This is the 4th part of the first of two lectures presented last week to the students and faculty of Navin Doman Seminary. i will be breaking it down into smaller parts, for some you may have seen some of this in a post before. but remember much of this is all basically new information to the listeners who were impacted by this story.
I have been sharing about Ferdinand Hahn, but I want to give you just one example of how the Adivasi pastors worked and how the churches multiplied during this time of the missionaries.
Around 1871, when Ferdinand was running the boarding school, half the students left to go to the Anglican boarding school. So he had to go out to the villages to recruit more boys to come to the school to get an education. One time he entered a village and saw two boys taking care of the goats, and he asked them if they would like to go to school. They said that you have to ask our mother. Now the mother was a widow, so she said I can’t give you both my sons, but I will give you one son, Suleiman.
When his mother brought him to tge school she told her son, you can run away any time you dont like this place. But Suleman liked it very much, even though the shoemaker missionary made him wesr shoes. He went to the Boarding School, then he went to the Seminary, but he had a problem with epilepsy. Even so he was passionate for Jesus, and he wanted to go back and work with the Oraon people. So Ferdinand suggested that he come and work with him in Lohardaga.
Rev Suleiman Khalko started working with the Christians in different villages, and now in the village called Chatti there were 1,000 believers. Then he took the initiative to remember an old missionary that had been in Lohardaga many years ago, who now was in America, and wrote a letter asking for some money. When he got the money he built the Church in Chatti in 1883. He was only the pastor here a few years and then died. But his congregation loved him so much, when he became sick thet carried him on his bed all the way to Lohardaga in hopes for him to be healed. It was a good hour drive on the car!
Not all the churches from the 19th century are still standing, but there are many scattered about chota Nagpur that never had a missionary stationed there, they were run from the beginning by an Adivasi pastor.
I had the priviledge of seeing the old church in Chatti that is still being used ny 13 congtegations from surrounding villages. Appatently in Chatti itself thete are no more Christians, necause when the road came through, Adivasi dont like to live near the road, and oytsiders usually come and settle there. One could imagine that life in the church compound is still very much like those olden days. There was an old mango tree that seemed as old as the church.