The Presbyterian Church of Wales known at that time as the "The Calvinistic Methodist Church of Wales" sent the first Missionary to Khasi Hills, they are, Rev. Thomas Jones-I and his young Wife Anne Thomas. They left Wales in November 1840 and after five months they arrived at Calcutta. From Calcutta they travel by boat and landed at Majai, the southern part of Khasi Hills. From Majai they climbed up reaching Laittyra and finally arrived at Saitsohpen, Sohra (Cherrapunjee) on the 22nd, June, 1841 which is the Head Quarter of the then Sylhet Light Infantry, a force of Sepoy troops under the British command since 1835.From the Military and Government officials, Thomas Jones received cold reception. One British official advised Thomas Jones and said "go back home Jones; you may as well try to instruct the monkeys on that tree than to attempt to teach these people". They looked down the Khasi people as illiterate and ignorant. But Thomas Jones was not discouraged instead he bent down devoted heart and soul to do the work for which he had been called by God. By God's providence there was a devout Christian, Lieutenant William Lewin (1806-1846) who welcomed Thomas Jones and his wife and give them a shelter in one of his rooms in the White Bungalow at Saitsohpen. The kindness of William Lewin helped Thomas Jones and his wife to feel at home in a foreign land accompanied with heavy rainfall of 264 inches in the month of August alone.

The first Church Building was built upon a hillock of the present Nongsawlia Cemetery. This building was destroyed by the great earthquake occurred in June 1897. The new Church Building at the present Site was built in 1898 i.e., a hundred years ago. The membership of the Nongsawlia Presbyterian Church had increased slowly and steadily. In 1847, there were five members, in 1848, there were 6 members including one young woman ka Nabon Sawian who was baptized in 14th July, 1848. She was the first woman to become Christian inspite of threatening and persecution from the family members. In 1853 the members increased to 24. From Nongsawlia as an origin of Christianity, the Presbyterian Church had spread to different parts of Khasi-Jaintia Hills, to Mawnai in 1854, to Jowai in 1858, to Shillong in 1871. The present statistic of the Presbyterian church in Khasi-Jaintia Hills is more than 5 lakhs.

Socio Cultural Impact : As mentioned earlier, the Khasis in that time are also very ignorant of the surroundings and necessities of their livelihood but by the coming of the Gospel through the Christian Missionaries, people were taught hygiene and cleanliness, they learned how to use minerals coal for burning, lime stones instead of using woods. Carpentry, agriculture and other livelihoods were taught to them. These in short, had helped and empowered them in their economic pursuit through sustainable livelihoods. Further, as they became educated, liberative aspect of culture and tradition were gradually being understood and held in high regard for strict adherence while wild superstitions which instill fear, were being discouraged. As such, matrillinealism, manners and customs with regard to social responsibility, communitarian living and egalitarianism are, till today, being protected and promoted by the church though there is an onslaught of modernism which highlights individualism and glorifies uni-culture short of value. Till today Sohra is regarded as the original seat of education and the industry of Khasi customs and culture.

Importance : The Missionaries at Nongsawlia took serious interest for Educational Programme. The first Missionary Rev. Thomas Jones opened three schools in the three localities at Cherrapunjee, Mawsmai, Mawmluh, Sohra. These are the first Primary Schools in Meghalaya. Thomas Jones gave the Khasis the gift of scripts and consequently literature and raised them to new lives of understanding in the field of Education, Medicines, Hygiene, Economic development, cultural development, removal of superstitions and fears affecting the Khasi mind. One instance was that the parents opposed to send girls to School as this is a traditional belief that if girls read books they would become childless (barren). But Mrs. Lewis was successful by introducing sewing and knitting in school to create interest in girls to come to school. By this way shortly and gradually the fear of reading books was removed from the mind of girls. Eventually education of women in the village flourished and as a result this paved the way for the women to take up leadership in their society.

Dosquicenteniel Jubillee Celebration: To mark the 175th Anniversary of the coming of the Gospel (1841-2016), The Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Assembly will celebrate the Dosquicentiniel Jubilee Celebration on the 18th – 20th November 2016, at Nongsawlia Presbyterian Church, Sohra (Cherrapunjee). The Jubilee Celebration will be joined by fraternal delegates from different parts of the World, of which, almost 2000 delegates from all over Khasi and Jiantia Hills will be participating in the Celebration and the expected believers who will be attending the Sunday Services (20th November, 2016) will be approximately 3 to 4 lakhs in numbers.

Content provided by Rev. R. F. Kharkrang, Pastor-Incharge, Nongsawlia Presbyterian Church