Amid lockdown, Rev Israel Lalremtluanga uses personal vehicle — customised for social distancing — to transport returnees from quarantine centres to their villages
Aizwal: No doubt the outbreak of novel coronavirus has greatly affected and impacted the country, but it also has the brought out the positive side in restoring humanity and unearthing good Samaritans, who have gone out of their way to help the needy. A 46-year-old pastor in Mizoram is one of them.
His stellar act of generosity in transporting returnees in his private car from quarantine facilities to their villages for free by risking his own life has won many hearts.
Rev Israel Lalremtluanga, a pastor under Baptist Church of Mizoram (BCM), lives along with his wife and two sons — aged 10 and 13 — in Haulawng village in Lunglei district, about 35 km from the district headquarters of Lunglei and 129 km from state capital Aizawl. He originally hails from Lunglei, the second largest town in Mizoram, after Aizawl.
Lalremtluanga customised his private car, which he inherited from his late father-in-law to be used in his ministry. He removed the single front seat near the driver and fixed it at the back by removing the original back seat. He made a barrier between the driver and passenger to ensure social distancing. The kind-hearted pastor started his selfless service since March when many stranded people started returning to the state.
“Initially, when stranded people start returning from different parts of the country, I learnt that 14 returnees from our area were placed under quarantine facilities in Lunglei. Twelve of them had no vehicles to go back to their villages after undergoing 14 days’ quarantine as maxicab services and other modes of transportation were not available due to lockdown. So, I thought of offering a lift to the inmates, which is part of my ministry,” the Baptist pastor from Haulawng pastoral circle or area told EastMojo.
He said that he moved to and fro between Lunglei and Haulawng, which is at a distance of about 35 km, to transport returnees, who completed their quarantine terms.
In the first batch, he used to ferry a single passenger on the back seat in accordance with the government’s safety protocol. However, in the following batches, he re-fixed the original back seat and carried one to two passengers, he said. The passengers used to contribute for petrol, he added.
Asked what encouraged him to volunteer, Lalremtluanga said, “I am a pastor and some of my primary duties are to comfort others and to preach the gospel, which is primarily confined to the church. As church service was suspended due to Covid-19 spread, I thought of taking the preaching ministry outside the church and transformed it into action to worship God and help the needy.”
He said that his service was neither for fame or publicity but entirely confined to God and him.
“This is not for fame and publicity, but entirely confined to God and I. I am God's and I am just serving Him when I help others. Serving others and the needy people is part of my ministry. I am happy that I could help others in such a time of need,” Lalremtluanga said, adding that he was keeping alive the wishes of his father-in-law, who gave him the car for helping others.
More than seven villages fall under Haulawng pastor circle of the BCM, the ministerial jurisdiction of Lalremtluanga. He said he re-fixed his car to the original design on Saturday as all the quarantine facilities inmates in their area have returned to their respective homes.