In the early 1900’s, the area called Mizoram in the northeast region of India was still dominated by many Mizo tribes. The people there in the Lushai hills historically were steeped in animism and occultism, and many had engaged in offering human sacrifices and had survived as headhunters. A Gospel mission in this area was established in 1890, portions of the New Testament were translated into the local tongue, and by 1899, two of the local people were baptized.
In 1903, Welsh missionaries had begun praying for revival to break out in their region of India, in the state of Meghalaya. God began stirring revival in numerous parts of the country in the following years. News of the Welsh Revival in 1904 also prompted more and more Christians in India to commit to prayer. As the longing for God’s presence intensified, in July of 1905, believers in the Mizoram towns pressed in to seek the Lord for revival. Then news came of how revival had ignited in the nearby Khasi Hills area. A 10 person team of local Baptist and Presbyterian believers made a two week trek through the jungle to visit the Khasi Hills revival. There, they experienced a strong sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence during their times of worship and prayer. At one point, 8000 of the Khasi Hills Christians prayed powerfully for the Mizo Christians, and every single person was deeply affected, often with tears and trembling. On their way back to Mizoram, the team faced spiritual attacks and discouragement. But back in their home region, one night the Spirit of God swept over the congregation as they were worshiping. There was conviction of sin, confession of wrongdoings, and the distinct sense of God’s presence. In addition, they experienced visions, dreams, prophecies, the sight of fire descending upon individuals, and even glimpses of white light surrounding the church. The spiritual awakening spread quickly.
During the fall of 1906, persecution broke out against the church. Many chieftains took the lead to drive the Christians from their homes and into the jungles. The animist practitioners staged a counterfeit revival in 1907 that exalted their pagan gods and strove to return people to their ancient ways. It caused great discouragement among the church over several years. But in 1911, the Lushai Hills was devastated by a terrible famine that was instigated by a surge of rats that consumed everything in their path. Many people died of starvation. In the aftermath, the church took up offerings to help buy food. Many local Christians gave generously and sacrificially of their own supplies of food to assist the villages, even the ones who had persecuted them the most. In the end, this astounding display of God’s love was the most lasting impact of the revival.
In the following years, more significant awakenings would break out in the nearby regions. True repentance marked these movements. The animistic practices would cease once and for all. The Mizo people would eventually send out hundreds of their leaders as missionaries to those who were lost in other parts of India and in Asia. Today Mizoram stands as the most Christian area in all of India, with over 98% of its people confessing Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
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