The CHIN People

Photo: Chin women, Chin state, Myanmar. © Sam D\'cruz | Dreamstime.com

Photo: Chin women, Chin state, Myanmar. © Sam D\'cruz | Dreamstime.com

The Chin are an ethnic group who reside in the Chin state of western Myanmar (Burma) and eastern India. As a mountainous region, there are few transportation links and Chin state is considered the most underdeveloped state in Myanmar with a poverty rate of 73% [1].

There are a number sub tribal groups that make up the Chin people in Myanmar.  These include the Tedim Chin (also known as the Zomi or Kuki), the Falam Chin, and the Hakha Chin (also known as the Lai).

Chin state, Myanmar (Burma). Photo: Wikimedia Commons. 

Chin state, Myanmar (Burma). Photo: Wikimedia Commons. 

The Chin people have predominately identified as Christian since American and British missionaries began spreading the gospel message to their people in the late 1800’s. However, since Myanmar gained independence in the 1960’s, there has been increased pressure by the military and government to renounce Christianity.  There are regular reports of forced conversion of Chin Christians to Buddhism, the religion of the majority ethnic Burmese population [3]. The BBC calls the Chin people, “one of the most persecuted minority groups in Burma.” [2]. Ethnic Chin face forced labor, torture, rape, extra judicial killings, and other cruel and inhuman treatment which have forced thousands to flee their homeland surrounding countries [2][3].

Additionally, economic marginalization by the government leave the Chin impoverished. Some Chin villages report that they haven’t seen doctors in decades. The scarce resources that a family can bring in are spent simply attempting to put food on the table. Having the money to purchase a Bible or other Christian resources are unheard of. Even having an opportunity to purchase a Bible – if finances were not an obstacle – are equally unheard of due to the remote location of Chin state.


Tedim Chin

Photo: Chin woman with her new Bible, Chin state Myanmar.

Photo: Chin woman with her new Bible, Chin state Myanmar.

It is estimated that the vast majority of the Tedim Chin population are Christian and that the total Christian population numbers approximately 250,000.   Because of their Christian faith, Tedim Christians report that the government keeps the region economically underdeveloped. A contact recently reported that, "our government excludes Christians and therefore the Chin people from advancing in society. After high school I wanted to join the army, but the government did not accept me into the military. We are kept in poverty, because we are Christians. But God keeps in His hands those who trust Him".  As a result of this poverty, many Tedim Christians don't have the monetary resources to own a Bible or replace Bibles when they wear out. Additionally, because of the remote location, there are no opportunities to purchase Bibles were the finances to be available. Very few Tedim own a Bible, including many of the pastors. Can you imagine pastoring a church without your own Bible?

40,000 Bibles would place a Bible in the home of each Christian family and Biblia Global is helping to make this a reality. This is a start to getting a Bible into the hands of each of the approximately 250,000 Tedim Christian's hands.  A number of years ago the first 10,000 Bible were brought and given to Tedim Christians.  When word was spread that Bibles were going to be given out, Christians donated money for their pastors to purchase a bus ticket to travel from their hill communities to the distribution center. The pastors and other Christians who received Bibles were overwhelmed with gratitude and said that in the history of the Tedim Christians, they had never received a blessing like they received that day.  One Tedim pastor writes of that day, "I have a Bible, but it is very old and some of the pages have fallen out and been lost, but I still use what I have. I wanted to get a new Bible with all of the pages, so I have always been praying for a new Bible. I heard that in this town the Bible would be given away for free, so I borrowed money so I could buy a bus ticket to town so I could receive a Bible. The Bible is more important than anything else in the world." another Tedim pastor reported, "I have a Bible, but I need one for the village church that I started. There are nine families and all without Bibles. I became very happy when I heard we could get a free Tedim Bible."

Photo: Tedim Chin Christians receive their first Bible, Chin state Myanmar.

Photo: Tedim Chin Christians receive their first Bible, Chin state Myanmar.

Biblia Global continues to work to meet the need of Bibles for our Tedim Chin brothers and sister and other believers like the Tedim Chin who need a Bible in the region. It costs $4.85 USD for the printing and transportation of one Tedim Chin Bible. Your gift to our Bibles for Asia project will help us in this ongoing effort to get Tedim Chin Christians and their pastors their own copy of God's Word. 

Hakha Chin

It is estimated that at least 35,000 Christian families are without God’s Word in the Hakha district alone. If you multiply that number by the number of people in a family, the number of Christians without Bibles quickly rises to over 100,000. Can you imagine you or anyone in your family never having your own Bible?

It costs approximately $3.50 USD for the printing of one Hakha Chin Bible. Your gift to our Bibles for Asia project will help us in this ongoing effort to get Christians like the Hakha Chin and their pastors their own copy of God's Word.


 

Pictures and testimonies

Biblia Global donors funded 2700 Bibles for Tedim Chin believers which were delivered in February 2016.  The following pictures are from that delivery (names and locations are changed for security reasons):

Mr. G.T.

My name is Mr. G.T.  I am 29 years old.  I was not born into a Christian family.   But God touched my life on the night of April 8, 2002 and I became a child of God.  Once I was born again, my life began changing in unbelievable ways.  And many tensions arose in my family because of my faith, and some family members ignored me because of my new faith.  But now my immediate family members have also believed in Christ.  We all take our part in serving the Lord.  I have also faced difficulties because of poverty.  But God helps me in various ways, and I can pass through all difficulties, because of God’s help.

I have never had a Bible before.  Since the day in 2002 when I received Christ as my personal savior I have desired to have a Bible and since that day I have prayed for a Bible.  When I heard we were going to get free Bibles, I was greatly overjoyed and I prayed for those who are concerned for us and who work for us to have Bibles. I put salvation first in my life, so where ever I go I have shared salvation to others. 


Reverend N.H.

My name is Reverend N.H.  I am 32 years old.  My family has been Christian since the time of my grandparents who were the first in our lineage to accept Christ.  Since I was young I have been familiar with God’s salvation, love, and mercy.  I praise the name of the Lord.

The heaviest burden in my life is poverty which is suffered because of politics and the definite separation of religion and politics.  But my hope is realized when through the Lord I overcome poverty and difficulties.  In family and individual life, difficulties can be faced with the Lord.  I experience the love and goodness of God in my daily life.  But the goodness and love of God cannot be expressed with words.  I praise the name of the Lord.  I do my best to spread the Gospel in my village.  The greatest work is to spread the Gospel. 

I have never had a Bible of my own.  I read the one community Bible that we have for the whole church.  It is not easy for me to buy a Bible, and it is also very difficult to even find a Bible to buy.  But I am happy now, because I have my own Bible.  I really give thanks to those who work for our Tedim people to get free Bibles


Mr. N.S

My name is Mr. N.S.  I am 56 years old.  I was born into and brought up in a Christian family.  My trust in God increased especially when God saved my child from a serious illness.  My son had fainting spells and one time he fell down and he had no heart beat.  I quickly prayed that God would give me my son back, and then I breathed into my son’s mouth and God showed His grace and my son came back to life.  And not only that, but God healed my son from his fainting.  This caused us to have great strength in God.  Now I participate in God’s mission by praying.

I have a Bible, but it is now old, and I have been praying every month for two years to have a new Bible.  I greatly rejoiced when news came about the free new Bible giveaway.  I will give my old Bible to someone who does not have a Bible.


Mr. Z.N.

My name is Mr. Z.N.  I am 39 years old.  I was brought up in Christian family.  But it was one night in 1994 when God touched my heart and let me know by a real experience from Him that He died for me.  It was then that I truly became a Christian.  After being born again I rejoiced in meditating on God’s word.  God called my father through sickness.  He committed himself to God in his life and also when he was near death.  But he recovered from his sickness. 

We have faced difficulties because of our faith, but the Lord helps us to overcome them.  When I face difficulties in the family, I prayed to God.  He always led me to overcome the difficulties.  God sees me as His child and He answers my prayers and keeps me in times of grief and sorrow.

I have a Bible, but one is not enough for all my family members.  The news to receive a free Bible surprised my mind, because this has never happened in my life time.  I thank those who gave this Bible.  May God bless you all.


Mr. N.L.

My name is Mr. N.L.  I am 43 years old.  My family raised me in the Laipian Pau Cin Hau Pasian Religion.  In ancient times, most Chin people were Animists who feared and served the evil spirits which we call dawis.  The village priests whom the Chin people called Dawi Tuulpi or Dawi Siampi would tell the villagers what they must sacrifice in order to appease the spirits.  To the rich people this was not a burden, but to the poor Chin people, they often spent everything and would sometimes fall into slavery, because of the poverty caused by the many offerings demanded by the dawis.  The Chin people also believed that if they killed their opponent in this life, then in the afterlife the one who was killed would be the slave of the one who had killed him.  So many conflicts arose due to these beliefs.

Laipian Pau Cin Hau was born in 1859.  When he was 17 years old he supposedly began receiving almost daily dreams and visions from a powerful spirit called Pasian.  Because of these visions, Laipian lead many Chin people to stop serving the dawis and to stop acting violently towards each other.

During my childhood my whole family left the Laipian religion and accepted Jesus as our Lord and savior.  We left our past way of life.  I have lived until today with the life that I received from Jesus. I face sufferings because of my faith.  I was in shame because of poverty.  Until today I work for the Lord in the name of Christ.  The Gospel is the best means of comfort in times of grief. God looks at me with his eyes and he takes me higher and he always gives me strength.  We have witnessed God healing the sick people in our church when we pray. Some time ago in faith I gave my Bible to my friend who had never had a Bible, because it is almost impossible to get.  Now God has provided me with a new Bible.  Praise the Lord.  I really thank those who worked to give us free Bibles. 


Mr. D.K.

My name is Mr. D.K.  I am 45 years old.  I was born into a non-Christian family.  My parents are not Christians, but all of their children became Christians in their childhood.  Even though my parents were not Christians, they encouraged us to go to church.  I became a Christian by reading Christian booklets and by hearing sermons from some deacons.  I now am also a minister of the Gospel, but I am without any educational background.

Based on my faith I served the Lord and my spiritual life grew much.  My joy in His service also grew.  But I have been falsely accused and disgraced for matters that I had no part in.   Sickness in the family is another difficulty.  The power of the Holy Spirit is in me and He has lifted me up higher than I am worth.  He chose me rather than choosing someone else who is more qualified than me.  I am not good in preaching and spreading the gospel, but to share the gospel to others is my responsibility which given by Jesus.  So I will do my best. We have been praying for a Bible for each of us to have.  I am so happy when I received the powerful Book of His word which I have been praying about two years for.  I thank God and the people who I do not see—the same people who do not see us—and we who receive this gift know that your contribution is great.  


Mr. K.A.

My name is Mr. K.A.  I am 45 years old.  I was born into a Christian family, but I didn’t always live the way God wanted me to.  God called me to work for Him from when I was a teenager and I was born again.  After I was born again I stopped drinking alcohol.  Now I do my best to share and serve and give.  My father was the first in my family to accept Jesus, and his life was very much blessed. Our church members do not have Bibles, but now they will have their own Bibles to read.  Our church always prays to have Bibles.  I thank God for answering our prayers.  I am so surprised to have a free Bible for each family in my church


Mr. S.L.

My name is Mr. S.L.  I am 22 years old.  I was born into a Christian family.  God opened my heart to receive Jesus as the redeemer and savior.  When I was born again in Christ my heart changed.   Since then I feel love for others and I seek good for them. I have faced temptations since I have been saved.  God at times has whipped me when I was disobedient.  Even when I went away from Him He did not leave me behind.  I praise His name.  God loves me so much that when I pray with a broken heart He hears my prayers.

In the past I envied those who had a Bible.  Today God arranged a Bible for me as a free gift.  I did not spend a single kyat (Myanmar currency) for this Bible.  May God bless those who provided Tedim Bibles for us freely! The Scripture portion I love most is Psalms 121.


Mr. E

My name is Mr. E.  I am 39 years old.  I was born into a Christian family.  My past way of life was changed when I was born again.  From a life of worldliness my life changed to a life of good conduct, Bible reading, prayer, going to church, giving tithes etc.  I enjoy doing these things.  I was the first one in my family to accept Jesus.  I was born again at a Bible preaching campaign.

I had a little suffering due to my faith.  I was born into a Catholic family, so there arose different concepts of practice in my family.  From the Catholic family I joined the AOG church.  God helped me to lead my family members into a single church.

God has helped me at times when difficulties have come.  He answered my prayers to convert my family members.  He reveals Himself to me when reading His Words.  He has touched my heart to tell others about redemption.  It is also necessary for us to worship in silence.  We must worship whole heartedly and wait for His timing, and be in silence in order to hear His voice.

I have a Bible, but it has become worn and torn from use over time.  Pages have fallen out, but I keep the pages because I love them so much. I was filled with great joy when I heard of this free Tedim Bible Distribution.  This is a great gift.  I am so happy.  


Notes:

[1] Arno Maierbrugger, “37% Jobless In Myanmar, Study Finds,” investvine, investvine.com [home page on-line]; available from http://investvine.com/37-jobless-in-myanmar-study-finds/; April 21, 2015.

[2] Sam Bagnall, “Burma's 'forgotten' Chin people suffer abuse,” British Broadcasting News, news.bbc.co.uk [home page on-line]; available from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8626008.stm/; Accessed October 8, 2016.

[3] Joshua Lipes, “Chin Christians Persecuted,” Radio Free Asia, www.rfa.org [home page online]; available from http://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/chin-09052012132942.html; Accessed October 8, 2016.


Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
— Habakkuk 3 17:19, ESV