Over 60,000 people have been displaced due to the ethnic violence in Manipur. When violence broke out in her northeastern state, Leah* started getting panicked calls from her family.
Twenty years ago, tribal people fled to the hills for protection as majority people destroyed property and harmed and killed people. The nightmare was happening again. People are being dragged from their cars and homes and beaten to death and dismembered. Homes and churches are being looted and burned down. This organised, targeted attack against tribal people is wreaking havoc for whole people groups.
Tens of thousands of people have been affected by the ethnic violence, including Leah and her family who are offering refuge to their family members who have lost everything. Leah has cried out to God asking Him why He stays silent as her community suffers and her extended family are internally displaced people. She continues to turn to God, crying out for protection and comfort for her family and her people. Nothing can replace all that has been taken – only the Holy Spirit can provide comfort now.
Leah couldn’t eat for weeks as the violence raged on and her people suffered. She was safe, but she felt every blow to her community. Women have been raped and paraded naked on the streets. Children and old people have not been not spared. Eating can still be hard, knowing that so many are suffering, but Leah carefully picks through her food as she tells me about the miracles coming out of this horrific season. The media might not be telling the full story, but God will get His glory. When majority people come to attack minority groups, they have been met with unexplained phenomena: worship music and drums heard from a church building that’s burned down, people of peace wearing white clothes that bullets can’t kill, ambulances covered in clouds traveling through enemy lines, attackers seeing big crowds of defending people when only a few are present. Even the holy men are wondering about this God who is so strong that he’s blocking their vision.
The suffering continues in the hill valley that Leah calls home. But her face glows a bit when she talks about the Living God. Like David, going out to challenge Goliath with a single stone, Leah stands in the gap for her community with prayer. She has peace that God will not stay silent, but He will fight for them. Leah is waiting to witness miracles that will set them free like the countless signs and wonders through Moses’ staff. Like Gideon’s army, the Christians in this nation are few, but the God of Angel Armies is with them. Sticks and stones can break us, but they can heal us too.
If you ask Leah what we can do to help, she’ll say, “Pray.” Pray for God’s protection for vulnerable people. Pray for those who are suffering, that God will give them comfort and encouragement. Pray that God will give people strength to defend themselves, but not to take revenge. She believes that these ongoing crisis and atrocities will bring light to the country and across the world as, even now, believers are coming together in unity and calling to our living God. Every prayer prayed for the suffering is heard and cherished by God. Like Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms so the Israelites could gain the victory, let us hold up the arms of our brothers and sisters here.
With one stone and one stick, the Living God rescued his people through David and Moses. He is still the same God who rescues. He’s asking us, “How much do you trust me?” And like David may we respond: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail. But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26)
Leah and her family are our members – sent out by the Northeast office.
— By Lilly*
*Names changed to protect identity
Pray –for the many vulnerable people who have been displaced since May, as ethnic conflict continues to occur in Manipur State.
Give — Through our Disaster Relief Project, our initial goal is to partner with local churches to provide food, medical, and hygiene items to over 600 people. We are partnering with churches we’ve been working with for years to send out cross-cultural workers. To do this, we need to raise $15,000. Will you help us partner with our brothers and sisters in Manipur?
To do this, go to sim.org.nz and donate to India Disaster Relief with the project number IN98665.