April 13, 2021
Opinions and Commentary

Coordination between Diaspora and Remnant Chins towards Rebuilding Chinland

15 February 2011: [CG Note: The following is an excerpt from Bishop Nicholas Mang Thang’s email sent in reply to Rev. Dr. Stephen Hre Kio’s invitation to attend the GCCF (Global Chin Christian Fellowship) Conference held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in November 2010.

Bishop Nicholas Mang Thang, of Hakha Diocese, is in charge of the Episcopal Commissions for Evangelization, for Catechesis and Catechists, and for Social Development. Born on 18 May 1943 at Theinlawng Village in Mindat Township of Chin State, he went to various Catholic-run schools and seminaries in Burma until 1973 when he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Aloysius U Ba Khin on April 28.

While Bishop Mang was assuming the responsibility of a rector at Yangon Major Seminary in 1988, Pope John Paul II appointed him as Auxiliary Bishop of Mandalay Diocese. He received Episcopal ordination on 15 January 1989. He became the first Bishop of Hakha Diocese on 21 November 1992 and was installed on 21 March 1993.

Unfortunately, Bishop Nicholas Mang Thang could not attend the GCCF Conference due to his tight schedules.]

I am sorry to say that I would not be able to attend this important meeting in person but certainly I would be spiritually and morally present at heart. I am very much touched by the words in your invitation letter: “Chin Christians have been divided into various groups and we feel that it is time to think together and plan together both for Worship and Mission as well.” These words of yours really remind me also of the yet to be fulfilled a scripture passage: “One Body and One Spirit as you were also called to the one hope of your call; One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism.” (Eph 4:4-5)

Anyway, at least I would like to share with those Chin Church leaders who would be attending the GCCF conference in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. On the working concept on The foundation of a new International Chin Christian Body, you mention under the title Background: “We need to be forward-looking in our vision so that the Chins can be a viable community in the 21st Century.” I hope that I am not mistaken to understand that viability should cover both “The Diaspora Chins and the Remnant Chins of Chin State” (If I were allowed to use such expressions).

I think, as I am with the remnant Chin People in our beloved Chin State, I am more and directly concerned in concrete for their viability on the aspects of securities and viabilities in terms of food, education, health-care besides the caring of the created homeland, Chin State, looking into her ecology, global warming, climate change, her environment and “right to water” for her sustainable development.

I also seriously take into account, the actual sub-title on the purpose/objectives of the working concept paper which says, “To strengthen and promote the Church’s mission in terms of Evangelization locally as well as internationally.” It is totally correct and I fully agree as our God-given commandment. So to say, for every Christian to fulfil in his or her life and in complementary support of this statement, may I express the understanding of the Catholic Church on “Evangelization or Evangelism.” May I quote some of the Church documents on Evangelization written by Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II and the present Pope Benedict XVI: “Evangelization would not be complete if it does not take account of the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and of man’s concrete life, both personal and social” (no. 15 of Evangelii Nuntiandi by Pole Paul VI).

My concern and expression in terms of my vision and mission towards the “Remnant of Chin People” in our beloved homeland Chin State, regardless of the Diaspora Chins outside of the Chin Homeland, is that to introduce the different systems of complex agro-reforestation, integral sustainable agriculture using ‘trench system’ completely relying on Organic fertilizer or compost making, conservation of water sheds and preservation of spring water and rain water into underground tanks with inner plastic layering so that we could cultivate or farming throughout the year, but especially our main course for farming should become the summer months.

I introduced once the system of farming using the “Trench system” rather than “Salt system” though I do not deny the “Salt system” too.

I believe even to have fellowship to foster unity in diversity both in terms of “Diversity in worship and unity in Mission”, it would be more theoretical rather than concrete because we need to tackle the here and now present problematic issues effecting the Chin people within Chin state and the Chin – Diaspora – migrant workers in Malaysia and elsewhere in the world. I believe we must solve the direct problem of the present hand-to-mouth situation of the Chin people, in some areas of the Chin state.

It is sad to say that the beautiful homeland for the Chin People, our Chin State has scars of landslides and bare landscapes with no more rain forests, no more beautiful orchids, no more fruit trees and no more sanctuary of wild life and animals. We shoot them, we kill them, and we burn everything during the summer. Who were and who are these people who ignorantly destroy God’s beautiful creation of Chinland and the environment of Chin State to become so devastated that many Chin people have deserted the homeland of Chin State and going away to other countries for good or as migrant workers inclusive of Chin girls who were indirectly sold by their parents in search of money to unknown young men in other countries? Unfortunately our Chin parents do not differentiate between the Chin custom of giving away daughters in marriage and modern human trafficking.

It is sad to say that all Christians without exception are responsible as Christianity arrived in the Chin State more or less 150 years ago. The Christians believe in the Word of God – the Bible – but due to many factors, they could not really implement the Book of Genesis, “to protect and to safeguard the Earth and all the Creation.” We, all Chins, are reminded that the Chin homeland is a gift from God to dwell, to till, to preserve, to conserve and to protect whoever and whatever lives there but any how we destroy them.

Therefore, I would be happy if we could help one another depending on the development projects as to how far we could coordinate not only by prayers but financially in concrete.

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