Bethany was born in God's time. Leave alone high schools, secondary highs and colleges. I have never planned and never saw in my wildest dream that I will be having even a small school. In the late sixties, there was a spiritual revival among the Christians. New birth was preached and people were born again. I also accepted the Lord jesus Christ as my own personal saviour in the year 1963 at Alipore Christian hospital. Now what a strange and wonderful coincident it is that the present Medical Superintendent of the hospital is Dr. Azin Maringmei, who was a student-cum-boarder of Bethany of the “70s!!.
AT ZERO POINT-
I dedicated my life to the Lord in 1968 at Churachandpur E.U. Camp to be anything for the Lord to serve the God of my forefathers. The famous quote,’HE IS NOT A FOOL WHO GIVES WHAT HE CANNOT KEEP’ made me to fully surrender my whole life to the Lord. In 1965 I went to Patna city for Lady Health Visitor training. There. I came in contact with O.M. (Operation Mobilization) International and work with them part time. I wanted to join full’-time but it would not be proper to leave my training in the middle. In fact, I joint the training only because of the sense of obligation to obey my parents. The training was quite tough as I found it too difficult to adjust with the food and climate of Bihar. I became very thin and my father wrote to me to return home. He wrote to me like this –“BEM, (my nickname) AHASAT BEHSEH LEH INN LANG AH HONG JENGTA IN, NURSE TRAINING NAJO LOIU VANG IN BU KINGAWL CHOM PONTE” [ Bem just come home if you found it too difficult, if you don’t complete nurse training we will not starve] I replied back – MY NAME IS HATHOI” [the literal meaning of ‘Hat’ is ‘Strong’ and ‘Hoi’ means ‘Good’] I now have accepted the training as a challenge and resolved to complete my LDHV training-failing which I have to change my name! which means ‘STRONGGOOD’ and so I have to do justice to my name and live after the reputation of my name. I duly completed the training and returned to Manipur. But I could not get employment from the Manipur government even after my second attempt. But I firmly believe that God has a plan for me and that there is no unemployment problem for God’s children. This opinion and view has been my philosophy till today.
BORROWED RUPEES TEN-
It is a great and rare privilege to be used by God. In 1971, people who were already born-again had a burden for a school where their children could study and also for a place where they could be born again too. So after much prayer for God’s will, with rs 10/- borrowed from my parents and a receipt book issued by the I.C.I press on credit, humble Bethany Christian School was born to fulfill God’s will and purpose. Initially, it was started on a rented plot of a believer, Uncle Dev Singh, who was the first Chairman of Bethany. Admission register was bought with the borrowed rupees ten and using the receipt book issued by credit just 7 hostelers and about 100 students were admitted. And thus, humble Bethany was born.
FASTING AND PRAYER FOR GOD'S WILL–
In the middle of 1971, Manipur was grated statehood and there were many job opportunities including that of the post of Lady Health Visitor. I collected an interview card for the post of LDHV, but I did not have the courage to face the interview, not because of the fear or apprehension that I might not be selected. Instead I was afraid to be selected for the post. It was my father’s wish for me to become a nurse, not mine. I was confused and I believe that God is not the author of confusion. So, to fully know the perfect will of God, I fasted and prayed for three days, As I have already given my life to the Lord, I felt very strong that I have no more right to take it back. As I struggled in prayer, the Lord spoke to me thro’ His Word –‘YOU DID RUN WELL, WHO DID HINDER YOU THAT YOU SHOULD OBEY THE TRUTH’ [ this calling is not from your own father]. So that was it and there was no more turning back from continuing in the school to teach and train up the children in the Lord for the Lord. If I were to leave the school, I would hve been like the Jonah of old. In fact, even the thought of leaving Bethany though my parents wanted me to try for the Lady Health Visitor post.
A VISION OF BALANCE –
When I mentally put a child on one side of the balance and myself on the other side. I felt that the child is much heavier than me. Again, as I mentally put all the money, silver and gold of the world on one side of the scale and the seven children who were with me in the hostel on the other, I felt that the seven children were heavier, more precious and more valuable than all the material wealth of the world.
I WEPT, BECAUSE THE RENTED PLOT OF BETHANY WAS SOLD –
In 1972, the rented plot of Bethany was sold by the owner and I wept bitterly. They asked me to shift the school building somewhere else. I did not know where to shift and I had no money to buy land. Then my own Aunty, Mrs. Hatlhing Lhouvum, the wife of the Late my uncle Gang Palal Lhouvum (the mother of my dear cousin Boikho Thadou) came to the rescue by offering me about one sangam of land (approx. lass than one acre) for Rs 10.000/- that too, to be paid by easy installments. The first installment of Rs.3000/- was paid and I was permitted to shift the building to the present plot of Bethany. That was in 1972. There was three day's social work and the bamboo-mud-house and thatch-roofed school building was shifted. I thank God for all the people who got involved in the shifting and construction of the new school building. Some of them have gone to be with the Lord. May God continue to bless all their children.
WOODS REPLACED BAMBOOS-
From 1975onwards, woods started replacing the bamboos posts and beams of the school building of Bethany but the roofs were still made of thatches.
CHILD EVANGELISM LEADERSHIP TRAINING-
In 1975, I went to Nasik for a course in Child Evangelism Leadership Training. There during the training God renewed and confirmed my calling and vision regarding children. I shared about the vision of the balance and my friends were able to bring out visual aids for the same. We drew a picture of a scale and put a child on one side of the scale and money, gold and silver on the other side. We made the child much much heavier than the all the treasures of the other balance. As I was more and more convinced of the value of a child, I wanted to work full-time as child evangelist. I once more tried to run away from Bethany to work full-time with Child Evangelism of India. I could not fully accept my involvement in Bethany among the children as God’s full-time service. While I was thinking all these things, the story of a woman who had seven children and who wanted to leave the children to be a missionary convinced me to continue to stay with the children at
Bethany. This woman was told by a preacher that if she looks after her children properly and bring them up in the fear of the Lord, she is already a missionary. I duly completed the course and returned to Manipur to continue my work among the children as I believe that it is God’s will.
The same year I spent Christmas with a team of children from Bethany at Kongkanthana in Ukhrul district. Our team included Uncle P.T. Babu (who is at present a missionary to the tribals at Bastar district in Madhya Pradesh with his family), and Mary P.Sam. We were lost in the jungle and we were hungry and exhausted. None of us could pray or talk anymore in the dark jungle. As we were in that trying situation, Uncle Robert Seikholen (the then present Asst. Headmaster of Bethany) uttered- ELOI, ELOI-LAMA-SABAKTHANI’. We all willy-billy sheepishly laughed. Soon the villagers saw us and took us to their homes and we were much refreshed and we preached new-birth right away there in the evening.
I TRIED TO REMAIN SINGLE-
At one point of time I had decided to remain single all my life to serve the Lord. But the senior women in O.M. advised me to get married and have a Christian home.
UNITED TO SERVE HIM –
Uncle Mung came to Bethany in 1976 to be a warden-cum-teacher. The evening he came. There was no place for him to sleep and he just slept inside the teachers’ common room on the big, long table. His supreme love for the Lord and the children led me to take a decision to marry him and in God’s will we were ‘UNITED TO SERVE HIM’ on the 14th October 1977.
CONCRETE BUILDINGS –
In the eighties, pucca-buildings started replacing the kuchcha-buildings of Bethany. Bethany Brick Field (BBF) was started to construct the school and hostel buildings, office, principal’s quarter and the present science block.
HIGH SCHOOL AND A JEEP –
Bethany became a high school in 1981. Mmy Uncle Ngulkholun Lhungdim I.R.S. gave us a jeep for the sake of efficiency. Using the jeep, uncle Mung and myself could join and complete B.ed, for the full recognition of Bethany Christian High School. I officially held the post of the headmistress till May 1986.
A NEW PRINCIPAL –
In 1986 uncle Mung became the new Principal of Bethany after he got a Master of Arts degree in English.
HIGHER SECONDARY –
In 1989, some parents and about 26 students requested Bethany to start Eleventh Class in Arts Stream. After much prayer and knowing that it is God’s will XIth Class in Arts was started. Twelfth Class in Arts followed automatically and Bethany students of twelfth classes attached to Johnstone Higher Secondary School and secured more than 77% result and the next year the Board of Secondary Education of Manipur granted full recognition to Bethany. Subsequently, because of the pressure and request of some parents, Science Stream was introduced in 1992. It was soon granted recognition in Science Stream too by the BSEM.(Council of Higher Secondary Education was not yet formed by then).
In 1992 B.A. First Year in Arts was introduced and the following year B.A.. Second Year was started and the College Development Council of the Manipur University granted the permission to start a college under the name and style of Bethany Christian College.
TEMPORARY AFFILIATION –
Bethany Christian College was granted temporary affiliation by the College Development Council of the Manipur University on the 6th December 1995 in three core subjects, viz. SOCIOLOGY, HISTORY and POLITICAL SCIENCE.
UNFORGETABLE PEOPLE –
There are some people whom God has chosen to be a channel of blessing foe Bethany. Pasei Touthang, The Late Pu Pumkholien Gangte, Uncle Evangelist C.V.John, Evan. Jamthang Touthang, Pastor Kabidin, Pastor Ch.Nabachandra, Rev.Thangliankham,Evangelist retired Holkhosei Lhungdim, my own father and P.T. Babu were the founding committee members of Bethany. Within the span of twenty-five year history of Bethany, the Late Pu.Yangmasho Shaiza Ex.C.M. of Manipur sanctioned five bundles of C.I. Sheet and the Late Pu Ngulkhohao Lhungdim Ex.M.L.A.. (the then Parliamentary Secy.) constructed the present sanitary pond of Bethany. I am mightily thankful to them and it is my prayer and wish that the Almighty God will continue to bless their children to become more and more channels of blessing in future for many needy people.
THE NAME ‘BETHANY AND HOW IT WAS CHOSEN –
The name ‘Bethany’ was not simply chosen at random. It was prayerfully chosen from the Scriptures according to St.John chapter 11. The Lord Jesus Christ used to go to Bethany when he was on this earth. At Bethany during the time of Lord Jesus in Isreal, there were two sisters named Mary, Martha and their one and only brother Lazarus. To-day, at our humble Bethany, each of the first Bethanians(i.e. Mary, Martha and Lazarus) represent three groups of students as well as the teaching staff as below.
Lazarus represents the students and staff who are not yet born again though they are Christians. Lazarus was in the grave for four full days. He must have smelled badly and he was already decayed and that’s for sure. Say for example, you are 20 years of age and if you are still not yet born again, you have been in the grave for the lat twenty years and you must have been smelling like a skunk! Jesus came to Bethany after four days and raised Lazarus from the grave. In the sight of god you are already rotten until you hear the voice of Jesus and accept Him as your own personal Saviour.
Martha represents murmurers and complainers. Martha also represents workaholics for the Bethanians. When the Lord Jesus came to Bethany. Martha was very busy to serve the Lord. So she even asked the Lord Jesus to send Mary to help her. But the Lord rebuked her by saying that Mary has chosen the better part that should not be taken away from her. Martha also stands for dignity of labour. The Bible says that ‘those who do not work should not eat.’ For the students since ‘study’ has become ‘work’, for them they have no right to pass their exams if they do not study. Martha has positively points here in that she worked very very hard though she murmured, Therefore at Bethany, hardworkaholic-murmurers are still well appreciated provided they deliver the goods.
All the Bethanians must emulate the example of Mary. She sat at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him. And for the Bethanians, Mary stands for ‘WAITING FOR GOD”S PERFECT WILL IN ONE”S LIFE’ Bethany is and will be a place for waiting for God’s perfect will for ‘BETTER STUDY, BETTER JOBS, BETTER LIFE (new life) and even for BETTER-HALFS (life-partners) for matured people.
THE THREE MAIN AIMS OF BETHANY –
1. Bethany aims to teach the children how to speak and write the English language correctly. As English is the common language (lingua-franca) of the world and the master of it will enable the children to face the competitive world with full confidence. The knowledge of English language will give children to have a place under the sun and help the children to bring a name (title) into their family for the glory of God.
2. The second aim of Bethany is to lead the children to Christ while they are young according to Proverbs 22:6 –‘Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.’
Someone has said that the heart of children is like wet cement and whatever falls upon their young minds make a lasting impression. It is much easier to lead a child to the feet of Christ while it is young. You can easily write a letter on a wet concrete surface even with your fingers. But when it is hard, you need hammer and chisel to write on hardened cements. Therefore do send your children to Bethany boarding before they are ten or before they are too old.
3. The third aim of Bethany is to train God-fearing future leaders of the world according to St.Luke 2:52-“Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” The aim of Bethany is to give three dimensional growth to the children. Total education of the mental, physical and spiritual so that a child will be maximum useful for himself, for God, the society and for the world at large. The Bethanians are taught and advised to fight corruption at any level-to swim against the current. And they are warned strictly not to indulge in copying in exams. This is the only way to nip the evil in the bud.
THE SOURCE, SUPPORT, SUSTENANCE AND MAINTENANCE OF BETHANY –Bethany does not receive foreign support or state or central government assistance till date. It depends upon the riches and goodness of god. The them verse of Bethany in the Bible is Psalms 23:1 –“THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD; I SHALL NOT WANT.” Within the last four and half decades, the Lord God Almighty has never failed Bethany though we the Bethanians have failed Him many times. He is ever faithful to us because He cannot deny Himself.
BETHANY IS VERY PARTICULAR ABOUT IT'S NAME –
Before the Lord Jesus Christ went up to heaven which He called “MY FATHER’S HOUSE,” He led his disciples up to Bethany, lifted His hands and blessed them.”
HE LED THEM OUT AS FAR AS TO BETHANY, AND LIFTED UP HIS HANDS AND BLESSED THEM.
(St.Luke 22:50). Any student, be it AB or BA classes is very very special in the sight of Bethany. Any staff or student is believed to have been ‘LED’ to Bethany by God and any staff or student who comes by accident will not be a blessing, will be a curse and will cause only problems and will not and may not stay long.
I thank the Lord God Almighty and all the supporters of Bethany till to-day who send their children and also uphold Bethany by prayer. I also thank the die-hard moral supporters of Bethany who stood by us through this and thin. May God repay those who help Bethany. I plan to write my autobiography soon in future. And I hope to write more detailed about Bethany and the people who got more involved directly or indirectly with our Bethany of to-day. I will always covet your prayer supports.
It's a matter of great privilege for me to share my thoughts and feelings with you. Our college has History of more than 4 decades. It has produced national leaders and played very important role in the building of Nation. Today we are in the 21st century and we have to face new challenges, so I appeal to my students to make maximum use of college to come up with flying colours.
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TEACHER - MATH