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The Origin of the Song: “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus"

In the hills of northeast India, the Garo tribe, which numbers more than one million people, lives. For centuries, they were feared as a primitive head-hunting tribe, but in the most recent Indian census, over 95 percent of the Garo declared themselves Christians. Here is one reason why...

In the late 1800s, many missionaries came to Assam in northeast India to spread the Gospel. They led a person named Nokseng, his wife, and his two children to Christ. Nokseng's faith proved contagious, and many villagers began to accept Jesus. The village chief, angry at the prospect of losing control, summoned all the villagers. He demanded that Nokseng's family renounce their faith or face public execution. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Nokseng said: “I have decided to follow Jesus.”

Enraged at his refusal to deny Christ, the chief ordered his archers to shoot the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the ground, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both of your children. You will lose your wife also."

But Nokseng replied: “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.”

The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered Nokseng's wife to be shot with arrows. In a moment, she joined her children in death. Now the chief said for the last time: "I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live." In the face of death, Nokseng did not waver and made his final memorable statement:

“The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back.”

They killed Nokseng like the rest of his family, but a miracle took place. Nokseng's faith moved the chief, and he wondered, "Why would Nokseng and his family die for a Man who lived in a far-away land some 2,000 years ago? This God must have remarkable power, and I, too, want to taste that faith."

In a spontaneous confession, the chief declared, "I, too, belong to Jesus Christ!" When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. Later, Nokseng's words became a beloved song of the Garo Christians and were later translated into English and sung worldwide.

May the Lord Jesus bless you as together, we serve the Church in Asia,

The team at Asia Harvest:


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