In this blog post, we will discuss the mission work in Assam. There are two NELC Dioceses formed by this mission work; which are still available in the Assam. Here we are discussing, in brief, the mission work in Assam.
Mission work in Assam
Mornai Tea Estate
In 1922 the Rev. Oluf Eie from Denmark took charge of the tea garden. The Eies lived in Mornai until 1962; when they moved to Dumka to be Acting Secretary for the Mission and Church Secretary. Eies never spared himself and under his leadership, the tea garden developed into a modern business concern of great importance for the Church and the Mission.
Mr. and Mrs. Eie combined their duties as planters and missionaries in a fine way. A new factory with new machinery was erected and installed; new modern drying houses built a small, well-equipped hospital; schools, social hall, new offices and hundreds of new workers’ houses built, etc.
The new area of tea was planted out, and the output of tea increased year by year. Many of the workers and staff members are Christians. Two churches have been built and every Sunday services are conducted in Santali, Mundari and Bengali. When the Eies left the garden, the Rev. H. N. Riber took over as Superintendent.
Mission work in Assam at Grahampur Station
Grahampur Middle School changed under the table leadership of Rev. Sigfrid Johansen into a High School in 1954. On Johansen’s leaving that year, Mr. Mathias Tudu, MLA, became the Headmaster of the school.
A new church was erected in Grahampur in 1960. The Rev. Kristian Ofstad, Rev. H. Riber, and Rev. I Hoyland have been in charge of the Colony and Grahampur Mission for the longest periods after the war.
The Grahampur Agricultural School project has developed under the leadership of Mr. Nordtveit. School buildings, teachers’ quarters, assistants’ quarters, farmhouses, etc. have completed. This project has been made possible with the aid of the Lutheran World Federation, Geneva.
Haraputa Girls’ School and Haraputa Dispensary
The school was established in 1926. It received recognition as Middle English School in 1938. Now there are also High School classes. At present, the school has two hundred and seventy students of whom about one hundred and forty live in the boarding attached to the school.
In 1933 a dispensary was built close to the school premises giving medical facilities to students and people of that area. The missionary in charge at present of the school as well as of the medical work is Miss E. Krohn. A number of lady missionaries have worked in the school, at the medical clinic, and in the district work women.
This is the district station for Bahre Hasa. For years there have been Bible courses
Mission work in Assam at Sevapur Christian Hospital
The Sevapur Christian Hospital was built after the Second World war. Dr. O. Forman was the first doctor in Sevapur. When he left in 1948, Dr. Dagmar Pedersen took over.
She succeeded by Dr. B. B. Bogh. In 1953, Dr. Johs. G. Andersen placed in Sevapur succeeded by Dr. Haugstad. The present doctor in charge is Bjorn Hoivik.
One thousand two hundred ninety-two patients treated as in-door patients during 1965. Some six hundred major operations were done and over nine thousand outdoor patients were treated.
Mission work in Assam at Gaurang
After the war, Rev. H. Halvorsrud and Rev. D. West Borg have stayed for longer periods at Gaurang. The Rev. Halvorsrud for the last ten years has been occupied with Bible Translation work into the Boro language, together with Rev. Maguram Mosahari.
The main task is the translation of the Old Testament in order to give the Boros the complete Bible. But this work sponsored by the entire five Protestant Boro Churches representing several dialects. A vital task tried to work out a standard Boro that will as far as possible accepted by these five churches and also by the Boros as a whole.
Rev. David Westborg has started a Bible School for the Boro work. A new building for this purpose has been erected.
Gaurang High School (Thaijoubari)
At the end of 1965, the Gaurang High School had a total of three hundred and one students, of these eighty four students were in High School. There were twelve teachers in the Middle and High School sections. Mrs. Anne Helene Westborg is at present in charge of the school. A number of missionaries have done excellent work in the development of the school. (Compare the Missionary List.)
Mission work in Assam at Bongaegaon
Bongaigaon has continued as a district station for part of the Boro field. Miss Elly Binderup stationed in Bongaegaon, engaged both in medical work as well as evangelistic work among women.
Santipara Leprosy Home and Hospital
Santipara Leprosy Home and Hospital founded in January 1939, by the Rev. and Mrs. G. Fossland. It situated some miles northwest of Bongaigaon. The land needed for the new Colony donated by the Assam Government. The place covered by jungle grass, and it was not an easy task to build up a new colony from the start.
During the first half-year a small doctor’s bungalow; a temporary building for medical treatment, houses for patients, and a small missionary bungalow erected. The war made it difficult to develop the Colony according to plans. After the war ended, however, the Colony grew steadily under the leadership of Rev. Fossland. Santipara had become a modern leprosy hospital and home that well known in Assam. But now these all demolished.
A hospital building, home for children of patients, houses for patients arranged in small villages, etc. had built. The patients had educated in handicraft, and the agricultural farm attached to the Colony provides a good part of the food needed for the patients. Several outdoor clinics operated from Santipara.
With treatment and new and better drugs, reconstructive surgery, and physiotherapy, a large number of patients have been able to return to their homes. They have returned not only with their disease arrested, but also better equipped to go back into their society.
Dr. Paul Murmu, who has received medical training in India and abroad, is in charge of the medical department. The Rev. Jens Sture is the present superintendent of the colony. Regarding other missionaries, personnel compares with the Missionary List.
Parkijuli Station and Hospital and Bhutan Work
During the Second World war, in 1942, the Rev. and Mrs. David Westborg joined the Mission’s work in Assam. They were mission arise in the Norwegian Tibetan Mission, but due to the war, they had to leave Tibet and China. As they were not able to return to occupied Norway they eventually arrived in India.
They called to the Boro work, but with the view of starting work among the Bhutanese and Tibetans; who visited the marketplaces along the Bhutan India border in great numbers during the cold. It is interesting to find that this was no new seasons.
In 1943 Westborg came in contact with a Christian Bhutanese, Rinchen Lama who had dedicated himself as an evangelist among the Bhutanese, Tibetans, and Nepalis.
In 1946 a small school and a clinic opened in Dewangiri, then situated on the border between Bhutan and India. But now after a new border demarcation between India and Bhutan, it is ten miles inside Bhutan. Westborg built a station, Parkijuli, just at the foothills close to the present border, on the India side. The station was ready in 1951.
Since then the work has gradually increased. In Parkijuli a hospital has built, and new constructions erected at present. The permit obtained from the Government of Bhutan to build a leprosy home; and hospital some fifty miles inside Eastern Bhutan; on the new road leading from Kumrikata through Dewangiri and Tashingang. Rev.
Haugstad has started construction work. The Rev. and Dr. Haugstad have been in charge of the Parkijuli Mission, including the Bhutan work since 1962.