Aizawl (zoramobserver.com): A predominantly Christian state, Mizoram yesterday celebrated ‘Missionary Day’ to commemorate the 124th anniversary of the arrival of the two pioneer Christian missionaries from Britain in the state in the 1890s.
All the government offices, church offices and institutions apart from some business establishments remained close as the state government declared the day a public holiday.
Special prayer and worship services were held in different local churches, especially belonging to the Presbyterian Church and the Baptist Church of Mizoram (BCM).
The local churches of the BCM held prayer and worship services since morning and also organised community feast across the state as thanks giving programme during which rich tributes were paid to the two Welsh Christian missionaries Rev JH Lorrain, and Rev FW Savidge, who set foot in then Lushai Hills in 1894.
Presbyterian Church of India, the largest denomination in the state and other minor churches also held prayer and worship services in the evening to remember the arrival of the two English missionaries and gave thanks to God for the advent of Christianity in the state.
The government also declared ‘dry day’ to mark the sanctity of the day.
Meanwhile, the BCM said it has registered over 3,300 new converts or believers through ministry during 2017.
According to announcement made by BCM Mission promoter in view of Missionary Day, as many as 3,303 were converted to Christianity and 38 more churches were established under the BCM in India and across the globe during last year.
He said that at least 184 new believers were converted to Christianity in 8 foreign countries with Nepal being the highest at 133.
The BCM has 993 missionaries and 296 native workers preaching gospel in different parts of India and the world.
Welsh Christian missionaries – Rev JH Lorrain, and Rev FW Savidge, fondly called by the Mizos as ‘Pu Buanga’ and ‘Sap upa’ respectively arrived by boat from Assam at the banks of river Tlawng near Sairang village on January 11, 1894 and spread Christianity which resulted in conversion of almost all the Mizos to the new religion.
The two missionaries made Lushai (Mizo)-English Dictionary, known to the local people till today as ‘Pu Buanga Dictionary’ and establish Presbyterian Church in northern part of Mizoram and the Baptist Church in southern part of the state, began education by creating Mizo alphabets using Roman scripts.
They changed the whole Mizo way of life through education and the Christian Gospel and all the Mizos, earlier animists, were converted to Christianity.
The Baptist Church of Mizoram began observing Missionary day since 1971 and the Presbyterian Church began observing the day since 1974.