~ Rev. Th. Mangthianlal

One of the outstanding hallmark of Southern Manipur’s Christianity is its commitment to mission and evangelism. And for good decades, in this area, we have wonderfully impact different parts of North East and deep India, apart from frontier areas of Myanmar. I am proud to be a disciple cared and nurtured under this kind of Church. But our understanding of mission and evangelism must constantly have a right perspective. If our mission approach is blown out of proportion to one extreme, the other areas of ministry will have a great setback. The result can be a sick Church which produced a sick society.
Therefore, as much as our missionary zeal to share the goodnews to the farthest parts of the world must be balanced by our compassionate action and concern towards what is happening in our land and society. At GV we have a favorite quote which goes something like this: Mission and evangelism that shines the farthest must shines and lightens the hometown too. We must not give up far off missions, but we also must care about surrounding calling. Macedonians calls are at home and far from home. It must go together as a Church vision. This must be intentional mission approach. If we fail here, down the years, we will surely fail in our missional practice and Christian authenticity.     

For this reason, I lay down before us what I called “ADOPT A NEIGHBORHOOD” mission.  Every local Church, in terms of evangelism, revival, care ministry and environment areas, there is miracle we can do all do, with Holy Spirit’s blessing, in our town if we focus on a passionate, committed and strategic level at the neighborhood area. This neighborhood has to be our primary area of influence and target. Every local Churches must have and share this vision. We must know that primarily all local Churches are salt and light in their geo-political location. If we fail miserably here, we will only be a clanging gong in far off missions. And if we are fruitful here, our mission work will go very far and the foundation will be strong and healthy.
Another approach I would like to lay down is a collective and unifying Christian history concerning Southern Manipur. At times, it belongs to the writer who must be included or omitted. Instead of advocating for one or two of the pioneer missionaries and evangelists – whom we have closer ties, if we can have inclusive write up on them all this will have a far reaching affect in our Christian history. Instead of continuing with our sectarian historical narrative, if we adopt a unifying historical account the further division mentality will have its brake to a good measure. After all, what please God is that we give all accounting rightly as best as we can in all areas of life, not just financial accounting – but historical records and events too!

We know with the entrance of Watkin Roberts in the mission field of Southern Manipur – through Senvon, the Gospel of salvation has taken its root. He crossed seas and trekked treacherous mountains to bring the message of the Savior – Jesus Christ, to us. Therefore, he must have prominent place in the annals of Christian history in our land. Our historians records that the King of Senvon, Pu Kamkholun Singson, was the one inviting Watkin Roberts to explain to him a copy of John’s gospel which was given to him. Rev. Lungpau and Rev. Thangkai, the then student at Aizawl accompanied Watkin Roberts to be his eyes and mouth to enter Manipur through Mizoram’s border. On their way back they accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior at Vervek. Thus became the first missionary converts in the entire clans of southern region of Manipur.  On reaching back Aizawl, Dr. P. Fraser and Watkin R. Roberts were enthusiastic and eager in preparing a way to send missionaries back to Manipur’s Senvawn and its other areas. They asked for volunteers. Three persons - Savawma, Vanzika and Thangchhingpuia (@Taitea), all of them their supported students responded with great excitement. And we were told and retold that this wonderful committed team had a profound eternal impact after their arrival in Senvawn and around (there are others too who must be included in the gospel historical narrative. But all these names I mentioned cannot be ignored if we are to be true to the true historical account and is willing cooperators in unity of spirit).

This is what a wonderful picture of historical narrative where every bits and pieces has fallen in the plan of the Divine order. If one of the pieces were missing, mission history would have had a very different story. From the very beginning, Southern Manipur’s gospel account is a partnership in cooperation and in unity of Spirit and oneness of heart. And this narrative must be told and retold today in the memory of our children and children’s children.

Let us not tear into bits and pieces what God has in the first place to be a unifying gospel historical account and a cooperation in partnership with oneness of heart.

May the Gospel movement move on. May it bring healing, revival and transformation in our land and far off.           

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