Welcoming Students from Myanmar

MIT DMin Students ArrivingLate one Thursday night in September, twelve weary theological students from Myanmar, many time zones away in tropical Southeast Asia, will step off a plane in Kansas City to begin two weeks of study and cultural experiences hosted by Central Baptist Theological Seminary.   For most of them, it will be their first trip outside their country’s borders much less across the Pacific Ocean.  They will be welcomed with cameras, banners, and big smiles by an enthusiastic team of seminary staff and local church leaders who have been planning, praying, and preparing for their arrival for months. 

The students, along with three professors, are part of a joint Central Seminary and Myanmar Institute of Theology Doctor of Ministry program established in 2011 through determined effort of presidents and deans of both institutions, along with a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.  Renewing and expanding a historic partnership from the 1950s that lapsed when anti-foreign forces dismantled international relationships in Myanmar (then known as Burma), the two theological institutions are now in the third year of a rich academic and cultural exchange.  Warming relationships between our two countries, highlighted by President Obama’s recent, unprecedented visit by a sitting president, puts Central at the forefront of an unexpected rapprochement that has captured the world’s attention.

Consistent with Central Seminary’s valuing of diversity, the MIT students represent a variety of denominations, ethnic tribal groups, and Christian ministries.  Three women are among the doctoral cohort, a significant step in the direction of gender justice for women in ministry. 

While they are in Kansas, the students will meet and share classes focusing on missional ministry with their Central Seminary DMin counterparts who will be making a reciprocal trip to Myanmar next March.  Before twelve days of intensive classroom sessions begin on September 30, the students will sample Kansas City culture through attractions like the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Liberty Memorial, Union Station, Kauffman Gardens, the Plaza, and a fall festival, among others.  Area churches will host them on Sundays and church groups will provide meals while the students study on campus. 

Each time we come together, we learn more about ministries and traditions that separate us as well as bind us together in Christ.  We welcome Central Region churches to join us in the privilege of welcoming our friends from Myanmar.  To arrange a visit with DMin students or help provide meals or other forms of hospitality, please contact Heather Entrekin, 816.830.4966, hentrekin@cbts.edu.