1st October 2014
Greetings to you in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I trust that God has been leading you this past month in your ministry.
I have just returned from Delhi and Dehra Dun where I went with my colleagues in IMA, Dr. Wati Longkumer, the Associate General Secretary and Mr. Zomingthanga, the Executive Secretary for North to meet with mission and church leaders.
MIssion Leaders ‘Get-together’ in North India: In Delhi we had two meetings with IMA member missions on the evenings of 25th and 26th September where we were able to explain the role and function of IMA. They also gave their suggestions and expectations from IMA. We are grateful to Rev. Kennedy for providing hospitality in the EFICOR office on the 25th.
In Dehra Dun we spent 2 days, 28th and 29th meeting with mission and church leaders, speaking in churches and in Bible colleges and also visiting leaders of member missions in their offices. The high light was the excellent meeting on 28th evening when about 25 mission and church leaders interacted with us after our presentation of IMA and its functions, role and programs. Their comments and suggestions affirmed that IMA should go forward in their basic objectives of –
We are grateful to Rev. V. S. Bhandari, Director of AGAPE and Rev. Robin Amos, Director of North India Outreach Society for all their help and hospitality to us.
Seminar in New Delhi: On 26th and 27th Sept. we had an excellent 2 day seminar in New Delhi on ‘Governance, FCRA and Income Tax rules’ with experts sharing and answering all the questions of the participants. At least a dozen IMA member missions from north India out of a total of about 30 participants took part in this. This was a partnership program of EFICOR, EFI, EFAC, IMA and CIM. I would like to see more of these partnership programs taking place. We are planning a similar program for Mission leaders in South and Central India in Hyderabad on November 14th and 15th.
Forth coming programs: 3 important programs are planned in the IMA Vision City campus, Hyderabad in November and we are getting top quality Resource people for these.
· Partnership in Mission work: November 12 morning - 14 lunch time. - for CEOs. Resource people: Experts from USA, Indonesia and India. Cost Rs. 1000/-
· Governance, FCRA and Income Tax Rules: November 14 afternoon – 15 evening. - for CEOs. Resource people: Experts who will give definite answers to all your questions. Cost Rs. 800/-
· Training of workers to Neighbours: November 18 - 22, – for workers among Neighbours. Resource People: Experts from Africa and India. Cost Rs. 2500/-
Mission and church leaders are requested to register immediately with Mr. Solomon Babu firstname.lastname@example.org and he will send you full details.
Book on Satguru Yeshu: The Bible Society of India has published a book called ‘Life and Teachings of Maha Satguru Yeshu….’ with redemption as the theme using scripture portions from Genesis to Revelation specially aimed at sharing about Christ to our Hindu friends. Dr. Ebe Sunder Raj, former General Secretary of IMA, is the General Editor and several including me were involved in helping him in this wonderful venture to make the Bible understandable to friends of other faiths. It has foot notes and the cost is only Rs. 35/- for the paperback edition and Rs. 100/- for the hard cover. Please buy them at the Bible society and other Christian stores and distribute them widely to the Bandhus and others. It is available in English at the moment but will be published in other languages next year. For further information please contact email@example.com
Prayer Requests of IMA on Finance: Please read the practical article ‘Mission and Finance’ by the IMA Treasurer Rev. Dr. Lazarus Lalsingh in this issue of INDIA MISSIONS E-NEWS.
Please pray for the following needs in IMA.
May the Lord bless you in your life, family and work.
Yours in His service,
R. Theodore Srinivasagam
General Secretary, India Missions Association
PART 4 – PARTNERSHIP IN THE GOSPEL
Partnership in the Advance of the Gospel (Phil 1:12-18)
Paul had the remarkable ability to look for opportunities to witness in the most unlikely places and circumstances. He looked at his imprisonments first in Jerusalem, then Caesarea and now in Rome were all for the furtherance of the gospel. This advance has happened in three ways.
Firstly, prior to his arrival in Rome, when he was brought before Governor Felix (Acts 24) and even King Agrippa (Acts 26), he seized the opportunity not only to share, but even persuade them to follow Jesus Christ – high dignitaries he would never have opportunity to meet in normal course of life. Now Paul is chained to a praetorian guard (Acts 28:16) day and night, who changed every six hours. So he is rejoicing that he has this wonderful opportunity to share about his faith with the praetorian guards (Phil. 1:13), the elite group of soldiers of the Roman empire, akin to our own “black cat” commandos, who cannot be normally approached. Here was a new ‘unreached people group’, whom Paul was privileged to reach out to! What a fantastic positive attitude and focus on the gospel while under arrest!
The news about this unusual prisoner and his imprisonment, not for a crime but for his faith in a person called Jesus Christ, would have spread throughout the Praetorian guards and the Emperor's palace. In Phil. 4:22 we read Paul sending greetings to those who belong to Caesar’s household. What about us? Are we seizing opportunities to share the good news of Christ to individuals and groups of people?
We would all assent that by working together we will achieve more and reach out to more people groups. Yet, we fail to forge effective partnerships with other like minded Christians. As I travel across this land, what I see is that as mission agencies or churches we tend to work alone as it is comfortable and we can please ourselves. We can even build our empires! Working with others involves listening, understanding, trusting, sharing and forging relationships. This takes time and effort. But the results of this far outweigh all the initial hard work and bring about greater and lasting benefits. Those who have moved into partnerships are seeing great benefits and also experiencing the forward thrust of the gospel in reaching people groups who have been resistant to the gospel for long. One of the remarkable examples is the ‘Lingayat partnership’ where people of the Lingayat community in Karnataka are coming to Christ. Similar partnerships are possible all across our country only if we are willing to partner with each other for the sake of the gospel.
Secondly, as a result of Paul’s imprisonment the Philippian and other churches were strengthened in their faith and showed boldness or resolution in the face of danger (Gk. tolmao) in their witness and preaching (Phil 1:14). One of two things can happen when persecution comes – Christians can hide and even deny Christ or grow bold in their witness seeing the faith of those imprisoned or persecuted. In a partnership, when one of the partners holds fast to the faith, the other partners who may be weak get strengthened and they also grow in their faith. We are seeing this in our land. As persecution against Christians increases, openly or subtly, because of the boldness and suffering of a few, other Christians are challenged in their faith and also have become bold. Partnership therefore helps in bold witness to our Lord and his salvation and also increases our faith so that the ministry of the gospel advances in this country.
Thirdly, in the time of Paul, there were a group of preachers who disliked Paul, yet continued to preach the gospel ( Phil. 1:15-18). Their theology was right but their attitude was wrong. So they preached in such a way as to cause more trouble to Paul. They were primarily interested in themselves, their popularity and their ministry. Paul’s public preaching and life style was a hindrance to grow their ministries. So they were happy that Paul was in prison. Yet Paul was tolerant of them as they preached the gospel. Partnerships help us to cultivate the right attitudes and spirit towards others in the ministry.
So partnership in the gospel helps us to reach out to resistant and inaccessible communities of people, strengthens one another in adverse circumstances and cultivates a right attitude towards those who may differ from us. Are we willing to enter into partnerships with fellow Christians, churches or organizations for the sake of the advance of the gospel?
MISSION AND MONEY
Lazarus Lalsingh Bhukya*
Mission and money are the two eyes of vision for the ministry of God. If a Christian leader through the spirit of God has a passion for mission, then the Lord is faithful in providing the needed finances and resources for the work of the mission.
Sending and Going
For our missions to function effectively with required finances there should be a system in place, where one SENDS and another GOES. How shall one go, unless someone comes forward to support? One must have the passion to go and another must have the heart to support him/her with love, affection, finances and prayer.
In Isaiah 6th chapter we see the dialogue between the Lord and Isaiah, where the later commits himself to GO to the former’s CALL. Based on this chapter, we can see the person who SENDS represents God and someone who responds to that CALL is a missionary. Whether you go or send, the participation in building the Kingdom of God is the same. Both of them play an important role in it. The God Almighty sent JESUS as the first missionary.
Christians should realize the importance of God’s work and the struggles of the missionary and must participate in that ministry by giving generously. There are two kinds of people, one who gives beyond his capacity and another who rarely gives in spite of his great wealth. The former gives importance to the kingdom of God and is passionate about reaching out to people and so gives sacrificially. The later takes the Great Commission casually, and so despite having the ability to give generously, he doesn’t give. It is important that we educate and encourage people about the importance and necessity of giving as the Apostles did.
Money and Giving
The Bible has nothing bad to say about money or the need of various resources for mission work. Money is imperative for the mission of God to be accomplished. Apostle Paul requested people to keep aside money for mission work and he writes in 1 Cor. 16:2, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” Further, in 2 Cor. 8:1-4, he appreciates the Macedonian churches who generously gave in spite of their struggles and poverty. In verse 3 he states, “For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, …………...”
But the Bible strongly condemns the love of money. Mathew 6:24 clearly narrates that we can’t serve two masters and so we cannot serve both God and money, simultaneously. We can find similar values echoed in 1 Tim 6:10 that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” and because of this some “have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs”.
As mission leaders, we should not allow the need for money to overtake the ministry of God. We must strike a fine balance between accomplishing the God given task and taking care of various needs of the ministry and workers on the mission fields.
Handling of money
The mission of God that involves various ministries needs money and resources. The privilege of handling it should be given to capable and reliable people as apostle Paul states in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
We must also be faithful as Jesus mentions in Mathew 25:23, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”
Handling money is very important. If it isn't handled well, then that will lead us into bad situations and downfall. Money should be spent for the purpose it is designated and along with that accountability and responsibility must be maintained.
Today we hear many missions lacking finances for the ministries they are involved in. But I echo with Hudson Taylor of China Inland Mission, who once said, ‘If God’s work is done in His ways, it won’t lack provisions.’
By and large funds decline and suffering of missions are caused due to two major reasons.
1. Issues within missions:
2. Issues with supporters/donors:
I can list many issues, but the point is, we must introspect ourselves and as an organization avoid all the issues mentioned above. We need to rectify the unnecessary and develop the essentials to further God’s mission. Money is important, but mission work is urgent. May we remain accountable and faithful to the task and to the resources that are entrusted to us.
* Rev. Dr. Lazarus Lalsingh Bhukya is the Founder and Director of BADAVO BANJARA PHOZEAR TRUST in Hyderabad, Telangana and is the Treasurer of IMA.
Zohmingthanga, Executive Secretary North, IMA
Member missions and mission related churches of the India Missions Association are distributed far and wide across India. It is often difficult to visit them and meet with their leaders in their own locations. But visits are important to develop and maintain good relationships. So the leaders of the India Missions Association, Dr. Theodore Srinivasagam General Secretary of IMA, Dr. Wati Longkumer Associate General Secretary and Zohmingthanga Executive Secretary for North embarked upon a trip to visit member missions and prospective members in Manipur and Mizoram from 22nd August to 1st September, This is a brief report about that visit.
VISIT TO MANIPUR
We first visited Churachandpur. On Saturday 23rd August a mission Seminar and Consultation was organized by Elder Zamlal Vaiphei, CEO of “Gospel for India” which is one of the member missions of IMA. The venue was the Evangelical Organization Central Church at Hill Town Churachandpur. Dr. Theodore Srinivasagam was the main facilitator of this consultation where Dr. Wati and Mr. Zohminthanga also spoke. 36 Pastors and leaders attended this seminar and the response was encouraging. Participants came from different churches such as Zo Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Church Association, Evangelical Synod Church, Evangelical Baptist Church, Independent Church of India, Evangelical Organization Church, Chin Baptist Association and Gospel for India. That evening we spoke in different churches. We are grateful to GFI for hosting us and for the warm hospitality.
Elder Zamlal Vaiphei and other mission leaders at the seminar in Churachandpur
On Sunday 24th August we had the privilege to speak in 3 different churches in the morning services. It was a great opportunity to introduce IMA in this part of the country. It was also great to see the enthusiasm of the churches towards the preaching of the Gospel across the country.
After the morning service we came to Imphal and were received by Rev. Ngamjapao General Secretary of the Kuki Baptist Convention and other leaders. They arranged for us to speak in 3 different KBC churches that evening. Apart from giving messages, we also had time to share about IMA and the mission challenges of IMA. After the church services all of us had good discussions with the church leaders in our respective churches. The Churches are very open and they only need some encouragement and motivation to be involved with IMA. We are thankful to the KBC leaders for their warm welcome and hospitality.
Meeting with the leaders of Kuki Baptist Convention, Imphal
On the morning of 25th August we had a lunch fellowship with Rev. Wungnaoting Konghar and other leaders of the Manipur Baptist Convention. Although it was a short meeting, it was a fruitful one. IMA General Secretary Dr. Theo Srinivasagam introduced IMA to them. One important part of our discussion was how to bring together missions & churches who were working among the Meitei in Manipur for the purpose of working in partnership with each other to reach the Meiteis. MBC leaders were optimistic and assured us of organizing a consultation on this in partnership with IMA in early 2015 in Imphal and we would like to take this forward. We appreciate the love and concern shown to us by the MBC leaders.
Meeting with the leaders of Manipur Baptist Convention, Imphal
VISIT TO MIZORAM
We arrived in Aizawl in Mizoram on 25th August from Imphal. The next day, 26th August, we travelled to Lunglei by car to meet with the leaders of the Baptist Church of Mizoram which is a member of IMA. After lunch with Rev. Dr. K. Lalrinthanga Associate General Secretary i/c Mission Baptist Church of Mizoram, we had a meeting with Rev. H. Lianngaia, General Secretary and other BCM leaders. Dr. Theodore Srinivasagam reintroduced IMA to them and we believe that the meeting with BCM leaders was meaningful and encouraging. We expect collaboration with them in the near future.
Meeting with the leaders of Baptist Church of Mizoram, Lunglei
Later that afternoon we left for Saiha, further south in Mizoram. On 27th a mission seminar and consultation was organized by Evangelical Church of Maraland. While Dr. Theo Srinivasagam shared about IMA, Rev. Wati Longkumer shared about Global Missions. I also had the privilege to talk about Indian Mission Challenges and Partnership. 25 church leaders were present in this consultation. ECM leaders assured us that ECM will become a member of IMA and also send their leaders to IMA programmes. Rev. P. Ribai Senior Executive Secretary ECM and Rev. Salaw Executive Secretary Mission made arrangements for us to speak in three churches of ECM in the evening services. All of us had the privilege to introduce the ministry of IMA to the church members. We are thankful to ECM leaders for hosting us during our stay in Saiha and are touched by their kind hospitality.
Meeting with the leaders of Evangelical Church of Maraland, Saiha
On 28th we started our journey from Saiha to Aizawl. On the way at Lawngtlai we met Rev.Dr. L.H. Lalpekhlua, General Secretary, Rev Bawitlung Zazawna Lal, Associate General Secretary and other leaders of ‘Lairam Jesus Christ Baptist Church’. After lunch provided by them we had a meeting with the leaders and Dr. Theo Srinivasagam and Rev Dr Wati Longkumer introduced IMA and its ministry to them. The leaders of Lairam Jesus Christ Baptist Church were interested for their church, which has a strong mission programme, to become a member of IMA and work along with IMA in days ahead. After 13 hour road journey by car from Saiha we reached Aizawl at night exhausted, but encouraged in the Lord.
Meeting with the leaders of Lairam Jesus Christ Baptist Church, Lawngtlai
On 29th August we attended the morning devotion of Mizoram Presbyterian Synod office. Dr. Theodore Srinivasagam, Rev. Wati Longkumer and I had the privilege to have a time of sharing and conveying our greetings.
After that we had a meeting with Rev. P.C. Pachhunga, Executive Secretary i/c Mission and Rev. Lalchhuanmawia, Secretary of Synod Mission Board and other leaders. The discussion was mainly about the relationship of IMA with Synod Mission Board and strategy of working together in days to come. We are encouraged to see the response of SMB leaders in terms of working together with IMA.
Meeting with the leaders of Mizoram Presbyterian Synod Mission Board, Aizawl
In the afternoon we visited the Missionary Training College a project of Synod Mission Board where we were warmly received by Rev.Lalrinkima, Principal and other members of the faculty. Dr. Theo Srinivasagam was pleasantly surprised to meet two members of the faculty to whom he had taught missions years ago! We also visited the Synod Multipurpose Training Centre where Rev. Zosangliana Colney Director of SMTC and former vice Chairman of IMA warmly welcomed us. It was encouraging to see how the Mizoram Presbyterian Synod is involved in varied ministries.
Dr. Theo Srinivasagam with Rev. Zosangliana Colney in Aizawl
On the same day, we met Rev. Lalrinmawia, CEO of Zoram Evangelical Fellowship (ZEF). The Board members of ZEF was also present. We had a great time of discussion on challenges connected with missions of North East India.
Meeting with the leaders of Zoram Evangelical Fellowship, Aizawl
A seminar was organized on 30th August on ‘Approaches to reaching Hindus & Buddhists’ by Masihi Sangati Kendra under the Synod Mission Board. Dr. Theo Srinivasagam took the sessions. 150 mission workers and Hindi Bible School students attended this seminar and it was much appreciated. We appreciate the hard work of Rev. K. Lalthlanpuia Director of Masihi Sangati and other leaders to make this successful.
Masihi Sangati Kendra, Aizawl
On Sunday 31st August morning service Dr. Theo Srinivasagam spoke in the English Congregation. BCM leaders made arrangements for us to speak in Bawngkawn Baptist Church, Chanmari Baptist Church and Ramhlun Baptist Church. We are grateful to all the church leaders who organized everything for us.
Dr. Theo Srinivasagam also spoke in the Naga Christian Fellowship in the afternoon service where he challenged the young students and professionals to be involved in missions. Many indicated that they are available to God’s leading.
He also met with Dr. L. N. Tluanga and another leader of a mission called Missionary Agency for Understanding, Reference and intercession (MAURI) in Aizawl, which is sending Tent makers.
Meeting with the leaders of MAURI, Aizawl
On 1st September we met Rev. Lazuithanga Senior Executive Secretary of Mizoram Presbyterian Synod and discussed about many aspects of IMA and Synod Mission board partnership, and how to strengthen it. We concluded our meeting ensuring that we work hand in hand in days to come. We are thankful to Synod Mission Board for hosting us during our stay in Aizawl.
The visit to missions and churches in Manipur and Mizoram was exciting and encouraging. The churches are eager to see the Gospel proclaimed effectively and open to work together with IMA for His Kingdom.
Prakash Nayak, Executive Secretary South, IMA
Recently, in the month of September, I could visit and meet personally 11 member missions in Madurai, Tirunelveli, Nagercoil and Kanyakumari. Most of the missions are involved in Church planting ministry. I also had the privilege of sharing Evangelistic Missions Challenges & History of Mission in the training centre of the India Field Evangelism in Madurai.
The visits to missions has helped me to establish relationship with the missions, get to know the ground realities and understand the ministries they are involved in and the struggles and difficulties they go through, foster partnership and create mutual trust.
I also participated in the Regional Leaders meeting in Madurai.
Central Tamil Nadu IMA Regional Leaders Meeting, Madurai
IMA Regional leaders from Central Tamil Nadu region met on 2nd September at the premises of India Field Evangelism, Madurai. The 5 mission leaders present shared and prayed for IMA & its activities and for each other. This was a follow up meeting of IMA Member Mission Leaders Get-together that was held in Madurai in July 2014.
Pastor Paul Radha Krishnan, IMA Chairman, exhorted the leaders on the word “Selah” which means to stop, watch and proceed, to pause, observe carefully and make appropriate strategy. He connected that to what we need to do in the current political, economic and social situation and the changes that are taking place in our country.
The next gathering (3rd meeting) of this region will be held on 20th November at 5 pm in India Field Evangelism office, Madurai when IMA members can share, encourage and pray for one another. We request all the IMA member missions & churches in Central Tamil Nadu region to attend this gathering. For more details, please write to Prakash Nayak, IMA Executive Secretary South at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
South Tamil Nadu IMA Regional Leaders Meeting
This will be held on 18th November 2014 at Indian Missions Society (IMS) office, Tirunelveli. All IMA members from Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Nagercoil, KanyaKumari and Trivandrum are requested to come and participate. For more details, please write to Prakash Nayak, IMA Executive Secretary South at email@example.com
Prakash Nayak, Executive Secretary South, IMA
During one of the IMA member Leaders Get-togethers, it was suggested to widen the connection of IMA to to the Pastors of mission minded churches. An opportunity for this came in the recently held Pastors Fellowship in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh on 19th& 20th September.
This was organized by Pastor Sam Benny to expose the pastors in and around Kakinada to missions in India and give them a burden to get actively involved in missions. About 80 pastors and leaders participated.
Four of our member missions namely Friends Missionary Prayer Band, Indian Evangelical Mission, VishwaVani and Mission to the Blind shared about their ministries.
I had the privilege of sharing the word and also about IMA and its activities and the important role that IMA plays in terms of connecting and enhancing the effectiveness of missions and churches in India. I also gave them a glimpse of the important challenges that we face in evangelizing this nation and encouraged them to pray and focus on those challenging areas. It was an eye opener for them to think of newer ways of doing missions apart from the traditional mission understanding. I encouraged them to be part of India Missions Association with their prayer and finances to carry out the God given task.
NEWS FROM INDIAN MISSIONS
India Every Home Crusade, Secunderabad: IEHC which was started in 1964 is celebrating its Golden Jubilee (50th year) of God’s faithfulness in its ministry. It was started in 1964 in Secunderabad with the aim of presenting the gospel to every home in India through literature distribution. The Golden Jubilee Celebrations are from 29th September to 2nd October in Secunderabad. IMA wishes God’s richest blessings on IEHC on this occasion and pray that God will continue to use it to take the Gospel to every home in our country and form ‘Christ groups’.
National Fellowship, Kolkata: National Fellowship is celebrating its Silver Jubilee (25th year) of God’s faithfulness in its ministry on 10-12 October 2014 in Nagpur. Though it began small, today it has spread across Northern India witnessing about God’s love. We are grateful to National fellowship for sparing the services of Rev Susanta Patra to serve IMA as its General secretary from 2010-14. IMA wishes the National Fellowship God’s richest blessings on this occasion and pray for its continued effectiveness in the years ahead.
Fellowship of Evangelical Friends, Nagercoil: This was founded by late Mr D T Rajah who was a founder member of IMA. Today it has 80 missionaries reaching out to the Kani tribe who is spread across 40 villages in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Naduand planting churches among them. They also train and equip the Kani people to reach out to their own people. Apart from church planting ministry, they run two homes, one for boys and the other for girls and provide education. Pray for their ministry.
Diocesan Missionary Prayer Band, Nagercoil: It is the mission wing of the CSI Kanyakumari Diocese, having church planting ministry as its focus in Tamilnadu, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Please pray for *training of their missionaries and *specialized ministry among the higher strata women
India Good News Mission, Kottaram, Kanyakumari: The mission has a church planting ministry in Tamil Nadu and Odisha. In Odisha it works in Anugul, Kalahandi and Kandhamal areas. The mission is planning to establish a Bible college and an English medium school in Kandhamal. Kindly pray for needed funds. For further details contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>
MEITEI OF MANIPUR
Religion: Hindu 99.7%, Christian 0.3%
Alternative Name(s): Manipuri
Also found in: Bangladesh; Myanmar
Occupation: Landowners, Weavers, Cultivators, Professionals
Location and origin: Manipur state is situated in the North- Eastern part of India, bordering Myanmar in the East and South-East. The Meeteis or Meiteis are the majority ethnic group of Manipur and because of this they are sometimes referred to as Manipuris. Generally speaking, Meitei is an endonym and Manipuri is an exonym. Meiteis mainly inhabit the plains of Manipur which is roughly 10% of the total geographical area, whereas the Nagas, Kukis and other tribes dominate the hilly areas which form 90% of the present day Manipur State. The people of the valley were ruled by their Meitei kings but their rule never extended beyond the valley and the hilly areas remained under various chieftains of the tribes. The people are broadly classified into two distinct races namely the Bishnupriyas, who are mainly of Aryan origin, and the Meiteis who have Mongoloid features and are racially mixed.
Physical features and customs: The people are of average height, well-built and fair complexioned. They are intelligent, hard-working, brave, independent, friendly, hospitable, hating nepotism and favouritism. The father is the head of the home and works outside the house and the mother stays at home and maintains it. They are polite and respectful in their speech and culture. A younger man, however great he might be, will not call an older man by name but will address him as brother or uncle. Every able-bodied man should be able to wage war, hunt tigers and elephants, and every man should be able to dance. Dancing is a part of their religion and culture.
Social structure: The Meitei people are made up of seven Salais (clans), who ruled in different principalities, mainly in the valley. The Meitei feudal kingdom started in 33 AD when King Pakhangba of the Ningthouja dynasty united all the seven clans and ascended the throne. The term Meitei now refers to five social groups - Meitei Marup (believe in only Meitei culture and God), Meitei Christians, Meitei GouraChaytonya (believe in both Meitei and Hindu gods), Meitei Brahmins (locally called Shreehatti original Bhamons) and Meitei Muslims (called Miah Meitei or Pangal).
Meitei’s social structure can be divided into three categories, the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas and other general castes. The former two are privileged classes. All the high clans of these two classes belong to a “Pana”. These Panas compete against each other in sports and games. There is a hierarchical order in a Pana, based on birth and the office they hold. The eldest son of the head of the clan is called “Piba”, and is considered as the king.
There are some social distinctions between the clans, but politically, they are equal. Regarding marriage, they have a saying, which means “a woman can be married only once, but a male can marry a hundred times.” One cannot marry a person belonging to the same clan. Intermarriage between the high and low clans is prohibited, and if done, they are excommunicated except if the bride or groom is specially qualified with respect to wealth, beauty or education. Each village is organized on the basis of mutual help and cooperation. When a member of the village is dying, others help the family members in cash and kind.
Regarding the socio-cultural practices, though Meiteis have their own rich culture, they are amalgamated with the Hindu culture. The caste system has been introduced in the society, and the tribals are considered unclean by the Meiteis. The daily bath ritual gives them a superiority complex. All of them have Meiteilon (also known as Manipuri), a Tibeto-Burman language, as their mother-tongue.
Occupation: Their main occupation is agriculture, cultivating bamboo, fruits, rice, sugar cane, teak, tobacco and maize. Weaving is the second most common profession; hence they have many kinds of dresses used for different occasions. Till recently, education among the Meiteis was poor. Their education was usually military training, physical exercise, dancing and singing. English education was considered impure.
Religious belief: Meiteis follow two religious belief systems, namely Hinduism (Gouriya Vaisnavism) and animism, but they are mainly Vaishnavites. The original religion of Meiteis emphasized more on household worship, but they now have adopted corporate worship. There has been a significant change in the religious life of the people. Today, there are many temples in the city including some huge Umanglai temples (temple of gods in the reserved woods). The women folk go to the Govindaji temple every day to worship. All Hindu religious festivals and rituals are followed by the Meiteis along with the traditional rituals and festivals. The Meitei festivals have changed over a period of time or have been renamed after Hindu festivals.
Christian Resources: Bible Translations – available; Jesus Film – available; Gospel Recordings –available;
Radio Broadcast – available.
· Praise God for some Meiteis who have become disciples of Christ and small fellowship groups have been formed by some churches and missions with their own pastors.
· Pray for greater understanding of the Meitei people and the approach and presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to them will be appropriate.
· Pray for a consultation leading to development of a partnership among all who are working among the Meiteis for a more effective ministry.
LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF MAHA SATGURU YESHU, HIS DISCIPLES AND PROPHETS.
(Published by the Bible Society of India)
Most of us are hesitant to give the full Bible to people of other faiths to understand it by self study. This unique evangelistic book is the result of ten years of study and three years of work by thirty Indian scholars of national stature - missiologists, science professors, apologists and theologians. The objective is to give the sacred scripture to every Indian home in abridged form (within 6,000 Bible verses ie one fifth of the total Bible verses) in portable size (within 250 pages) at the lowest price (Rs.35) with adequate editor’s notes and supplements (in 50 pages) written for self scripture study by persons of all faiths who have no access to a pastor or teacher.
The single focus of this book is the Anointed Redeemer of the world, purpose of his first coming and purpose of his second coming and eternity. Therefore the Old Testament prophets are quoted only in relation to the first coming of the Redeemer and their role in preparing their people ethically for the coming Redeemer. Thus the Old Testament of about 800 pages is abridged into 80 pages, still retaining all the 50 Messianic prophesies (highlighted in bold font), about 200 worship verses, 250 wisdom versus and 300 promises (in italics) and all the texts of the Mosaic Law which reveal the character of God. Dates and places of persons and events are given to emphasize the historicity of the holy scripture.
The four narratives of the gospel are abridged into one but retaining all the events and sayings of the Anointed Redeemer especially his prayashchit balidan (substitutionary self sacrifice). The life and teachings of His first disciples focus on the purpose of the Redeemer’s second coming, end of the world, judgment and eternal life. Historic contiguity from Adam to the book of Revelation is maintained through 50 link paragraphs by the editor. The editor’s lines use Indian cultural language. Indian connections to the Biblical events are highlighted. Communication to the seeker is given high priority over theological precision of terms.
The 80 foot notes give apologetic explanations to the events and sayings of the holy scripture. Many persons today do not believe in the Old Testament events. All our children are taught Natural Evolution as established scientific law. Therefore these foot notes can be of much help to the youth who have intellectual questions. The six brief articles cover the relevant issues (culturally or doctrinally) raised today by most Indians. The twelve page Supplement gives the sayings of about 50 Indian gurus over a period of four millennia on the need for a redeemer and predictions on the Anointed Redeemer. The eight page Supplement gives 52 important Topics Outlines on life issues for self scripture study for a year.
There are about one crore (ten million) English reading homes in India. They are the opinion makers and decision makers for India. This English edition (in ESV version) is designed to remove their prejudice and present Mukti not only as highly desirable but spiritually obligatory. For the youth today what is not hand held is not heart held. Therefore this book will be made, on request, available also in smallest possible size. This evangelistic book (available also in hard bound four colour cover at Rs 100) can be given without reservation to professionals, intellectuals, social leaders and gospel opponents besides the common public. We expect this book to be available in all vernacular languages by 2015.
Available in book shops and Bible Society of India, 2, M. G. Road, Bangalore 650001. 80-22223813/14. biblemarketing5@gmailcom; email@example.com; Online shopping: https;//tinyurl.com/theb; Web site: bsind.org
For Info and Suggestions: Dr. Ebe Sunderraj, Hon.General Editor. (Ph)044-24480298, (M)9444084054; firstname.lastname@example.org
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