India children’s choir warms Mo.
JEFFERSON CITY – When Missionary Watkin Roberts defied British colonial rulers and ventured into the dark, dangerous jungles of northeast India in 1910, he only knew that he was obeying God’s call to witness among the Hrar people. He had no way of knowing if his efforts to share the Gospel would be a success, much less that an entire tribe would be saved and go on to share that message across the globe in the United States.
The India Children’s Choir is comprised of children from the Hrar tribe, the direct descendants of fierce headhunters who heard God’s Word, repented, and became “heart hunters.” During a stop at the Baptist Building on their 10-month U.S. tour, the 25 seven- to 10-year-olds of the choir told the story of how their tribe first heard the Gospel, and challenged others to follow in the footsteps of Roberts and obey God’s Great Commission.
The musical drama incorporates songs in English and the Hrar language, beginning with the day the missionary first brought God’s Word to their people. At first the tribesmen argued over who would have the honor of killing the young foreigner. That was until they saw he was “armed with a weapon more powerful than any spear or gun, the Word of the Lord,” explained the adult leader.
Roberts read the Book of John from “the supernatural book” and the chief, Pudaite, was amazed by the message it contained. He not only accepted Christ, but memorized the entire book so he could share with anyone, anywhere. “He was particularly fond of John 3:16,” the leader said, as the children sang the beloved promise in Hrar.
Although Pudaite had memorized the Gospel of John, the Hrar tribe was unable to access the rest of The Bible without the aid of the missionary. Not only was there no translation available, but no one in the tribe could read or write. The closest school was 96 miles – a six-day journey through the jungle.
Still, one of the chief’s sons, Rochunga, felt God calling him to be the one to bring the Bible to his people in their own language, so he braved the trip and learned to read and write, but also studied in the United States to learn Greek and Hebrew so he could properly translate the Scriptures and help his people learn about Christ’s sacrifice. “After he came back, the whole tribe became evangelized,” the leader said. “And instead of hunting and killing the people in the neighboring tribes, they began sharing the Gospel.”
The presentation also includes an opportunity to partner with the choir to send Bibles to unreached people groups, a gift they know to be the most valuable possible.
The Bibles are to be distributed by Bibles For the World (BFW), the organization that sponsored the India Children’s Choir. BFW has distributed 19 million free New Testaments around the world.