I was born in Tiddim, Zoland (Chin State) Burma on November 29, 1951. I grew up in Rangoon and graduated from Rangoon University in 1975 with B.Sc. degree. At the university I was involved in student activity and became a secretary of the Zomi Siamsin (Student Union). During my senior year I met Salai Tin Maung Oo a political activist who was execute in notorious Insein Jail. I took part in anti military government protests which was known as U Thant uprising. Because of my involvement I was detained and released with parole.
After I graduated I went back to my native town Tiddim Chin State and started a trucking business. In 1976, I organized the Zoland Transportation Union, which administrative center in Kalemyo. The union had 150 members operating 70 tucks and 60 passenger jeeps. The union’s enterprise was to transport commodities and passengers to five cities in Northern Chin State and mainland Burma. I was the chief executive officer to run the union business until 1986.
In 1987, I was elected as chairman of Tiddim Township Co-operation, which employed 100 staff. This co-operation provided commodities for Tiddim Township which has a population of 50,000 people. In August 8, 1988, I resigned from this position because I participated in an uprising against the regime and Burmese Socialist Party; an antigovernment demonstration, demanding democracy, it is known as the "8888 Uprising". Subsequently I coordinate for Zomi National Congress (ZNC) party Tiddim branch which won a seat in 1994 general election.
In 1989, I went to Tokyo in search of better opportunity. My youngest son passed away unexpectedly during my stay in Tokyo. I read the Bible to seek for comfort and I decided to take refuge in God and to attend seminary. This is the turning point of my life. From 1990 to 1993 I attended Harvest Bible College in Melbourne, Australia and received a diploma in biblical Studies.
In 1994 with my wife Cin Lun Niang and our four children, we came to the United State for further study and attend Portland Bible College (PBC). I graduated from Portland Bible College with a B.Th degree in 1998. In 1995, while in PBC I organized North West Burmese Fellowship which meets on the first Saturday of each month. This meeting is the first Burmese Christian gathering in Portland and is the starting place of the Oregon Myanmar Christian Church.
I was a senior pastor of Oregon Myanmar Christian Church from 2001 to 2006. The church started with 20 people and has grown to average the attendance of 50 people. I was able to raised $3,600 for missions and $12,000 for offering annually, and also $20,000 was raise for a building fund in five years.
During this time I was also a lay pastor in City Bible Church under the International Ministries. On July 4, 1997 I started The City Bible Church Burmese Fellowship which met on the third Saturday of each month. This meeting has become a Burmese community gathering and continues to host community activities and celebrations. It is well known for its services to the Burmese community.
In 2007, I move on to pastor at City Bible Church Burmese Fellowship, by the grace of God the attendance has grown from 30 to 120 in two years. In May of 2007, Burmese refugees have been coming to Portland. City Bible Church had decided to sponsor all the Burmese refugees regardless of their ethnicity and religion. We work closely with Lutheran Family Services, Catholic Charities, and Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees (SOAR), IRCO and other refugee relief organizations.
There is a great need for the Burmese community to be represented in the City of Portland and to help the newly arrived refugees. So I called a meeting to form a vibrant Burmese community organization. The meeting was well attended by representatives from various Burmese ethnic and religious groups. With tremendous support from the community and with help from the Lutheran Community Services we formed the Burmese Community Association (BCA) on November 28, 2008.. Its mission is to serve the Burmese community; to improve the wellness of individuals, families and communities, and to promote humanitarian activities that would assist the Burmese people, particularly newly arrived refugees.
In April 4, 2009, one of the ethnics group known as Zomi formed Zomi Association of USA (ZAUS). Zomi Association of USA (ZAUS) is a non-profit organization registered with the state of Oregon. ZAUS is a forum of the Zomi people living in the USA to look into the welfare of the refugees, promote human rights and democracy in Burma. ZAUS is also working in association with other community organizations on issues of mutual interest, regardless of their ethnic background or national origin. ZAUS is listed in the United Nations' CSO Net as a nongovernmental organization that engages with UN and works on national and international scale.
I was elected as chairman of the board to build a well established organization and will oversee all the activities. The Zomi Association of USA (ZAUS) was awarded 'Exemplary Community Volunteer Effort' by the Asian Reporter Foundation for its outstanding contribution to community activities on Friday 22, 2011.
Ronault LS Catalani (New Portlander Programs/ Office of Human Relation/ City of Portland) comments me as, “Pastor Zam is old school resettlement super star. His MAA is a lot like 1980s Hmong crew who worked tirelessly not only on practical issues (school interp., ER bumbles, and cop disasters) but also like Hmong leaders, they’ve advocated locally and nationally for recognition of their own unique language and culture. Hmong is not Lao likewise Zomi is not Burmese. Yes, I know his work well, his MAA crew likewise shows up at all newcomer integration opportunities. They rock.”
I am dedicated to help the new comers get assimilated into the way of life in this United States. I am also committed to seeing a vibrant Burmese community thrive in Portland, Oregon.