By Rev. Dr. Chum Awi
1. CHIN STATE It is situates in the North-Western part of Burma. The State borders with Bangladesh and India in the West. It is full of mountains and deep valleys. These make communication difficult. People speak various dialects.
The population is estimated 400000. People are dependent on slash and burn system of agriculture. This system make the soil barren year after year.
2. CHRISTIANITY The first missionaries to Eastern Chinland were Rev. and Mrs. Arthur Carson. They founded mission station in Haka in 1899 AD. This town is now the present capital town of the State. Mr. Carson, invented Roman alphabets for Chin literature in 1907. He planned to work on development in the areas of agriculture, literature, medicine, and basic education. The people were so unfor-tunate because he died of appendicitis in 1908.
These American Baptist missionaries were followed by Dr. East and his wife (1902). They were medical missionaries. Another medical missionary couple were Dr. & Mrs. J.G. Woodin. They came to Haka in 1910 and didn’t work long.
Rev. & Mrs. Chester Strait arrived in Haka in 1925. He established Bible school in Haka. He finished translation of the New Testament and published in 1940.
Rev. & Mrs. robert R.G. Johnson arrived in Haka in 1946. They began to translate Old Testament. They started to build a stone Church building in Haka. The Revolutionary Government of Burma which dethroned parliamentary democracy government in 1962 required them to go home in 1966. They were the last missionary couple to the Chins.
3. ZOMI (CHIN) BAPTIST CONVENTION In 1953 Baptist Chins organized them- selves as Zomi (Chin) Baptist Convention. The total population of Baptists in Chin State is estimated 100000 baptized and another 100000 non-baptized members. There are around 1000 local small Churches in the villages.
Because of dialects and regional feelings, the Convention is comprised of 25 associations. 1. Haka Baptist Association 2. Falam Baptist Association 3. Tedim Baptist Association 4. Thantlang Association of Baptist Churches 5. Kale Valley Baptist Association 6. Matu Baptist Association 7. Matu Association of Baptist Cchurches 8. Senthang Baptist Association 9. Lautu Baptist Association 10. Kabaw Valley Thado Baptist Association 11. Zotung Baptist Association 12. Maram Baptist Association 13. Zophei Baptist Association 14. Tonzang baptist Association 15. Siyin Region baptist Association 16. Zo Baptist Association 17. Kuki Chin Baptist Association 18. Tamu Valley Baptist Association 19. Paletwa Baptist Association 20. Gangaw Baptist Association 21. Kanpetlet Baptist Association 22. Mindat Township Baptist Association 23. Chin Baptist Association 24. Kale Zomi Baptist Association 25. Lairawn Baptist Association
4. OTHER MISSION & PARA-CHURCHES There are mission Churches and para- churches which are established in the Chin society today. These include: 1. Roman Catholic Mission Churches 2. Presbyterian Churches 3. Methodist Churches 4. Gospel Baptist Churches 5. Fundamental Baptist Churches 6. Evangelical Baptist Churches 7. Evangelical Presbyterian Churches 8. United Reform Churches 9. Evangelical Free Church of Burma 10. Church of Jesus Christ 11. Church of God 12. Church on the Rock 13. Assemblies of God 14. Full Gospel Churches 15. United Pentecostal Churches 16. Christian Mission Alliance 17. Four Square Gospel Church 18. Christian Church of Myanmar 19. Seventh Day Baptist Church 20. Seventh Day Adventist Churches 21. Independent Church of Burma 22. Thangzakam baptist Churches
Note: These small Churches are part of Christian growth in the State.
5. FUTURE OF CHRISTIANITY The present military government of Burma is implementing its unwritten high policy in the country. This high policy is summed up in three words: Amyo, Batha, Thathana. It can be translated as:
“Only one race = Burmese
Only one language = Burmans
Only one religion = Buddhism”
Because of this policy Chin language is prohibited to be taught in public schools. Christianity is suppressed in many ways. Pagodas are constructed on mountains of Chin State with state government funds while churches are destroyed indirectly.
The future of the Churches in Chin State is very unstable at this point of time. It is hoped and prayed that believers in the State continue keeping their faith in the midst of torturings and persecutings.
( Rev. Dr. Chum Awi is former principal of Zomi Theological College ( ZTC ), and General Secretary of Zomi ( Chin ) Baptist Convention. He was township law officer at Haka before he served as ZTC principal )
Ecological System and Renewable Energy in Chin State Provided by: Chin Research and Development Society
A Brief Review of The Ecological Destruction and the Feasibility of Renewable Energy in Chin State
Provision of an energy supply in the Inner Chin State, Burma has been difficult for a long time, and has seriously obstructed economic and social development. The state has not been invested large amount of financial and materials resources here, only a very limited about 5% to 10 % of the population in this area accessed to electricity. Insignificant numbers of farmers, villagers and households have been connected to the electricity grid or to local small hydro generating stations. To extend the grid, the construction of high and low voltage lines alone would require large amount of investment that only the international NGO will best meet these requirements as the local or the State Government has no other alternative resources for implementation. Not only the one-time cost is high, but also the energy usage at any given location is low that the economy benefits are also very low.
Because of a shortage of fuel, energy, and electricity the farmers here still rely mainly on firewood, straw for their daily use – this has resulted in deforestation, destruction of the reserved forest for rain, soil erosion and draught that are affecting a larger area every year.
The second cause of the deforestation is done by Orchid hunting in the forest of Chin State, because of the price of the wild orchid per kilogram is as high as 4000 Kyats to 6000 ks ( Kyat is Burmese currency ) per kilogram which is an equivalent salary of a government servant per month. People cut every huge tree that bears Orchid flowers. The jungle of the reserve forest in Chin State now has been totally wipes out.
There are two main orchids which the Orchid hunters are mainly interested in:
(a) small white colour flowers with the shape of pearls , a rather short plant, which is highly demanded in China and can cost up to 5000 ks per kilogram,
(b) the second one has a delicate shape spider like structure flowers which has exotic beauty in nature, and can cost up to 6000 ks per kilogram.
The Chinese, Indians and Thais have the technique to do tissue culture that include mass production from a single plant to over a million plants in a- three -year period. Orchid cultivation became one of the sources of their main national income, rolling millions and millions of dollars in to their countries each year.
The third cause of deforestation would be shifting cultivation and the usage of slash-and-burn method of cultivation that devastated the ecological system of Chin State. The fourth cause of deforestation is burning forest that destroyed natural habitats for the animals and ecological system as a whole, to the extent that the fire occasionally resulted to the destruction of houses in the villages.
To depend on conventional energy to solve the energy problem of the vast, extremely dispersed areas is fraught with difficulties. To do so even within a relatively long period of time will be next to impossible. However, Chin State has abundant wind and solar energy resources. The region’s wind energy reserves are very large and still being unused. In the region as a whole, average wind speed would be around 5 meters per second, and 75% of the region has utilizable wind resources. Inner Chin State also has a rich solar resource that 3000 hrs to 4000 hrs of sunshine available per year. Learning how to make use of these favorable resources that nature has bestow upon humanity, and turn them into a wellspring and motive force to accelerate economic and social development, is the objective towards which we have been striving.
The road to renewable To solve the energy problem of the areas, to develop the regional economy and protect the fragile ecological environment, Chin State has traveled a difficult road toward the development and utilization of new energy sources.
Between 1950 and 1970 the initial steps were taken towards new energy development. The first steps were made towards solving the scientific questions involved in producing equipment for converting wind energy into mechanical and electrical energy, and devices for utilizing solar electricity and solar heat. Through medium-scale testing arranged by the local and the region, initial steps were taken to explore the feasibility of using wind power to address energy needs in this area. These steps established a firm foundation for the development and use of new energy in Chin State.
From 1980 to 1990, new energy development and utilization moved into the key stage of organized and planned development. By late 1990 it was possible to buy Tata Company made solar panel from India that the relatively wealthy people of Chin State have access in purchasing, for their family electricity consumption. We need a reliable group of Local NGO with the task of supervising and co-ordinating the issues of renewable energy at a regional level. All major issues in new energy development are to be studied, planned organized and co-ordinated between NGO organizer for rural development. This will vigorously ensured the healthy development of the region’s energy work.
New energy development guidlines are to establish with, policies and specific measures well suited to the region’s conditions. That specified :-
The primary objective of new energy development and utilization had to be the solution of the energy problems of rural and remote areas, and that the development of small-scale wind generators, solar cells, and balance of system products for stand-alone applications is a top priority.
Reliable to use, convenience to maintain, and affordable to local usage should be the basic principle of the new product.
Small-scale products and energy use for daily life should be the main focus, and the needs of production and daily life should be integrated.
Local people should be in charge, with the State and NGO providing appropriate support.
Local NGO and expertise are to be organized to tackle the key technical problems. Simultaneously, with the region’s resources in mind, provisional standards are formulated for the technical parameters of small wind generators, in order to push them as fast as possible toward technical reliability and practicality of use.