12 Jan 1904

The Evil Spirit of Rao Ri Phul. A young Lushai girl was carrying a load on her back across some slippery rocks not far from here situated on the top of a high hill in the middle of a forest glade known as “Rao Ri Phul.” As she was heavily laden she not unnaturally slipped & fell on the rocks. But she did not seem to be hurt & was able to continue her journey to her village… When she arrived home she was seized with a kind of fit – or, to use a Lushai expression, she was “taken possession of by a demon.” Her friends gathered round her & began to ask the Evil Spirit all kinds of questions as is their wont.

“Who are you?” queried the company.

“I am the Demon who lives on the Rao Ri Phul.” Answered the spirits, using, of course, the lips of the girl to speak with.

“Are you very powerful?” asks the awestruck listeners.

“I am” answered the Demon.

“Are you stronger than the Foreigners?” (meaning the British) they questioned.

“Yes, I am,” said the Demon.

“Stronger than even our Big Sahib? (meaning the Sub Divisional officer, Mr Whalley) queried the girl’s friends.

“Yes, if I chose I could kill even your Big Sahib,” answered the Demon.

“Are you not afraid of our Lushai Sahibs?” (meaning the missionaries) they ventured to ask again.

“Ah,” said the Demon “I am afraid of them. I saw them only once & it gave me a great fright.”

Then they went on with their questions until they found out how to propitiate so powerful a demon & eventually it was driven out of the girl.

This event had a good effect upon some of the Lushais & I used it in several villages to show the people how even Demons are afraid of those who have God for their refuge.

Demon Possession See above. The Lushais have great faith in Demon possession, & indeed one feels sometimes as though one were face to face with such cases as one reads of in the new Testament. These dark places of the earth are the strongholds of Satan in a very literal sense.

Dreams – their influence. Dreams too are very greatly believed. Many of our converts were first brought to think of spiritual things through the influence of the dreams either of themselves or of others.

Two or three families in our Christian village attribute their acceptance of the Gospel to the dream of an old man many years ago which seemed to foretell the advent of the Glad Tidings. Many other things which this old man had seen in vision (or during delirium) came true; – directly the Gospel came to South Lushai it was accepted by the above-mentioned families as the fulfilment [sic.] of another part of the vision. This was about 3 years ago.

Soon after we came to Lungleh a man had a dream in which he saw a great feast taking place in heaven & beer was being drunk freely by all present. This was eagerly seized upon by the non-Christians as a sure indication that the Christians were being taught wrongly when urged to give up the drunken revels in which the Lushai heathen rejoices.

25 Jan 1904

First “Great Gathering” in South Lushai. Over 140 present. Address on a “Rupee” showing that all the experiences of life are part of great process by which God is fashioning us to eventually bear His image.

Subjects discuss (1) the Sabbath (2) Eating of animals offered in sacrifice to Demons (3) The abandoning of certain Lushai customs & the retaining of certain others (4) The giving of a 10th of ones crops to God for support of evangelists & the poor (5) Christian marriage (6) Drink. &c &c

Arranged to start a Sunday School in each village where there was a Christian. Also to abstain from strong drink because the majority are unable to be temperate — & the few who can drink temperately should give it up for fear of leading weaker brethren astray.

Religion a Joyful Thing There was a great danger when we came here of the converts growing to regard religion as something joyless & gloomy. Even the children seemed to regard youthful pleasures as evils which they must in future abandon. We have been trying to impress upon them that Christians should be the happiest people in the world & that God is pleased when He sees the little ones full of joy & laughter.

(See next item)

Revival of Lushai Games. The game which I taught the youngsters on Xmas day seemed to open the eyes of the Xns to this fact (ie. the fact mentioned in the preceding paragraph “Religion a Joyful Thing) more than anything we have ever said, & we were delighted when upon the Monday of our gathering, the young people after lunch started playing a number of real Lushai games for our amusement & their own. Many of them were but half remembered games revived with the greatest of glee & with many a prompting from their elders. We had never seen any of the dances & games before in the Lushai Hills. Some of them were extremely effective & might be introduced in to England as novelties for Xmas parties. It seems that ever since the war with the British these games have been allowed to fall into disuse. Things were so troublous when fighting was going on that the present generation of youths & maidens had no opportunity of learning these games in their childhood & only the older people remember anything about them. We are hoping that the Xns will take a foremost part in reviving these pleasant features of their national life. Our idea is that the Christians should be the Lushais of the Lushais & that they should preserve every national custom which is not distinctly unchristian. Nothing pains me more than to see a convert alter his or her mode of dress &c. Our work is to Christianize not to de-nationalize.

The First Baptismal Service in S. Lushai. (see article attached to this letter of 25.1.04)

Baptism likened to Lushai Ceremony for Bawis (From article attached to letter) (The solemn rite of baptism) correspond very closely to a ceremony in vogue among the Lushais. The chief of each village is the father of his people. Anyone of them who happened to fall into deep poverty, also any orphan or widow

Baptism likened to Bawi Ceremony. can, of his or her own free will, become a member of the chief’s household. If unable to work he or shee she is fed and clothed free, and, if able-bodied, food, clothing, & lodging are given in exchange for work. It is a form of slavery, but is a real blessing to the poor and needy. At first when a person voluntarily becomes a bawi or slave of the chief in this way, he is at liberty to return to his old life, but after a time a certain ceremony is performed and the person publically [sic] declares himself the life-long slave of the chief and owns the chief to be his lord and master from that day forward. Although a slave, he is more like a son of the house, for he shares in all the chief possesses in the way of food & drink, & has no anxieties as to the future. When the time comes for him to be married the chief will pay the necessary dowry & he will be allowed a separate house & will have a great amount of freedom. It will easily be seen how closely Christian baptism corresponds with the ceremony mentioned, & the converts regard it as a public confession before the world that they are henceforth irrevocably the servants of God & followers of Christ.

Baptism of Rochawngbuta First Xn Baptized in S. Lushai (from article attached to letter dated 25.1.04)

(The first Baptismal service was held at Nghashi Lui 20 Jany 1904. Rochawngbuta, Thankunga’s uncle was the first of the 23 persons to be baptised — aged about 70 years).

The oldest man, a good old fellow named Rochawngbuta came forward and boldly entered the water. The audience was hushed to a great silence as I held his hand in mine. Then for the first time in the history of South Lushai the words “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, of the Son, & of the Holy Ghost,” were uttered. The aged convert, holding my hand, stooped and bowed his head & the water closed over his grey hairs. The next instant he rose from the symbolic burial & with beaming eyes spoke a few words of testimony to the onlookers, and as he went up out of the water the forest echoed with the strains of

Follow, follow, I will follow Jesus

anywhere, everywhere, I will follow on;

Follow, follow, I will follow Jesus,

Anywhere He leads me I will follow on.

Then the next next name was called & the next & the next, some speaking a word of testimony to the crowd on the bank as they entered the water & others doing so as they came out. Between each baptism everyone joined in singing the chorus given above. The scene was one which must live in the memory of many of us as long as life lasts. &c (First 12 baptized by J.H.L. Next 11 baptized by F.W.S. )

The First Communion in S. Lushai We gathered round the Lord’s Table for the first time. This final meeting of our first Great Gathering was one of great joy & blessing. Everything was most simply arranged. Each communicant had a small bamboo cup into which the sweetened water, which took the place of wine, was poured, as we feel very strongly the unwisdom of all drinking from the same cup in a country where terrible diseases might be communicated from one of another by so doing.

Then & Now (from above article) Ten years ago on that very day we were living in a tent near For Aijal in the midst of the Lushais. We could not speak their language nor had it at that time been reduced to writing. Dense darkness covered the land from N. to S., from E. to W. Not a soul knew of the saviour’s love, no lip had yet named the name of Jesus. To us who knew these hills in those days of utter spiritual darkness, the rising of the blessed Sun of Righteousness & the coming of these dear people to His light is a sure proof that the Gospel of Jesus is the Message of God to mankind & that it is as powerful today as it was in the Early days of the Church. The Gospel Day has dawned in these wild hills & valleys. God grant that no cloud may arise to hide the Sun and intercept this mighty working.

14 Mar 1904

Lushai Ignorance We have much to do besides simply preaching the Gospel – the people are so ignorant, & it sometimes seems as though the beasts of the forest have more wisdom.

Dirt is one of the great enemies with which we have to contend, but there are many others.

Infant Mortality is fearfully high on account of ignorance. The women often go to work in the fields the day after giving birth to a child & the little one is left at home in charge of some child or old woman. Of course it cries & has to be fed & so it has become the universal custom to fee babies on chewed rice from the very day of their birth. This is more than any infant can stand & it gives rise to all kinds of troubles which often result in death. The other day a woman from the village close to our compound brought her newly born baby for medicine. The poor little mite was terribly bruised & had several swellings on its limbs. We asked if it had had a fall or anything of the sort, but the mother said “No.” A day or two after, however, we heard that an old woman who was nursing the child just after it was born had let it fall on the ground 3 or 4 times. If the baby recovers, which seems doubtful, it will probably be a cripple for life, but it seems that it has received some internal injuries, for all kinds of complications have set in & we feel that it will be a mercy if the poor wee creature is taken. It is crying day & night & nothing we have done for it seems to do any good. It did not improve matters when the mother & father took the injured child a long day’s journey over the mountains two days after its birth – & it was after their return that they brought it to us for treatment. It strikes me that no animal save fallen man would treat its young as the children are treated here. They are loved sufficiently – but the love is so ignorant of what is for the child’s good, that it only works evil.

[Written in the margin] The child died soon after & was thus mercifully spared a life of suffering

Lushai Ignorance (Continued) The children naturally dislike being washed so they are allowed to go about shaming the very pigs in the street; they cry for all sorts of harmful things and are rarely refused, & suffer from tummy ache & all kinds of other ills in consequence. They object to wearing clothes & so are allowed to run about naked when they are suffering from chest complaints, which frequently become chronic when they do not carry the little sufferer off altogether. It is not to be wondered at that so large a majority of children die.

Infant Mortality (See above note “Lushai Ignorance.”)

21 Mar 1904

Nearly Kicked by a Horse (A narrow escape)

Yesterday (Sunday) the Contractor (who was building our house) rode over with me to the Christian village where I was to conduct the morning service. The people flocked round to shake hands when they heard that he was a Christian. He was very pleased with the singing.

On the way back we nearly met with an accident. We were cantering along — his big horse in front and my pony behind — when my pony attempted to overtake & pass the Contractor’s horse. Just as we got up to the latter, the brute, although cantering as hard as it could, kicked out with his hind legs at my pony to prevent it passing, sent the Contractor flying off its back & just grazed my leg & my lip with its hoofs. It was a wonderful escape, for had I been one inch nearer, my leg & jaw would doubtless have been broken. As it was my lip was only just touched & is, this morning, the wee-est bit swollen. The Contractor too got his feet out of the stirrups in time & so was not dragged along the ground good as he might have been. His horse is a horrible creature & is always dangerous to go near, but I never dreamed that when cantering he would kick out in that brutal fashion just because my pony tried to pass him. Rova was not hit anywhere, the horse’s hoofs went clean over his head into my face. I felt very thankful to God for preserving me from what might have been a very serious accident.

29 Mar 1904

Rs 1000/- for every Convert. There is still a great deal of opposition to the Gospels, but our converts tell us that it is more visible when we are absent from a meeting than when we are present. The latest report of our opponents is to the effect that the Government pays us Rupees 1000/- for every convert we make. Had they pitched upon a lower figure perhaps some would believe them. The old Adversary often over reaches himself.

My Friendship with F.W.S. Fred has gone down to Calcutta to be married. Our friendship has been very sweet & I know of few fellows who have got on together so well as we have all these years. I think these last few years we have grown to love one another as we never did before. From henceforth we shall live separate lives & we are both sorry that the happy days of our friendship together are past. Still we hope that the future has even greater things in store — and although married we shall never cease to be friends. I owe a great deal to Fred. It was he who first helped me to overcome in a measure my natural shyness & reserve; & he has been a true friend to me ever since I knew him. For a time, I am afraid, I did not respond to his affection; but these last 4 or 5 years we have lived in perfect harmony.

Fred’s Narrow Escape On the way to Demagiri last Friday Fred’s horse suddenly tripped over something when it was galloping. In a moment horse & rider were on the ground with the horse, unfortunately, on top. The horse cut his face badly but soon scrambled up & made for home, while Fred felt himself unable to rise. After a bit, however, he managed to get up & follow the horse & a man coming in the opposite direction stopped the homeward bound steed & Fred was able to resume his journey. He escaped with a severe shaking. How good God is! We had had a prayer meeting together the morning Fred left, & when the Christians

[the text continues vertically in the margin] heard of his accident they felt, & so did I, that his escape was in answer to prayer. It might easily have broken poor Fred’s neck



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Lorrain's Logbook Copyright © 2023 by Edited by Kyle Jackson; Natasha McConnell; and Nick Gill is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book