Since I got saved, my desire has been to share with others what the Lord has done in my life. In college I often traveled with a gospel preaching team called Operation Mobilization (OM). We traveled many cities, towns, and villages in the northern states of India, including cities with over a million people without a single Christian or church. During my time with OM, the Lord laid a burden in my heart for the people of India. The team started off with the right philosophy and approach—to depend on God for your needs and give out the gospel, in literature form as well as verbally. I learned many good lessons during this time. Among the things I learned: the importance of prayer, studying and memorizing God’s word, practice what you learned by witnessing daily to someone. Other aspects of my college life were filled with activities. Sharing and witnessing on campus was a mission I didn’t shy away from, indeed it was a joy and natural. A Bible study group was established in every college or university I studied in, both in India and the US. When I came to the US for my education, the Lord opened a new area of ministry—reaching the world at your doorstep. It blows my mind to see the thousands of International students and scholars on US campuses, many of whom are representing “closed countries” to the gospel, and the church sits by idle and sends missionary support money while he has done nothing to win those God sends our way. A special outreach mission endeavor emphasizing International students on campus began at Virginia Tech during the years I was there. We started with just a handful of students, along with my roommates. By the time I graduated and left the campus, our little group was close to 80. Several of those involved with me caught the vision of the importance of reaching internationals while here in the States and have devoted their lives to missions and reaching this unreached people group. My wife and I did somewhat of a similar thing when we lived in Georgia.
Ministries to Strengthen Churches
Below is a summary of the different ministries the Lord enabled me to be involved with in reaching lost people, especially in the sub-continent of India. Church planting – After completing my education in Delhi, the Lord directed me to return to Manipur state. There I got a job with the government but used my free time for ministry. New Life Crusaders (NLC) was organized in 1975 by my brother Helun for the purpose of reaching young people with gospel songs. As the team started preaching, people were getting saved and baptized. The practice of believer’s baptism made the liberal Baptist churches uncomfortable and the NLC team was not allowed to preach in the Baptist churches. When I returned in 1979, NLC was ready to start an independent Baptist church. Bible Baptist Church was born as a result. Since then, several more churches have been started in Manipur and Nepal. We now have 14 independent Baptist churches under the Fellowship of Fundamental Baptist of Manipur (FBFM). In addition, one of our missionaries has started nine Baptist churches in western Nepal.
Leadership Training College
To train and equip the church leadership at affordable cost, we started a Bible school under the leadership of Lun Singsit three years ago. The first group of students successfully completed and was awarded a three year diploma of certificate in theology in October 2007. Lun is at Landmark Baptist College for a doctoral program on study leave. In addition, we conduct Bible camps for young people, women, and men throughout the year. Future vision the Lord laid on my heart is to establish a training college capable of attracting students from neighboring countries such as Burma, Nepal, etc. Although there are many Bible colleges in India, none has a strong emphasis on local church ministry and soul winning. Because of this, many of our leaders are ill prepared to meet the challenges keeping churches from reaching its potential and in many cases the Bible graduates will either do secular job or work in liberal Christian organizations. Vacation Bible school– We began a VBS ministry in 1978, but the focus was on one location. Ethnic conflict broke out in 1992 and the area was not safe to congregate many children in one place and we began to conduct VBS in various locations. The numbers grew from 500 children reached to 1500 in the first year alone. The number continued to climb and peaked at 4500.
Nepal Baptist Missions
Nepal is a beautiful mountainous country at the foothills of the Himalayas. The country is predominantly a Hindu country with strong influences of Maoist Communism among the younger generation. Nepal is the only country with a true monarch government in existence in the world today. The population of Christians is less than 1%. Often tourism information records Katmandu, the capital city, as the city of temples. This is true and it is a stronghold of Hinduism and a stronghold of demonism. But the hill people of Nepal live simple lives and for the most part are open to the gospel.
Paolam Kipgen and family responded to God’s call to take the gospel to the Nepali people to establish New Testament Baptist Church. God honored their faithfulness and today there are 9 independent local Baptist churches in western Nepal. The journey was filled with challenges and the first one came from his own family, particularly his wife. The thought of going to an unknown country with unknown people without any support was difficult for her to accept. Paolam prayed for two years for God to change his wife and the children’s hearts. In 1993, ethnic conflict broke out between the Nagas and the Kukis in Manipur and as a result many Kukis were killed and became homeless. Paolam’s family was a victim of this conflict. After living through the human carnage, God softened Paolam’s wife’s heart and she was willing to consider going to Nepal even if there was no support. God sometime works in mysterious way; his ways are higher than our ways, and his thoughts than our thoughts. God once again gave Paolam the victory to pursue the vision of reaching the Nepali people in Nepal.
After having received Bible and language training from several institutions including Nepali Bible Training Center in Delhi and Darjeeling Hills Bible School Paolam took his family headed to Nepal. During those training days, God prepared Paolam to the task of reaching the Nepali. By now he not only read and spoke well in Nepali, but the Holy Spirit equipped him to handle the word of God with fear and conviction. Much of the learning of the Nepali language for Paolam came through studying God’s word. According to Paolam, there is no substitute for the diligent study of God’s word.
It was definitely a difficult beginning for the Kipgen family, but their vision to make an impact in the mountainous country kept them going in order to see the fruit of their labor and God’s blessings in their lives. They worked with their hands and made their living in Nepal. After a year, there was no money to buy even used clothing to replace their clothing, most of which had holes and were torn. About this time someone bought some used clothing and shipped it to them. The hardships have not stopped the family from sharing Christ to the Nepali people. By the grace of God today there are eight Independent Baptist Churches in the Western districts of Nepal with over 200 baptized believers. A total of eight Nepali are in full time ministry looking after these churches. Of the nine churches, five have church buildings and the remaining four meet in houses.