Barriers to the Gospel in North East India:

There is no barrier to the gospel that God can’t overcome. However to overcome difficulties they need to be undersood.

 

  • Manipur was a restricted area for many years which may have contributed towards very few "Spirit Filled" churches. In a sense it feels like a vaccum has taken place and that the churches are back in the 1950s and seem very conservative.

  • There has been limited Western participation due to the difficult living conditions and government caution when allowing foreigners entry. The region is always potentially dangerous politically, socially and religiously. Although the restricted area permit for travel has been removed, the authorities are very protective of foreign nationals. Note: several Missionaries have been refused entry because they went into dangerous areas were captured and ransomed, causing grief to the government in resources and time.

  • We recognise the amazing sacraficial work of mainline churches in establishing Christianity in North East India which can't be understated or over-praised.

  • Pentecostal type bible colleges are rare and need to be established.

  • Within India there is an attitude that Christianity is for the ‘Tribal’ people. This is used in a derogatory sense by some people who, as a rule, seem to consider tribal people as a lesser part of India. Christianity is more widely accepted in North East India than in other parts. Traditional anamist beliefs seem to be more accepting of Christian concepts, allowing critical appraisal of those beliefs. People from Hindu and Muslim faiths are becoming more willing to explore Christianity in the current environment of revival. Genuine Holy Spirit filled ministry overcomes any barrier.

  • Local Christians can do open air preaching, however for Westerners it is unwise. If locals complain calling it vilification, it is possible to be deported and not allowed back into the country. We are permitted to do approved crusades because people have the choice to attend, but their effectiveness can be questioned. For example one very good crusade resulted in 3,000 people making a decision to follow Christ. However due to the massive follow up needed, only a very small number of people were actually followed up. The time required to follow up people takes time away from employment and the livlihood of those doing the work. It isn't that the crusades are ineffective rather than the follow up needed has been insufficient.

  • Transportation is a problem in Manipur due to the poor road conditions and cost of maintaining a vehicle. Even public transport by rickshaw is expensive given the poor economic conditions. People are generally unwilling to travel distances of even two kilometers to attend church meetings. This results in many small local fellowships dotted across Manipur. The greater number of smaller fellowships places a greater stress on finding good ministry to cover all the churches and makes evangelism difficult.

  • It is very much a hand to mouth existence for most people in Manipur. It is hard for the men to hear the gospel because they have to work to provide a living for their families. Consequently, not many men attend the midweek meetings. However, the women talk to their men who come at other times.

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