14 June 2024

“Thank you for all your support for Manipur” – three believers share how you’re making a difference  

It’s been over a year since violence broke out in Manipur, India, displacing thousands of people. Even today, the violence continues and many people, including Christians from both Kuki and Meitei peoples, are afraid to return home. But they are not without hope, thanks to your ongoing prayers and support – as Pastor Lian, Boipu and Istuti can testify.

Pastor Lian prays with believers in Manipur. Thanks to you, local Open Doors partners are providing displaced Christians with vital food aid and spiritual support

“Just because the attacks have stopped doesn’t mean there is peace. Peace in the land is still a far cry,” says Pastor Lian Haokip*. He’s a church leader from Manipur and is helping care for and coordinate relief efforts for those who have been displaced.  

“Since 3 May [2023], I have encountered victims and their families holding on and struggling. We have been sheltering a pastor and his relatives in our church. They all have lost their properties and the only thing that they could bring is their own life,” he told Open Doors partners. “Thousands of people were evacuated here and brought no extra clothes. They lack food and shelter, searching for places to stay, but it’s always overcrowded. They sleep on the ground, even on pebbles.”  

Spiritual counsel is vital 

As a church leader, Pastor Lian knows that prayers and spiritual support go hand-in-hand with physical relief aid. “For pastors, this was the most critical and difficult phase to spiritually counsel and minister to the victims,” he says. “It was very hard to ask them to forgive the people who were afflicting them with such pain.”  

“Only Jesus gives me the consolation and the comfort that I really need.”

Believer in Manipur

But he also encountered those who could only go on because of their hope in Jesus. “On the night of the attacks, a woman came to my home and told me, ‘If I had not met Jesus, if I had not received Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour, I would either go mad or go nowhere at this time. Everything that I have has been turned into pieces, burned and looted. Only Jesus gives me the consolation and the comfort that I really need.’” 

In the midst of the violence, Pastor Lian has witnessed how the crisis has brought groups together. “Our community was divided in many ways, with disunity among us. However, this crisis provides a great opportunity for us to unite. Our unity was admired by the other ethnic tribes. We are now coming together, praying together; of course, we have been doing this prior to the conflict, but then the bond was not as strong as now.” 

Open Doors partners are providing vital supplies  

Pastor Lian continues, “We keep praying for both Kukis and Meiteis and for peace in Manipur. We pray that God in his mercy will give us the heart to forgive our assaulters. And we are praying as God helped Job to regain all that he lost, double fold, He would lift us up too when we approach Him in all humility.” 

One of the ways that God is answering these prayers is through Open Doors local partners. Thanks to your prayers and gifts, Pastor Lian is being supported by Open Doors partners to help survivors of the conflict find refuge and provide supplies for them, including vital food aid. “This is like serving God for me, as I serve my fellow brothers and sisters in the camps,” he says. “The goods your organisation provided are the best in terms of quality and quantity.” 

He also leads a congregation of 200-300 displaced believers, with four to five services a week. “Please pray that I would be able to keep the church moving forward with the help of God so that my seeds will not go astray, and that they will fall into God’s kingdom.” 

“The goods your organisation provided are the best in terms of quality and quantity.”

Pastor Lian

Boipu: ‘Every day looks the same’ in camps 

Boipu* (32) is one of the 41,500 Christians displaced from their villages in the riots. He worked as a teacher in a nearby school, where he taught maths. After losing the home he lived in for over 20 years, he now lives in a refugee camp with his elderly parents, who are in their late 60s. 

According to local partners, 414 churches have been burned down, both Kuki and Meitei. Boipu’s church, where he ministered as a youth leader for six years, is one of them.  

In Boipu’s camp, the common kitchen is in an open area, made of bamboo and a thatched roof, which serves as a cooking place for 250-300 people. Twice a day, children and women stand in queues with plates and bowls to collect food for themselves and their family members. Women take turns cooking rice and lentil soup, which is their meal, every day, since May last year. One resident says, “The day we get potatoes or other vegetables, it’s a feast!” 

With just 2-4 washrooms for more than 50 families, hygiene is a major concern. When water is scarce, they don’t shower or wash clothes. 

“Every day looks the same,” says Boipu. “Same food and same dress every day. I only have two pairs of trousers, two T-shirts and a sweater. It is cold during the night-time.” 

Families are praying together every night 

Days are turning into months for them with an uncertain future. But every night, families gather to pray with each other. “Every night there are seven or eight families praying together in each room,” Boipu shares. “Each night, I’ve prayed that non-believing Meiteis will know and accept Christ.”  

“Every night there are seven or eight families praying together in each room.”


Boipu is strengthened by God’s Word, and in particular, John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Why does he love this verse? “Because the Bible taught us to just love,” he says. “If God loved the world, then He also loves me. If God saved the world, He would also save me.” 

Through your support, Open Doors partners have been able to provide urgent relief aid items such as groceries, mattresses, blankets and medicines to Boipu’s camp. Local Open Doors partners have also helped reimburse hospital bills for four believers who needed surgery after being injured during the riots.  

Istuti: “My own family carried out attacks” 

When the violence broke out in Manipur, Istuti*, an Open Doors partner, was in a neighbouring city conducting discipleship training with other believers. 

“There was lots of tension that night,” Istuti remembers. “The people were struggling… Our volunteers and believers kept on calling me all night. They couldn’t sleep! I was on the phone all through the 3 and 4 May… ‘They are going with guns!’ they would tell me. They were even beating women and children.” 

What made it worse for Istuti is that members of her own extended family helped carry out these attacks: “That hurt me the most,” she says, her voice breaking. “They burned my church. After they burned the church, they forced the Meitei Christians to reconvert… All my relatives, they are the ones who destroyed my church. They feel that Meitei Christians support the [Christian majority] Kukis, so they want to erase all the Meitei Christians and they want to destroy Meitei churches.” 

“All my relatives, they are the ones who destroyed my church.”


Remembering God’s Word in suffering  

Istuti was torn and deeply troubled. She longed to help her fellow believers, no matter the tribe. “I wanted to go to help the Kukis, but I cannot go because I belong to the Meitei. I cannot go and hold our believers who are still struggling… I was lost, I just prayed, ‘Lord, please heal our people, heal our people.’” 

Tragically, the stress of the situation took its toll on Istuti, and she suffered a miscarriage. Many months later, Istuti continues to grieve the loss of her baby, and the continued hostilities amongst her people. Yet, she continues to hold on to who God is. 

“I remember the Word of God says in Isaiah 40, “Do not be afraid, I’m with you” (Isaiah 41:10). That word encouraged me a lot and I know He strengthens me until now. He’s always with me.” 

She also hasn’t stopped praying for her family. “I love them so much; I’m still praying for them. I believe the Lord will save them. My prayer is that one day, they will testify that Jesus is their Lord.” 

“Thank you so much for listening to my stories and praying with me.”


Istuti knows she is not alone, thanks to you 

As a local Open Doors partner, Istuti continues to reach out to Kuki and Meitei believers affected by the ongoing ethno-religious violence in Manipur with food aid, presence ministry, and other practical support. She continues to pray for peace. 

“Thank you so much for listening to my stories and praying with me,” she says. “When you spent time with me, I felt that I am not alone, I am able to pour out my heart. Thank you for your encouragement from the Word of God. Thank you for remembering the persecuted church and supporting them through your constant prayers and help, indeed we are one body of Christ. Thank you for all your prayer support for Manipur.” 

*Name changed for security reasons 

Please pray
  • For Boipu and all believers who have lost their homes, been injured or lost loved ones, that God will heal, restore and provide 
  • For Pastor Lian, Istuti and Open Doors partners in Manipur, that God will strengthen them and bless their ministry
  • That the peace of God ‘which transcends all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7) will be poured out upon Manipur and bring an end to the violence. 
Please give
  • Every £20 could provide training for ten believers, equipping them with a biblical response to persecution
  • Every £30 could provide emergency food aid to two believers in India affected by violent persecution
  • Every £47 could help a persecuted community establish their livelihood, giving them long-term financial security.

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