Sadly he died in 2002. Most of the members are related to him. His son, Davidson Laybeh, baptized in 1991, whose family had immigrated to Sheffield England under the refugee program for Karen tribe families, returned under a 28-day visa to coordinate the site and act as translator.
The site was about a five-hour drive into the delta region southwest of the Yangon, capital of Myanmar. The members stayed in the village, an hour’s long-tailed boat ride up the river. As foreigners aren’t allowed to stay in the village overnight by government regulation, we stayed in the San Pya hotel in Myoungmya and took a 10-minute open tuk-tuk (extended motorcycle) with the hour boat ride each way for services.
Davidson’s family had arrived a couple weeks before the Feast and bought a small piece of land. He and members constructed the tabernacle the week before the Feast. The bamboo frame and woven roof structure is where we had services each day. There was a battery-operated PA system and keyboard for hymns and special music. Davidson had created a hymnal in local Sanskrit text for members to sing our hymns. He also translated my sermons into Karen.
He had been transcribing UCG sermons from Sheffield, England, to send to them for the last couple years. We had breakfast and lunch in the village at a member’s home and enjoyed the fellowship and tour of the village. On Sabbath, Oct. 7, I ordained Saw Law Eh as deacon and baptized Naw Thi Su into the Body of Christ.
Davidson had made a request of president Victor Kubik for an elder to conduct the Feast since he would be there to translate and Myanmar had relaxed its policy to allow the 28-day visas for foreigners. Davidson’s daughter Elizabeth translated English to Karen and Naw Thi Su from Karen to Burmese to allow us to eat in the restaurants in the evening. No one in town spoke English, so the two girls saved us from sign language and pictures.
The unique Feast, although rustic, was a spiritual and physical success for these isolated members.
Aaron and Michelle Dean