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Himalaya

Day 92: Longwa to Digboi

Mon, Nagaland and Assam 
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Full house in the church at Mon. Later, a congregation of 2500 sang 'Onward Christian Soldiers' in Konyak.
Michael Palin - HimalayaThe Konyak Baptist Church is as big as an aircraft hangar, and every seat in the gallery and the body of the church is taken. Shingwong estimates there are 2500 worshippers here. The church was built in 1952 and the services are invariably packed.

The preacher is a Konyak who has been working as a Baptist missionary in Bhutan for the last nine years. In that time he's made less than 100 converts, which, I must say, makes me want to go to Bhutan right away. He speaks at great length on this and related matters, then everyone stands to sing 'Onward Christian Soldiers' in Konyak, after which the congregation, largely passive up till now, is exhorted by the pastor to speak their minds and give thanks to the Lord.

A sedate, middle-aged lady next to me is transformed into a wailing ecstatic. As the prayers flow, her voice rises to a near scream. Stretching out her arm, she begins to rub her hand up and down my back.

'Hallelujah, Praise the Lord!' she screams.

The pressure from her hand increases and it moves up to my head, ruffling my hair one way and then the other.

'Halle-LU-JAH,' she crescendoes, leaping to her feet, arms flung wide above me, eyes tight shut.

'PRAISE...THE...LORD!'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 92: Longwa to Digboi
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Mon
  • Book page no: 216

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