ABOUT KACHIN BAPTIST CONVENTION (KBC)
In 1813, Adoniram Judson arrived in Rangoon (now Yangon) as the first Protestant missionary sent to Burma (now Myanmar) by the Christians of North America. He set sail as a Congregationalist but while he was in India, the English Baptists persuaded him and his wife to become Baptists. He then labored in southern Burma for 38 years.
After seven years in Burma, the first person was converted to his religion. He translated the Scriptures into Burmese and traveled as far north as Mandalay, where he presented the Scriptures to the King of Burma. However, the king refused to give him an audience and he was imprisoned in Mandalay at Aungpinle.
Missionaries started work among the Kachin people in 1877. The first Kachin converts were Baptized in 1882 by William Henry Roberts. Eight years later, Ola and Minnie Hanson arrived. Although the Hanson did not grow up in the Baptist Church, they became members during Ola’s seminary years. He was ordained to the gospel ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church, and they were commissioned by the church in 1890.
When the early missionaries approached the King of Burma to ask permission to teach the Kachin, the king laughed and pointed to his dog and said that they would have more success teaching his dog than teaching the Kachins. They were the wild men of Burma, illiterate animists, who sacrificed cows and chickens to appease the spirits. The Kachin consist of six tribes: Jingphaw, Zaiwa, Lisu, Lhaovo, Lachid, and Rawang. They are the younger brothers of the Chin Tribes of Eastern Burma.
Rev. Kincaid, an American missionary in Pyay (Lower Burma), went up to the Kachin land (upper Burma) in 1837 and met Kachin people in Bhamaw and Mogaung regions. He wrote a letter to the American Baptist mission society to send the missionary to Kachin Land.
In 1878, Rev. J. Lyon and his wife first came to Bhamaw as missionaries, but Lyon contracted malaria within a week, and died within a month. Rev. Roberts came to Bhamaw in 1878 and started opening the mission work among the Kachin people. Rev. Dr. Ola Hanson came to Bhamaw in 1890. He preached the gospel to the Kachin people, created Kachin writings, and translated the Bible into Kachin. He handed the Bible to the Kachin people in 1927, in the time of Golden Jubilee celebration of mission work.
The first seven Kachin converts were Baptized on March 19, 1882, and the Kachin church was founded in that year. Kachin literature was accepted and used by the British government in 1895. Kachin Baptist churches organization, today the Kachin Baptist Convention, was founded in 1890. KBC had a centennial Jubilee Celebration in 1977 where about 100,000 Christians gathered in Jaw Bum (Centennial Mountain) in Myitkyina. 6,214 believers were baptized in this Jubilee Celebration. Kachin Literature Centennial Jubilee was celebrated in 1995 at Pin Le, Mandalay.
Very many Kachin people were dying from diseases and the Kachin Nation was in danger of dying out. Salvation came to them, and Kachin nation recovered, through the light of the salvation. The Kachin people through salvation have the privilege of knowing the eternal God.
As our forefathers received the knowledge and wisdom of God, they established Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) in 1910. The purpose was to build up both their people and their land according to the instructions given in the Bible into a God honoring nation.
Through this legacy, the leaders across different generations, having been chosen by God, lead the congregation of churches with careful plans and laws. Those plans and laws have been formed through consultation and agreed to be put into practice. While leading the community from different walks of life, Kachin Baptist Convention drafted and approved the constitution which was confirmed through the support of the congregation.
Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) is a Myanmar Baptist denominational body whose members practice the Baptist faith. It is an evangelical organization based on holistic missions. Its headquarters are in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar. It has 20 associations and over 400 churches and is still growing [Reference: 6]. Most of the members in KBC are of Kachin nationality. Some believers within KBC are the fruits of labor from mission works to other tribes and races. According to 2000 census, KBC had more than 141,952 Baptized members and more than 153,913 non-Baptized members. In 2018, there were more than 400,000 Baptized and non-Baptized members. It currently has 449 ordained ministers and 790 un-ordained ministers.
List of the 20 associations under KBC: –
- Manmaw Kachin Baptist Association
- Myitkyina Kachin Baptist Association
- Sam Mung Kachin Baptist Association
- Hka Hku Kachin Baptist Association
- Htingnai Kachin Baptist Association
- Putao Kachin Baptist Association
- Kentung Kachin Baptist Association
- Wai Maw Kachin Baptist Association
- Sama Kachin Baptist Association
- Nogmung Kachin Baptist Association
- Lawu Ga Kachin Baptist Association
- Mungmau Kachin Baptist Association
- Uru Seng Maw Kachin Baptist Association
- Chihpwi Kachin Baptist Association
- Kutkai Kachin Baptist Association
- KBC-USA [Kachin Baptist Churches in the United States of America]
- Asia Kachin Baptist Association (Asia Association in April 2019)
- Europe Kachin Baptist Association (KBC – Europe in March 2020)
- ANZ (Australia & New Zealand) Kachin Baptist Association and
- Kamaing Kachin Baptist Association
KBC has 14 Departments.
- Christian Communication Department
- Publication Department
- Finance and Property Department
- Youth Department
- Men’s Department
- Women’s Department
- Leadership Development Department
- Ministers Department
- Healing Ministry Department
- Christian Education Department
- Theological Education Department
- Music Department
- Evangelism and Mission Department
- Humanitarian Development Department
KBC is doing mission works not only in Kachin but also to other tribes and races. Some mission works are among Rakhine people, Wa people, Shan, Palaung, Kadu, Ganan people, Gaw-ra-hka people, Kayah people and Kachin people in China.
KBC Has two Theological Colleges
- Kachin Baptist Convention owned two Theological Colleges, which is Kachin Theological College and Seminary (KTCS) in Myikyina,
- Kachin Theological College (KTC) in Kutkai, Northern Shan State, Myanmar.
The Name and Location of KBC
Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) is the English name and is Jinghpaw Wunpawng Hkalup Hpung Ginjaw (JHZ) in Jingphaw (Kachin).
- Headquarters of the Kachin Baptist Convention is:
- 135/131 Shanzu South,
Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar.
- The objectives of the KBC are as follow:
- To bring together the whole KBC which includes local churches and zone Associations which take part in mass meetings. Members belong to local churches, in unity and do the ministry together in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
- To share the gospel of Christ.
- To expand the kingdom of God and to help people develop holistically.
- To have fellowship and build networks with other churches and denominations inside and outside Myanmar.
- To assist the development of the KBC churches; provide training to encourage and support them; pray for them in their ministry.
- To keep the principles of the Baptist Church, to be united and bound together in the love of our lord Jesus Christ.
- To build up the congregations through churches being the centers of local communities.
The following activities will be carried out to achieve the objectives of the Kachin Baptist Convention.
- To give support to the Convention, Zone Associations and Local Churches as necessary.
- Through faith undertaking:
- writing, translating, and publishing prospective literature of faith but not literature which is against the teaching of Christianity.
- To safely keep finances, and maintain other property like churches, houses and lands which are blessings from God.
- To build up spirituality every member and church through teaching and training different age groups including men, women, youth, and children through the various departments of KBC.
- To learn to use equipment including electronic forms, the internet and press facilities that help achieve the goals.
- To promote efficient ministers in the churches by opening seminary schools, colleges, institutes, and public schools for academic education.
- To develop holistic mission.
- To grow and promote Kachin Baptist Convention with integrity in one strong spirit, and to glorify the name of the Lord by networking with other Christian denominations.
- To build up fellowship with other denominations through mutual respect.
Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs)
Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) are refugees living in camps scattered throughout Kachin State and northern Shan State in Myanmar. After the commencement of fighting between the Burmese Military (Tatmadaw) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in 2011, many Kachin have been displaced from their homes and their land and relocated into IDP camps. Many have been living in the camps for nearly 8 years and face an uncertain future while living in terrible conditions. They are currently unable to return to their homes and villages as the conflict continues between the military and the KIA.
While they have sufficient to eat, they lack the material and other resources to improve their living conditions. There are very few employment opportunities for these people, and many have to live on handouts from churches and the UNHCR. Their children attend schools and are receiving only a basic education. They need opportunities to develop businesses or find employment to improve their standard of living and thereby improving the prospects for their children. Developing employability or otherwise marketable skillsets, would enable these people to develop and become productive citizens of Myanmar. When the conflict is finally resolved and they return to their homes and land, those skills will enable them to build local economies and rebuild their lives.