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Studying at Providence but Serving in Myanmar

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Ying Kyang

OTTERBURNE, MB – We’d like to introduce you to Seminary student Ying Kyang. He grew up in Myanmar. His mother committed him to the Lord and began praying that God would use him in Christian service and ministry. She was praying for the future of her oldest son long before she knew he would have the opportunity to study theology on the other side of the world.

Ying is part of the Kachin peoples who have suffered for years under a hostile government. He’s heard of pastors who’ve been detained or killed. The actions of the national military have displaced many people. More than 100,000 have been forced to abandon their homes. When asked if he was ever scared for his life, Ying said, “We just got used to the tense environment. We didn’t know how other countries operated peacefully on the other side of the world.”

Because of all the challenges in his region, Ying saw the great need for more pastors to spread the gospel and serve the Myanmar people. With encouragement from those around him, Ying chose to pursue a vocation in Christian ministry. He began as a pastor with the Kachin Baptist Convention, a strong partner with Providence. He was passionate about bringing justice to a country hungry for democracy. His role went beyond preaching on a Sunday morning and included working on behalf of marginalized and displaced people, even when his efforts brought him and his coworkers close to danger.

Ying was working as a Youth Director for the Kachin Baptist Convention when Past President David Johnson and a team of Providence delegates came to visit in 2018. He remembers how encouraging it was to have a visit from Providence while his people were in such turmoil.

When the Kachin Baptist Convention chose Ying to receive a scholarship to attend Providence’s Theological Seminary, he was overjoyed. Although it meant spending some time away from his wife and daughter, he knew he needed to take the opportunity at Providence so he could be further equipped to walk out his ministry calling.

Now in his third year of the Master of Divinity program, Ying reflects on what it has meant to come and study at Providence. “My theological education has shaped my life and helped me discern my vocation in ministry: to work for and to stand firm with the marginalized people in my country.”

Ying did not expect that his time at Providence would also help him radically re-center his vision for ministry. While he had been so focused on fighting for justice in his country, he hadn’t had much opportunity to sit and be still with God. At Providence, he got to develop his inner life with God in a new way. “I was so focused on fighting for social justice in my country, but here I can focus on learning the power of contemplation and personal devotions with God.”

“Professors have inspired me to employ a framework for biblically-oriented theology in my Asian context. I’ve been able to apply sound theological understanding to the life, faith and practice of the local church. Providence has certainly equipped me for future ministry back home.”

Author - Gina Turnbull

Gina Turnbull