From BOY to MAN

S. Zarni Pyoe Wai Saing (Myanmar) recently graduated with an MDiv in Christian Ministry at EAST 28th Commencement. He is now serving as a pastor in Little Myanmar Christian Fellowship under the All Saints Presbyterian Church.  

Back in Yangon, Zarni was ‘king’ at home, pampered by his homemaker mother. Dad was a trainer of NGO workers. “But I had three big bully brothers,” he adds, laughing.

So when time came for studies in 2015, he was “shy a lot.” Compared to older brother Htike, EAST alumnus and outspoken leader, he was a frightened little boy in the Lion City of Singapore. “My greatest fear was people would laugh at my weak English,” says Zarni. “That led to problems like procrastination, missing assignment deadlines, and getting into trouble with my professors.”

But God patiently worked in his life.

First, He gave him a friend named Boh (Park Boh Hyun who graduated in 2018), who was “just as shy.” “We’d sit behind, hoping the lecturers wouldn’t call us. But they always did (laughs); they also made us go for outreach.” The most memorable of which was a Cross-Cultural Team Internship to East Asia. “Imagine my horror when we were sent to minister in an English college! But my English turned out to be better than that of the students I met.”

Another confidence booster for the talented musician-singer was being forced to go on stage. “One day, my pastor told me to join the worship ministry. I’d never sung or played the guitar publicly but I couldn’t say no,” he says. Later, he was roped into his church’s musical-drama team as lead actor. “I literally shook before the thousands who came to watch us here and in Yangon; but when people received Christ, my courage grew.”

Zarni is grateful for the EAST community who played a big part in his growth. “My lecturers, the chapel team, and fellow Student Council members I could joke around with in English!” He is especially thankful for his faculty mentors Rev Jonathan and Victor. “I confided in them about my insecurities, which led to anger issues; their prayers and love built me up.”

God also used many classes to address his fears, a most recent one being a ‘Shepherd’s Care’ counselling session. “Teacher Roy Tan showed me that my procrastination and even shame in speaking English were idols that I must confess at the cross.”

“Only through full surrender every day will I grow up and be the man God uses.”

“Zarni, by God’s grace, you did it! I always appreciate your heart that is genuinely generous, flexible, and ever willing to serve others.Your strength in music is complemented by your commitment to preaching the Word of God. Well done!”

– Rev Jonathan Yao, Dean of Advancement, faculty mentor

The above article is written by Dr Lau Ying Kheng and published in 28th EAST Commencement Magazine, May 2022. Curated and reproduced with permission. Graphic design by Blessed Ong.

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