By BRADLEY MARIORI
THE people of Indagen in Kabwum, Morobe, recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Lutheran missionaries in their village.
The story of how the first missionaries reached Indagen is passed on from generation to generation as it is part of their life.
The first Lutheran missionary, Rev Carl Sauracker arrived in Indagen from Sialum in Tewae-Siassi on 19 Aug, 1919.
The following is an account byBuaffe Basanange whose father, Kanga was the one who met the white missionary, Rev Sauracker when he first set foot in Indagen.
“My father knew Sialum tokples because he grew up there. When Rev Sauarecker wanted to bring the gospel, they gave him my father’s name and told him to come and meet my father. Before he came with six evangelists from Finschhafen, they were fasting and the Holy Spirit came to Indagen first.
“The next day, they walked to Indagen and met a man, Ketaung who never spoke the Kotc tokples and pointed towards the road and showed them where to go. That day, the villages of Waren and Indagen were in a fight and Ketaung and my father didn’t want to go to fight when the good news came.
“When they arrived at the village, they saw my father who was surprised to see a white-skinned man for the first time in his life. The first thing Rev Sauracker told my father was: “I am God. I come as a friend of Indagen” in the Sialum dialect which my father knew when he was growing up there. My father didn’t know who God was and thought Rev Sauracker’s name was God. The second word he spoke was Kanga which was my father’s name. Then my father responded and said: ‘Yes that’s me’.
“Then Rev Sauracker shook his hand followed by the six evangelists. My father then took them to their hausman and Rev Sauracker found out that there was no men in the village and asked my father where the men were.
“My father told him they were all out fighting with the neighbouring Waren village and Rev Sauracker asked my father Kanga to bring him to the fighting zone. When they arrived at the fighting zone, he took out his gun and opened fire and when they heard the gun shot, they all fled.
“Then my father called them back which they did. My father told them that the missionary was like them so they need not be afraid. Rev Saurecker took their bows and arrows and cut them with his knife and told them the fight was over. He told them all to meet him in the morning at Zeiwat (memorial).
“When they arrived in the morning, he told them to cut down trees and build a house for him. The evangelists who followed him used knives and axes to cut down trees and the Indagen men helped them to build a house. It took three days to complete the house.
“After the house was completed, Sauracker left the six evangelists with the people of Indagen and went back telling them he would be back to visit them. In 1923 Sauracker came back and built a church and from there, the good news spread to all of Kabwum, Watut and to the Highlands.”
Thousands of people all over Morobe, the highlands and West New Britain gathered to celebrated the arrival of the missionaries 100 years ago on Monday Aug, 19 at Indagen.
However, the event was also a day of mourning as many people had lost their lives while trekking the Sarawaget range to reach Indagen for the anniversary celebrations.