About This Video

Some of the last surviving Naga headhunters describe how they once killed members of other tribes, a practice that ended when they converted to Christianity. Today these men are elderly, and their region in northern India, Nagaland, has a higher percentage of Baptists than the state of Mississippi.

 

How did they turn this land of former headhunters into the most Baptist region in the world, a place where American hymns and gospel music have displaced the beating of log drums?

American Baptists came to northeastern India in the 1830s, accepted by the British as potential pacifiers of an unruly population.

The first American to risk his head in Naga territory itself, however, was New Yorker Edwin W. Clark. In 1872, after baptizing the first group of Nagas at a lowland mission, Clark moved to an Ao Naga village—and stayed there, with his wife, for nearly 40 years.

The Clarks opened a mission school that trained Nagas, mostly members of the Ao tribe, to evangelize in remote areas where foreigners were not welcome.

By the 1940s, nearly half the Naga population had converted. Today it is estimated that 90% of the region’s population is Christian.

Related Scripture

Mark 16:15

15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.


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