Thursday, October 28, 2004
INDIAN HEADHUNTERS SING WELSH HYMNS IN CARDIFF THIS WEEKEND FOR CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS OF 1904 WELSH REVIVAL
By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
CARDIFF, WALES (ANS) -- Until 1910 the ancient Hmar tribespeople of northeast India were infamous headhunters.
Now a group of Hmar tribes people are in Cardiff, Wales this weekend to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Welsh Revival -- and to offer their thanks to Wales for bringing them the Gospel a century ago.
This ancient tribe were infamous headhunters but were powerfully impacted by a solitary Welsh missionary.
Watkin Roberts visited the Hmars -- armed only with a copy of Johns gospel. He himself had been overwhelmed by the events of the 1904 Welsh Revival.
And now, 100 years later, the Hamars have come to Wales to celebrate the 1904 revival and say thank you to the people of this nation.
They are taking part in the 1904 centenary events in Cardiffs 04theCity celebration, a series of special events at the Cardiff International Arena, to mark the centenary of the 1904 Welsh Revival.
A hundred years ago the British branded the Hmar tribe as northeast Indias worst headhunters.
But in 1910, Welsh missionary Watkin Roberts brought a Gospel of John to the Hmars, changing the course of their history.
Soon, the British expelled Roberts from India and he returned home, his hopes and dreams shattered. But little did he know what would come of the seed he had planted.
Now, less than one hundred years later, 98 percent of the Hmar tribe -- former headhunters -- have become Christians. They total more than 1 million people.
In 1971, God gave Hmar tribe members Rochunga and Mawii Pudaite a dream: to give a free copy of the New Testament to all the families of the world.
They have since sent more than 16 million copies of the New Testament, translated in the appropriate local language, to homes all around the world.
Each year a new group of children also come to America to say "Thank you!" for sending love halfway around the world to the people of India.
And they come to tell about Christ and how His love has changed their part of the world -- and its people -- forever.
Their musical performance, entitled "Headhunters to Hearthunters" is an original performance that tells the awe-inspiring story of the coming of Christianity to the Hmar tribe. It is one of the most incredible and yet least known stories in modern missionary history. (Pictured: The India Childen's Choir -- from headhunters to hearthunters. Credit: Bibles For The World).
But the India Children's Choir experience extends far beyond the edge of the stage.
When the Choir comes to visit, the children spend the night in the homes of church members.
The performance is heartwarming. But the night these tiny missionaries spend in church members is simply unforgettable.
THE AMAZING TRUE STORY BEHIND THE MUSICAL
The people of the Hmar tribe of northeast India were fierce headhunters.
In 1910, missionary Watkin Roberts sent the Gospel of John to a Hmar chief.
The chief invited Roberts to come and explain the Scriptures. He went despite a ban by the British Colonial rulers, and five young tribesmen chose to follow the Lord Jesus.
The converts grew in faith and became leaders of a new and growing church. Within two generations, the entire tribe was evangelized.
Headhunting stopped and "hearthunting" began.
They now carry the Gospel to the corners of the globe and are the driving force behind Bibles For The World's "Billion Bible Campaign" -- an ambitious effort to reach every family on earth will the Bible in the next ten years.
The members of the India Children's Choir are the heirs of those who first believed.
This year's tenth anniversary tour season lasts through November 2004 as they traverse the United States to share God's love in churches from coast-to-coast.
More information: http://www.biblesfortheworld.org/home/index.cfm
** Michael Ireland is an international British freelance journalist. A former reporter with a London newspaper, Michael is the Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service of Garden Grove, CA. Michael immigrated to the United States in 1982 and became a US citizen in Sept., 1995. He is married with two children. Michael has also been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station.