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Carey's First Indian Convert

Krishna Chandra Pal

(d. 1822)

Carey's first Indian convert

Krishna Chandra Pal lived a life of "firsts." He worked near Serampore as a carpenter and heard of Jesus while working for some Moravians there. By the time he met Carey and the other Serampore missionaries, he had broken from formal Hinduism into a sect that embraced the theism and egalitarianism of Islam.

One day, while going to the river to bathe, Krishna slipped and dislocated his shoulder. He sent his children to the mission house, where he knew the medical doctor, John Thomas, was staying. As Thomas took care of the shoulder, he spoke with Krishna about the healing of his soul and gave him a tract in Bengali.

After that, Krishna called frequently at the mission. William Ward and Felix Carey read and discussed Scripture together. Soon Krishna told Thomas, "I am a great sinner, but I have confessed my sin and I am free!"

"Then I call you brother," Dr. Thomas said. "Come and let us eat together in love." This caused a great stir among the Indian servants, for by eating with Europeans, Krishna had broken caste.

Despite being mobbed and called "traitor!" by fellow Indians, Krishna was baptized. He was the first native convert in seven years of missionary labor and prayer.

Krishna's wife and sister also made commitments to Christ, as did his four daughters; a neighbor, Gokul, and his wife; and a neighbor widow. They formed the first indigenous Christian community in that area, and not surprisingly, the group experienced spiritual growing pains: feuds, jealousies, and instances of immorality.

Eventually, Krishna Pal went on preaching tours with the missionaries. He was the first native missionary to Calcutta. There he preached at a dozen or more locations weekly and visited numerous homes to evangelize both poor families and servants of the rich. He was the first writer of Christian hymns in the Bengali language.

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