Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write for the ACTION and/or ADVENTURE Genre (11/13/14)
- TITLE: A HISTORICAL ADVENTURE: The Adventure of Rev Kampfer for the Gospel in a strange land
By Dr Surya Kumar Daimari
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To the north of this big Brahmaputra lies the land of the Kacharies, perhaps the most terrific land where people were “spirit worshippers sunk in the depravity of ignorance”- “driven back into the swamps and jungles”. It was Rev. George Richard Kampfer who received a Macedonian call to preach the gospel among the Kacharies. He calls the village he first landed, “the village of the gallows”- (as found in his diary untitled) where people were half dazed, half savage, half demonized worshipers of devils. He was perhaps greeted by the roaring of a tiger or welcomed by the trumpet of a wild elephant when he first landed. Yet, despite this fact, he calls his trip “a glorious trip”. Incredible! In his own language,
“How glorious these trips in the open in November! The evening sky so clear, covered with myriads of stars, such as on American sky rarely reveals, and the air so quiet and heavily verdure-scented. And how welcome the rest after the heat and burden of the day!”
This was the land of the Kacharies, the land of the gallows, tigers and elephants. A Great Adventure indeed!
The village that Rev Kampfer first landed was called “Phasiagaon” which means village of the gallows---might be a place where condemned people or criminals were executed or hanged. The word ‘gallows’ means a wooden structure, typically of two uprights and a crosspiece, for hanging of criminals. The other meaning could be the village of Modai, i.e., evil spirit, where people were caught in their heathen state. There is an amazing story that runs through. One day Rev. Kampfer was riding on his bicycle over a crazy road. Suddenly, he felt that something very strange was running behind him. As he came across a culvert, he almost stopped to see the most fearful and inevitable a scene. Two very wild and savage looking people blocked his way holding their knives in front of him. There stood the two ‘breathless creatures half naked with their long hair tied into a top knot’- and they uttered to the top of their voice,
“Sahib, we want the Kingdom of God”.
Here stands today the beautiful church at Phasiagaon that “takes the Kingdom by storm”. This is the most strange, the most awesome and unusual a phenomenon ----a rare example how the churches were established in the land of the Kacharies.
The question often arises, What motivated these missionaries like Rev Camper, and many others to come to the land of the gallows and tigers i.e., the land of the Kacharies---- and to the land of the head-hunters, the wildest of tribes in Nagaland and other parts of the entire North Eastern Region of India?
The contributions and sacrifices they made, the prices they paid leaving their hearth and home are really incredible. Many times they confounded themselves in small births of ships-- became sea sick, tossing and turning, seeing their wives giving birth to their children at sea and in strange lands, sometimes losing their beloved ---- only having laid their faith on the altar of hope of ever seeing their families in their native land. Many missionaries to India never returned to their native land but lived and served the Indians, died and were buried in Indian soil by demonstrating Christ in words and in deeds. The example of Graham Stains in Orissa is great –who was burnt down alive inside a car along with his children----cut down by bows and arrows! WHY?
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