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In search of the lost souls of the

Subject: In search of the lost souls of the Chins

                        A CENTENNIAL ESSAY 
WRITTEN BY                                        REV DR CHUM AWI

To serve the purpose of the celebration of Chin Evangel
Centennary in Burma, I want to limit myself to write a short 
sketch of mission history among various Chins who live
in three major places within the Union of Burma today.
Searching of the lost Chin souls was done by first the
American Baptists and later by the Anglicans from Great
Britain. The first pioneers from the USA were Rev. Arthur 
Carson and his wife, Laura Carson. They were helped by
the Karen evangelists. Later, the Chin Christians organized 
themselves to carry out God's given task, i.e., to continue to 
evangelize their own brothers who never have never heard
about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.


(1) THE ASHO-CHINS: They live in Ayeyawadi and Bago 
divisions of the Union of Burma. Rev. Carson and his wife 
started their mission works among the Asho-Chins in 1888. 
They chose Thayetmyo for their mission station. But, they
moved their mission station to Hakha, Chin State, in 1899.
Then, mission works among the Asho-Chins did not grow 
well. Most of them became Buddhists. They do not have
a written established literature. Very few Asho-Chins 
became Christians. Many lost their souls as well as 
their identity. Burma Baptist Convention has no works
with these Asho-Chins. In 1996, while I was General 
Secretary of Zomi (Chin) Baptist Convention, we orga-
nized "JOINT MISSION PROJECT" between the ZBC
and Ayeyawadi Asho-Chin Baptist Association. Then,
we sent six missionaries from Hill Chin State. Local
Churches, such as Hakha Baptist Church, sent some
missionaries at their own program. There have been 
some converts since then. Today, young people of 
Asho-Chins are ready to become Christians. They
invite and challenge you and me for the saving of 
their lost souls. For them, 1999 is the 111th year of
the arrival of the Carsons to the land of Asho-Chins.

(2) THE ARAKAN CHINS (Now Rakhaing Chins):
There are several tribes of Chin people in the 
present Rakhaing State of the Union of Burma.
In the 1880s, Rev. Willis Thomas was an
American Baptist missionary to the Karens in 
Sandawway where many Asho-Chins live
side by side with the Karens. This indicates that
there were American Baptist missionaries who
were working for the Asho-Chins. Unfortunately,

many Americans died in this particular mission
field because of malaria.The mission work was 
on and off.Local leaders continued the mission 
works.The Karens have been working among 
these Rakhiang-Chins since long time.Growth
was very slow.The Kachin Baptist Convention
also is sending its missionaries among these 
Chins.Today, Zomi Baptist Convention works 
hard among the Rakhiang-Chins.Moreover,
local churches,such as Thlantlang Baptist
Church,sent young missionaries to this area.
The mission and evangelization program in 
this area is a great challenge to every one of us
today.These are approximately 15 Chin 
missionaries sent to this area by Zomi Baptist 

(3)THE HILL-CHINS: When the Carsons 
moved their mission station from Thayetmyo 
to Hakha,Chin State, on March 15, 1899,
the British administrators already were there
for 10 years.Unfortunately, the British 
administration and jurisdiction were exercised
only among the Chins in the Northern part of 
Chin State of the Union of Burma (Myanmar).The 
British empire was not extended into the Southern 
part of Chinland in those days. They called it 
"unexplored or unadministrative area". The 
Carsons dedicated themselves for education, 
evangelism, literature, agriculture, and other 
kinds of development programs. The Karen
teachers and evangelists helped them in their
programs. Dr. Tilbe, a friend of Arthur Carson,
reinforced their efforts to establish their
new mission field in 1900-1901. They were 
joined by a medical doctor, Dr. East and his wife
in 1904. Dr. East was not only a physician, but
also a real evangelist. Rev. Carson died in
1908 just after he finished creating a written
language for the Chins in the Roman alpha-
bet system. He was buried in Hakha. Rev. & 
Mrs Cope came to Hakha in 1910 to help 
Mrs. Laura Carson. But, in 1911 they decided 
to move to Tedim. There they worked hard for 
30 years. Cope was dedicated for education 
and literature of the Chins. In 1911, Dr. Woodin 
and his wife came to Hakha as physicians of 
Hakha Mission hospital. Mrs. Laura Carson left 
the Chin Mission station in 1920 for good. She 
continued her husband's mission for 12
years. She was a strong woman! In 1926
Rev. Chester U Strait and his wife came to
Hakha and worked there until 1941. When
Rev. Cope died in 1938 in Hakha, Rev. & Mrs
Nelson came to Tedim to continue Cope's 
works in Tedim. For Hakha Mission station,
Rev. & Mrs. Johnson came to Hakha in 1947
and were forced to leave the mission field by
the Revolutionary Military government of the 
Union of Burma. They worked in Hakha 26 
years. In their time, Zomi (Chin) Baptist Con-
vention was born. 1/10th tithes system was
well established. Budget system in the Church
and her organizations were also established.

The most loveliest people in Burma to care and
nourish the souls of the Chins were Karen tea-
chers and evangelists who were employed by the
American Baptist Mission Board in Chinland. 
I post this page in fond memory of their works:
1. Thra Shwe Zan worked among the Siyins;
2. Thra Maung Kun among the Laizos;

3. Thra Maung Lun among the Zokhuas;
4. Thra Po Kun among the Tonzangs;
5. Thra Maung Kya among the Thantlangs
6. Thra Kyi Khin among the Hakhas; and
7. Thra Aung Dwe among the Falams.

In 1905 Pu Thuam Hang and Pu Pau Suan were
baptized as believers in Christ. They were the
first fruits among the hill Chins. In 1906 Pu Sia
Khaw in Hakha and Pu Thang Sin in Lumbang
were baptized as new believers. In 1907 there
were 12 Chin Christians gathering together for
a meeting and it was called First Chin Baptist
Association. Later in 1948, they were organized 
as Falam Baptist Association, Hakha Baptist 
Association, and Tedim Baptist Association.
Again in 1953, these three associations agreed
to organize Zomi Baptist Convention under the 
leadership of Rev. S.T. Hau Go. He was a gra-
duate with Master of Religious Education from
Eastern Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
The Tedims proposed the name Zomi Baptist
Convention while the Hakhas proposed the
name Zotlang Baptist Convention. They decided
to open the Convention office in Falam, the then
District Headquarters of the government. The
objectives of the forming of the Convention were:
1. Agriculture High School: This was never mate-
rialized due to insufficient fundings from the Mission
Board. In fact, this was one of the most needed
project for the development of the entire Chins. 
Today, Sloping Agriculture Land Technology, a
sustainable technology for the Chins, is being
introduced with the funding from Lutheran Church
in Germany.
2. Mission Hospital: The Chins misunderstood the
modern medicine during the first era of mission
works. Hospital was built in Hakha. It was burned
during World War II. The doctors were on and off.
Even though the a sanction was given to the Zomi
Baptist Convention, leaders did not come together
to choose a location. The sacntion was withdrawn.
3. Theological Education: To train pastors and 
mission workers, Zomi Baptist Theological School
was established in Tedim in 1953, then it was 
transfered to Hakha, and then again in Falam in
1959. It became Zomi Theological College, a degree
offering institution, during the administration of Rev. 
Dr. Chum Awi in 1983. It was recognized by Asso-
ciation for Theological Education in South East Asia 
in the same year. A sister school was founded by Zomi
Baptist Convention in 1984 in Matupi town. It is called 
Union Theological School. 
4. Chin Hills for Christ: Since its conception, the Zomi
Baptist Convention tried to evangelize their brother in
the Southern part. This program was highly prormoted
by Rev. Dr. Hre Kio during his service as Treasurer in
the Zomi Baptist Convention. This was the forerunner
of the Chins for Christ in One Century (CCOC).
5. Chins for Christ in One Century: Laymen like Col. 
Kim Ngin, Pu Khup Piang of Education Ministry, and 
Pu Lian Uk, a private lawyer and politician, who lived 
and worked in Matupi, Mindat, Kanpetlet, and Paletwa
wrote to Zomi Baptist Convention office about the 
urgent need of evangelization among the Southern
Chins. It was the time of Rev. Charles Hrang Tin Khum,
General Secretary of the Convention. Mission secretary 

at that time was Rev. Dr. Cuai Sang. The motivation
came directly from kachin State. It was the year 1982
when Kachin 3/300 - Three years-three hundred evan-
gelist program was winding up. Rev. Khum attended 
their Winding up Program. When he returned from
Kachin State, he was convinced that he must call a
consultation seminar which later adopted Chins for
Christ in One Century evangelistic program. It aims
to bring the Good News of Christ among the Southern
Chin brothers until 1999 which is the centennial of
the arrival of the Carson among the Chins. For the
past 15 years young ministers and lay people dedi-
cated themselves for the cause of the Lord. Then,
the result was that almost all Chins heard the saving
news of the Lord. They became followers. They orga-
nized themselves as Associations. Thus, Kanpetlet
Baptist Association, Mindat Baptist Association; Palet-
wa Baptist Association; and Gangaw Baptist Association.
The revival of local sending churches happened. There
were new associations coming out of mother asso-
ciations to be able to expand the Kingdom of God.
Now, Zomi Baptist Convention has 25 associations.
6. Beyond Chin Evangel Centennary: 1999 marks
the 100th year of the arrival of the Carsons which
means the arrival of the Godpel to the Chins. Many
Chins all over the world are celebrating this auspi-
cious occasion. After this celebration, their mission
strategy will be extended to the Asho-Chins and the

When Dr. East baptized Pau Suan and Thuam Hang
in 1905, Rev. Carson made a report to the Mission
Board. He entitled his report, "DAY BREAK IN CHIN
HILLS". The day of the Lord is broken in the last century
in Chin State. But, greater tasks are awaiting and chal-
lenging all Chin Christians today. The tasks have to do
with developments in the areas of moral upbuildings;
education upbringings; making use of Sloping Agri-
culture Land Technology as a sustainable technology;
economic reconstruction; new spiritual pilgrimages;
Sending of missionaries to Asho-Chins and Rakhaing-
Chins; political transquility in the whole of Burma; unity
among all Chins who live in Burma as well as who
live in Bangladesh and India; and recreating a new
language for all Chins. A century is gone. But it was
just a reminder that the Chins need more strong faith
in the Lord in order to continue to work on the tasks 
given to us by the Lord. These tasks are still waiting 
for us!

Note: A century of Chin Christianity is just a reminder
          that all of us need to know 
          "How lovely are 
           the messengers 
           that preach us 
           the Gospel of Peace."

God bless you all!

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