On July 30, and 31, 2022, I had the privilege of participating in the Tenth (Tin) Anniversary Celebration of the Zomi Baptist Churches of America in Nashville, Tennessee, led by Dr. Pau Lian, General Secretary. I represented the ministry of Buckner International and functioned in my role as Vice President of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), representing Baptists in the USA. Dr. Elijah Brown, General Secretary and CEO of the Baptist World Alliance asked me to represent him at this event. I was asked to participate in the first graduation ceremony of the Zomi Christian Theological Seminary with nine graduates who earned a Master of Ministry degree and five honorary doctoral candidates who were awarded that night. Dr. W. Dennis Tucker, Professor of Christian scriptures and Associate Dean, George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University was the commencement speaker. We shared a photo moment with the graduates, faculty, staff, and guests.
The Zomi Baptist Churches of America are affiliated members of the Baptist World Alliance. They began in 2012 with four founding churches. Many of the Zomi people migrated from Burma-Myanmar due to political strife and conflict. These conflicts continue even in 2022. Ten years later the ZBCA have 48 churches in the USA and are growing. In 2019, the ZBCA started the Zomi Christian Theological Seminary and graduated its first class this year. The ZCTS, led by Dr. Pau Khai, President, has 20 students enrolled and 93 students in the Certificate Studies Course. The progress of the ZBCA in just 10 years is amazing. During the ZBCA, I was amazed to see 2,700 children, youth, and adults gathered for this celebration. Of the total attendees, 1,500 traveled from outside Tennessee. There was a sense of vibrancy, celebration, energy, attentiveness, and presence of the Holy Spirit that permeated both days of meetings I attended. I was honored to deliver the message on Sunday morning to a welcoming congregation of Baptists. They honored me, welcomed me, and made me feel at home.
In February 2021, a military coup toppled the democratically elected government in Myanmar. This action prompted yet another refugee crisis in Southeast Asia. More than 21,000 people have been killed and thousands have fled the country. Child labor and child trafficking are on the rise in Myanmar. The UN reports that more than 700,000 displaced people, including more than 250,000 children have been affected since the coup began. One of the Zomi pastors traveled from Myanmar to speak to the ZBCA. This summer the BWA passed a resolution calling for peace and democracy in Myanmar. Please join me in support our Zomi brethren and pray for peace for this region of the world.