“I can’t see!” Mayo screamed, fumbling through her house to her parents room in their house in Nagaland, India. Her father roused himself from a drunken sleep and ran to her. When his arms wrapped around the body of his six year old daughter, she fell, unconscious, into them. They took her to a doctor, but he couldn’t diagnose her condition. Strangely, by morning, she could see again, so they went home. That night, once again, they heard their daughter’s cries as she came sobbing towards their room. Another doctor, but no answer. Mayo woke every morning with her sight, but as the sun set, blindness struck her.
Terrified and confused, her parents took her to every doctor in their town, traveling past places where small huts once housed the Naga tribe’s most prized possessions: each family’s collection of severed heads. Mayo’s father used to go to a church but he’d drifted, turning to alcohol and becoming violent with his family. Violence was central to the culture of the Naga in his forefather’s days, and it had seeped, like an infection, back into his life.
Tattooed face of old headhunter.
Nagaland is located in northeast India near the borders of China and Burma. Animist Naga believed farms did not yield good crops unless a fresh human head was sacrificed. Naga women would encourage their suitors to bring a head to them as a precondition for marriage. Men hunted other tribes and neighboring kingdoms and killed as many men as they could, bringing their heads home as trophies. A successful headhunter won respect among his people and was awarded a right to ornaments and tattoos on his face. Most Naga villages had a skull house, and men were expected to contribute to the community’s collection.Headhunted human trophy skull.
In 1876 Edward W. Clark and his wife, Mary, walked into Nagaland to minister to this fierce tribe of killers. Their courage, love, and willingness to sacrifice their lives showed the truth of the gospel to the Naga people. In only a few days, they were able to lead over a dozen Naga to Christ. As the numbers of believers grew, they went into the jungle and cut down bamboo to build the first church in Nagaland. The Clarks served faithfully for 21 years in the hill country and established a lasting Christian influence. More missionaries followed. Some were beheaded, but their message was picked up and carried by those that followed. More people were saved, and more churches were planted. The skullhouses of the Naga became churches. In emptying out these skullhouses, one missionary found over 10,000 skulls in one house alone.
The Naga were grieved by all the blood they had shed, and in 1970, when a revival broke out in Nagaland, they made a covenant with God to send out 10,000 missionaries from their own tribe to take the gospel to unreached nations. This meant committing their children to go and serve the lost of the world.
Mayo’s father realized that his daughter’s worsening blindness was mirroring his own degeneration into his people’s dark past. At this point, her condition had worsened so that she was completely blind. He laid his daughter before Jesus and renewed the covenant of his forefather’s: to raise his child to be a missionary. He asked the Lord to heal her. A few nights later, he stood in the doorway to his daughter’s room, watching her sleep peacefully in her bed, her sight fully restored.
Mayo graduated high school, went to Bible school, and heard about the deep need of the lost in Cambodia. “When I first learned that only 1% the population in Cambodia were Christians, 90% Nagaland are Christians, I was very touched, so I decided to go,” she says.
In Cambodia, however, she found that she had the passion, but not the training that she needed to speak to this generation of Cambodians. Mayo served in Cambodia for two years though she didn’t have the voice to speak or the deep core discipleship training that she needed. That was when she heard about Medialight. Her Cambodian church encouraged her to come and receive this innovative training to become a modern day missionary. Mayo joined us in our three-month media, leadership, and discipleship course and graduated in November of 2014.
“I didn’t know what was missing in my life before I joined Media Light,” she says. “There was so much change in my life after the training. I am a disciple. I grew closer in my relationship with God, and I learned how to use media for my mission work.” This year, Mayo returns to Cambodia with a stronger core, fresh zeal and the technical skills in media that she needs to reached the unreached of Cambodia. She is one of the 8,000 missionaries that the Naga have launched so far, each one carrying the light that was given to them into the dark of the world so that the blind may finally see.