181st Anniversary BSS Mission Banquet 2018: Hopeful to the End

This article was originally posted in our September 2018 Word@Work.

The Bible Society of Singapore (BSS) has always strived to be an effective mission agency, and on 3 August 2018, in conjunction with our 181st anniversary, we gave thanks to God for His guidance by hosting a Mission Banquet at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. This was made possible with the sponsorship of Far East Organization, one of our esteemed partners that has given generously towards various Bible Mission initiatives.

In attendance were Guest of Honour, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament; special guest Her Excellency Simona Halperin, the Ambassador of Israel to Singapore; leaders of United Bible Societies (UBS); General Secretaries from different Bible Societies around the world; Sower Awards recipients; and newly-appointed BSS Honorary Ambassadors. It was an evening packed with celebration, thanksgiving, and mission sharing from various Bible Societies. To be able to share in the camaraderie forged by Christians from all walks of life is a testament to that far-reaching impact of the Bible Mission that God has so graciously blessed.

The Mission Banquet was a good opportunity to showcase the collective labour in the mission field by Bible Societies around the region, as well as to highlight the plights of communities affects by life's many perils, from natural disasters to ethnic violence.

In one such instance, Rev Tej Jirel, General Secretary of the Nepal Bible Society, shared about how Nepal is still struggling to recover from the 2015 earthquake, and how many of those affected by the disaster continue to live in makeshift homes today.

Rev. Ezekiel Tan, General Secretary of BSS, also used this joyous occasion to pay tribute to individuals who have contributed significantly to the Bible Mission. The Sower Awards, now in their second year, recognise these individuals for their faithful work. Mr Tan Chuan-Jin was on hand to present the awards.

The Sower Award for Lifetime Achievement honours the extraordinary service of someone who has given their life to sow God's Word across all nations. This award went to Dr Bobby Sng, a founding member of the Christian Medical & Dental Fellowship in 1973, and the 5th president of BSS. Under his astute leadership, the organisation underwent a massive transformation as greater emphasis was placed on Bible advocacy and regional holistic ministries, contributing greatly to the global Bible Mission.

The Sower Award for Bible Missionary of the Year honours a Bible missionary who, in the face of difficult circumstances in the mission field, has courageously worked to fulfil the Bible Mission. This award went to Rev Arun Sok Nhep, a Cambodian pastor who serves with the UBS Global Mission Team. He is best known for his pioneering works in translating the Bible to the modern Khmer language, which has proved instrumental in reviving the Cambodian church.

The Sower Award for Benefactor of the Year honours the generous contributions of an individual who has impacted many lives through the Bible Mission. This award went to Datin Doris Ong, who has consistently and generously supported BSS since 2004.

The Sower Award for Volunteer of the Year honours the selfless and dedicated service of our volunteers, whom we endearingly call our Sowers-in-Action. This award went to Dr Christopher Cheah and Dr Foo Fung Fong, a husband-and-wife team who have tirelessly and faithfully contributed to the Bible Mission through Family Discipleship.

Lastly, the Sower Award for Young Sower of the Year, a new award, honours youths who have shown incredible faith and grit in contributing to the Bible Mission despite their young age. This award went to Eleaner Victoria Teo. Though she was only 12 years old at the time, Eleaner went out of her way to raise funds and purchase Bible for the Burmese people in Myanmar.

On top of the award presentations, four individuals were also named Honorary Ambassadors of the Bible Society, owing to their continuous support and involvement in the various initiatives and events in BSS. This year, the ambassadorial roles are split into three categories.

Appointed Honorary Ambassadors to Christian Communities are Rev Winston Tan, Vicar of Church of the True Light; Rev Mark Poh, Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Assembly of God; and Bishop Emeritus Dr Wee Boon Hup, a member of the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony.

Appointed Honorary Ambassador to the Public Sphere is Dr William Wan, General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement.

Lastly, appointed Honorary Ambassador to the Marketplace is Mrs Dorothy Chan, Executive Director of Far East Organization.

Amidst the fanfare, we were reminded that there is still much to be done to further the Bible Mission. Testimonies from individuals who personally witnessed the needs of communities around the world highlight the urgency for each one of us to act. It is therefore imperative that we do not rest on our laurels, but instead press on so that, in time to come, the Word of God will truly be made available to all peoples.