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Mission Work

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In this blog post, we are dealing with the Mission work in Bihar. Here we will give a short resume over the mission work as it has developed during Second World War.

And thereafter place it in its relationship with the established indigenous Church. This Mission work established three stations in the three states like Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam.

Mission work in Santal Pargana in Bihar

Dumka is still the headquarters of the Mission. The Rev. J. Gausdal remained as the Secretary of the Mission until 1946 when he left on home leave. He was succeeded by the Rev. B. Helland; who remained in office until the Rev. O. S. Bjerkestrand took over in 1951.

Rev. A. E. Stronstad succeeded Bjerkestrand in 1953-1954 with Bjerkestrand in the office again in 1954-1955. Since then the Rev. A. E. Stronstad remained Secretary until January 1966 with the exception of 1962 when the Rev. O. Eie was the Acting Secretary during Stronstad’s furlough.

From the beginning of 1966 the Rev. Gunnar Fossland was elected Secretary of the Mission for a five years term.

As the administrative center of the Mission, the Mission treasury is also situated in Dumka. After the Second World war, the following missionaries care of this important department of the Mission: Kjell Torkildsen, Miss Naomi Torkelson.

Mission work in Benagaria Station

The Missionaries in charge of the station have in addition to the district work also been in charge of the press. As a rule, they have also assisted in the teaching at the Theological Seminary.

Superintendence of the press has taken much of the time for the station missionary. This press has provided the Mission and Church with most of the literature published during the history of the Mission.

Part of the literature produced by missionaries of the SMNC has been mentioned in other connections. In recent years W. Glad, A. Thu, Johannes Gausdal, and Hjalmar Kvam have made their contributions to the Santal literature.

The following missionaries have been in charge of the Benagaria station in recent years: W. Glad, Kristian Tromborg, Aage K. Jensen, John. Thoft Krogh. The present superintendent is the Rev. Kjell Clausen.

Kaerabani Boys’ School

This school has now developed into a high school. It has now more than seven hundred students including primary, middle, and high school sections. Since 1940 the following missionaries have been in charge of the school for longer periods: John. Krohn, H. N. Riber, O. Landsverk.

Gora Tudu was superintendent here. The district work has been separated from the institutional work all along. Two missionary families have worked as district missionaries in Kaerabani after the second world war; R. Rosenlund, and H. Kvam.

Maharo Girls’ School

In 1929 a teachers’ training school was attached to the school. A large number of women teachers have during the years passed from the training school in Maharo and have been appointed as teachers in schools all over the district.

Maharo received recognition as a Middle School in 1936 and has now developed into a high school; although, official recognition for the high school classes has as yet not been received. Several lady missionaries have worked in Maharo both as educationalists as well as lady district missionaries.

Some have also done medical work in the dispensary attached to the school. However, none have worked there as many years as Miss Edle Sigurdsen; who has done much to create a spirit of Christian love; and fellowship among the students and at the same high educational standard.

Saldoha Leprosy Home and Hospital

This institution has seen many alterations and additions during the last twenty years. In 1965 a ministrative building which has offices; doctor’s consult a new addition room, pharmacy, laboratory; X-Ray Room, and two operation theatres constructed with aid from Norway.

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There is also a good hospital with a bed capacity for thirty patients. Some two hundred and sixty lepers live in The Colony. There are several outdoor clinics attached to Saldoha where thousands of lepers are treated annually.

In the Colony, there is also a Dispensary for non-leprosy patients. During this period these missionaries have been superintendents of the Colony: V. Bagger, J. Nyhagen, M. Haugstad, and Jens Sture. The present superintendent is O. Elgsaether. A number of missionary nurses had served in the Colony.

Mohulpahari Christian Hospital

The hospital in Benagaria moved to Mohulpahari in 1951; where a new and modern hospital was after the war. Several doctors and a number of built nurses are working in the hospital.

Thousands of patients treated annually in the hospital, and a great number of major operations done. There are several departments in connection with the hospital, as T. B. ward, Eye surgery department, etc.

Dr. Kristofer Hagen was in charge of the hospital during 1951-52, succeeded by Dr. Otto Forman (1952 1956). Dr. W. R. Scott released Dr. Forman in 1956.

When he left in 1960, Dr. Hagen again returned for a short period until Dr. Egil Ofstad took over in June, 1962: Since June 1964, Dr. Scott is back again.

In Mohulpahari a Nursing School established in 1951; and has developed into an Auxiliary Nurse cum Midwife Training School. There is now a modern set of buildings with the three first units of the Nursing School completed.

They include a classroom, demonstration room, dining room, office, and guest room. At the present, new additions including extra classrooms; better hostel facilities, staff quarters, study hall, etc. are under construction. It is anticipated that these extra facilities will enable the Nursing School to upgrade the course General Nursing.

Mission work in Koreya

An orphanage started in Koroya in 1920. It runs by the Mission until it gradually closed during the first years of the 1950s. The missionaries in Koroya have also done district missionary work.

Mission work in Chondorpura

Chondorpura is one of the oldest district stations. The Santal Theological Seminary situated in this place between 1939 and 1951. In 1955 a Bible School for women, under the name of the Martha Maria School” started.

Miss Buttedahl initiated the school in 1955 succeeded by Miss Gunvor Clausen at the end of the year. At present Mrs. Raode Hasdak’ is in charge of the school.

Mission work in Tilabani

This has been an exclusive district mission station. Several missionaries have worked at Tilabani. But at in travels, it has remained empty, and no missionaries had placed there during the last years.

After the Second World war, the Rev. and Mrs. P. R. Pedersen has remained there for the longest period and during their terms there the district work showed good progress and results.

Mission work in Basetkundi

This station is well known from the old annals of the Mission. The first missionaries to live there, however, were Gausdals. They stationed in Basetkundi in 1923, and Gausdal built the mission station; a Church building, and started a small school.

The school upgraded to a Middle English School at the end of the Second World war. A number of missionaries have worked in Basetkundi.