Rev. Nitoyi - down the memory lane

Dr BSR Mahapatra

It is one year since Rev Nitoyi left for heavenly abode. Those who knew him remember him like me and feel that he is still with us.

An eventful career of a man of God came to an end on 20th August last year.

A few months back his wife and I had some sort of remembrance of the past. Rev Nitoyi was a man of few words. But his insight into Holy Bible and interpretation was praise worthy.

I came to know him in 1978, during Diamond Jubilee celebration of advent of Christ into Sumi region. At that time I was a young medical officer married to a young Sumi lady from Satakha. I was medical officer at Chare. I was a non-Christian. My wife longed, I would go to Aizuto and attend the Jubilee and speak something about Christ. I readily agreed and went to Aizuto. It was the concluding day of the celebration. Rev Notoyi was the chairman. I requested him to speak a few words about Christ as a non-Christian. As there was a packed programme, he was reluctant in the beginning and lastly accepted my request and gave a short time to speak. I was to speak in English and he was to translate into Sumi. My short speech was very much appreciated by the congregation, which included the then Chief Minister Dr Hokishe, Dr Anderson and his family members (the first American Missionary to introduce Christ to Sumi Region) some other foreign clergymen and Rev Temjen Aier, the then Secretary of CBCNEI etc. Dr Anderson was very much pleased and wanted me to accept Christ. But I told him, I would take time.

The next morning as Dr Anderson was going with others to Shamator, I requested and he had break-fast in my official residence at Chare, and I felt myself honored.

In 1979 I go transferred to Naga Hospital, Kohima and continued till 1986. At that time Rev Nitoyi was pastor of Sumi Baptist Church Kohima. We had a lot of interactions about Christ. In spite of my correspondence with Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and other Church luminaries. I was not inclined to Christ. But Rev Nitoyi in particular and books like ‘Incomparable Christ’ and ‘100 pioneer Christians of India’ made me think about Christ deeply. After undergoing training in STD from Safdarjang Hospital New Delhi in 1981 I came back to Kohima in October and requested Rev Nitoyi to get me baptized. On 29th November 1981, I got baptized at Sumi Baptist Church Kohima by Rev Nitoyi. He was extremely happy, so was I. our friendship and interaction continued till he went to Shillong as Bible translator. At Shillong also we had met in 1989. In between we missed eachother for a long time. But he built his house in Thilixu Village (next to Chekiye village where I stay.) but unfortunately, we could not meet eachother. My last meeting was with him in Greenpark, Dimapur during his son’s marriage ceremony. He was happy to meet me and we had exchange of pleasantries.

I had a very close relationship with Rev Nitoyi. Some occasions we have traveled together with great difficulty and adverse conditions to attend religious meets.

Rev Nitoyi had good access to Bible. His insight into the Holy Bible has inspired me a lot as I have already mentioned.

Life is ephemeral. Our real destination is to have life eternal. Rev Nitoyi must have reached that destination. As a man of God he left behind a legacy which is worth following and persons like me cherish his sweet remembrance all the times!