Himpao Lam: On Mission Opportunities in the Indo-Myanmar Border (an interview)

Pangernungba Kechu (PK): You joined Khiamniungan
Baptist Churches Association (KBCA) as the Youth Secretary in
2004 right after your graduation from OTS and is now the Church
and Mission Secretary of KBCA since 2014. How would you like
to describe the reality of Christians under KBCA?

Himpao Lam (HM): Majority of the believers in my
area attend Church and enjoy revival programs. But they
don’t live a good Christian life as there is no proper inner
transformation.
PK: What would you like to do about this challenge?
HL: I have several ideas for addressing this
challenge. But right now I want to focus on two
things: birth right campaign (clean election) and
work ethics.
PK: Can you tell us something about the KBCAMyanmar
that you are currently overseeing?
HL: Yes, KBCA-Myanmar is about six years
old and it works with around 60 Khiamniungan
villages. Most of the pastors there are lay people
or those trained from Impur Bible School.
PK: How many times have you travelled to the mission
field in Myanmar and do you encounter difficulties?
HL: I have already travelled 15 times. I was caught
once by the military along with my Executive Secretary.
We were put up in a lock-up in Lahi township, but were
released after two hours.
PK: What are the challenges that you see in the KBCAMyanmar?
HL: I see two major problems: First, the churches there
are dependent on external mission support and are not
self-supporting. Second, leadership must evolve from
within their community. Otherwise, the churches will not
grow.

PK: How strong is the presence of Buddhism in the areas that
you visit in Myanmar?
HL: Conversion to Buddhism is happening where the churches
are not very strong. Moreover, once a Buddhist temple is
installed in a village, it becomes difficult for missionaries and
Christians to approach the villagers.
PK: What are your dreams for the KBCA-Myanmar?
HL: I want them to become active
propagating churches because they are
located strategically. They can pursue the
“Macedonian call” by reaching out to the
Shans and people in mainland Myanmar.
PK: Let us come back to OTS, your alma
mater. How has your study at OTS helped you
to prepare for ministry?
HL: OTS has given me or set my theological
“perspective” in the right direction. My ideals
and viewpoints have its origin in the CROSS, which I developed
as a student in OTS.
PK: You seem to be emphasizing “perspective” very strongly.
HL: Definitely! As students, we tend to forget many portions of
the subjects and topics that we study. But the orientation that
we develop remains with us and guides us everywhere we go.
Dr. Wati used to say that without proper perspective, we would
be simply “oiling the institutional machine.” So, commitment
and proper theological perspective is important in order to be
effective in the ministry.
PK: What are you grateful for in life today?
HL: I am grateful for the fact that God has planted me in a
strategic position (Noklak/Indo-Myanmar border) and during an
opportune time.

© 2020, Oriental Theological Seminary