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Shillong/Colorado: Rev. (Dr.) Rochunga Pudaite, founder President of Bibles For the World and moderator of the Evangelical Free Church of India (EFCI), one of the largest denominations of the Hmar community passed away at Memorial Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colorado in USA last Saturday.
Family sources said that Dr. Pudaite, a well known figure among the Mizos for his outstanding contribution to the community as a leader was admitted to the hospital last Friday and died of complications around 2:42 pm (IST) last Saturday at the age of 88.
Sincere, harmless, altruistic and affable leader, Dr. Pudaite is survived by his wife and three children.
His dead body will be flown to his native place Churanchandpur in Manipur where he will be buried at the designated courtyard of his Bungalow.
Born in 1927 at Senvon, a small village in southern Manipur in Mizoram-Manipur border, Dr. Pudaite went through many hardships to receive his elementary education. He graduated from Allahabad University in 1946, and studied Biblical Theology at Wheaton College Graduate School of Theology in Illinois and later earned his Master’s Degree in Education from Northern Illinois University. Dr. Pudaite holds a Doctor of Laws from Malone University in Ohio, and Doctor of Divinity from Dallas Baptist University.
He is also credited for being the second person to translate the Holy Bible into Hmar language after Dr Thanglung and also helping in the translation of the Bible in several other languages.
Dr. Pudaite was introduced to the teachings of Jesus by his father late Pastor Chawnga who served as one of the missionaries under Watkin R Roberts, the man who brought the Gospel to the Hmar tribe in 1910.
In 1959 Rev. (Dr.) Rochunga Pudaite and his wife Mawii Pudaite landed in Chicago to begin their journey of faith. God gave them a dream to translate the Bible for the Hmar tribe of Northeast India and provide education and training for them so that they might become “world citizens,” as God intended them to be.
Dr. Pudaite’s biography is recounted in “Fire on the Hills: The Rochunga Pudaite Story” published in 1999 and written by James C. Hefley. God’s Tribesman by By James & Marti Helfey, “Ro, the Boy from Assam” by David C. Cook, “Let My Heart Be Broken” by Richard Gehmana, “Beyond the next mountain: The story of Rochunga Pudaite,” a reflective biography that was authored by his lovely wife, Dr. Mawii Pudaite and in a biopic Hollywood movie “Beyond the next mountain” filmed in India, Hawaii, Scotland and Americam, the movie became one of the most inspiring Christian movies ever made.
He was the author of My Billion Bible Dream (Thomas Nelson, 1982), The Greatest Book Ever Written (Hannibal Books, 1989) ,The Book That Set My People Free, The Dime That Lasted Forever, Life Beyond Disappointment and The Education of the Hmar People etc. He had also written a number of books in Hmar and Lusei dialects.
Meanwhile, Evangelical Free Church of India, the denomination which he headed till his death declares 7 days of mourning for him.
Several Hmar organizations including the Hmar Students’ Association, Hmar Christian Leader’s Forum and Hmar Inpui, the supreme house of the ethnic tribe condoled Dr. Pudaite and termed his death as a great lost for the Mizo communities especially the Hmars.