In late May, Ed Hirshman and J. Lucarelli celebrated with Pastor Benjamin and approximately fifty other fellow believers the opening of the Myanmar Bible College (MBC) outside of the Myanmar capital, Yangon. The school, which began its first year of classes in early June with eighteen students, will offer a rigorous theological and practical curriculum with both a three year Bachelors of Ministry and a four year Bachelors of Theology.
The vision of the institution is to equip God’s people who have dedicated their lives to serve the Lord to study God’s Word accurately and to provide contextual mission strategies for preaching the Gospel throughout Myanmar.
MBC is the realization of a ministry strategy of Pastor Benjamin and the people with whom he works for a number of years and marks an exciting and joyous milestone for the ministry.
Similar to the Church being represented by believers rather than buildings and property, MBC is a community of dedicated leaders, staff, and students. The students, mostly from the Dai tribe in southern Chin State, will begin on a challenging and rewarding journey as they prepare to take the gospel of Christ to the remote unreached areas of Myanmar.
In his dedication message, Ed Hirshman challenged the students to seek God’s calling in their lives and related Isaiah’s proclamation in Isaiah 52 of the Lord’s redemption of Jerusalem to the lives of the students and their commitment to proclaiming good news and peace.
Not wanting to puff up the students too much, Ed also reminded them of Christ’s example of servant leadership when Christ washed Peter’s feet and said that “no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him” (John 13). To illustrate the point to the students and others in attendance, Ed and J. washed the feet of each of the students. The memorable event was a humbling experience for everyone involved.
Ed hoped that the experience would be memorable to the students. J. commented that as he knelt before each of the students that he imagined the hardship that each student had experienced, but was encouraged by the hope that each one of them represented.
MBC and the potential represented in the lives of the students and staff is at the core of what Harvesters is about in its mission to encourage, support and assist the national missionary initiative to see the gospel of Christ reach the unreached. It was an honor to participate in the dedication. It is even more of an honor to be involved in helping MBC reach its potential as it trains young people for ministry and to learn together in partnership.
As the students and staff make their way through their first year help will be needed to support staff salaries, student housing, and the classroom facilities. MBC is also working on expanding its library and is in need of funding to facilitate this. Harvesters has been blessed with a resource seeking to assist bible colleges and other leadership trainers to improve their libraries by making significantly discounted materials available. The staff is preparing a list of materials still needed so that they can be ordered when funding is available.
It was truly an exciting time to stand beside brothers and sisters in Christ and witness the realization of a dream and the beginning of something with such great potential to impact the kingdom of God.