Sunday, September 26, 2010


What is the mission in the North-east really like? That is a question I have been longing to seek an answer to. When one looks at the institutional development in a city it is hard to fathom what the reality was before the missionaries came. Well, yesterday I had a chance to see first-hand what it must have been like as I took a trip to one of the oldest mission stations of Meghalaya – Mawkyndeng. The journey began early (5:30 am) and luck was on our side as the traffic was light on an otherwise busy road. We were in Jowai by 7:30 and at our destination by 8:15 – The regulars were shocked at how little time it had taken us to reach. They are used to more like 5 hours on the road.

The 'mission' compound is almost a self-contained unit, centred on education with a plethora of schools both formal and non-formal. The parish church is at the very centre of things (literally and metaphorically). There are two large boardings (one for girls run by the FMAs and the other for boys under the care of the SDBs). The school buildings give one the impression of solidity and seriousness. Even though it was a school holiday, one could see many children around the place. There is also a little pond and other structures that ensure safety and security to the compound. The greenery all around bears witness to a native ecological sensitivity that pre-dates our own feeble efforts on the issue today.Being at the mission to animate a recollection, I did not have much time to go around but I was impressed by the pioneering vision of those who chose this rather isolated and difficult terrain as the locus of a new 'kingdom'. They brought well-being and peace, they brought education and development. They strove hard in the face of unimaginable difficulties but never gave up. God bless them for their courage and God bless those to who continue the 'mission' there (and in other territory) that would daunt the faint-hearted.

Returning back after sunset on the journey home, I was lost in thought and my mind was filled with gratitude for the work done. So many sons and daughters of the soil now labor to bring the same message of peace and development, of well-being and education in other parts of the state of Meghalaya, in other parts of India and some even in other areas of the world. The fire that has been lit in 1882 now burns on - not just in the physical structures, but more especially in the hearts and minds of those who have been 'lit' and now carry the light onward.

1 comment:

Vincent Castilino said...

That's the secret of the early missionaries. They had the whole place to begin with... anywhere was perfect. No great logical thinking, strategic planning, choice and preferences based on this or that... just the insatiable urge to spread God's love!

Every place was a mission field. Today perhaps we 'consider' too many factors and too little facts, when we take up a mission.

Thanks for the sharing and do keep writing. It feels like the being back in Shillong... oh, I love that place!!