My heart sings with gladness – Myanmar Anglican Development Director retires

Feb 9, 2023

“My heart sings with gladness…”

ABM and AID are saddened to learn of the retirement of Ms Joy Hla Gyaw as Director of the Provincial Development Department of our Myanmar partner, CPM.

Joy joined the Provincial Development Department (PDD) at the Provincial Office of the Church of the Province of Myanmar (Anglican) in February 2010 as a consultant, together with her husband, San Lin, who was appointed as the Director of the PDD on the same day.

She worked as a consultant for over eleven years before being appointed Director of the department on 1st September 2021 following the death of San Lin from COVID-19 on 26th July, 2021. Joy worked for more than a year in the role of Director, before retiring from that work at the end of January this year.

During the last 12 years, Joy has worked with the development staff in all the eight dioceses and in the past year with one more missionary diocese, a total of nine CPM dioceses covering the whole of Myanmar. For eight of those years Joy also led CPM’s “Church and Community Mobilisation Process”. This is an approach to church and community development which focuses on acknowledging and developing the existing assets of groups of church or community members. It is similar to the Assets-based approach to community development used by AID’s partners in the Philippines (E-CARE and IFI-VIMROD).

Joy says she has received encouragement from a number of people.

“Archbishop Stephen [CPM Primate] always said that the development staff members have professional skills and they work as a team. His encouragement supported us to continue working.”

A tribute to the hard work, professionalism and enduring nature of the work put in by Joy and San Lin during their time at the Provincial Development Department took place during a recent staff retreat. The CPM Accountant, Naw Ruth Thein Tan, said then, “The development staff are very confident in themselves now. They can share what they actually know, rather than just being able to talk about it.”

At Joy’s retirement gathering in Yangon, she said she felt very humbled to hear Mary Nyunt, a member of the diocesan development staff of almost seven years’ experience confidently say, ”We are doing our job very well.”

A member of the CPM office support staff, Monica, added, “The development staff are very fond of one another.”

Joy has also observed this close bond between the development staff. “They encourage one another and also shared their knowledge with one another. They have grown a lot. I am proud of their commitment and dedication to the work,” she said.

The favourable comments are not only testimonies to the staff’s talents and skills, but they are also testimony to U San’s and Joy’s direction of the development program over the last 12 years.

Joy was also pleased to learn that even the CPM bishops have taken an interest in the skills learnt by their staff, and one even commented on the design of her retirement program.

Joy concludes: “I thank ABM and many friends I have met during my work here at CPM Provincial Development Department. I am proud to have been a part of ABM partnership. I am especially honored by all our partners who have supported us to have arrived this far!

“My heart sings with gladness as I retire from this work. After this, I will carry on being involved in the Bible reflection groups in my church as well as in the Myanmar Community of Practice of the Church and Community Mobilisation Transformation (CCT) both in Myanmar and wherever I am.

“I will continue to learn more about development work especially in developing policies and Human Resource Management. I wish to be a part of development work while I am able to do so.”

Joy is succeeded in her role as Director of the CPM Provincial Development Department by Stella Zin Zin Wah. Stella was appointed to the PDD as an organizer the same time that Joy and San Lin were appointed to their roles. About three years ago, Stella became Assistant Director. Stella says, “I would say [this new appointment] is not because of my goodness but because of God’s blessings. I will do all my best according to His Guidance”.
ABM and AID join with Stella and the CPM Provincial Development Department in hoping and believing that our partnership will continue together firmly. As we wish Stella well in her new role, we also wish Joy well in hers…and hope she finds time to catch up with family and her many friends.