Kuki Baptist Convention Centenary Celebration
Statue of Mr. Songjapao Songlhou, the chief of Tujangvaichong village who extended the invitation to missionaries Rev. U.M. and Mrs. Fox to share the Gospel 100 years ago.
Picture with current village chief Mr. Songlhou Insung and his wife
Ben Chan involved in the Dedication Service of the Centenary Park and Monument
Roy Medley, Johnson Eapon and Benjamin Chan attended the Kuki Baptist Convention Centenary Celebration in Tujangvaichong village, Manipur, northeast India from December 11 to 14, 2014.
One hundred years ago, American Baptist missionaries Rev. and Mrs. U.M. Fox were trying to evangelize the Kuki tribal people but were accepted only by the chief of Tujangvaichong village.Tujangvaichong became the birth place of Kuki Baptists where the first Kuki Baptist church was established. The Gospel then continues to spread to other Kuki villages.
Today the Kuki Baptist Convention has grown to 280 churches and 50,000 baptized members. They are sending missionaries to other part of India as well as Nepal, Laos and Vietnam. Benjamin Chan shared with great excitement, “In the past four days, we were staying at the house of the current chief whose grandfather Songjapao Songlhou extended the invitation to the Foxes. There is no internet in Tujangvaichong in the 4,000 feet mountain but fresh air, pure water, garden fruits, and genuine friendship in Christ. The celebration is also one of the most joyful and energetic conferences I have attended.” The 19 associations of the Kuki Baptist Convention all sent their delegates and choirs whose members are mostly young people. Despite the very basic living facility, the youth filled the event with vibrant songs, dance, colorful tribal dress, laughter and enthusiastic involvement in this historical event. The Sunday Service was well attended by 22,000 Kuki Baptists with a 1,000-member choir praising God through Hallelujah Chorus.
Speakers of the Celebration include Rev. H. Liangaia, General Secretary of the Baptist Church of Mizoram; Rev. Dr. Yam Kho Pau, General Secretary of Myanmar Baptist Convention; Rev. Dr. Solomon Rongpi, General Secretary of the Council of Baptist Churches in North East India; Rev. Dr. R. Zolawma, Principal of the Academy of Integrated Christian Studies; Dr. Ralph Speas, President of the Meridan University of Biblical Training USA; Rev. Dr. Roy Medley, General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA (ABC); Mr. Johnson Eapon, Director of ABC Human and Development Office; and Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chan, Area Director of East Asia and India of American Baptist International Ministries.
They shared messages based on the theme of the Celebration: “Forward with Christ” (Philippians 3: 12). Most speakers touched on the painful history of tribal conflicts which caused the loss of thousands of Kuki lives and broken families. They also encouraged the Kuki Christians to overcome the past wounded experience, and moved forward by Christ’s power of forgiveness, reconciliation, and unity. Several speakers also voiced their concern for the increasing hostility and violence against Christians in India.
In the closing service, Roy, Johnson, and I joined the group dancing, hugging, unceasing picture taking knowing that our lives were deeply touched and forever changed by our dear Kuki sisters and brothers. The Kuki Baptist Convention is one of the 26 associations of the Manipur Baptist Convention which has a total 1,284 churches and 190,000 baptized members.