The Khassia Hills Revival

This is an excerpt from the book, “Revival in India, ‘Years of the Right Hand of the Most High.’” by Helen S. Dyer. Published in 1907, this gives more clarity on the remarkable work God was doing around the world during this time period, and gives color to the inspiration for the missionaries in Korea to pray and believe on God for a mightier work than they had yet seen. Their prayers were answered in an astounding way, as detailed in many books and reports written back home from the mission field and compiled in my book, “North Korean Keys to Revival, Lessons from the Jerusalem of the East.”

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“They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary.” 

—PSALM 68:24.

According to the laws of the Spiritual Kingdom it was quite in order that the Welsh Revival should be reproduced on the Welsh corner of the Indian Mission Field. 

These Welsh churches, called “Calvinistic Methodist,” are conducted in Presbyterian order. The first droppings fell on a Presbytery of the Pariong district. The pastor of the churches of Ranthong (some miles away from a resident missionary) says: “I am very pleased to tell you that my Lord, who is full of mercy, has caused some showers of blessings to fall on this district. For ten days before the Pariong Presbytery, we had daily prayer meetings to ask God to send His Holy Spirit on us in that Presbytery. We felt that God was very near to us, and had a strong hope of seeing something wonderful, so went in good numbers, both men and women. We were not disappointed, for we saw with our own eyes in very truth the Holy Spirit descending with power on the people assembled there. Never had we experienced such a thing before, and we praise God for it. After returning we had a meeting in Ranthong at which nearly all the Christians were present. We told of the marvellous things the Lord had done at Pariong; and afterwards, while we were praying, the Spirit descended on us also. 

“From that day many of our friends are like new creatures; they love the services, they love the Word, they are more earnest in prayer, they love their neighbours better, and they are bolder and more active in preaching and speaking the Gospel of Christ. The heathen wonder at the transformation of the Christians, and many come to hear the Gospel.” 

On their way to the Pariong Presbytery some Christians called at the village of Nongspung, where the Church was also in a very tendered condition. They had a glorious service together, and on the following day as they went over the hill to the Presbytery, they had four meetings on the road, or, as one described it, “they took rest four times for the purpose of praying.” They felt they were holding sweet communion with Christ on the mount. Some of them heard beautiful singing, and thought “it was another party going to the Presbytery, but no, there was no one near, and the music still went on.” After the Presbytery they had “a most glorious communion service, which continued till after midnight, then some remained in the chapel praising God.” The next morning early they again gathered into the church, and, as a Khassi described it, “they became drunk with the love of God.” A passion for saving souls took possession of them, and some went to carry the good news to other villages. 

Churches on other parts of the Hills became influenced almost simultaneously, and by the end of that same month of March 1905, the whole of the Christian community on those Hills had been more or less moved. The Khassia and Jantia Hills are divided into nine districts with a resident missionary in charge of each. It was noticed that the Revival was as intense and fervent in stations distant from the mission centres as in those which were near. One who was present said: “The great things of the Revival cannot be recorded. Men can only describe commonplace events. It is necessary to come into touch with the Spirit’s power in order to see and feel what the work is. Many scenes are too holy, too sacred, to be described, and yet God wants us to make known His power and glorify His Name.” 

At Cherrapoonjee, one of the stations with a resident missionary, an earnest feeling of expectation had prevailed for days. The meetings had been tense and tearful, and burdened with a feeling of restraint. On the Communion Sunday, according to custom, a workers’ meeting was planned for conversation on the things of God. On this occasion that meeting was conducted by the Spirit of God and was spoken of as a grand, indescribable service. One said the Spirit came “as a flame, sweeping through the assembly.” Another called it “a rushing wind clearing everything before it.” 

“A girl got up to pray. She began praying and asking God to save her uncles, and oh, the anguish in that girl’s soul! All the people began to scream and cry for pardon. The scene was awful-yet grand in its gloriousness, in its love. Nothing would pacify the people. One started one hymn, and another, another; but it only made them worse, scores crying for forgiveness, confessing sins against themselves. No order, yet all order. While this was going on, the heathen ran in and out, not understanding what had taken place. The hymn ‘Look and live’ was started after a time, and this seemed to soothe their feelings. Many went on their knees to pray. At first the women seemed most affected, but now men and women were similarly moved.” 

At a later meeting some were dancing in new-born joy with the assurance of sins forgiven. Others who had a new view of their own sinfulness were in terrible anguish, their words “enough to make our hearts bleed, but after hours of agony, what a joy to find peace !” 

One of the Indian preachers went from this place to Laityraw, and the Revival broke out there in the same way. Another went to Mawmluh, and there they had a wonderful, awful meeting. The whole population were practically in chapel all day, in a turmoil of anxiety about their souls. Some praying all night that they might see again the face of their Redeemer. One pleading all night, received peace as the day was dawning. He went round telling his joy, shaking hands with everybody, and saying: “His blood, His blood, blots out all my sins.” Men embraced each other in their newly found happiness. There was also confession of sin; one had stolen ; another took to a shopkeeper an instalment of an old debt, and promised to pay it all. 

Later meetings were described as yet more wonderful. In solemn and subdued spirit some who had been in anguish for their sins related their experiences. One had found peace in reading a letter describing the blood of Christ, and he kept referring to the blood, the blood, and then asked all to sing “Look and live.” The Khassies can sing; it was beautiful, and their faces naturally turned upwards as if realising the presence of Christ. Some young girls were specially baptised with the Spirit. One dreamed that she saw Jesus entering several houses. So she arose early and went to every house where she had seen the Lord go, to tell them of the Saviour. Other young Christians went out on the roads speaking to the coolies and praying with them. 

Shillong is a fashionable Hill station, and the seat of Government; a difficult place in which to lead a truly spiritual life. Here a large proportion of the Christian community consisted of young people born of Christian parents, instructed in Scripture truth, yet who had never come into living touch with a personal Saviour. But the Lord looked in pity on His people, and by His Spirit has brought hundreds of these to know Christ as their own—the Saviour who bought them with His blood. 

Glorious meetings were reported from Shillong. Many felt that the Glory of the Infinite God was actually visible in the building. Special prayer had been offered up here as elsewhere. Attendance became larger and expectancy grew. Then one night while a not very prominent member of the church was leading in prayer, he prayed for the Spirit and pleaded so earnestly, as if his soul was parched with thirst, and faint with hunger. Then others began, while he still prayed, to pray in whispers, which went on to loud cries, and the greater part of the congregation burst out in piercing cries for mercy; while others shouted with ecstasy at the sight of a Saviour able to save.” 

In one seat was a girl who had been long astray; behind her sat her mother. The girl had been praying for forgiveness, and the mother’s heart was full when she saw the penitence of her daughter, for whom she had long prayed, apparently in vain. She could not contain her joy, but shouted and clapped. 

A widowed mother sitting among the women went over to her son, a lad of sixteen, and urged him to pray that he might see the glory of God. One young man realised his peril, as, though a professing Christian, he had never opened his heart to Christ. With a terrible sense of reality, he felt the scourge of God. He seemed to hear the swish of the scourge. He tried to run from the awful presence, but was riveted to his seat. In great agony he cried for mercy, and as he prayed the scourging ceased, and great peace came to his soul. 

Another young man, a Christian, but irreverent, felt great terror. The trifling, jocular way he had so often used in handling the holy things and words of God, appeared now in its true light. Fear and trembling seized him. He felt as if some unseen hand was twisting him, and for days was unable to leave his bed. He arose a thoughtful, earnest, God-fearing man. 

Many present in the chapel that night-witnesses whose word can be relied on-state that they saw clouds hanging over the brother who stood praying at the commencement. To some the clouds appeared so dense that the light of the lamp was not visible. Others saw them as fiery clouds. 

After that came reviving and precious times; wayward and prodigal children coming home crying for mercy, and their elder brothers, not as in the parable, jealous and angry, but pleading with them and rejoicing at the homecoming. Similar experiences were reported from many places. 

In the following June it was said that the Churches which “received the Pentecostal showers are now enjoying new life, are conscious of new power, and they know that this is the result of the outpouring of the Spirit. The external manifestations move on to other places; the blessings remain.” 

In one village in the Sheila district the converts number over ninety. A young girl is being much used by the Spirit. She is a simple girl, utterly unaffected. At first she pleaded with God to use others—the pastors, evangelists, deacons—but He gave her to understand that He wanted to use a weak instrument, so that it might be evident to all that the power was from God. 

At Lawbyrtun, in the Mawphlang district, the Revival was late in breaking forth. But in May the whole village was roused. Work was given up for a whole week, although it was the busiest time of the year in the rice Day and night were spent in prayer and praise. In one meeting as many as sixteen were prostrate with agony. They felt there was no hope; they had worshipped demons all their lives, and now they realised the Presence of a holy God. They nearly died of terror. But, praise God, they were led to the Cross and there lost their burden. 

Special prayers were offered for well-known drunkards and mockers, and some of these came in and gave themselves to the Saviour. Two men came to the church in anger to take away their relatives who were under conviction. As they entered they were expressing very loudly their opinion regarding Christianity and the Revival. The friends began to pray that God would touch their hearts, for they had mocked the Lord. In a few minutes these very men were prostrate and groaning in agony, begging for God’s forgiveness, and confessing they had come with blasphemy on their lips. Even these were not beyond the mercy of God, and were led into peace. 

It was said that the faces of the Christians of Lawbyrtun were changed, and beamed with Divine joy. In a few weeks ninety-eight converts were received into the Church. At the end of the previous year the Christian community of that place had only numbered fifty-nine, including children and enquirers. 

In several places a grand work among the children was reported. In Jowai, the Revival began with the children. A boy, who had not long professed to be a Christian, stood up in the meeting and told how God had met’ him and showed him his sins : then he began to speak of Christ on the Cross, how He suffered for us; when one after another the children began to sob, till the chapel was filled with their cries, beseeching God to forgive them, to have mercy on them, and to save them. The people in the village came rushing in and crowded the chapel. The boy who was speaking continued oblivious to all that was going on. One man was praying, others were singing, and the children crying all at once. Presently someone began to sing: 

“The love that Jesus had for me

To suffer on the cruel tree, 

That I a ransomed soul might be, 

Is more than tongue can tell.” 

The children took it up and sang it again and again. 

In another village a little boy between nine and ten years of age seems to have been the leader, and was used to bring several people to the Saviour. In another, two boys of nine years went from house to house to speak of Jesus and to pray for their neighbours. 

The August Presbytery held at Shillong was a memorable season. These assemblies usually gather on Saturday morning and last till Monday morning. This one went on until Thursday. 450 new members on probation were reported, permission was asked to build new churches, and new elders were elected. On Sunday by 10 a.m. a thousand persons were crowded into the church, while hundreds more remained outside. Fervour rose to boiling heat, and scores were almost beside themselves with spiritual ecstasy. Hundreds in the congregation were young people, the majority probably under thirty years of age. “It was a sight” (wrote an eyewitness) “never to be forgotten to see such a vast assembly of young people beside themselves with joy as they praised Him to whom they were conscious of owing all that was best in their lives. A new and deep meaning seems to have been infused into what had become commonplaces before. Jesus Christ and Him crucified, the blood of the Cross as the Divinely appointed means of cleansing from sin, are the subjects prominent in the people’s prayers; and hymns that set forth these glorious truths fill the congregations with ecstasy and delight.” 

On Monday evening another overflowing meeting was held, which was a memorable time of prayer. A European lady who was present was deeply moved. Though she understood not a word, she felt that God was there, dealing with the people and answering their prayers. Tuesday night witnessed a similar scene. At midnight about fifty remained in the church, their attention riveted by two young women from a distance, one quite unknown, but both oblivious to all around. The first was soliloquising, talking to herself of the wonderful grace of God, the love of God, the covenant of grace, and other themes, with the familiarity of one conversant with the deep things of God. Then she sweetly sang a line or two of some favourite hymn- lost in contemplation of the wonderful salvation in Christ. 

The other girl seemed to be in a kind of trance. She sang in a subdued voice hymns unknown to anyone present. They appeared to be the spontaneous production of the moment, like water bubbling from a natural spring. Hymn after hymn came without effort, sometimes to familiar tunes, sometimes to new tunes, which, repeated again and again, always came true in rhyme and time. This went on for a considerable period, when she came to herself, quite happy. The meeting continued after this till 2.30 a.m. in prayer and praise, the favourite song being the Welsh melody:

“This is love vast as the ocean, 

Pity like a mighty food, 

That the Prince of Life should suffer 

To redeem us by His blood.”

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