Mizoram observes first Christian missionary’s arrival
By Matters India Reporter
Aizawl: The Presbyterian Church in Mizoram has observed the first Christian missionary’s arrival in the northeastern Indian state.
The Church’s synod organized special prayers and services in all worship places on March 15, which is observed as the hanchintha thlen ni’or the advent of the Gospel, since 2014. All the offices of the Mizoram Synod remained close for the day.
The day marks the arrival of Reverend William Williams, a Welsh Presbyterian missionary, in Mizoram in 1891. The state was then known as Lushai country.
Williams learned about the existence of Mizo tribe from a Mizo chief imprisoned in Syhlet and landed at Kutbulkai near Mualvum village in Mizoram-Assam border’s Kolasib district.
He started sailing on the river Tlawng from Silchar in Assam on March 15, 1891 and reached Aizawl (then Aijal) on March 20.
Reverend Williams preached the Gospel to the primitive Mizos and distributed Gospel tracts in some villages.
He wrote a letter to England with a proposal that he should again go to the Lushai country as a missionary to preach the word of God which was approved.
But he suddenly died of typhoid on April 21, 1892, in the Khasi country (now Meghalaya). He was only 33. His letter prompted the Arthington Mission to send Reverend J H Lorraine and Reverend F W Savidge and they arrived in Mizoram on January 11, 1894.
January 11 is still observed as Missionary Day both by the Presbyterian Church and the Baptist Church of Mizoram.
Reverend Williams is regarded as a pioneer missionary who paved the way for Christianity in Mizoram, one of the Christian-majority states in India.