Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Poor Church that outdo others in Mission


I was fascinated with the mission story told by Jonathan Bonk, a Canadian missiologist at STM few months ago. The Mizo Synod with a population of 500,000 members raised US $3.4 million for mission in 2003. How many denominations in Malaysia can match that mission fervor? Most of the Mizo people are farmers and relatively poor as compared to the affluent Christians in mega churches in Malaysia.

When I sat there at Presbyterian Church of India General Assembly on April 13 2008 listening to the reports from Mizo Synod, I was curious to look at its mission collection. There was a slight dip in the figure, but US $2.7 million is still an impressive figure. Mizo is certainly a missional church. There is so little write up about this church in mission journal. The Mizo women motivated each other by setting apart a handful of rice from each meal every day for a year. The handful of rice is then put into a container and to be sold in the market and the proceeds go to mission funds. Collectively the Mizo women raised US $1 million for mission each year. Such effort is known in Mizo language as “Buhfai Tham.” The Khasi Synod which is one of the eighth Synod inn PCI has the same tradition. The Khasi women also raised money for mission through “Khaw Kham.” (Handful of rice). There is so much that Malaysian church can learn from this poorer church tuck in a corner in Meghalaya. These unknown women are the unsung heroes in the annals of God’s mission history. Just as there are no little people in God’s kingdom, there are no little church.

My trip to Shangpung, Meghalaya has opened my eyes to the multiple possibilities of raising funds for mission. The size of the church does not matter what matters is the size of the heart for God’s agenda.

5 comments:

illusionaire said...

A very detailed and precise, yet short and sweet information about the Presbyterian Church in Mizoram. I am thoroughly impressed and honored with your knowledge on my community :-)

For some of your readers who might be interested, the pronunciation of "buhfai tham" is "booh-fai thram"

:-)

"Buhfai tham" is also collected in a locality for non-religious purpose, like if there is a death in that particular locality, or sometimes natural calamities like landslides. Our Mizo society is an extremely close-knitted community and people look out for each other everywhere.

God bless.

- Kima.

Wong Fong Yang said...

I have enjoyed my stay in Shangpung and an honor to preach to a crowd of 10,000 people in the village. I believe the revival which started in your community in 2007 will continue and spread to other communities.

Mara said...

This is a practice very successful among Churches in Mizoram started first by the three pioneered Churches in Mizoram namely - Presbyterian Church of Mizoram, Baptist Church of Mizoram, Evangelical Church of Maraland (India). Thanks for the write-up.... 'Buhfai tham' method for Churches work wonder here in our state.....

Wong Fong Yang said...

I have been sharing the story whenever I have the opportunity to do so. Its not the affluent churches that can participate in God's mission. God asks us to give out of what we have and not what we do not have.

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