From 150 Years of Revival
by Mathew Backholer
Welsh missionaries first arrived in the Indian state of Mizoram in 1840 and continued coming
until 1960; bringing the good news. In 2006, eighty percent of the state’s population were
Christians. Missionaries from Mizoram (and others states of India and parts of Asia) are now
missionaries in Wales!
Operation World – 21st Century Edition states that most Christians in Mizoram are either
Presbyterian or Baptist and that ‘awakenings and revivals in recent years have dynamized
the church and transformed society.’ Over 2,000 missionaries have been raised up and the state
is also the most literate and well-educated in India.
The Khasi Hills Revival (1905-1906) in India saw 8,200 former Hindu’s baptised within two years.
The Rev. Vanlalchhuanawma, an expert in the history of Christian revivals, speaking to the BBC
news website in October 2006 said, “The revival in 1906 gave help to the evangelical works of
Welsh missionaries in both [the states of] Meghalaya and Mizoram.” A century later, revival
broke out again and by June 2007, many churches had already celebrated their first anniversary
of experiencing revival within their church.
...Meghalaya, is known as ‘Scotland of the East’ and is a hill town in the north eastern part
of India with Shillong as its capital. Meghalaya covers an area of approximately 300 kilometres
in length and about 100 kilometres in breadth. It is surrounded by Assam on the north and east
and by Bangladesh on the south and west. The Khasis, Jaintias and Garos are the main tribes of Meghalaya.
The revival began on Saturday the 22 April 2006 among a huge number of people in Mairang,
the place where the 1906 revival first broke out. Hundreds of delegates were attending the afternoon
service of the Revival Centenary commemoration, whilst a minimum of 150,000 people (with reports of
up to 300,000) sat outside on the huge lawns of the of the Mairang Presbyterian Church.
The Holy Spirit came ‘in such a powerful way’ that the delegates continued to sing and pray for hours,
unmoved, in driving rain which continued for about half an hour, oblivious to the elements.
Barkos Warjri, a Khasi who lives in Shillong, wrote: ‘The revival is taking place in area of about 14,000 square kilometres and has
affected thousands of local churches. The churches affected have been almost entirely Presbyterian
but a few other denominations have been touched.’ The revival has even touched some churches in the
adjoining state of Mizoram.
‘Many people, especially children have been miraculously converted without any preaching, but simply
by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Miraculous events have also taken place in many of the churches
with thousands of children throughout the hills seeing visions of God, Jesus Christ, heaven, hell, resulting
in convictions of these's children, their relatives or the churches concerned.
Families and whole communities have been transformed.’ The Holy Spirit even descended on
‘all schools in the area, be they state schools, church schools, or private schools
[and on a college of more than two thousand pupils!] For several of the schools, regular
classes were disrupted. Children from the age of about five expressed strong desires to be in
church or simply to sing praises to God and pray.’
At one state school, the Holy Spirit descended and the effect on the teenagers, all of whom were in their
smart school uniforms was caught on video, I have seen the footage. Some were worshiping the Lord, sitting
on the desks, kneeling or standing, whilst others were crying, still others were in prayer, and some were
even being carried out of the classrooms in what I would call a spiritual comatose state, being under the
power of the Holy Spirit.
...On the 5 September 2006, at the Malki Presbyterian Church, Shillong, a plain wooden cross, a
little less than three feet high, which is located on the wall behind the pulpit began to glow and
an image of Jesus Christ could be seen. Even the BBC website reported on this strange event.
Thousands flocked to see it, Christians and non-Christians, and the worship to the Lord carried
on at the church 24/7 for days.
Friday Lyngdoh, Minister with the Meghalaya Government, in January 2007 said that the changes
in society were real. When asked if he had seen any of the big signs of the revival, like the
glowing cross at Malki he replied, “No, I have not. But I have seen the street outside my house.
The people who used to stand around in the dark – drunk and swearing – have reduced a lot. Many broken
families have got together. Yes, many people have experienced change.”
At the end of Janaury 2007, the Presbyterian Synod met and decided to regularly pray for revival
to break out in Wales, UK, like it has in Shillong. ‘There is a sense of debt that Shillong owes
to the Welsh who brought the revival fire to the Khasi and Jaintia hills.’
The Lord said, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face,
and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal
their land” 2 Chronicles 7:14.
150 Years of Revival
by Mathew Backholer
Mathew is the author of:
Revival Fire, 150 Years of Revivals Go
Extreme Faith, On Fire Christianity Go
Global Revival, Worldwide Outpourings Go
Discipleship For Everyday Living, Christian Growth Go
Understanding Revival and Addressing the Issues Go
Revival Answers, True and False Revivals Go
Revival Fires and Awakenings, Thirty-Six Visitations of the Holy Spirit Go
How to Plan, Prepare and Successfully Complete Your Short-Term Mission Go