Letter about Harriet Nagel’s Death

July 23, 2010 at 5:45 pm (Nagel Roots) (, )

South India
March 1935

My dear Volbrecht,

You will have heard of my dear sister’s home-calling. It is hard to understand, nevertheless, His ways are right. I am just resting in His love, leaning on Him only, for I have no other to lean on, no brother or sister after the flesh to turn to. My helplessness is my strength, for I have a greater claim on Him who has promised to be everything, and not to leave us ‘orphans’ (the beautiful rendering in Malayalam of John XIV, 18) for humanly speaking, this is what I literally am at present.

My sister and I were always together from childhood, and all in all to each other. We shared our joys and sorrows and talked over our difficulties and perplexities. In the last letter I had from her, 2 or 3 days before her illness, she asked me to meet her at Cochin on 28-1-35 to talk over certain matters. She left me in the 27th to speak with her Lord face to face, and to me it is still by faith.

Although she had been ailing for years from diabetes andAugina Pectoris, and altogether broken down the last year or two, she never gave in, but tried to do all she could to help those around her. Often I persuaded her not to go about and do so much, but she always answered: “I can only do it till I die, so let me work while I can.” Truly her life was not a bed of roses, she had much sorrow and trouble, but she tried to hide it from others and went though it all uncomplainingly. Others only saw ger smiling face, as a lady, one she had led to the Lord, remarked in her letter of sympathy to me: “Mrs. Nagel always looked cheerful.” Nor was she the only one who thought so.

She took bad on Friday morning (25th January). She attended to all her duties, inside and outside, on Thursday, and sat sewing till about 11 pm. Early next morning, about 4 am, she called her servant, Naomi, and complained of severe pain in her chest. The woman stood rubbing her till about 12 noon, but she got worse instead of better. Naomi asked her to let her go and call some of the Christians to which she said: “No, I shall soon be better. Why trouble them unnecessarily?” Inspite of this, the woman let some of them know and they soon gathered around her. They wanted to send for me, but even that she would not allow. They sent for the nearest doctor, from the Leper Asylum about 7 miles away. He came with a Salvation Army nurse and attended to her. She could not lie down, but sat the whole night through, asking for water constantly. Seeing her restlessness, they had to yield to her, even though the doctor said that she was not to drink so much. They ahd to give her hot fomentations for she was getting cold.

Next day, Saturday, they took it upon themselves to send for us. Misses Sundgren abd Wallace arrived about 11 am and I a little before 3 pm. Mr. and Mrs. Noble came in the night. She was pleased to see us all and answered quite sensibly any questions we asked her. As in life, so also in death, she was so patient and resigned, and gave no trouble to anybody by persisting in having her own way.

She seemed to get betetr after we came. Dr. John Thomas, one of our believers, was with her the whole day (Saturday). He took her temperature in the evening and said she had improved much. Another doctor, an old friend of hers, came on Saturday night with Mr. and Mrs. Noble. He gave her an injection and other medicines, and thought she would sleep, but she did not. On Saturday afternoon, by all she said, we feel that she must have begun to realize that she was going, although at the time we thought she may have been delirious. Just a few days before her illness, she got rather disquieting news from her daughter, which seems to have been much on her mind. The following are some of her last words, as much as we were able to make out and remember. Had we known she was going, we might have paid her more heed, but we really did not know the end was so near. Everything she said, she repeated over and over again.

“Lord bless my boys. Lord bless my boys. Is she all right? Forgive me.” (to Miss Wallace, who was holding her) “Lord bless them. Forgive me Lord. Is she all right? There is that evil one again. The enemy. How he tried to worry me. That evil one. There he is again. Lord bless them. Oh, the work, who will do it? There are many souls. Grant that she may come through all right. He is our all sufficiency. God bless His motherless children. They are blessed. We are all blessed. I am going. I am going. They are blessed forever. We are all blessed forever.”

Miss Wallace often urged her to sleep. “Yes, I shall sleep,” she would say, but the last time Miss Wallace said, “Mrs. Nagel, do try and sleep,” she quietly answered: “In Jesus. Lord bless them. I am coming. I am coming.” The last she was heard to say was: “I hop she is all right. Yes, she is all right. It’s all over now and she is all right.” A few minutes after this, she laid her head on the pillow, breathed as naturally and quietly as a child going to sleep, until the last breath left her frail body at 2:15 am. It was not death as we imagine it, but a quiet falling to sleep on earth and awaking in Paradise. Oh what triumph! What glory! What exeeding joy! She has entered into her well earned rest. God grant that the time will not be long before we are all united again.

The dear people here and her fellow-workers, both Indian and European, ministered to her so willingly and lovingly to the last. Crowds came to see her till her body was taken to it’s last resting place. How much they valued and esteemed her and miss her now, is more than I can write. Not only our own people, but even those outside are mourning her loss. Women, Hindus, and Christians of all communities, placing their hands on their breasts, with eyes filled with tears exclaim: “Our Amma (mother) has gone, all the good we had has gone. We shall never get another Amma like her. Who will care for us and help us as she did?” A Jacobite Christian, passing by after her death, said to one standing near him: “Look at the trees in that compound; even they are drooping now, mourning her loss.” An old R. C. man who came to see me, after speaking much about her and all that she was to them, said: “Alas; our gold has gone.”

There is no hospital or doctor in the place. They have to go miles to get to a hospital, so all the medical work, apart from native physicians, was done by my sister. So you can imagine the comfort she was to the people. This is a real need and how it is going to be met, I do not know.

I have to make Angamally my headquarters at present, but I have not the slightest idea of medical work, so will not be able to do anything in this line as she did. Please bear me up in prayer and remember the people too, who are just crushed with sorrow.

I think I have written enough and will end this by saying: “Our Jesus has done all things well.” I am sorry I had not the pleasure of meeting you all, but Rita has told me a lot so that I feel I know you. May God bless you all, though we may never meet on earth, we can look forward ____ glorious meeting in the clouds. Come Lord Jesus! Come quickly!

Sam is exercised (?) about coming to India as a missionary, pray much for him. I would like him to come and see you all before he leaved Europe. Please write and invite him. I shall give you hs address in this.

Much love to you all.

Yours lovingly,
Jospehine C. Mitchell
Harriet Nagel’s sister

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