, one by one members of the class prayed, some haltingly and some fluently, for our students and me. They prayed for our protection and the witness we will bear. As we complete final preparations for our pilgrimage, we go with added joy and strength because of their deep sharing in mission.
We invite you to make a difference with us in Myanmar. Click here to give $1 to treat 1 person at the Ywama Medical Clinic in Yangon, Myanmar.