Providence will recognize Rev. Dr. Samson Hkalam and its longstanding, growing and fruitful relationship with students from Myanmar’s Kachin state by conferring an honorary doctorate on Hkalam at a ceremony in Myitkyina, Myanmar on November 25.
After earning his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Myanmar Institute of Theology, Hkalam moved to Manitoba in 1997 and graduated with a Master of Arts in Theology from Providence Theological Seminary in 1999. He then returned to Myanmar Institute of Theology and attained his Doctor of Ministry.
Hkalam has since established both a bible college and leadership training centre in Kachin State, mentored missionaries and launched missionary programs, and advocated for internally displaced persons and drug eradication. He is best known as the General Secretary of the Kachin Baptist Convention—a denomination that numbers 400,000 members representing 435 churches.
In the week leading up to the ceremony Dr. David Johnson, Providence President, and Dr. Stan Hamm, Dean of Providence Theological Seminary, will teach modular courses at the bible school and leadership training centre founded by Hkalam. The Providence contingent, which also includes Gary Schellenberg, Director of Institutional Services, and Jerrad Peters, Creative Content Specialist, as well as Dr. Johnson’s wife, Barb, and Dr. Hamm’s wife, Bev, will also visit with some of the 18 Chin and Kachin students who have attended the school over a nearly three-decade relationship.
Students from Myanmar began attending Providence in 1989 after the late Saboi Jum met with Providence professor Dr. Jonathan Bonk, who was on sabbatical in the United States. Following that chance encounter a relationship was established with Christian leaders in northern Myanmar, and Chin and Kachin students have studied at the Otterburne campus ever since.
“I am looking forward to meeting alumni and seeing them in their context and culture,” says Dr. Hamm. “I trust the experience will also give me greater insight into teaching the international students who come to study in the seminary.”
Adds Dr. Johnson: “The honorary doctorate is recognition for the significant work Samson has done after his formal training. He continues to grow in knowledge and character for leadership and service. He has made great sacrifices and risked his life for the sake of the gospel.”