International (BFTW/MNN) — Dr. Rochunga Pudaite, founder and longtime CEO of Bibles For The World, went home to be with his Lord and Savior early in the morning of October 10, 2015.
Besides his family, “Dr. Ro” left behind the ministry he so loved and millions upon millions of lives he helped transform through the power of the Gospel. A Celebration of Dr. Pudaite’s Life will be held on Saturday, October 17 at 1:30 PM at The Sanctuary Church, 1930 West Colorado Avenue, Colorado Springs. A second celebration is being planned in India, with thousands planning to pay their last respects to a true change agent.
Rochunga was born in 1927 in Senvon, Manipur, India, within the Hmar tribe that only a generation earlier was considered among the fiercest headhunters in northeast India. But through a missionary’s brief visit in 1910, Ro’s father, Chawnga, became a Christian and dreamed that someone would one day translate the Bible into the Hmar language. Rochunga, fulfilled his father’s dream…and much more.
After early schooling and a bachelor’s degree from Allahabad University in India, Ro continued his education in Glasgow, Scotland,. With the help of Dr. Billy Graham and Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, Ro did his graduate work at Wheaton College near Chicago, Illinois. Ro accomplished translating the Bible into his native language in 1957, and finally the Bible arrived in Northeast India– the book that had changed his people from headhunters to heart-hunters.
Ro was named executive director of the Indo-Burma Pioneer Mission in 1958 and was married in India to Lalrimawi (Mawii) Pakhuongte on January 1, 1959. Together they founded the Partnership Mission in 1968. In 1973 that ministry, which was then located in Wheaton, IL became Bibles For The World and is now headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
For more than a half-century, Rochunga spearheaded ministry outreaches that have touched tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people across the globe. Providing Bibles where people have little or no access to the Scriptures in their language has been complemented by the establishment of 85 Christian day-schools, seven high schools, two junior colleges, as well as Trinity College & Seminary and Sielmat Christian Hospital and Research Center. Ro and Mawii also began a child and student sponsorship program that has impacted tens of thousands of lives in India. In addition, more than 350 churches are now a part of the Evangelical Free Church of India, the indigenous denomination they founded.
A biography of Dr. Ro was published in 1974, God’s Tribesman, written by James and Marti Hefley. Ro’s life story was captured again by Joe Musser in 1998 in Fire on the Hills – the Story of Rochunga Pudaite. Dr. Ro authored many publications and books, including The Book that Set My People Free. And a major motion picture, Beyond the Next Mountain, told the story of how the Bible came to the Hmar people through Ro’s efforts.
Besides his brother, Lienkung Pudaite of Sielmat, Churachandpur, Manipur, India, Ro is survived by his wife Mawii, their three children: Paul R. (and Gretchen) Pudaite of Glen Ellyn, IL; John L. (and Lawm) Pudaite of Colorado Springs, CO; and Mary L. Pudaite-Keating (and Daniel) of Antioch, IL–and six grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be sent to the Rochunga Pudaite Memorial Fund at Bibles For The World, P.O. Box 49759, Colorado Springs, CO 80949, or given online at biblesfortheworld.org.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).