From Scranton to Yangon: Same Mission, Different Country

From Scranton to Yangon: Same Mission, Different Country

Ever since he graduated with his Master of Divinity from Clarks Summit University’s Baptist Bible Seminary in 2017, Thang Lam Kim has been busy! His degree from CSU allowed him to return to his home country in Myanmar where he holds many titles: Professor, teacher, evangelist, small group leader, children’s ministry leader and more.

Sharing the Truth

Ministry in Myanmar has many challenges. Most of the difficulties come from interacting with a Buddhist culture. “Buddha’s teaching is all about finding truth and living in light of the truth to be enlightened and free from all worldly desires,” explains Kim. “So the word truth is very attractive to a Buddhist. Learning this about Buddha’s teaching has caused my method of evangelism to change a bit, and from my experience, the Buddhists are much more open to the gospel because I claim to have the truth—the Bible.” Kim uses small groups to help his students and unbelieving friends feel open to finding answers together through the Bible. He is praying about using the small groups to eventually plant a church in a community where there are no gospel-preaching churches.

Kim teaches social studies at Hope International School and is a professor at Faith Baptist College and Seminary. Reminiscing on his college and seminary days, he says, “I am always and will always be a student of the Word, but I am also reminded more often than I like that I am a student who is still learning to do ministry in the golden land of Myanmar.”

Missions and Evangelism

Kim, also known as “Kimpi,” has three mission trips planned in unreached villages and is praying for funds to buy a motorbike since the villages are not reachable by car. In the city, he hands out gospel tracts on public trains during the weekend. With up to 1,000 people reached on each trip, he is able to provide people with Burmese gospel tracts that are translated or written by Faith Baptist Seminary professors. In the future he hopes to start a Café in Yangon that will also include a room for live concerts and performances. “I love music, and I see the great potential in reaching people with the gospel message through music here in Yangon,” shares Kim.

Mission Scranton to Mission Yangon

When he returned to Myanmar in 2017, Kim had a burden for the underprivileged children that lived in Yangon. He joined an existing ministry that is now called Mission Yangon. “The goal is to faithfully proclaim the gospel of Christ to this unreached, poverty-stricken community in the greater Yangon city area,” he explains. “We find that the most practical way to do this is to have programs for the kids. By focusing on the kids, we are automatically building stronger and lasting relationships with their families to whom we then can advance the gospel.” His background experience working with Mission Scranton, a ministry that reaches children and teenagers in the projects of Scranton, provided the needed foundation to develop Mission Yangon. “God has given me the chance to be a part of something so much greater and bigger than myself,” states Kim. “So now that I am on the other side of the globe, working on a very similar ministry with a very different team, I am trying my best to make good use of the lessons Mission Scranton has taught me and apply them here in Myanmar.”

Kim is one of four leaders who minister to an average of 10 kids a week. A typical night would include inviting children to attend, prayer, scripture memorization, music, a Bible lesson and a gospel presentation. The inner city ministry does pose some challenges, as Kim shares. “We have weeks where these kids, who are under 10 years old, will come to the program high on substances, and there are days when they will fight physically…it is very clear that they are living according to what is happening around them, what they are seeing in their homes. Going there once a week to teach them about God’s love, as well as the importance of education and danger of drugs, is not always fun and easy, but it is always a blessing to be able to do it.” Mission Yangon hopes to eventually plant a church to continue reaching the community with the gospel and discipleship.

Internship as a Foundation for Discipleship

Kim has also been able to work with Dr. Bud Peterson to develop curriculum for training and teaching seminars on discipleship. “The curriculum is based on the first-century church and making it applicable to an international setting,” shares Kim. “I personally find it really practical, with biblical philosophy and methods on discipleship.” The curriculum is also based on things that Kim learned during his seminary internship at Northmoreland Baptist Church in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania. The required eight-month internship allowed Kim to be mentored by a pastor while serving within the church. “I can’t help but praise God for His awesome sovereignty and wisdom,” says Kim about the internship. “He was preparing me for my ministry here in an Asian city of eight-million people, even while I was living in a small town in Pennsylvania!”

 

-Haley Seboe, Communications-Writing graduate from Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania

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