April 13, 2021
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Chin Grieved Over Siangbawipa Rev. Dr. Robert Johnson’s Death

10 June 2009: The Chin people worldwide mourned for their last American missionary Rev. Dr. Robert G. Johnson who entered his eternal rest yesterday morning in Redlands, California, USA after becoming ill with pneumonia two weeks ago.

Rev. Dr. Robert G. Johnson, 94, known among the Chin people as Siangbawipa, was said to have been suffering from health problems since early last year when he was hospitalised due to what was known as ‘internal aneurysm’.

The 94-year-old missionary to Chin Hills also mentioned in a family video-clip recorded last year that his health had been deteriorating and going downward.

In her email to the Chin communities on 3 June, Mrs Kristin Knudson said of her father’s condition: “My father’s health has declined rapidly and was hospitalized on Sunday with apparent pneumonia. We are starting hospice today per his request of not wanting to continue with aggressive treatment.”

“He feels that he has lived long enough and is ready to begin his trip home to the Lord,” added one of his daughters, better known among the Chin as Ruti.

Some lines of a lament written for Siangbawipa posted in the email group by a Rungcin member identified as Khua Bik Lian read: “From death to life, from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God, you are the one who opened our eyes from darkness to light; your love for the Chin people will never be forgotten.”

Rev. Dr. C. Duh Kam, Pastor of Chin Baptist Mission Church and Executive Minister of Chin Baptist Fellowship of America (CBFA), called on the Chin people to pray for the bereaved Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson and family members.

Last week, the Johnson family on Siangbawipa’s request asked the Chin people, especially those based in the US, to have memorial services in their own churches and communities, and to contribute to a fund designated for the Chin Christian College in Chin State, instead of going to Redlands, California and sending flowers.

Siangbawipa went to his last resting place days ahead of a service programme, scheduled on 14 June by Hakha Baptist Church in Chin State, dedicated to paying tribute and respect for his works for the Chin people.

The last couple of seven missionaries to Chin Hills, Rev. Dr. Robert G. Johnson and wife Elizabeth came and worked for the Chin people from 1946 to 1966.

In March, 1999, Siangbawipa only had a chance to glimpse the last view of Chin State from Kalay Myo, Burma as his intention to attend the celebration of Chin Evangel Centenary in Hakha, Chin State was not successful as the military authorities did not allow a visit to Chin State.

Details of Siangbawipa’s funeral service and programme have not been confirmed.


Van Biak Thang

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