Nagaland – Day 7
One week on
Can it really be a week since we set off from Poringland in Martin’s Land-rover through snow drifts and subzero temperatures? It seems so long ago, such is the effect of having travelled to a strangely mystical corner of the world, and become caught up ministering to many lovely young people who love the Lord, are called to serve him, and who are willing to be taught.
On the internet I stumbled across this fascinating piece in the Guardian, a glimpse into the recent history of Nagaland and recommend looking at it to see something of what makes this place so unusual and special. It is very short, just a newspaper article.
A great day
Today was a great day in the college. There are no classes on Fridays, just a long joint session all together in the chapel and after yesterday the direction we should take was clear. We would focus on the heart of the Christian gospel: reckoning and going on reckoning ourselves dead (Romans 6.11), knowing with great joy and expectation that we have (already) been crucified with Christ, that we no longer live but that Christ now lives in us and that the life we now live we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us (completed action) and gave his life for us (paraphrase of Galatians 2.20).
So we explained what it means to not live to please ourselves (for we have died with Christ) or of seeking experience for ourselves, even spiritual experiences such as that of feeling Jesus’ love for us. (Having died for us we need never doubt his love for us again!) We taught them to set their faces like flint to always move forwards, by faith and not by sight, feeling or experiences. (This of course is the antidote to responding to every altar call thinking we are missing something and need a preacher from another nation to pray for us.)
The hour and a half was easily filled and the stage set for everyone to get right with God, making whatever personal responses were relevant, and this repentance was followed by a corporate, immediate and loud cry of victory and praise to Jesus for what he has done for us on the cross.
All the faculty, including those who are not yet familiar with things of the Spirit, agreed it had been an important time and one commented ‘It was the message we have been waiting for’.
The platform is thus laid for next week’s ministry, I can hardly wait for next week’s times with the Mdiv’s and of course the mid-morning daily chapel with all students and faculty.
This is Mayang, Sentinas brother and Chuba Ao’s son. Mayang was at Roffey College in 2004 to 2005.
Clark Theological College
After lunch (Naga people have lunch at breakfast time and little at lunchtime it seems – they are kindly accommodating our Britishness in our daily routine) we drove out of town to Nagaland’s predominant bible college, financed, organised and run by the Baptist church. It was the baptists who sent the first missionary, Dr E. W. Clark, here in 1872. Dr Clark braved the headhunters, the lack of a shared language and all the other many hazards confronted by that extraordinary generation of explorers, to bring Christ to these people. Bring Christ he certainly did, and, quite unlike the rest of India, the state has been Christian ever since. The Clark Theological College is very theological, publishing its own journal and demanding a certain intellectual prowess from its students. The campus is large and well kept, and like most of Nagaland Christianity adopts a non-Pentecostal stance. We were (nevertheless) welcomed warmly by the principal and we enjoyed a little theological discussion. Did I detect a little surprise that a UK visitor to the local Pentecostal college (much smaller of course and without the funding they have enjoyed) had studied at a similar level? Anyway, he invited me to lecture at the college next time I came. I would enjoy that.