I spent the day (night?) flying over the top of the world on the way to Myanmar. I have made it only to Tokyo so far, where I have a few minutes to post this brief reflection. Already you have been reading what Central's create students have been conveying about their hopes and prayers for this pilgrimage. Reading about the land, early missionary pursuits in Burma, the contours of Buddhism, and then engaging their own perspectives on intercultural experiences, they are traveling with the desire to be transformed.
This annual pilgrimage to Myanmar is beginning to feel familiar for some of us. We are welcomed by friends--both at the seminary and in churches--who share our passion to be thoughtful mission partners in a rapidly changing world. Entering into varied educational programs together strengthens mutual understanding of what Baptist witness can be in our day, nearly two hundred years after the Judsons arrived on the "golden shores" of Burma. (Hopefully, some of us will be returning for the 200th anniversary in 2013; I invite you to come with us.)
It is a blessing to explore the meaning of missional Christian identity in a land where it is such a minority, yet new churches are being gathered and built all the while. The resilience of gospel witness is remarkable given the political and social pressure to conform to the majority. Perhaps Baptists are at their best when a dissenting presence. Never closely aligned with political powers like the magisterial reformers of the 16th and 17th centuries, our forebears knew that their "citizenship" was determined by the Reign of God, not the kings or magistrates of their time. And they suffered for it--as do many of the faithful in Myanmar. We go to learn, to encourage, and to strengthen a missional partnership that is transforming for Myanmar Institute of Theology and for Central.
Molly T. Marshall
To learn more about Central's missional pursuits, visit www.cbts.edu