The Awakening Coast: An Anthology of Moravian Writings from Mosquitia and Eastern Nicaragua, 1849-1899

The Awakening Coast: An Anthology of Moravian Writings from Mosquitia and Eastern Nicaragua, 1849-1899

The Awakening Coast: An Anthology of Moravian Writings from Mosquitia and Eastern Nicaragua, 1849-1899

The Awakening Coast: An Anthology of Moravian Writings from Mosquitia and Eastern Nicaragua, 1849-1899

Excerpt

In 1849 two Moravian missionaries disembarked at Bluefields, the capital of a British protectorate along the Mosquito Coast and today part of eastern Nicaragua, to establish a new mission among the sparsely settled black, Creole (Afro- descendant Mosquitians), and indigenous inhabitants. Baptizing heathens into the death of Jesus, as the Moravians put it, proceeded slowly until the so- called Great Awakening of 1881– 82: “the most wonderful revival in the history of the Moravian Missions.” In his first notice of the Awakening, in May 1881, mission superintendent Christian Martin described how “the Spirit [has] poured forth on all the people.” By August, Martin wrote that the movement had swept across the entire Mosquito Reserve (fig. 1.1). During evening meetings at Bluefields, Martin reported, “the throng [was] so great that prayer on the knees [was] impossible.” At nearby Pearl Lagoon, wrote Brother Peper, a “peculiar time has dawned … [and] I have never seen the like before.” At “almost every hour,” Peper recounted, “people come to us who are concerned about their souls, asking for advice and to be admitted to the church.” The people trembled “in every limb [and] cry aloud for mercy. For the most part they are on their knees, sometimes they lie prostrate, unable to rise until they confess their sins …, and this sometimes lasts for days.” During such times the people “neither eat nor sleep…. When they have found peace, they seem to be indescribably happy, and sometimes make ecstatic addresses in which a very considerable Scriptural knowledge is perceptible.” Since many of those affected had not received formal instruction, the missionaries assumed that the Divine Spirit had at last reached the mission.

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