What is your favorite memory of your time at LSTC?
One of my favorite memories from LSTC was when I served Holy Communion in Augustana Chapel. I will never forget that experience because in my community in Myanmar, women were not accepted in our community to lead the Holy Communion. I admired the LSTC community’s organizing of worship programs. Especially in the service of Holy Communion, there is no gender distinction. Women can lead the service and can even give the benediction.
In my context, neither of these roles is accessible to me as a woman. I would like to pass this experience along to my community in Myanmar to create equality between genders and thus more unity among my people.
What was the most meaningful class you took?
Every class that I got to take was really meaningful because both the lectures and the professors were brilliant. I can’t choose a particular class because I learned so much in all the classes. All of the classes really touched my heart and helped my knowledge grow, because the method of teaching and theology here is very different than it is in my country. The classes have helped me organize my knowledge and equipped me with new perspectives to better serve my ministry.
How did you feel supported during your seminary journey? Were you the recipient of any major scholarships? What communities or people uplifted you during your studies?
Without the help of LSTC’s extended generosity of the full-tuition scholarship offered to me, I would not have had the opportunity to explore the rich experience of American excellence and prestigious theological education. In Myanmar, we do not have a very strong Christian community, so I appreciate that I was able to have this opportunity to learn so I can take this knowledge back to my own country. This scholarship benefits more than just me, but all the people of Myanmar. I felt very loved by every student, professor, and the rest of the community who helped me in many ways while I was here. It is very hard to choose any one person who helped me more than the next. Everyone was very willing to help me whether it was with my financial situation, educationally, or with my health. The LSTC community is a beautiful and amazing community.
What are your post-graduation plans?
For my future, I wish to extend my studies further in theology if given the opportunity. I have learned that education opens people’s minds and I want to learn more to take back with me to my people. I believe theological education can open people’s minds and foster spiritual growth.
I would love for my people to experience the same eye-opening experiences that I have had through my education of the Word of God. My place has a very set way of thinking, and I would love to be able to use the knowledge I have been provided in the classroom to broaden my community’s mindset.
How did LSTC shape you as a future leader of the public church?
LSTC is a faith community that embraces diversity, and we all are God’s family with God-given diversity of race, age, gender, and faith background. Even though we have different cultures, colors, and diversity, LSTC brings students from all different communities to the same table. This is different from how it was in my home because there I wasn’t allowed to participate in church because I am a woman. At LSTC, I am allowed to take up space and participate in church. I want to bring thing experience back to my community so that my community can be more like the early Christian community shown in Acts 2:44.
Additionally, LSTC is a place that provides space for all people — rich, poor, children, old, young, orphans, and widows — and it is organized for sharing, learning, and caring for each other. So, LSTC is not only a gathering of people who study theology, praise, worship, and have fellowship in Christ, but it is also a place that provides for our physical needs like food, clothes, and shelter. Thus, I learned that LSTC is an authentic community and an organization that cares for all parts of its students instead of just the academic part. LSTC is caring for me as a whole person. This helps me learn more about who I am and helps me imagine how I can go further toward serving God for the needy people in my community in the future.