History

Keeping a Story creates History.

History not used is nothing—
for all intellectual life is action,
like practical life, and if you don't use the stuff well,
it might as well as dead.
(Arnold J. Toynbee)

The Starter

The story can tell us of significant events. It helps everyone to know more about what has happened. It also helps the people—old and young, shape the future. It also signifies the particular reference that took place. Instantly, one of the histories made the Garo people very significant. That was an eye-opener and started a new chapter for the Christian journey.

First attempt to the Journey

People like David Scott and Captain Jenkins took the giant steps towards the Garo tribes. Somehow, their ideas towards the Garo tribes were quite relevant and connected. The British government permitted Captain F. Jenkins to open a formal school to the Garos at Goalpara in 1847. As a result, few lads went to Goalpara and enrolled in formal education [K.I. Aier: p24].

Journey to a Milestone

Amid the fights of our people, God made a mystery to the Garo tribes in the hills. Since the inception of Christianity at Rajasimla, which God established through Dr. Miles Bronson on April 14, 1867, our story imprinted in Garo society. Western missionaries like Dr. Miles Bronson and many others took burdensomely. They made this impact the most captivating fragrance among the Garos.

For more than 150 years, the Garo Baptist Churches in Garo Hills have lived with a story that God created. On February 20, 1868, the church (Rajasimla) presented three members who were anxious to go and break into another field—Sakhen (Chakin) and Possalu to go as colporteurs, to receive only ₹ 8.00 each; the third, lately a head Constable in the Police named Ramsing, to serve as Bible reader and colporteur on ₹ 10.00 per month; total amount ₹ 26.00 per month [Dr. Bronson, 1868, p324]. Likewise, so many of our people followed the footprints of missionaries after they left. They took the Gospel to their own people who lived in the hill ranges and transformed to Christ. Some of them reached other places beyond the regions of Garo Hills.

The First Baptist Garo Association Organized

On April 3, 1875, the Garo Christians gathered and assembled in the Gowalpara Chapel on Saturday, 2:00 pm. Eight churches responded by letter, and forty-three delegates were enrolled. After a statement of the object of the meeting, articles of Association were read and adopted. Finally, the members voted to organize into the First Baptist Association of Garo Christian Churches. 

The organization then effected under the articles of Association by electing Rev. T.J. Keith as moderator, Shri Atula, school teacher as scribe, and Shri Fokira, pastor of Rungjulie as treasurer. Finally, two of the significant decisions that took place were:

  1. They voted that brother Chakin be the first missionary of the Association, and they will raise the amount of his at ₹ 10 ($5) per month.
  2. The Association deemed after hearing an exciting statement of brother Gungram’s (Gongaram) experience and unanimously voted to ordain him on the following day at 2:00 pm. The Association then adjourned to meet with the Nisangram Church on Saturday in January 1876. [Rev. T.J. Keith, 1875, p484-85]

Rajasimla Church was Organized

The Church was established only on April 14, 1867, but was regularly organized in February 1876.

Dr. E.G. Phillips and Dr. T.J. Keith reached Rajasimla on Thursday afternoon, February 1876. They also proposed to remain until Monday, but Dr. Keith began to feel fever symptoms on Friday, and they started on Saturday for home again. However, on Friday was accomplished, which will be a great help to the Christians of Rajasimla, and is the beginning of a needed step forward in the Garo mission. That day itself, they organized a regular church. Previously there have been no distinct organizations unless the giving of a report at the annual meeting by the pandits or preachers could be called an organization.

On this occasion, the Rajasimla Christians, numbering a little more than one hundred, including out-stations nearby, after having made a separate church-roll, adopted a covenant and elected two deacons, a clerk, and a treasurer. They already have an ordained pastor (Gungram or Gongaram) with them. [E.G. Phillips, Missionary Correspondence, 1876, p142]

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