Siangbawipa Rev. Dr. Robert G. Johnson In Critical Condition
04 June 2009: An email calling for a special prayer has been circulated among the Chin people across the globe today as the last American missionary to Chin State, Rev. Dr. Robert G. Johnson, has been in ‘critical condition’ in Redlands, California after catching pneumonia last weekend.
One of his daughters, Ruti, said: “My father’s health has declined rapidly since becoming ill with pneumonia this past weekend. He has declined aggressive treatment and is currently under hospice care which means that they provide comfort care. I do not know how long he will survive.”
“While we are sad, we are also very peaceful with his decision and know that he is ready to go to be with the Lord. We ask that you keep our family in prayer,” added Ruti, who can speak Hakha dialect fluently.
The news broke out days ahead of the service programme organised on 14 June by Hakha Baptist Church to pay tribute and respect to Rev. Dr. Robert G. Johnson for his works for the Chin people.
In a video clip recorded in June 2008, Rev. Dr. Robert G. Johnson, now 94, sent a message to the Chin people: “We pray that God will bless you. I am 93 years old and my health is deteriorating, going downward. But I am still able to pray to God for all the mercies He gave us. Thank you and God bless all you of our dear friends.”
Ruti’s email to the Chin communities reads: “It is his and our request that, instead of people trying to come to Redlands, California, those who wish can have memorial services in their own communities. Instead of sending flowers, he has asked that those who wish contribute to a fund designated for the Chin Christian College in care of my brother, Richard Johnson.”
Rev. Dr. Robert Johnson and his wife Elizabeth, who are also known as Dicky nu le pa, meaning Dicky’s mom and dad, were the last couple of seven missionaries serving in the Chin Hills. The couple returned to USA after serving in Chin State from 1946 to 1966.
Siangbawipa, author of ‘History of The American Baptist Chin Mission’, made a trip to Burma in March 1999 in attempt to attend the celebration of Chin Evangel Centenary, 100th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in Chin Hills, in Hakha, the capital of Chin State. But his intention to visit failed as the military junta did not allow any foreign visitors to go to Chin State.
Van Biak Thang