Now let us go back to Ferdinand's time in Ranchi from 1868-1876. When he first arrived the job that he was given was to run the Boys Boarding School. He had hoped that he would at first be apprenticing with a senior missionary, but unfortunately they left the mission and went to the Anglican Church. So now he had to figure it all out on his own. One person who helped him along the way when he was the young Hanukh D. Lakra. Hanukh later became the first President of the autonomous GELC. When Hanukh was a boy he was the only one that had learned some German. The new missionaries didn’t know any Hindi, not even any English to be able to speak to the British, so it was good to have this youth helping them all the time
The Mission made a commitment in 1871 to make sure that the Adivasi Church was independent. This was a principle that Gossner had emphasised, but the older missionaries had lost sight of that vision. There were some Indian pastors in the mission, but they were from places like Bengal, UP, different places. After almost 20 years there still were no Adivasi pastors. So in 1866 this big building was built for the purpose of training pastors in a Seminary. But in the beginning they only could use it for a school for Catechists, and as a girl’s school.
Among the Catechists they chose a few string leaders. One was a Munda named Nathanael Tuyu. They asked him to go to Ranchi for a two year program. He said, "why do you want me to go to Ranchi, I am doing God’s work right here. Why should I go away, am I not doing God’s work here? I am called me to do God’s work here." That was in the area of Chaibasa. So it was agreed that he would be given a fast track for only one year. Nathaniel Tuyu was so impacted by what he learned in Ranchi, that he encouraged others to seek this training and be better equipped in understanding the Bible and learning about church life.
Ferdinand Hahn, who was not ordained, was asked to tutor Nathanael Tuyu to get through the program in a year. This is how Ferdinand’s life as a missionary started. He doesn’t know how to run a school, but he is told to run a school. He is not ordained, but he is told to ordain a pastor. That should give you some idea of his character that said, I can do, I can do.
This is the picture of that Seminary, but today you cannot find it in Ranchi. It was next to Christ Church. Now all you can see is this wall, and these three pillars. The rest of the building was knocked down. The problem was that they didn’t do Seminary here in Ranchi, it was done in different citied, like Hazaribagh. They had trouble maintaining such a building after Autonomy. You can imagine it is very difficult in maintaining a building like this. They would place the Seminary where the Teachers were. The building was not properly used.
When you go to Ranchi you have to imagine - 1868, 1871, 1880 when this building was there, there was no big city like there is today. There were only 26,000 people in Ranchi. Then there was only Christ Church and the Seminary building and a few smaller buildings around to be seen. So at that time it was standing out as being the place for God, that Christ is here, in the middle of - nowhere! It was like puttiing a light upon a mountain.
These musings include the journey of my writing on the history of my great great grandparents and the travels for research to India, Germany and other places of interest.