ကိုသာျဖဴ
၁၇၇၈ ပုသိမ္ျမိဳ႔ အနီး ဦးတြရြာတြင္ ေမြးဖြားသည္။ ပထမဆံုး ကရင္အမ်ိဳးသာ ႏွစ္ျခင္းခရစ္ယာန္ျဖစ္သည္။ အသက္၁၅ႏွစ္အရြယ္ထိ မိဘမ်ားႏွင့္ေနထိုင္ခဲ့ရာတြင္ ဆိုးသြမ္းျပီး၊ ထိမ္းမရေသာ လူငယ္ျဖစ္ခဲ့သည္။ မိဘအိမ္မေနေတာ့ပဲ လုယက္ဆိုးသြမ္းသူ၊ လူသတ္သမားျဖစ္လာသည္။ သူ၏ သက္ေသခံခ်က္အရ လူ၃၀ထက္မနည္း သတ္ျဖတ္ခဲ့သည္။ အေၾကြးအၾကီးက်ယ္တင္ျပီးေနာက္ ေမာ္လျမိဳင္ေစ်းတြင္ ကြ်န္အျဖစ္ေရာင္းခ်ျခင္းခံရသည္။  ဆရာၾကီးယုဒသန္၏ တပည့္ျဖစ္ေသာ ဦးေရႊေဘ ဆိုသူက ၀ယ္ယူခဲ့သည္။ ဆရာၾကီးယုဒသန္ (ဂ်ပ္ဆင္) သည္ ပထမဆံုး ျမန္မာႏွစ္ျခင္းခရစ္ယာန္ မစ္ရွင္စတင္သူျဖစ္သည္။ ဦးေရႊေဘသည္ ကိုသာျဖဴကို စာသင္ေပးရာတြင္ သိပ္အဆင္မေျပလွပါ။ ဆရာၾကီးယုဒသန္ထံ အပ္ႏွံသင္ၾကားေပးရာ စာေရး၊စာဖတ္ တတ္လာခဲ့သည္။

၁၈၂၇ ဧျပီလ ၂၂ရက္ေန႔ ဆရာၾကီးယုဒသန္ ေန႔စဥ္မွတ္တမ္းတြင္ "ေမာင္ေရႊေဘ ပိုင္ဆိုင္သည့္ သနားစရာေမာင္သာျဖဴ"  ဟု ေရးထားသည္။ ဆရာၾကီးယုဒသန္က ေမာင္သာျဖဴကို ကရင္အမ်ိဳးအႏြယ္ဟု ဆိုသည္။ သာမန္ဥာဏ္ရည္ရွိသည္။ ေမွာင္မိုက္စိတ္သေဘာႏွင့္ ပစၥလက္ခတ္ႏိုင္လွ၍ ေဒါသၾကီးေသာ စိတ္သဘာ၀ရွိသူျဖစ္ျပီး ဆရာၾကီးယုဒသန္ႏွင့္ လေပါင္း အေတာ္ၾကာ ေနထိုင္ခဲ့သည္ .. ဟု ေရးသားထားသည္။ ဆုေတာင္းျခင္းမ်ားစြာ ၾကိဳးစားလုပ္ေဆာင္ျခင္းျဖင့္ ဘ၀သစ္သို႔ စတင္ႏိုင္ခဲ့သည္။

ခရစ္ယန္ အေျခခံက်င့္၀တ္မ်ားကို သင္ၾကားေပးခဲ့ျပီးသည့္ေနာက္ ကိုသာျဖဴသည္ ေမာ္လျမိဳင္ျမိဳ႔ရွိ ခရစ္ယာန္ဘုရားေက်ာင္းငယ္တခု၏ အသင္းသားျဖစ္လာခဲ့သည္။ ေနာက္ပိုင္းတြင္ ကရင္လူမ်ိဳးမ်ားအတြက္ ပထမဆံုးသာသနာျပဳဆရာၾကီးျဖစ္သူ ေဂ်ာ့ခ်္ ဒါနာဘုတ္မင္ ႏွင့္အတူ ထား၀ယ္ျမိဳ႔သို႔ ေရာက္လာျပီး ၁၈၂၈တြင္ ႏွစ္ျခင္းခံခဲ့သည္။ နယ္လွည့္တရားေဟာျခင္းမ်ားကို ထား၀ယ္မွ ထိုင္းႏိုင္ငံသို႔၊ မုတၱမ မွ ခ်င္းမိုင္၊ ရန္ကုန္မွ ရခုိင္ျပည္ စသျဖင့္ ခရီးစဥ္မ်ား ထြက္ခဲ့သည္။ သူသည္ ကရင္မ်ား ရာႏွင့္ခ်ီျပီး ေျပာင္းလဲလာေစခဲ့သည္။

ႏွစ္ျခင္းခံျပီးသည့္ေနာက္ သူ႔ေနရပ္မွ ကရင္မိတ္ေဆြမ်ားထံ သြားေရာက္ျပီး၊ ခရစ္ေတာ္အေၾကာင္း ေျပာၾကားရန္ ခြင့္ေတာင္းခဲ့သည္။ ပထမဆံုး ကရင္လူမ်ိဳး သာသနာျပဳလုပ္ငန္းကို လုပ္ေဆာင္ခဲ့သည္။ ကိုသာျဖဴ ေဟာၾကားခ်က္မ်ားနားေထာင္ရန္ ကရင္အခ်ိဳ႔ ၂ရက္ၾကာ ခရီးထြက္၊လာေရာက္ ခဲ့ၾကသည္။ ေဒသခံမ်ားက ကိုသာျဖဴသည္ ယခင္က လူဆိုးျဖစ္ခဲ့ေသာ္လည္း အခု ယံုၾကည္စိတ္ခ်ရသူ၊ ေအာင္ျမင္ေသာ သာသနာျပဳဆရာအျဖစ္ အသိအမွတ္ျပဳခဲ့ၾကသည္။ ကိုသာျဖဴသည္ သိကၡာတင္တရားေဟာဆရာ မျဖစ္ခဲ့ပါ။ သို႔ေသာ္ သမၼာက်မ္းစာကို ကရင္ဘာသာျပန္ဆိုရာတြင္ ပါ၀င္လုပ္ေဆာင္ခဲ့သူတဦး ျဖစ္သည္။ 

မ်က္ေစ့ မျမင္ျဖစ္ခဲ့ျပီးေနာက္ ေဖေဖၚ၀ါရီး ၁၈၄၀တြင္ ပုသိမ္ျမိဳအနီး၊ စံေတာေ၀းတြင္ ေနထိုင္ခဲ့သည္။ စက္တင္ဘာ(၉)ရက္ ၁၉၄၀ တြင္ ေခၚေတာ္မူျခင္းကို ခံရသည္။ ဘုရားရွင္သည္ သူ၏သာသာနာျပဳျပဳကို ေကာင္းၾကီးေပး၊ ေအာင္ျမင္ေစခဲ့သည္။ သူ၏ မစ္ရွင္ခရီးသည္ ၁၈၂၈-၁၈၄၀ (၁၂)ႏွစ္ၾကာျမင့္ခဲ့စဥ္ ရြာေပါင္း၁၂ရြာ ေျပာင္းလဲ၊ ရြာသားေပါင္း ၁၂၇၀ခန္႔ ခရစ္ေတာ္ကို လက္ခံခဲ့ၾကသည္။ ေသဆံုးျပီးေနာက္ အုတ္ဂူမက်န္ရစ္ေသာ္လည္း ေတာင္ေပၚမွ ကရင္ခရစ္ယာန္ရြာမ်ားမွာ ကိုသာျဖဴအထမ္းအမွတ္ျဖစ္သည္။ ေနာက္ဆံုးအခ်ိန္အထိ သူ႔အနာဂါတ္အတြက္ စိုးစင္မွ ပူပန္မႈမရွိေပ။ ဘုရားသခင္က သူ႔အတြက္ ထာ၀ရ ေနရာအခန္းျပင္ဆင္ထားသည္ ဟု ယံုၾကည္သူျဖစ္သည္။

မွတ္ခ်က္။  ဗုဒၶရာဇ၀င္မွ အင္ဂုလိမာလာလို ျမန္မာျပည္သားတစ္ဦးျဖစ္သည္။ ပုသိမ္ျမိဳ႔တြင္ ကိုသာျဖဴက်မ္းစာသင္တန္းေက်ာင္း (တိုင္တရာ) ရွိသည္။ လြန္ခဲ့တဲ့ႏွစ္ေပါင္း(၁၀၀)ခန္႔တြင္ ဘဲဂယက္ေတာရြာေလးမွာေန ကိုသာျဖဴ(တုိင္တစ္ရာ)အထက္တန္းေက်ာင္းကို တက္ျပီး အဂၤလန္ကေပးသည့္ ၀တ္လံုဘြဲ႕ကို ျမန္မာျပည္သားအေနနဲ႕ ပထမဆံုးရယူႏုိင္ခဲ့ေသာ ကရင္အမ်ိဳးသားတစ္ဦး ရွိေနခဲ့သည္။ ကိုသာျဖဴ(တုိင္တစ္ရာ)ကရင္အထက္တန္းေက်ာင္းသည္ ပညာတတ္ကရင္အမ်ိဳးသားမ်ား ေမြးထုတ္ေပးသည့္ ေက်ာင္းေတာ္ၾကီးျဖစ္သည္။၁၈၉၀-ခုႏွစ္ပတ္၀န္းက်င္တြင္ အေမရိကန္ျပည္၊နယူးေယာက္အယ္ဗားနီးေဆးတကၠသုိလ္ကေန ေဆးပညာပါရဂူဘြဲ႕ကို ရယူခဲ့ေသာ ေဒါက္တာ ဆာ စံစီဖုိး သည္လည္း ကိုသာျဖဴေက်ာင္းထြက္တစ္ေယာက္ျဖစ္သည္။ 


Tha Byu, Ko

(b, Bassein, Burma ca. 1778; d. Sandoway, Burma 9Sep 1840)
 First Karin Baptist Christian and ardent evangelist and missionary.
 
    Born in U Twa village near Bassein, Ko Tha Byu lived with his parents until he was 15. He was then a "wicked and ungovernable boy," and when he left his parents he became a robber and a murderer. According to his own confessions, he murdered no fewer than 30 of his fellow countrymen. Heavily in debt, he was sold as a slave in the Moulmein bazaar and bought by Shwe Be, a Burmese Christian and disciple of Adoniram Judson" (the first American Baptist missionary to Myanmar). Shwe Be tried to teach him but made little progress. Later, Judson took charge of him and taught him to read and write.
 
   In the 22 Apr 1827 entry in his journal, Judson recorded, "Maung Tha Byu, a poor man belonging to Maung Shwe Be". Judson described Tha Byu as a"a Karen by race, imperfectly acquainted with the Burmese language, and possessed of very ordinary ability. He has been about us several months and we hope that his mind, which is exceedingly dark and ignorant, has begun to discern the excellency of the religion of Christ." Judson recorded that Tha Byu had "a diabolical temper, " but after much prayer and hard work there was a breakthrough.
 
 After he had been taught the Christian doctrines, Tha Byu applied for membership in the then small Burmese church of Moulmein. The matter was postponed a while, and later he accompanied George Dana Boardman (the first American Baptist missionary to the Karens of Burma) to Tavoy, where he was baptised on 16 May 1828. From the day of his baptism to the day of his death, he never slackened his labors in preaching Christ in places where the Gospel had never been heard, from Tavoy to Thailand, from Martaban to the borders of Chiang Mai from Rangon to Arakan. Tha Byu became a faithful and successful missionary, a distinguished instrument in the hands of God to arouse the attention of Karen race to baptized, he lived to see hundreds upon hundreds follow in his steps, in whose conversion he had played a significant part.
 
    After his baptism, Tha Byu asked for permission to go and tell the little he knew to his Karen friends. After hearing Tha Byu, people traveled two days or more to visit teacher Boardman in Tavoy and learn more of Christianity. Tha Byu was an unceasing and tireless pioneer preacher, an itinerant evangelist. A contemporary mission worker said of him, "Ko Tha Byu was an ignorant man; yet he did more good than all of us, for God was with him". He was never ordained. "He was not adapted for the pastoral office," cryptically remarked Francis Mason the first translator of the Bible" into Karen.
 
    Rheumatism and blindness stopped Tha Byu's itinerancy. In Feb 1840, he accompanied Rev Abbott and his family (the first missionaries to the Karens of Bassein) to Sandoway. On arrival, he was sent to a small Karen village nearby, where he remained until his death on 9 Sep 1840. No mound marks his grave, but the eternal mountains are his monument, and the Christian villages upon the hillsides are his epitaph.
 
    God fully and richly blessed Tha Byu's ministry. After 12 years (1828-40) of his labor, there were 1270 members belonging to Karen Baptist churches scattered over a large area in dozens of villages. To the last, he did not have one anxious though about his future. When he was asked, his usual reply was, "God will preserve me".
 
 Biography
 Mason, Francis, Ko Tha Byu, the first Karen Christian (1983).  Ya Ba Toh Loh, Memoir of Saw Ko Tha Byu (In Karen) (1950)

CLIFFORD KYAW DWE


ANNA MAY SAY PA
A Dictionary of ASIAN Christianity
Scott W. Sunquist, editor
David Wu Chu Sing and John Chew Hiang Chea, associate editors.
@2001 Wm, B Berdmans Publishing Co. Michigan, USA

Note:
Ko Tha Phyu (High School) and Bible School in Pathin Town is famous. Many Karen educated people attended this school.