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The Brotherhood

From The Southern Cross Log, Vol. 32, No. 11, London, November, 1926, pages 164-166.

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Retired Bishop of Malaita, 2009


Following upon the account of the formation of the Brotherhood and the commissioning of the Brothers by the Bishop given in our last, the following, translation of a letter written by one of the Brothers to Mr. Rudgard will be of interest.

S. Mark, Tambulivu,
31st July, 1926.

Well, Father, I just sit down to write briefly to you, and perhaps, Father, you wish to know about me, in what kind of work I am employed; well,. Father, I am in this ministry called the Brotherhood, you know that, and I daresay you wish also to hear about our work.

Well, we are seven, but they wish to have eight, but there is no one, and we work among the heathen of the uplands. We have begun already with one journey, and it was like this. We went up to the higher land, we slept one night on the road, then [164/165] came to the village; but it was not the real village; only a place for working the garden and feeding the pigs; we stayed in that place until Sunday, and on the Monday we went to their real village and when we had asked whether they wished for the Religion and they had partly agreed, then we went and slept in their real village till morning.

On Tuesday we went to another village, which is called Nijungigu; a certain great chief is there, and he also does not live in the real village, only among the pigsties, he lives there. It was plain that they were very bad and dirty because they lie near the pigs' enclosure, and their hair is very long; well, we made trial to ask them whether they wished for the Religion or not, but he (the chief) refused altogether and did not wish for the Religion; let the other villages receive it first, and then he would receive it. We tried in vain. After a while he sent his men to fetch sugarcane and bananas and kill a pig; and when they had brought them he set them before us, and he gave money among us equal to £5 10s. and he gave it to us, and he said, "Take the money and give it to the Bishop and the Governor, because I do not wish to receive the Religion until the villages round receive the Religion; after that my people will receive the Religion." And we would not take the money, because it is not good to take money, he did not give it with a good will.

We slept at his place till the next morning, and then went to another village called Aru. We came to the village and the chief was not there, and they sent someone to him to ask him to come; and it was thus, some one went after him and he came, and he said that he was willing, but how about the people? And he asked the people, but they refused, they feared lest the ghosts should be angry and smite them, and also that if they received the Religion it would interfere with their working on the labour-vessels, and there would be a difficulty about the Tax; and they did not wish for it. And they also killed a pig for us, and we stayed there two days.

And on Fishing-day [Saturday] we went to another village called Pukubulima, because there was a great feast there, because the people and the chiefs would assemble there and many villages would assemble there [we went] because they would lie scattered apart for us, so that we need not go a long way to every village. We came to the village when it was already evening, and on Sunday they began to assemble, and we asked the chief men of Tugurutol and Tausoro and Taeguviguvi, but still they refused, they did not wish, and we stayed very long there.

Then we went back to the village where they already wished for the religion. Lo! They received us quite joyfully. Every village is already at peace and the custom of living anyhow is burdensome to them.

[166] Well, we returned to the village of Lokea and the news was delightful there. The chief Loti desires the Religion with all his heart already, and he said that he would wait for us to come back, and then he would kill pigs for the ghosts and they would offer a sacrifice of "Goodbye" to the ghosts. And this was how it was, for another week we separated; I and two others went to another village where there is a Church [i.e., a Christian congregation] but no teacher among them, till near the time of the feast, and then we returned to our fellows; and they [the villagers] killed thirty-six pigs for the ghosts and sacrificed; an immense number of people assembled, and I could not count them. Well, when the feast was over we asked them whether they would all come in [i.e. offer themselves for Christian instruction] or not; and they said "not yet," but five boys and one old man have come in already. And we separated again; we three went together again to that village, and on the following day, they [the rest?] went off.

We stayed rather long among them, then we returned towards the coast to our quarters, and the hunger and the cold and weariness were very great; there was need of much patience. Father, I wish you would help me and send me a flannel shirt because of the cold, if you can. Goodbye, I think a good deal about you in my prayers and at the Holy Communion; well, I have written in love and goodwill;


These are our names,--

Ini Kopuria.
Moffat Ihigita.
Dudley Bale.
Cecil Lugathaga.
Maurice Maneae.
Hugo Hulun.
Ben Bokoe.

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