Dong Hwan Kwon, known to many of us as Bill, graduated from APNTS in 2003 with a Master of Arts in Christian Communication degree. Currently Bill is the chancellor of Southeast Asia Nazarene Bible College (SEANBC), and continues in his second year as District Superintendent of Myanmar. His leadership to the district continues to influence bi-vocational students to become disciples of Christ. Developing a group of preachers, teachers, and disciples in their community is the targeted mission and vision.
Through Kwon’s ministry, Myo, Min Thai, accepted the call after he enrolled in an SEANBC extension held in his local church. Leaving his occupation as a motorbike driver who daily delivered food to the community, Myo Min Thai’s compassion for lost souls continues to increase. He took the call of the Great Commission and began visiting neighboring communities and sharing the gospel. As a second year student, he is pastoring 20 believers in his house church. Nothing will stop him from loving the Lord as he learns Scripture, ministers to his neighbors, and travels with his three children by motorbike.
God continues to work mightily in the Myanmar District, according to Dr. Kwon, as he recently coordinated the first local Missionary Training Program during the first week of November, 2017. Attending this training were 16 local missionaries, crossing language and cultural boundaries. These local missionaries have received the call and initiated church planting on unoccupied land. By partnering with local churches and volunteers, they hope to raise support for new congregations.
Faced with spiritual attacks that Satan brings through resistance and persecution, Christ is still working in the lives of families, especially those deeply rooted in Buddhist practices. Prayers continue to go out to families who are ostracized because of their belief in Christ Jesus. In a Buddhist community, these are some of the many issues that will continue to be a challenge.
History has shown growth and change through the Myanmar district’s 33 years of ministry. The majority of their country has been under military dictatorship. Identified as a country divided by eight states and religion, with the help of these pastors, new organic churches are gathering the people to become one community. Now, there are 35 organized churches and 18 planted churches. Included as part of this growth is Southeast Asia Nazarene Bible College. In 1996, the intention was to offer a multi-language and multi-site theological education. By 2017, there have been 22 extension centers in 4 countries, with an enrollment of 605 students.
Dr. Kwon is reminded of his time at APNTS as an academic-oriented student, daily learning from books and classes. He did not realize the reality of challenges and life experiences he would face in Asian ministry. Alluding to APNTS students, “I want to challenge the community to spend some time in the real church and community where you will be serving.” A call to minister as ambassadors of Christ not only with head knowledge, but also through action.
With the Gospel ready to be declared, continue to pray for a revival spirit in the country of Myanmar along with Southeast Asian counties. Dr. Kwon says, “We are in need of many workers for the mission.” As it is said in scripture, “The harvest field is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”