Healing and Hope in the Tea Gardens of Damdim
In the picturesque region of the Dooars, nestled amidst the eastern Himalayan foothills in North-East India, lies a place that truly embodies the meaning of its name - the gateway to Bhutan from India. With nearly 18 passages or gateways connecting the Bhutanese people to their Indian neighbors in the plains, this land has witnessed a unique blend of cultures and traditions over the years.
Over a century ago, in 1870, the British Government recognized the potential of the Dooars and embarked on a journey to cultivate tea in this enchanting landscape. To fulfill this ambitious endeavor, they brought laborers from Chota Nagpur, Santhal Parganas, and Nepal. Among these laborers were the Oraons, Majhis, Mundas, Kharia, Mahali, Lohara, and the Chik-Baraik tribes, who made the Dooars their home.
Amidst this captivating tapestry of cultures and communities, there is a small tea estate called Damdim, located about 53 kilometers away from Siliguri. In this scenic haven, the majority of the population are Santhals and Adivasis people.
Meet Santey Mijar, a local pastor and member of Crossover Global who has spent 52 years of his life in Damdim. In January 2023, Pastor Mijar embarked on a mission to share the Gospel in his hometown to many souls in need. Among them was a 24-year-old young man named Akash, a member of the Santhal community, who practiced the Sarna religion.
Akash Majhi had faced immense trials in his young life, having lost his parents to illness seven years prior. His own health deteriorated, marked by severe throat pain that doctors suspected to be a gland tumor or even cancer. It was during a ritualistic funeral service for his relatives two years ago that he believes he contracted this sickness. Despite seeking both traditional remedies and medical treatments, relief eluded him. Moreover, he felt trapped in a web of evil spirits that haunted his nights, robbing him of peace and sleep.
In his darkest hour, Akash heard the gospel from Pastor Santey Mijar. The Holy Spirit touched his heart, and with newfound faith, he embraced Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord. In January 2023, Pastor Santey Mijar prayed fervently for Akash Majhi, who began to experience a miraculous healing of his throat gland within just 13 days. The physical pain subsided, but the spiritual battle raged on. Akash's home remained haunted, and his nights were filled with terror.
Akash reached out to Pastor Santey once more, who prayed over his home, imparting the biblical authority to banish the evil spirits. Akash was given a Bible, which he placed under his pillow each night.
Miraculously, Akash began to sleep soundly and in peace, and he declared that his once-haunted house had been transformed into a house of peace by the grace of God.
Today, Akash Majhi is not only completely healed but has also returned to work in the Tea Garden, enjoying good health. He regularly attends church, growing in his faith, and is preparing for water baptism.
As we celebrate Akash's miraculous transformation, let us also remember to uplift Pastor Santey Mijar in our prayers. He has initiated another house church in Solay Gharey, a place 50 kilometers from his own, spreading the message of Christ's love in the heart of the Dooars.
The Dooars, with its rich biodiversity, stunning landscapes, and diverse cultures, is not only a gateway to Bhutan but also a testament to the transformative power of God's love. Through faith and perseverance, Pastor Santey Mijar and Akash Majhi have shown us that even in the darkest of times, the light of Christ can shine brightly, dispelling fear and bringing forth a new dawn of hope and healing. All glory to God!
This Testimony was shared by our teammates from the Himalayan Initiative.