This Sunday, March 8th was filled with surprises at Philadelphia Burmese Baptist Church (PBBC). First of all Saya San No Thuan had a very big surprise when the Church honored him as he is moving to Maryland during March this year. It was not a farewell ceremony but a special event to thank him for his endeavor to build up PBBC. Secondly, an unexpected inspirational message was given by Saw Nay Blu,a lay member of the Church. Thirdly, a special song for Saya San No Thuan was sung by the youth of Trenton who sang in Burmese. The Karen accent made it sound beautiful and sweeter to the ear.
The service was led by the men’s group and the message by Saw Nay Blu was about the disciples caught in the fierce storm in the Sea of Galilee, and how Jesus calmed the sea. He focused on the fact that Jesus not only saved his disciples on their boat but also other fishermen and their boats by calming the entire sea. This indicates the fact that Jesus came down to earth not only for the Christians and the Israelites but also to save the entire world. These other fishermen would not have known that this was the act of Jesus since they also would have prayed to their own gods and supernatural beings for help and believed that their prayers were answered by these gods. The bottom line is that not all people know Jesus and His salvation, so as Christians, it is our responsibility to carry the message to the whole world as Jesus commissioned us in Matt. 28:19-20.
Immediately following the service, Saya San No Thuan spoke a little about how he was grateful to the Church for supporting him throughout the entire period he ministered here and promised he would be back every now and then to participate and help the Church to grow more. Saya San No Thuan in closing gave the Church three important L’s as a present to keep and to implement:
Love – Love the Church as your own family and give all the best to it.
Listen – Listen to each other; there may be problems they have, opinions they may want to voice in order to work together as a family.
Lead – Try to take leading roles in ways that one can. Not to be a follower only but also be a leader.
These words will be posted everywhere possible for all to remember and put into practice. After that Saya San No sang “You Lift Me Up”, a song dedicated to all in appreciation and gratitude for the support he received.
In her speech honoring Saya San No Thuan, the Church secretary Emerald Cribb said that he would still be considered our Adjunct Pastor and be called upon for advice, suggestions, and help. The big surprise for Saya San No Thuan came when members of the Church presented him with a Sail Boat Statuette with the words of Isaiah 40:39 inscribed on the sail. He was also presented with garlands and gifts by the Women Group, Youth Group, Sunday School children, members from Trenton as well as by individuals while the men’s group sang a song.
The evening continued with lighting of candles on a birthday cake for Naw Mindy Saw and Saw Daniel Cribb for their birthdays on the 7th and 8th respectively. After the ‘Birthday song’, Saya San No said a prayer for them as well as for those who celebrate their birthday in March. A lovely fellowship dinner of “Mohinga” prepared by the women group led by Naw Mu Lwai Htoo was served following the service.
It was a memorable evening attended by more than 60 members from Greater Philadelphia and its suburbs, Trenton and Baltimore. A group photo was taken after the service.
God is so great. Amen.