|Kidnappers free Upper Room editor in India|
March 20, 2006
|A UMNS photo courtesy of the Board of Discipleship
The Rev. Tongkhojang Lunkim (left) shakes hands with John Brown of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship in a file photo.
By Linda Green*
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — After two months of captivity, an international editor of the Upper Room has been released.
The Upper Room received word March 18 that the Rev. Tongkhojang Lunkim, the editor of the Kuki (in India) edition of the Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide, has been released by a group of rebels called the Kuki Liberation Army.
According to www.gospelbroadcastingmission.com,
a Web site that has been providing updates about Lunkim, he was
released around 2 p.m. India time. He was described as stable and
“The Upper Room is celebrating today this good news and thanks God
for his release,” says a statement released by the Upper Room. “We have
held prayer vigils, and many of the staff have kept him in our prayers
every day of his captivity.”
“We are absolutely elated and feel that the work of the Holy Spirit
was at work through the prayers given by people across the globe,” said
the Rev. Stephen Bryant, world editor and publisher of the Upper Room,
which is a ministry of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship in
“The staff of the Upper Room and all who work at the General Board of
Discipleship feel our prayers have been answered, and we thank all who
have been praying with us,” he said.
Lunkim was held for 64 days by the rebel army for reasons that remain
unclear. “It is a mystery to us about what has happened both in his
capture and release,” Bryant said. “Many of us had lost hope that Dr.
Lunkim would be freed.”
The Rev. Stephen Bryant
Lunkim led a ministry in northwest India, where Christians are a
small minority among a predominantly Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim
population. He is the publishing coordinator of the daily Upper Room
devotional guide in the Kuki, Meitei, Vaiphei and Zomi languages
through the Kuki Christian Church, a collective of hundreds of Christian
churches of northeast India, Myanmar and Bhutan. The Kuki Christian
Church is in the city of Imphal, Manipur, India. Manipur is in northeast
India and bordered on the east by Myanmar (Burma).
On March 9, several thousand people, including church leaders,
participated in massive rallies and marches in Saikul, Churachandpur and
Moreh, India, demanding Lunkim’s release, and a request was made for
the state government to intervene.
“By such an amazing answer to prayer, we can now continue the work that Dr. Lunkim started by again providing the Upper Room Devotional Guide
to that troubled region of India,” said the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, top
executive of the Board of Discipleship. “The devotional guide is central
to our work, and (we) thank God for its effect on the millions it
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Upper Room
General Board of Discipleship
Kuki Christian Church