Interview with Eh Soe Min, Pastor of Karen Baptist Church

http://vimeo.com/88091420 How did you come to accept Christ?

In 1980 (December 25) they (Burmese Army) came and chased me (and other Karen) from his village.  I was very afraid and I prayed for my life that they would not kill me.  I was so afraid that  I had ---what do you say---(goose bumps). Jesus saved me from being killed by my enemies.  That is the day that I accepted Jesus.  I had a vision after this that I was one of God's children.  I accepted Jesus (in public) and was Baptised in 1983 in Burma.

Describe how you became a pastor.

In 1997 I fled from Burma and went to the refugee camps (in Thailand). We made a church in Burma.  Before the camps there was no time for fellowship or to be a part of the church (because of war and persecution).  But in the camp we had no where to go.  We were surrounded by a large fence and guards and had to have special permission to leave the camp.  I worked as a secretary of the church.   I would note activities, schedule who would be leading the services and make agendas and minutes for the meetings.  There were two main churches in the camp we were in.  Many churches would come and combine in the camps.  There were 13 pastors at our church and about 500 in attendance each week.  Every week we would have three services one for the women, the main church and then the youth at night.

When did you receive your calling to be a pastor in Boise?  What happened?

When I arrived here (USA in 2009) I was looking around to see how many Karen were in Boise.  I started visiting and praying with individuals at their houses.  Later in 2009 I went to the Vineyard church and they asked me to preach.  In Sept. of 2009 I was approached (by a Karen Pastor/Leader from KBC, USA) about leading a community of believers.  I prayed about it.  They prayed and met about it.  Then they (key leaders) came to me and said if you are ok with it we would like you to become a disciple.  (I said) If you trust me to be God’s disciple, I’ll do that.  This is the first step before becoming a pastor.  I talked about this with my family too and they agreed.  I quit my job for 4 months so that I would be able to become the pastor and preach on Sundays. (Eh Soe successfully completed FBC of Boise’s licensing process in recent years with others at FBC)

Tell us about your family.

Married to Jue Hae for 30 years.  They have 4 children and two grandchildren.  My wife works 5 hours a night from 9pm - 2 am cleaning offices.  Every night Eh Soe drives her to/from work.  I have one son in college at Treasure Valley Community College.  My other son will graduate from Capital High School this year and has applied to attend College of Western Idaho.  I have a daughter who is a stay at home mom of two children.  My other daughter works at a Sushi Ya (on Overland). Eh Soe and his family live in a Habitat for Humanity home.

Tell us about a typical day or week for you.

I work as an interpreter (self employed for multiple agencies) about 6 hours a day including some Saturdays.  I also type out the Sunday School lesson on Saturdays along with leading a prayer time Saturday nights.  Then on Sunday we have church from 2 pm - 5 pm. Includes setup and takedown.  He invests 12 to 20 plus hours as a pastor.

What do you like to do for fun?

I read the Bible or books and write notes.  I also like to call my wife and go to the store.  I need to learn more so I can continue to lead others.

What is a typical Karen worship service like?

Prayer

Sing our moto

Sing a song

Read Scripture

Song

Read Scripture for the sermon

Message - rotate women, church, youth

Offering (one or more depending on opportunities/needs)

Sunday School (children’s class) presents a summary of what they have learned (that Sunday)

Closing prayer

(There is some rotation of responsibilities)

What is your vision for Karen Baptist Church in Boise in the next 5-10 years?

Have our own church.

Do you support missions?  What does your offering typically go to?

We take an offering for  KBC USA a couple times a year.  ($400-$600 a year).

We also take special offerings like when the Bible School burned down in Thailand.  We took two offerings.  When we get a letter about a need we will take a special offering separate from our normal offering.

What are your hopes and dreams?  (Personal)

(The pastor/KBC USA  and other leaders) who installed me--- wants me to take a two year course(s)  of seminary in Minnesota.  Looking at my situation this would be difficult since I still have to pay a mortgage and support my family.  They would like me to do this so that I can have a higher position (in the ministry).  I am currently saving $50 - $100 every month (on my own.)  At our next (KBC Annual) meeting in July all the (KBC) churches will have to be in agreement before they will fund this new seminary (in St. Paul, Minnesota).  (Two year process with some time spend there on site and some studies would be at home.)  Some classes would be in Karen and others in English.

Thank you Eh Soe for meeting with us today.  (We concluded our time together in prayer and prayed specifically for a woman he was going to visit in the hospital.)

Glenn Compton - Director of Pastoral Care