Updated: Jul 23
On May 3, 2023, in Imphal, the capital city of Manipur, India, protests regarding an ethnic dispute turned into a violent conflict that is spreading across the state.
During the past seven weeks, more than 100 people have been killed, more than 400 have been wounded, and nearly 60,000 have been displaced (BBC).
While the original conflict was related to political representation and the rights of minority groups in Manipur, it has now expanded to religion. The majority tribe is primarily Hindu, while the minority tribes are more Christian. The majority tribe is accusing the minority tribes of religious mistreatment and has used that accusation to persecute Christians and burn more than 200 churches (including at least one Adventist church).
Several of our Bible Workers in Manipur are near the conflict. Some have had to flee their assigned villages because they were burned down. We received a report from one who is helping with medical work in relief centers. He is praying with people and sharing God’s love wherever he can.
The Manipur School is three hours over curvy mountain roads from Imphal, where the fighting first broke out. We spoke with Pasang Tamang, the school’s director, who shared that the fight has been growing closer to the school and is now around 15 km (9.3 miles) away.
So far, the school has remained in session, but 20-25 students (who are part of the tribe at highest risk of being attacked) have fled with their families into the jungle.
One of the biggest challenges the school has been facing is food. The valley where the school is located is remote, and a large portion of the food supply typically comes from Imphal. Because Imphal is unsafe, shop owners must drive five hours into the neighboring state, Assam, to get groceries to sell. As a result, food is two to four times as expensive as before. The students’ parents cannot afford to feed themselves and pay tuition during this time. So the teachers allowed their salaries to be held for the month to purchase food for everyone.
The staff and children are worried, but they are praying. At every morning and evening worship, the teachers are encouraging the students to trust in Jesus.
Pasang shared that despite all their troubles, they are still praying for FaithCamp, which touched our hearts.
We are burdened by the reports of the difficulties our brothers and sisters in Manipur are facing. Please join us in praying for their protection and for God to use them despite their circumstances.
I know we shared this quote recently, but it is one of my favorites and seems appropriate for this situation:
Prayer unites us one to another and to God. Prayer brings Jesus to our side, and gives new strength and fresh grace to the fainting, perplexed soul. By prayer the sick have been encouraged to believe that God will look with compassion upon them. A ray of light penetrates to the hopeless soul, and becomes a savor of life unto life. Prayer has “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire,”—we shall know what this means when we hear the reports of the martyrs who died for their faith,—“turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” RH October 30, 1900, Art. A, par. 2
We have no power to stop this conflict. We have no power to sustain the lives of our brothers and sisters in Manipur, but we serve the God of impossibilities. And when we pray, God moves.
If you feel a burden for the situation in Manipur and would like to help in a tangible way, here are a couple of ways you can do so.
Food for students and teachers: We do not know how long the money the Manipur School has will last to sustain the students, so we would like to send money for them to continue to buy food for everyone.
A medical relief truck: The Bible Worker serving in the relief center has requested a truck to be used as an ambulance to transport injured patients to the relief center where volunteers can help them. Once the conflict has ended, this truck will be used for the Manipur School and its needs. We believe we can purchase a truck outside Manipur for a little over $12,000.
Click the button below to give.