Monday, November 28, 2022

Nagaland celebrates the third jubilee

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things. (Roman 10:13-15).
As the Nagaland Baptist Church Council celebrates 150 years of the coming of the gospel to our land, we look back in the lens of history to recount God’s grace, mercy and love. How the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (ABFMS) landed in this part of our world is a long story to narrate. They did not come for the Nagas because they did not know us then. Perhaps, the simple explanation is this, the Nagas weren’t known to the world and our region did not figure out in their globe. We were in our own untamed world.
The first missionaries who came to our region were enroute to the region beyond us to a specific people group called the Shans in southern China and northern Burma, now called Myanmar. Their mission was officially known as the “Shan Mission.” To realize this mission, the Far East region of India was seen as the best and viable passage. The mighty Himalayan range which stood on their way did not appear in their atlas. The possible water passage through Brahmaputra river could no longer take them farther. As the water flows down south into the mighty river of Brahmaputra the up north was only tributaries of smaller streams and rivers which were not navigable. They could not go beyond the Dihing river. Thus, Jaipur a small sleepy town in upper Assam on the bank of Dihing river became home to the first missionaries.
The Naga history of Christianity began where the western missionaries could no longer proceed to their designated destination. From there on, what was meant for others became our story. The missionaries perhaps have the choice to return and look for another possible passage but they did not! With their mind and eyes fixed on beyond the region they began the work of evangelization with the hope that they could one day be able to go where they were sent.
And this is where our story began. The year was 1872 people living in darkness were introduced to the gospel. Our story is God’s own story. This coming Saturday & Sunday, November, from 19-20, 2022 we will be celebrating the third jubilee years, the sesquicentennial, the coming of the gospel, 150 years ago. Come and be part of history. Let us tell God’s story to our children so that they will narrate God’s own story how the gospel reached us to their children-children.
The Nagas have so many things to be thankful to God for. As we celebrate the year of God’s favor upon us, it is also a time for us to return to God, seeking his forgiveness by forgiving each other. Let us be reconciled to God and with each other and seek his blessing for our generation and for the generations to come. This is the jubilee year, the year of God’s favor upon us. COME AND BE PART OF HISTORY AS WE CELEBRATE “HIS STORY.”
Rev. Dr. Zelhou Keyho,
General Secretary, NBCC

Must Read