Last night (6th October 2011) we had the great privilege of listening to Mr Suresh Kumam from the Churachandpur district of Manipur State in Northeast India, close to the border with Burma/Myanmar.There are almost a million Christians in Manipur State (in a total population of under three million) but in Suresh’s area Christians are a small minority. When he was in his early teens his uncle, who was a Christian preacher, was murdered while on a preaching tour of the countryside, and young Suresh promised that he would carry on his work.
He prepared himself thoroughly, and now many years later has two Batchelor degrees, in Theology and Divinity plus a Master’s in Theology and a further degree specialising in Bible translation. Suresh has worked as an advisor on projects for the translation of the Bible into several native languages, including the Manipuri Bible which was published earlier this year. He now has a church planting and Bible teaching ministry among his own people but plans to continue his association with Bible translation projects including for the Dai tribe, one of the Chin peoples over the border in Myanmar.
After describing his present ministry, and the background to it, he went on to read part of the apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church and challenged us to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this country. He said that he grew up in India thinking that everyone in England was a Christian. He now knows that this is very far from the truth, and even many who would probably say in a vague way that they are “Christian” have little or no knowledge of the Bible and its Christian teachings, and no personal meaningful faith in Christ.
So Suresh challenged us again to live for the Gospel, the good news of eternal life through Jesus Christ. As Paul the apostle described his life he could say, “I do all this for the sake of the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:23, NIV). Can we say anything like the same?
It was a privilege to meet and to listen to Suresh Kamam. We need to make sure that we do not forget the challenge he brought to us.
(Thanks are due to Mr Thomas McLean of Logos Ministries International for arranging this visit)