As we gathered into the small, humid room with the 10 delegates sent from the Monpa people group in NE India, their faces glowed with eager anticipation for the Word of God.
The tantric, Tibetan Buddhist Monpas, who just a few years ago, “were not a people” (in a spiritual sense), have now had a few of their own become the “people of God”. They had not obtained mercy… but now a few HAVE obtained mercy! Hallelujah! I thank God for his mercy and salvation, not only to you and I, but also to the Monpas!
These dear people had traveled south for over 14 hours to reach our conference location in Nagaland, India. Sadly, about 20 of their number were turned back at their state line in leu of a recent, bloody clash between a Monpa unbeliever, and a tribesman from the neighboring state. Trials like these are a reality in their daily life.
Our time with the Monpa people was so precious! These dear Brothers and Sisters truly desire to follow after the Lord and expand His Kingdom. They said the first believer was converted in 1996, but the church hardly grew until more recently. By 2015 there were only 7 believing families. Today, the church has doubled in size – 14 families!
The teaching included the following subjects:
- Lordship of Christ and the building of His Church
- The Beatitudes – including “where is your treasure?”
- “Follow Me”
At the very end of the conference, we were so overjoyed to wash the trail-worn feet of the Monpa Brothers and share encouraging words of blessing, love, and affirmation to them. We all wept together in the common realization of the love of God and the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The greatest challenge to me during this conference was the example of simple Faith and Obedience in the Monpa believers. This was stretching to my North American Christian worldview. Their stories sound just like they came right out of the book of Acts! They believe God in full. Miraculous, physical healing through prayer and fasting is not uncommon. When God speaks to them in any way, they obey!
“Oh Lord Jesus, please help me to step out in fuller obedience and faith in you for the expansion of your Kingdom, and the Glory of your Name!”
L-R Gaylord Barkman, G’King, Merle Flory and Jordan Flory. Along with the delegates from the Monpa people group.
A Peculiar People
Anticipation was high as we traveled from Thailand to India, looking forward to being among people I hadn’t before. There were many different people groups of northern India that gathered at our host, Pastor GKing’s home, and it was a rich blessing to meet more of God’s family for the 1st time! My heart was touched especially as we got to know the people of the Monpa tribe, where the gospel has reached their people only in the last 10 or 12 years. Their life experiences show how gracious and loving God is by pursuing these dear people who had never even heard of Jesus until the mid 1990’s!
I asked them who Jesus is to those around them in their community. They said the people say he is a foreign god, and ask the new believers to go away and leave their village. I then asked this group of Monpas who they believe Jesus is, and several replied immediately with light and joy in their faces, “Jum Bala” (Living God)!
Pickhro and her son Reuben came without their husband and father who had to stay back. Pickhro’s husband was formerly a Lama (Buddhist high priest). Part of his job was to perform the pagan burial ceremonies. He would do this several ways; one method, the river burial, was by chopping the body of the deceased into 108 pieces, and then depositing these into the river. Another was the sky burial, where the body was cut into small pieces and mixed with flour, then taken to a high place where the birds would come and eat the pieces. After receiving Jesus, he left these practices and found a different job.
Pastor Namjeh tells of a fellow believer whose house was burned recently by hostile villagers. They came one day and poured kerosene around the outside of the house and set it on fire. Most of the family were able to escape, but his 10-year-old son was trapped and burned to death. This man had wanted to come to the conference but was unable to because of sickness.
These people have left a deep impact on my heart and mind. I am so blessed to have met them, and to realize that I am also a part of their people group – “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, to show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light”!
Please pray for these dear people that they can continue to be a shining light amid the raging darkness which they have been called out of.
The above article was written by Bro. Gaylord Barkman, who serves as the IGo pastor in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Thank you, Brother, for your willing sacrifice in assisting with the Macedonian Teaching Ministry!