Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from Ministry in the Golden Land of Judson, a booklet written by Dr. Do Suan Mung, the founder and president of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. This excerpt has been slightly adapted for the web.
Although Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is a Buddhist country, I was privileged to be born in a Christian family. My parents became Christians through American missionaries. My parents were devout Christians, so they reared me and all my siblings in accordance with Christian principles and practices.
My father died when I was eight years old. Before he died he owned a successful shop (something like a mini Walmart). One year after he died, the then socialist government confiscated our shop and all our possessions. Life was hard when I was growing up due to godless socialist policy of the government. Ultimately, the country itself became one of the poorest nations of the world.
Salvation and Call to the Ministry
Being born and brought up in a Christian home, I had been very much a church-oriented individual. I attended Sunday Schools regularly when I was young and actively participated in all the youth programs. I got baptized when I was 17. But I was not saved until I was 18 primarily because my church did not preach the gospel. My church looked alive and well from outside but dead internally.
Then a heaven-sent revival broke out in the early 1970s and some pastors and evangelists began to preach the gospel. I received Christ when I was 18 at a revival meeting conducted by a local evangelist. This revival fire spread like a wild fire all across the nation that many people turned to Christ. As soon as I got saved, I started to preach the gospel myself. I went from town to town and shared the good news of Christ. To my amazement and great joy, many people received Christ through my preachings. At that time, I was not a preacher per se, or a seminary student.
Two years after I was saved, The Lord called me to His ministry. It happened as I was preaching a gospel message. A still small voice spoke loudly in my heart and I knew without a doubt that it was the Lord’s voice calling me to the ministry. So I consecrated my life for the Lord’s service that night. I was 20 then.
Training for the Lord’s Ministry
When the Lord called me to the ministry, I was studying at Mandalay University. I graduated in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry). Upon graduating from University, I plunged into the ministry as an evangelist without pay or an official appointment. Having been in the ministry for two years in 1979, I was appointed a full-time minister by the Evangelical Baptist Conference.
The Evangelical Baptist Conference (EBC) was born out of the aforementioned revival in 1975. It broke away from the older church as there was strong resistance to the revival movement. Today there are over 200 local churches in the EBC throughout Myanmar.
The longer I was in the ministry, the more apparent it became to me that I needed a theological training. I therefore began to pray about going to a seminary. At first, I was thinking of going to a seminary in India, but somehow the Lord closed the door for me. For a period of time, I was perplexed about God’s will for my future. But I continued to pray and finally the Lord showed me his plan which was far better than my own plan. The Lord truly is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph.3:20). He, in a miraculous way, opened a door for me to go to a seminary in San Francisco, California.
Experiencing the Living God
Even though the Seminary in San Francisco had given me admission, a big question remained. How to get to the US and then how to pay my school fees? Practically, I had no dime in my pocket. Moreover, my government in those days would issue passports only to diplomats, not to ordinary citizens. Going abroad for any reason was strictly prohibited. So I sneaked out from Burma to India, walking in the jungle for five days to reach the border town in India. When I reached India, things did not turn out as I had planned and expected. From human standpoint, there was no way my dreams could be materialized. Understandably, friends urged me to go back home. But I turned a deaf ear to human advice and continued to pray. The more I prayed, the more I was convinced that the Lord wanted me to press on.
So I persevered under severe trials and huge obstacles for a period of one and a half years in India and finally the Lord brought me to San Francisco with His own mighty hands. During my stay in India, many a times, I had no money to buy food that I would go without food for three or four days. So many times, I got sick and had no money to see a doctor or buy medicine. But the Lord graciously would always step in to meet my needs from the most unexpected source at the most unexpected time. The Lord taught me many important lessons through those difficult experiences. He taught that I should totally depend on Him. He taught that He is able to do the impossible. He taught that He cares for me. He taught that He is faithful.
I studied at San Francisco Baptist Seminary from 1981 to 1985. I received my M.Div. in 1985. Many loving and caring friends made seminary life joyful and blessed.
Back to Burma
I returned to Burma in early 1986. I came to India first and then sneaked back in to Burma through the same jungle. When I returned, I brought with me 7,000 volumes of books which were carried on horseback in the jungle.
When I got home I was prosecuted for leaving the country illegally. I was fined a relatively small sum of money which I was very happy to pay to close my case once and forever. The judge was very lenient to me because he was a Christian and well aware that I left the country but to study the Bible.
Joyfully Serving the Lord
The first thing I did when I got back home was get married. My fiancée had been waiting me for five years so I wanted to waste no time for the sake of her. I arrived back home in February, 1986 and we got married in May, 1986. Today we are blessed with four grown children. Then on September 1, 1986, I started Faith Baptist Bible College in my hometown, Tedim, in Chin State, Myanmar.
Fast forward to today’s era. On April 21, 2015, I turned 60. There was a sentiment that I never felt before on my previous birthdays. Here in Myanmar, the retirement age is 60. Had I held a secular job, I would have to retire this year. But thank God, I don’t need to and I will not retire from the Lord’s work. On the contrary, I have greater dreams and visions for the ministry in days to come.
I am very much encouraged by the scripture verse the Lord gave me for my future.
They will still bear fruit in old age; they will stay fresh and green (Psalm 92:14, NIV).