Namrijinang alias Maipak
Namrijinang alias Maipak Kabui, the youngest son of Dikhenang Kamei was born in 1874 at Khoukiu (Bakuwa) in Tamenglong District. His mother died while he was in his teens and so his father alone brought him up. When an epidemic broke out in that village, his father took him down to Keishamthong Kabui village at Imphal and started their living there. Namrijinang began his earning as a carpenter in Churachand Maharaja’s Palace where only trusted people were admitted and give free passage. So, he very often came in touch with the Maharaja who also recognized his ability and honesty. He was therefore, made a soldier of the Palace’s guard. He was no doubt a talented man. He was an excellent band and bugle player and very soon he became the bandmaster and given the title Major in Bugler (1902-1919). He was deputed to the World War I in 1914-1918 and was awarded British Medals for his meritorious service rendered to the British Force.
Shortly after taking the position Namrijinang married, a girl named Pantigongliu but their marriage had marked by tragedy. All the children born to them died in infancy. In his increasing unhappiness, he began to search for something that would bring him peace. It was during this time that he met William Pettigrew and received some Bible tracts and Scripture portions in Bengali. One day he also had a long course of conversation, he told to his miserable condition to another bandmaster from Sadya. This man came to understand him and his longing for a fruitful married life. That man told him that he would have a child and peaceful life if he accepted Christianity. So Namrijinang began searching for Christianity from the family point of view. In 1914, he and his wife embraced Christianity. He was the first converted Christian among the Zeliangrong (Zeliangrong is a acronym for Zeme, Liangmai, Rongmei, and Puimi) Nagas of Manipur. On December 6, 1914, U.M. Fox at Imphal baptized him. In the same year, they were blessing with the first son, and they named him Kaphunlung David that means the “seed of life.” (For more detail, insert F.S. Downs, The Mighty Works of God, pp.173-179 and Mp. Namthiurei, The Great Awakening “Biographies of Earlier Christian Leaders” pp.1-3).
In 1916, Namrijinang built a house of worship at Keishamthong in his own garden. However, the villagers were not happy with Namrijinang for worshipping God, but they could not do any harm, as the Maharaja loved Namrijinang. Later on in 1917, the villagers set blazed the house (which was the first Church in Imphal Valley, also the second Baptist Church in Manipur). Namrijinang knew that he could not stay any longer at Keishamthong, so he requested Churachand Singh a plot of land for a Christian settlement. On his request, the Maharaja gave 7½ acres of plot of land for the Christian community. They built houses and Dedicated to God on May 20, 1917. He along with his friend had shifted to Thangmeiband where a new Christian compound was established, which is call now the MBC Centre Church, Imphal.
The years 1918 to 1924, Namrijinang aim to convert the people into Christianity and establish churches. During one of his official visits, he went to Oinamlong. He met Zinlakpou Gangmei and convinced him and he accepted Jesus Christ at the age of 29 in 1918. Mr. Zinlakpou Gangmei of Kaikao was the first person converted to whom he related the story of God’s love. On May 15, 1919, he resigned from his service as a bandmaster in order to take up missionary work among his people. By 1924, he came to Tamenglong HQ as a carpenter and preached the gospel to the people. The years 1925 to 1936, his aim was to have churches in every Zeliangrong villages. He was an ardent and straightforward preacher in all the villages. The number of Christians increases and churches established in some villages. His joy increase when he was the seed of the gospel growing in some of the areas he had sown. In 1925, he went to the Anal people in Chandel District to preach the gospel and convinced two people to accept Christ from Liwa. Again, in 1927 he went to Liwa Monsang Naga to preach the gospel.
In 1937, Namrijinang and his family shifted to Tamenglong HQ from Thangmeiband Christian Compound, Imphal. On June 9, 1944 at 12 midnight at Tamenglong village, he left his dear and near ones and the world for eternal rest at the age of 70. During his 70 years, he experienced all kinds of suffering and happiness, but the happiest of them was serving the Almighty God.
He has sown the first seed of the gospel among the Zeliangrong people. He was a real carpenter repairing and mending the broken souls tirelessly up to the end of his life. His life was a life of prayer. He never cared for his personal gains. He lived an exemplary life.
The Namrijinang Educational Ministry (NEM) was founded in his memory of the service of Namrijinang, a pioneer missionary of the Zeliangrong. It was felt that there was a great need for such children seeking to better the betterment of tomorrow and build up their career in both secular and religion. To be an able minister of the Gospel of Christ, one need to have training and equip him/her for the ministry that lies ahead. This Ministry is therefore designed to meet the need of such children. This is a place to receive an education that is not only theoretical but also practical; not only intellectual but also spiritual. This is an ideal place for equipping one, spiritual and intellectually for the ministry of the Lord.