A 46-year-old pastor from Mizoram has won the hearts of many by ferrying villagers to their homes for free from quarantine centres.
Israel Lalremtluanga, a pastor under the Baptist Church of Mizoram (BCM), transported the returnees in his private car from quarantine facilities to their villages for free by risking his own life.
Lalremtluanga lives along with his wife and two sons — aged 10 and 13 — in Haulawng village in Lunglei district.
Haulawng is 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 customized 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,” he said.
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 ferried 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.
He said that his service was neither for fame or publicity but entirely confined to God and him.
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.