A Short Sketch of Rev Yemhi Life
The late Yemhi son of Khakhu of Lazami village was born somewhere between 1875-1880. He started his schooling in 1892 at Lazami Government Primary school with his friend Late Lhouphizu Angami as his teacher. Due to less number of enrolments of the students in the school, the teacher returned home and the school was closed down. Later on he went to Kohima Mission School and studied up to class III. The duration of his studies is vague however he may have studied upto 1908 to reach class IV.
In 1908 he heard the word of God from Rev H.B Dickson who was the Missionary of Kohima Field Baptist Churches from 1905-1908 and was converted into Christianity but for some more years after his conversions, he could not establish a church at Lazami. The next year, i.e. 1909 he married Mineli from his own village Lazami. This is recorded in the Lazami Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, 1983 as follows:
He was unable to establish a church at Lazami from 1908 till 1919, but kept on preaching the gospel of God from here and there, wherever he could find a shelter and the opportunity to find his listeners.
After his conversion he becomes the interpreter for the missionaries. This is evident from what Rev Bengt I Anderson has to say in his letter to the Sema Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, 1978 in which he writes:
Rev H.B Dickson was stationed in kohima for a brief period but after his return to the USA, the Impur missionary Dr Bailey and the kohima missionary Rev J.E Tanquist toured among the Sema areas and preached the gospel by the help of interpreters. Two evangelists Rev Yemhi of Lazami and Mr Kiyevi of Ighanumi on the Angami side and the Rev Subong wati on the Impur side had also visited Sema villages and help the new converts.
Though he was fervent in spreading the gospel of God after his conversion yet his Baptist took place only in 1920 by Evangelist Zapuzalie Angami along with his wife Mrs Mineli, daughter Khuli and Musalho Nekha. In the same year he established a Church at Lazami village in his house compound with Kiyevi of Ighaunumi as the pastor. In 1923 his only son Shihoto was born. Then in 1924 he become the pastor of Lazami church. Kohima Field Baptist Centennial Jubilee Souvenir titles, Great are thy faithfulness, p.40records about his ordination.
In 1926 Mr Yemhi of Lazami village became the first among the Semas to be ordained. He was ordained by Rev J.E Tanquist during the Kohima Field Baptist Church Council held that year at Chishilimi Village.
Similarly F S Downs in his book, the mighty works of God writes,
In 1920 a student in the Kohima School, Yemhi of Lazami village was baptised and appointed as travelling pastor for his tribe. In 1926 he became the first sema to be ordained.
In 1927 he baptised Yevihe and Pukhavi of Awohumi, Shikhu of Natsumi, Xishipu of Mishilimi and Zachini and Kiyekhu of Hebolimi at the time of Sema Kohima Sadar Association help at Lazami village. After his ordination, he becamed an evangelist preaching the gospel in Sema Area according to the record written in the Sema Diamond Jubilee Souvenir at Aizuto:
He was chased out from Naghutomi and Surumi village. He went beyond the Tuzu River preaching the gospel of God and at one point of time he was nearly murdered but he managed to flee.
In 1928, he became the pastor of Imlomi village church and from there he used to baptize the Sema converts. In 1929 he returned to Chishilimi village to work in the newly opened Mission Sub-centre. He was the Vice-chairman of the Sema Baptist Association held at Lazami from November 20-23, 1930. While continuing to work at Chishilimi Mission Sub-centre he met his death on October 3, 1932.
Rev Bengt I Anderson in his letter to the Sema Diamond Jubilee wrote in his concluding words,
In the beginning of my ministry among you Rev Yemhi was alive and hard at work and now that his son Shihoto is the Field Director I am happy to be able to pray for him.
Rev Yemhi was survived by one son and seven daughters and is presently surviving by many many great grand children. He serves God and preached the gospel under the period of the following missionaries:
Rev. & Mrs H B Dickson 1905-1908
Rev. & Mrs J E Tanquist 1912-1948
Rev. & Mrs B I Anderson 1928-1954