NKST beginnings: How Zimmermann brought the gospel to Sai

Christianity came to Tiv through a Dutch South African missionary called Karl Zimmermann. He came to Sai in Shitile, Katsina Ala LGA of Benue, Nigeria.

His coming was facilitated by Dr Karl Kumm’s missions ministry called Sudan United Mission (SUM) in partnership with DRCM (Dutch Reformed Church Mission, a missionary arm of Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa)

In 1904, SUM founder, Dr Kumm, a well educated and widely traveled German, arrived Nigeria.

He happened to interface with Tiv people at Abinsi, near Makurdi. He was interested in Tiv. On going back he recommended Tiv nation as one of the places where mission work be done.

DRCM swung into action and missionaries arrived. A prominent one was Zimmerman.

Zimmerman and his team spoke to Akiga’s father, Sai Dekpe. Sai gave them his son Akiga to serve them as an erand boy.

Akiga turned out to become the first Tiv to be a Christian and be baptized.

Akiga Sai

Zimmermann and Akiga are arrowheads of NKST beginnings and the birth of the gospel in Benue.

NKST recognizes 17 April 1911, the day Zimmermann started a gospel station in Sai, not only as the day the gospel came to Tiv and Benue state but also as the day the NKST church started.

Towards the end of 1911 another missionary in Zimmermann’s fold, Pastor Judd joined him in Sai. Judd wrote the first Tiv book.

Although Zimmermann started the work, his stay was not very long. After sometime he proceeded on holiday outside the country and was willing to return but couldn’t do so.

Later on SUM handed over the missionary project to DRCM and DRCM to CRCM (Christian Reformed Church Mission, a missionary body of Christian Reformed Church of North America: US, Canada …)

One thing led to the other and NKST became independent. NKST having benefited from missionary works of SUM, DRCM and CRCM also sends people for missionary work.

Zimmermann achieved big time. He helped bring millions of people to Christ with his initial efforts at Sai.

You too can be another Zimmermann by helping people come to Christ, helping people to do the will of Christ perfectly.

In your daily discussions you can chip in gospel truths. So for now you must not necessarily go to Amazon forest, the West Indies or a new land to make converts.

Use every opportunity to bring people to Christ. Your phone, your knowledge, your everything can be channeled to push on with the great commission.

Stop wasting time, bring out the Zimmermann in you.

An NKST Synod meeting at Mkar. [Photo: Pastor Ephraim Mbateren Shir. rff.christians.co.za/the-nongo-u-kristu-u-i-ser-u-sha-tar-nkst]