On 4th March 2017, the students and faculty of C-Edge College, Dimapur made their first historic Pilgrimage Walk to Molungyimsen village after meticulous preparation and with great enthusiasm. The walk was organised with the aim to learn and feel the deeper root of Christianity in Nagaland – its beginning and growth which threw light into our world. The trip comprised of thirteen students, five faculty members accompanied by Er. Moa Aier, the President of the college with his family. Dr. Imomanen Tzudir and his wife were also a part of the group who made the trip more pleasant and memorable.
The team was blessed to have the Pastor and the Deacons of the Molungyimsen Baptist Church waiting at the starting point. As Pastor Tajung Jamir of the Molungyimsen Baptist Church mentioned before the start of the walk, that it should be taken prayerfully as spiritual enlightenment. It was hard not to feel a sense of reverence while making the trek from the Suspension Bridge to Clark Light Tower at Molungyimsen village in Mokokchung district, which is the only Christian Pilgrimage trail in Nagaland.
Clark Suspension Bridge:
[caption id="attachment_271530" align="alignnone" width="551"] Students crossing the Clark Suspension Bridge.[/caption]
This was the starting point of the Pilgrimage Walk. The team had to cross more than 100 years old hanging bridge that was built by EW Clark, the first Christian missionary to reach Nagaland. It was truly monumental because apart from the few renovations like the bamboo path, the cable and the metal frame of the bridge it was the same one which was brought all the way from Chicago, USA during 1887. The comment made by a student made sense of it all “it was a mind blowing experience walking on the bridge.”
[caption id="attachment_271540" align="alignnone" width="311"] The bamboo grooves along the way.[/caption]
The 12 kilometers trek was covered within 3 to 4 hours with breaks in between. The best part was the bamboo grooves and the sheds for resting which made the walk more pleasant. It was so easy to navigate throughout the trek because of the well maintained path and the arrow signs for direction. The hardest part of the trek was at the end with the steep climb towards the village. As one of the student narrated “At first, I thought it won’t be really difficult, but after walking on rough terrain and endless steep slopes, I thought I won’t be able to reach my destination, but when I saw my friends trying their best, even though they were tired. I pulled myself up and started to walk and finally I was able to reach my destination which made me really happy. The happiest thing is I was able to surpass my limit.”
The Destination – Clark Light Tower
[caption id="attachment_271532" align="alignnone" width="531"] Clark Light Tower which is the stopping point of the Pilgrimage Walk.[/caption]
It was surreal to finally reach Molungyimsen village after the fun as well as the tiring trek. The friendly faces and warm greetings of the people at the village made us felt very welcomed. One thing that everyone took notice was the neat and clean surroundings of the village which was such an inspiration to all.
The Clark Light Tower is situated near the village church which is the stopping point of the Pilgrimage Walk. Despite the hectic trek, the majestic Clark Light Tower made it all worthwhile. The tower also housed a Museum that contains many memorabilia, giving us a clear idea about the whole experience of E.W Clark and how he and his team played a transformational role. Things like the bathtub, rocking chair, the door and window used by Clark and his family, pictures of the people involved in spreading the Gospel, and lots of various items are displayed at the Museum. Sadly, cameras are not allowed inside the museum.
Another amazing fate awaiting us was the Litchi Tree, behind the Clark Light Tower that was planted by E.W Clark more than 100 years ago. It is believed that whoever prays and asks for blessing from God in front of the tree is answered. It is also said that the tree still bears plentiful tasty litchi fruits.
[caption id="attachment_271533" align="alignnone" width="310"] The Litchi Tree which was planted by E.W Clark.[/caption]
The Sunday Devotional
The next day after the trek, the College got the opportunity to host and conduct the Sunday Devotional Service at Molungyimsen Baptist Church on 5th March with Er. Moa Aier, the President of the college delivering the message. He talked about the history of Christianity in Nagaland and its enormous blessings. It truly was a wonderful experience with the students taking part in the service by reading the bible verses and presenting a special song. Miss Limongi Khuvung, Assistant Professor also gave a short sharing by highlighting the Pilgrimage walk as equivalent as going to Jerusalem for Christians.
[caption id="attachment_271538" align="alignnone" width="638"] The C-Edge College Students and Faculty outside the Molungyimsen Baptist Church after the Sunday Devotional Service.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_271539" align="alignnone" width="638"] C-Edge College Students, Faculty, Pastor, Church Members & other guests of Molungyimsen Baptist Church.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_271535" align="alignnone" width="310"] Molungyimsen Village – picture taken from the Clark Light Tower.[/caption]
Some few students and faculty narrated and shared about the entire experience as “my experience during the pilgrimage walk was a challenge for me. During the journey, I have learnt how E.W Clark and his team might have suffered and my journey was less hard compare to them. As the saying, the best view comes after the hardest climb, I felt so blessed after the pilgrimage walk.”
Most of them experience it as a spiritual growth journey, as said by one of the students “throughout the entire walk, I was not disappointed; the walk had a precise balance of adventure, blessed discoveries and personal time to embrace my faith strongly,” One student in particular commented “the most common effect of the pilgrimage walk is that it solidifies something that is growing within me, learning through the struggle made by Rev. Dr. E.W Clark which now I can boldly say that I am a born again Christian, I am born of God and my citizenship is in Heaven.” One of the faculty mentioned that it was indeed a genuine pilgrimage walk, ‘a walk to retrospect’ and ‘gear up’ to seek God’s will.
Lastly, another faculty narrated “this was an experience which I had longed for sometime. It was more than I expected which made me very happy knowing that people from all over the world can also undertake this pilgrimage walk. In this fast moving modern world, such experience is what everyone needs to rejuvenate and find their spiritual connection. I was equally impressed with the well maintained route, the waiting sheds on the way, the Clark Light Tower, the Litchi tree, the rest house, the museum and the warm reception of the people at the village. It is truly a monumental place. I also felt truly blessed to have made this walk which made me stronger in my faith and conviction.”
This experience has taught us the strength that each of us possessed, physically and spiritually. It is indeed a very thoughtful opportunity provided by the Molungyimsen people. Because it has the capacity to put Nagaland in the world map as one of the most sought after Pilgrimage site. It is quite fair to conclude that this entire experience was made profound with the warm reception shown by the Pastor, church officials and members of Molungyimsen. The only surprise at the end when we were on the way out from the village was the bumpy ride where the road does not look like it was repaired or built for many years.