A Brief history of
REV. WILFRED AND GWENYTH CROFTS
The First Missionaries to the Goalpara Boro Baptist Church Association
Introduction: (Assam not by Chance” by Dr. JV Webster and DN Cheney)
“Come over and help us”
This was the call the Australian Baptist Missionary Society (ABMS) heard in October 1944
The American Baptist missionaries working in the eastern Assam had been visiting the Boros since 1905, but no missionary had lived among them. The Boros had responded to their teaching, and Christian churches had formed, despite Christians being persecuted and their homes burnt. In 1927, these churches joined and formed the Goalpara Boro Baptist Church Union, with headquarters at Tukrajhar village. The only supervision American Baptists were able to give these churches was to attend their three-day Annual Meeting each February. The Bible was no available in the Boro language and the churches used an Assamese Bible. In some churches not one person could read or understand Assamese. By 1944 errors of doctrine had crept into the preaching. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper had largely been discontinued. Many Christians had gone back to their old ways of spirit worship, rice beer drinking and polygamy.
The Australian Baptist Missionary Society had been working in the Indian state of East Bengal since 1882. Now it was asked by the Boro people in the neighbouring state of Assam to send missionaries to them. The ABMS in East Bengal responded enthusiastically to the call and several Australian missionaries travelled to Assam to meet the Boros. After a visit, Rev. Victor Barnard wrote to Rev. F.A. Marsh, then the General Secretary of ABMS.
As a field for proclaiming the Gospel, the ground has been prepared. Some seed has fallen into good ground and has taken root. The deepest impression was of a large number of people ready to respond to teaching. There are a people ready to be trained so that they can become leaders, pastor preachers and teachers. The thought has kept recurring to me that it was not by chance that we have heard the call of the Boro people, “Come over and help us”
Negotiations proceeded slowly and on 14 April 1947, the American and the Australian Baptist Missions agreed that from 1 May 1947, Australian Baptist Mission would take full responsibility for mission work among the Boros in the area from the Brahmaputra River north to Bhutan
Missionaries at Tukrajhar