Update received on August 23, from Regional Superintendent WMCEI:
Rev. Lalsandam sent these photos and said: “We distributed lunch to four refugee camps. The majority of them are children and ladies; their men stayed in their villages to guard their villages. There is no more school for the children this year.” He said they were also able to attend to some medical needs for sick people at the refugee camps.
Update received on August 2, from Regional Superintendent WMCEI
Thank you for sending us relief funds in the time of our trouble. It helps us a lot in many ways. Basic needs of the victims, like rice, clothes and goods have been distributed. The victims of these crises received your gifts with deep gratitude, with thanksgiving to the Lord. Below are the distribution details.
Thank you all, God bless you,
1. Tuithaphai District:
Rice bags are stored and available for every family who is in need of help. Distribution is done according to the report made by pastors and church leaders. Relief materials were distributed at a relief camp. Some basic needs including food, goods and basic materials were provided to members whose houses have been burnt.
2. Jribam District:
Relief Materials were distributed at a relief camp. Around 50 families were given rice bags and were assisted with some basic needs. The members at Jiribam towns were unable to reach the relief camp physically because of the dangerous situation, and cash help was sent through their bank account.
We were unable to reach physically because of the dangerous situation, and cash help was sent through their bank account for all members for their relief fund.
4. Imphal Area:
We were unable to reach physically because of the dangerous situation, and cash help was sent through their bank account for all missionaries and some members.
Update received on June 16, from Regional Superintendent WMCEI:
Greetings in Jesus‘ precious name. Today I am allowed to borrow the Government Office Internet for a short time, and I am happy to be able to contact you. We those who live in the town are safe so far. Thank you for upholding us in your prayers.
Many people are displaced and there are at least 30,000 refugees in Churachandpur and in the neighboring States. 237 Churches have been burnt, 83+ Church Quarters/Offices have been burned, 145 + villages have been burnt, 4500+ have been burnt. And many lives have been killed so far. The number of the dead cannot be confirmed but hundreds of people have died from both sides. We need much prayer, because many young innocents are deluded with the wrong notion of the pagan ancient belief, and they form the gang group with the support of the Chief Minister and an MP, these are the main problem makers. Their main purpose is to chase out or wipe out the tribal groups from Manipur because the Meitei Area is too small for them. Now they have chased out all Non-Naga Tribal groups from Imphal, they are trying to do it even in Churachandpur, but God protects us still today.
Even the ministry of WMCEI is affected in many ways, some churches have been totally deserted, and many members from other churches are running away to safer places, and they are not able to continue the church services. And the churches in Churachandpur are not able to continue the normal service of the Church because of curfew and shutdown, but we are allowed to open in the morning everyday for prayers. Please pray for us because I am afraid we will face financial crisis and spiritual crisis in the church if we are not able to continue the normal service of the church.
We received the relief fund you sent from GP, and we are able to draw it with the help of a bank official. We started distributing it to our members and even outside the members, who are desperately in need, villagers whose houses vandalized, who ran out to us for life.
Thank you very much for this help in time of need. May God bless you.
Update received on May 26 from a pastor in Myanmar, a country neighboring the state of Manipur:
The situation in our county is difficult to describe, some places are peaceful while others are war. Therefore, it is difficult to travel from village to village. So we also face some difficulties in church cooperation.
Currently, 80 refugees from various villages are being treated. We don’t know how long it will take. Please pray for us.
Pastors and some church members are suffering from the highest prices of goods cause by the crisis in our county. Please pray for peace and security in our county.
Update received on May 19, from a pastor in South Asia:
Many are being relocated, especially the Metei Christians from Imphal. There is such a threat there, that they don’t think that can go back for years! Many are in Rengkai, others are being taken to Delhi, etc. Strewn all over India. Food is very expensive in Manipur, because everything is scarce. They are bringing things in from Aizawl and Mizoram – no easy road. It seems obvious that the vandals, thieves and murderers are at large and there has been little done to curb their destruction. The money collected from the WERF will be so useful to get people some food and supplies. The church has been working with some refugee camps to help and there are a lot of displaced people not in camps.
Background on the situation, originally published on https://www.wesleyan.org/werf-activated-for-persecution-in-manipur
On May 3, violence erupted in Manipur, India, during a solidarity march opposing a recent Manipur High Court ruling on the Meitei community’s request for tribal status. Since that violent outbreak, the spillage of tensions has sparked aggression for Indian Christians in Manipur.
This area, which holds a strong Wesleyan Church presence, has seen several Christian churches and houses burned down. At this point in time, thousands of people have been impacted, and according to the Churachandpur District Christians Goodwill Council, 121 churches have been burned (as of May 10).
The Wesleyan Methodist Church of East India is a vital and growing church and has been deeply impacted by this crisis. Dennis Jackson, Global Partners executive director, and Ben Ward, Asia Pacific area director, have been receiving periodic updates from Regional Superintendent Reverend Lalsandam.
Rev. Lalsandam informed Jackson and Ward that the Indian Army took control of and shut down the internet shortly after the violence began, and more than 20,000 tribal people are now in Army camps with insufficient food supplies. Food supplies all over the region are also in extremely short supply.
In response to the devastating unrest and increasing daily need in Manipur, General Superintendent Wayne Schmidt has activated the Wesleyan Emergency Relief Fund (WERF). This WERF activation for Manipur will assist in providing basic food essentials, medical supplies, water and hygiene items. A goal of $25,000 is being sought to meet immediate needs with additional funds required if the unrest continues. (As of Sept. 14, this WERF has been shifted over to a Global Partners fund due to the ongoing need.)
The fighting taking place has primarily been between the Meiteis (who are predominantly Hindu and non-tribal) and the Hill people (who are tribal and predominantly Christian). There have been a number of converts to Christianity among the Meiteis. While this has been communicated as a political issue, the fact that so many Christian churches have been burned would indicate this is a strong statement against Christianity.
In Imphal, there is one Wesleyan Methodist Church and five new church starts. Wesleyan pastors in Imphal are reportedly okay, but several plan to travel to safer regions for the time being.
Please pray for our Christian sisters and brothers who are facing persecution. Pray for the new churches, as they strive to grow stronger in their faith in the midst of violence. Pray for safety and provision — especially for food supplies. Ask God to bring a quick end to the violence.
Would you also prayerfully consider donating to help bring relief to growing needs in Manipur?
Donations may be given online through the Global Partners Fund for Manipur or by check (cheque).
For United States donations, please make checks payable to The Wesleyan Church with GF03-1014 Manipur written in the memo line. Gifts should be mailed to The Wesleyan Church Corporation, c/o General Treasurer’s Office, 13300 Olio Road, Suite 100, Fishers, Indiana 46037.
For Canadian donations, please make cheques payable to The Wesleyan Church of Canada with GF03-1014 Manipur written in the memo line. These gifts should be mailed to The Wesleyan Church of Canada, P.O. Box 4458, Sussex, NB, E4E 5L6.
Heather Auker is the communication supervisor for Global Partners.