News and Updates
“Counting the Blessings: Mite or Mass, it’s You that Matters”
During the six years of service to Baptist Theological Seminary as the President, I have witnessed and experienced how BTS is blessed by many churches and individuals, local and overseas, and gifts of various kinds. While there are many generous individuals and churches who made significant contributions to BTS, I chose to share with you stories of giving less noted like Rev. Kusi’s story (please see “Rich toward God, Richly for Him,” October Issue, 2015).
Two years ago, someone passed me a 100 RMB money note given by one of our alumni who graduated several years ago. For many, 100 RMB is far from a huge sum. For this alumni and her family, 100 RMB meant more than we can ever imagine, because they served among the minorities in the rural area of certain part of China. As far as I know, she and her husband have not received any income from any church or organization, they have been faithfully opening their house for worship and training. For BTS, this 100 RMB note is as good as a cheque of 100,000 SGD.
Last year after chapel office, a student from Myanmar came to my office and gave me a 50 SGD note, saying that it was meant for BTS because we have been in deficit. I know that she is a single mom taking classes for advancing her ministry in the Myanmar church she is attending here in Singapore. Again, with this 50 SGD note my eyes were opened and I was convinced that we will be able to move on.
While some students give money, there are others who give in a creative way. Some of our international students are aided by having their tuition fees waived. When they know the school has been in deficit all these years, several of them took the initiative and asked us to take them off from the list so that the school’s burden can be relieved.
The Class of 2010, students of HKBTS, has been giving regularly to BTS’ International Student Scholarship since they graduated. Despite their own financial strain, 12 of them manage to set apart a portion from their salary and contribute to a fund that means fellowship and partnership in the Kingdom.
One Wednesday afternoon in 2014, a couple I did not know visited me and brought me an envelope from a person I had never heard of. I opened the envelope and found some cash and a letter:
Dear Dr. Sun… it’s ok that you don’t know me. I heard about your theological school from my pastor. One year ago, I learnt from my friend your seminary’s need. I told myself that I would save up some money each month. Should opportunity come, I would ask friends to bring them to you. Lately a couples from Singapore visited us and I have asked them to channel this sum to you. This is not a huge amount (HKD 5,000); I still wish that it can be of help for the ministry of theological education.
Again, the sum of 5,000 HKD is as good as 100,000 SGD. Just think, each time she sets aside a portion for BTS, she remembers and prays for us.
Having heard that hosting visiting lecturers in hotels (even budget hotels) has become a burden to the BTS budget, a brother from a local Baptist Church set aside a suite room in his house for BTS to accommodate visiting lecturer.
God has provided us blessings with creative and unusual gifts. 2014 was the year of BTS 25th anniversary, and in the process of planning for that, the idea of having our own school song emerged—a song that indigenously would portray the face of BTS and its vision in South East Asia. The idea was daring and innovative because other theological schools in Singapore use classical western hymns as their school songs. Given our limitations, the idea seemed to be just an idea. Dr. Fong Choon Sam, BTS’ Academic Dean went on to pen the lyrics in just a week. I translated the lyrics into Chinese and sent them to Dr. Er Yenn Chwen, a gifted and professional musician, and asked if he could write the music for us. Within one month BTS’ Anthem made its debut on 18th October 2014, BTS’ 25th Anniversary Celebration Service. The Anthem that gives BTS identity and vision is sung in every ceremony ever since.
In the bulletin of the service, Dr. Fong wrote:
If I were asked what the song is about, the word that comes to mind would be “joy.” My prayer is while we learn to sing this song in BTS, it will be something that every student can carry into life long after graduation. Asian Christianity is “the Church of the poor.” She may be lacking in power, wealth, and influence, but we should be a movement that is vibrant with joy because of the fellowship we have with our loving master Jesus Christ.
Dr. Er encouraged not only with the music, but also with the following words:
BTS is empowered by God’s Great Commission to preach the Everlasting WORD to the world. The song begins with manifestation of prudent and faithful dedication. As theological students of the 21st Century, we should be fully alive!! With energy and synergy, let us sing whole-heartedly with conviction and commitment. Our calling is from the creator and almighty God, the Lord of Life. Let us proclaim that we shall not be in want, for we belong to Him from Whom all blessings flow.
Let us give thanks to God
Let us pray to God