Chin Christians Held Conferences in Recent Months
08 May 2010 – Chinland Guardian: A series of Christian conferences was held across Chin State and outside in recent months, celebrating anniversaries and promoting spiritual unity and understanding among Chin Christians of different denominations.
A week-long Youth conference held as part of Myanmar Baptist Convention’s programmes from 27 April, 2010 in Matupi town ended last Monday with a successful out-turn, where about 30 youths from Hakha Baptist Association participated.
The first Dai Inter-Denominational Conference, co-hosted by the two mainstrem denominations – the Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Church, was held on 23-25 April 2010 in Mindat Town of Southern Chin State, with about 100 Dai-Chin Christian leaders attending from Mindat, Kanpetlet, Matupi, Paletwa townships and Yangon.
About 90 percent of the Dai-Chin are now Christians after Pu Dothawnga, the late NLD elected MP and Assistant Health Officer based in Hmukhinding village of Kanpetlet Township, introduced the Holy Gospel in the 1970s. The people of Dai-Chin tribe were traditional animists in the ‘unheard, unhelped and unreached’ areas of Southern Chin State before a Methodist Church member Pu Dothawnga had requested the Upper Methodist Church of Myanmar to send missionaries in the 1970s.
As one of the major Chin tribes living in the interior parts of Southern Chin State with about 60,000 population of over 160 villages, some conference-attending Dai Christian leaders from remote areas travelled on foot for several days to get to Mindat town due to lack of accessible roads and transportations.
Hundreds of Christian women attended a conference organised by ZBWF (Zomi Baptist Women Fellowship) in Mawngsung, Kalaymyo on 18-22 March 2010 where a variety of programmes and competitions was exchanged including recitations of Bible verses, and choir and quartette singings. In Tahan of Kalaymyo, Zomi Baptist Convention Triennial Conference was held at Tahan Baptist Church late March, 2010.
A centenary celebration of Christianity in Thantlang town was held in Thantlang on 19-21 March 2010, with more than an estimated 7,000 Chin Christians of different denominations attending from various parts of the country and abroad.
In Falam, more than 5,000 people attended two consecutive conferences organised by Lairawn Baptist Association and Falam Baptist Association in late February 2010. Falam Siangbawi Rev. Dr. Stephen Hre Kio and his wife from USA were also said to have participated as special guests during the conferences.
In attempt to establish an international Chin Christian network, nearly 50 Chin Christian leaders from Burma and abroad met in Thailand in February 2010, discussing the possible formation of ‘Global Chin Christian Fellowship’ in the near future.
Early this year, Myanmar Baptist Convention (MBC), founded in 1865, held its four-day meeting in Tedim town of Chin State, with nearly 200-strong attendance. In October 2010, another celebration called ‘Cope Centenary Jubilee Celebration’ is to be held in Tedim Township, marking the arrival of American missionary Dr Joseph Herbert Cope and wife Elizabeth Cope in the area.
The Chin people were animists before Christianity was brought to them in March, 1899 by the American missionary couple, Rev. and Mrs. Arthur Carson. It was only in May 1905 that the first four Chin believers, Thuam Hang and wife Dim Khaw Cing, and Pau Suan and wife Kham Ciang, were baptised in a small stream near Khuasak.
The first Christian church in the Chin Hills, the first of any denomination, was organised with only eleven members at Khuasak in the Siyin valley of the Tiddim area on 17 February 1906, according to an article ‘The First Chin Baptist Churches’ written by Rev. Robert G. Johnson.
Rev. Shwekey Hoipang and Van Biak Thang