Wednesday, July 10, 2013

overdue post: Conference in Yangon, and waiting for 19 visas

This is a way overdue posting about the 2013 MMF JOINT THEOLOGICAL CONSULTATION in June
An annual event sponsored and coordinated by the Mekong Mission Forum (MMF)
 in co-operation with the Association of Theological Education in Myanmar (ATEM)
 and the Judson Research Center of the Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT)  

and which yours truly, that would be me, attempts to plan and coordinate from Hong Kong, together with some fantastic people from Myanmar...
2013 Theme: SUFFERING: Eyes to See, Ears to Hear: Walking with Those Who Suffer

Newly refurbished conference room... 
SO impressed by LTS alumnus Dr. Saw Christopher (Wayne's first doctoral student)
as he gives an insightful lecture on IDP's (internally displaced persons) in Myanmar. 
The chance to visit with the wife of a current LTS HK student - her husband is coming for a home visit this summer.

A total of forty-four  pastors, theologians, and seminary alumni took part in the Consultation, a majority from various regions of Myanmar, but also including international participants from Cambodia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and even as far away as Norway!

Informal fellowship time, meals, and even an excursion to the beautiful Shwedagon Pagoda allowed participants to talk, network, share concerns, and in some cases, clear up misconceptions.

Small group discussion proved enlightening, challenging, sometimes sobering.

We had invited a wonderful speaker, Rabbi Stanton Zamek from the United Jewish Congregation in Hong Kong. It was the first time for many Mekong participants to meet a real live Jew, not to mention a Jewish rabbi! Oops, except of course, for Jesus. Remember? Jesus is a real live Jewish rabbi, too.

Among the attendees at the conference was the woman in the center, who has been accepted at LTS Hong Kong for a one year diakonal ministry program starting in Fall 2013... which begins with orientation at the end of this month. However, we are waiting for approval of her student visa from the Hong Kong Immigration department!

Nineteen international students are awaiting visas. Yours truly has spent hours and hours and weeks and months (since January!!) organizing & filing papers for these 19 students, copying, scanning, faxing, telephoning, even going to the immigration dept. in person.

I am hoping, really hoping these 19 visas will all be approved in the coming two weeks. 

Even youths will faint and be weary,
    and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint. -- Isaiah 40:30-31

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