Kai, Brown (1923–1974)

By Saxon Shwe

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Saxon Shwe, M.A. in religion (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States), B.A.A. (Spicer Memorial College, Puna, India), is president of Ayeyarwaddy Mission in Myanmar Union Mission. He is married to Salome Tin with a son and a daughter.

First Published: February 20, 2022

Brown Kai was an Adventist teacher, minister, evangelist, and administrator in Burma (now Myanmar).

Early in Life

Brown Kai was born June 14, 1923 in the village of Inma, Einme Township, Ayeyarwaddy Region in Burma (now Myanmar). He had five siblings, Saw Lya, Saw Fred, Naw Ah Naw, Naw Athoo, and Saw Tun Yee. He was brought up in his small village by his parents U Toke Kai and Daw Nan San.1 As a child Brown Kai never thought of attending school, and instead enjoyed following his uncles and older brothers hunting and fishing. He asked permission from his parents to follow tending cattle, as he wanted to become a farmer cowboy.2

Education and Marriage

Adventist missionary A. J. Sargent arrived in Yangon in 1929 and came to Inma village in 1935, when Brown Kai was about twelve years old.3 Sargent's work instilled in Brown Kai a desire to attend school and become an educated person. Although he started school late, his hard work opened opportunities to attend Myaungmya Adventist School and Meiktila Adventist Mission School, finishing his studies in 1942. In 1942 he joined the British navy, serving for seven years as a wireless operator, during and after the Japanese invasion of Burma.4

Brown Kai married Naw Mae Ni in 1950,5 at the Kan-daw-gyi camp where the Karen officers in the British military were retained by the British government. Brown Kai and Naw Mae Ni were blessed with nine children and fifteen grandchildren.6

Ministry

After Burma became independent, Brown Kai withdrew himself from British military service and decided to serve God. He started working as a clerk, a teacher, a pastor, and an evangelist in different places in Ayeyarwady Region, such as Taungbawsu village, Hinthada city, Pathein city, and Wakema Town, from 1952 to 1959.7 Then Brown Kai was called to have denominational in-service training in Burma Union Bible Seminary (now Myanmar Union Adventist Seminary) from 1960 to 1962.8

Brown Kai was given responsibility as a leader in Delta Region, and was ordained for the gospel ministry on November 1, 1963.9 As the first native leader, Brown Kai was appointed as the first native principal of Myanmar Union Adventist Seminary when all missionaries were forced to leave the country in 1966. He succeeded F.C. Wyman and served as principal of the Burma Union Bible Seminary from 1966 to 1971.10 He was one of the first batch graduates trained by W.W. Christensen to become a pastor and evangelist.11

Later Life and Contribution

Brown Kai was called to take up the mission work in the capital city, Yangon, in 1971. He served in Yangon city as the Yangon Attached District Pastor from 1971 to 1974, during which the number of church members abruptly increased.12 He brought a number of Anglo-Indians, Chinese, and Burmese people to Christ and baptized them into the Seventh-day Adventist church. He became close friends with a Catholic missionary while serving as principal of Myanmar Union Adventist Seminary during the years 1966 to 1971.13

In 1966 Brown Kai organized a seminary brass band, which contributed to evangelistic meetings he conducted in various parts of Ayeyarwady Region, Central Myanmar, and Upper Myanmar. These efforts drew people to Christ. Brown Kai also trained and motivated his students to organize a male quartet and double quartette for musical ministry while he was serving as principal at the Myanmar Union Adventist Seminary.14

Brown Kai suffered from liver disease and passed away at Yangon General Hospital on July 24, 1974,15 while serving as director of Yangon Attached District and as pastor of a Yangon Central church. He was buried in the graveyard of Narnattaw.

Sources

Church Membership Record, Yangon Central Church, 1971-1974.

Permanent Record File for Brown Kai, Registrar Office, Burma Union Bible Seminary.

Workers Service Record File of Brown Kai. Myanmar Union Mission archives, Dagon, Myanmar.

Yee, Pe. The Story of Seventh-day Adventists in Myanmar. Unpublished manuscript, no date. Myanmar Union Mission archives, Dagon, Myanmar.

Notes

  1. Service Record File of Brown Kai, retained in Myanmar Union Mission.

  2. Saw De, interview by the author, 2018.

  3. Pe Yee, The Story of Seventh-day Adventists in Myanmar (unpublished manuscript, no date, Myanmar Union Mission archives), 126.

  4. Kyaw Thein, interview by the author, 2017.

  5. Workers Service Record File of Brown Kai, Myanmar Union Mission archives.

  6. Interview with Claudius Brown (son of Brown Kai), interview by the author, Yangon, September 2018.

  7. Workers Service Record File of Brown Kai, Myanmar Union Mission archives.

  8. Permanent Record File for Brown Kai, Registrar Office, Burma Union Bible Seminary.

  9. Workers Service Record File of Brown Kai, Myanmar Union Mission archives.

  10. Pe Yee, The Story of Seventh-day Adventists in Myanmar, 365, 512. Academic Bulletin: 2016-2020, Myanmar Union Adventist Seminary, viii.

  11. Permanent Record File for Brown Kai, Registrar Office, Burma Union Bible Seminary.

  12. Church Membership Record, Yangon Central Church, 1971-1974.

  13. Muller Kyaw, Do Hen Pau, Rawlinson Johnny, and Saw Say (Brown Kai's former students), interview by the author, September 2018.

  14. Do Hen Pau (former student of Brown Kai), interview by the author, September 2018.

  15. Workers Service Record File of Brown Kai, Myanmar Union Mission archives.

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Shwe, Saxon. "Kai, Brown (1923–1974)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. February 20, 2022. Accessed May 23, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BJE1.

Shwe, Saxon. "Kai, Brown (1923–1974)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. February 20, 2022. Date of access May 23, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BJE1.

Shwe, Saxon (2022, February 20). Kai, Brown (1923–1974). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 23, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BJE1.