Opening the door of God’s Kingdom to the Mankidias of India
When Pastor D. B. Hrudaya of Orissa, India, first heard of the Mankidia people group, they were among the most nomadic and illiterate peoples of northern India. They were known as “monkey hunters” and forest dwellers. There were no believers in Christ among them. They worshiped evil forest spirits. Their culture was rampant with oppression and hopelessness. They could boast of no high school graduates, medical knowledge or social graces.
Two such examples were Arun Mankidia and his wife Salomi. They lived in a primitive hut made of branches in the remote Dengam jungle. They suffered with severe depression due to the influence of the evil spirits that they worshipped. They had to walk 25 miles through the jungle to sell the hand made rope that they wove from the forest vines at the nearest market. They were without God and without hope in the world.
Into this picture, stepped a man named Musu Marandi. He is one of Pastor Hrudaya’s field staff. Hrudaya and his team had been praying for an opening among the Mankidia people for over 10 years but with no breakthrough. They had reached the point where some of Hrudaya’s workers had learned the Mankidia language. With some outside support, the ministry was able to send Musu into the jungle areas where they lived. Finally, on one of the weekly market days, Arun met Musu in the market. After a lengthy conversation where Musu shared the good news of Christ with him, Arun decided he wanted to know more about the wonderful person of Jesus.
Arun went home and shared what he had learned with Salomi. She had just miscarried a baby for the third time. The hopelessness of her married life was at its greatest height. But on that wonderful day she received new hope. The news of forgiveness and a new life in Christ was a revelation to her. God had begun His good work in her and Arun’s hearts.
Arun and Salomi visited Musu at his home. He fully explained the plan of salvation to them in their language. On that day, Musu led them to Jesus Christ. Their lives were forever changed. They immediately began sharing the news of Jesus with other Mankidias. A new work was born!
Not long thereafter, both Arun and Salomi came to Pastor Hrudaya’s training center in Balasore, Orissa, for Biblical training and church planting training. In 2014, they graduated and went back to work among their own communities. Starting in their own village and reaching out from there, they now have spread the Gospel into 13 villages. So far, about 2000 Mankidias have come to Christ. Today, they have developed a small outreach team focusing on reaching the remaining Mankidias for Christ.
Though funding has been very limited for this wonderful project, much has been done to raise the living conditions of the Mankidias. Efficient farming techniques have been introduced, land for growing crops has been provided to them, medical clinics have been held and literacy centers have been established. The first Christian Mankidia marriages have been celebrated. The Mankidia project, initiated in 2014 in order to introduce the Mankidias to the God who made them, loves them and died for them, has developed them in every way. The included pictures bear testimony to that reality.
But this is still just the beginning. With the provision of strategic funding, the project can touch many more lives.
Here is what is needed to bring the Mankidia work into fuller effectiveness:
1. The provision of regular support for 5 workers at $100 per month
2. Funding for four Medical Camps at $800 per camp
3. The establishment of literacy centers among the not yet reached villages of the Mankidias. These cost about $300 to set up and $150 a month to maintain.
4. One motorbike at $1000 for a regional worker to travel among the villages.
5. Establishment of a Mankidia Goat project. This effective project works as follows: A family is given 3 goats at a cost of $50. The family cares for the goats for two years in which time their small herd normally grows to 10. After that, the additional goats can be sold in the market. Past project experience shows this will provide an annual income of over $600 to the family. Pastor Hrudaya wants to start this project with 60 Mankidia families so is seeking $3000 to get it launched.
Will you help us provide new support for this fruitful work among the Mankidia people? There are many Arun’s and Salomi’s out there who will become wonderful ambassadors of the love of Christ to their fellow Mankidias.
With deep thanks,
Lance Thollander for HBI, Pastor Hrudaya and the Mankidia people