Date of Birth :
Nov 3, 1867
Date of Demise :
May 21, 1921
Place of birth :
Hebrews 11:8 "By faith, ... he went out..".
V. Nagel was a German pioneer, who carried out his evangelical and humanitarian ministry in Kerala, a state in India and is fondly remembered as "Nagel Saipu" by the locals.
Nagel was born to godly parents in Germany, who were saddlers by profession. His education was limited to self-study, since he could attend school only briefly. One day at the age of 18, he happened to hear the gospel from a cobbler, and was born again, by accepting the Lord Jesus as his Savior.
Fuelled by inner passion, he went to the Switzerland Bible College. On returning after the completion of studies, he joined Basel Mission, Germany in 1886.
In 1893, he reached Kerala as an ordained Basel Missionary. He first ministered in Kannur. He then moved to Vaniyamkulam. While living in Vaniyamkulam, he gave up his membership with the Basel Mission, which meant he would be giving up all sources of funds from his homeland. He lived a life of Christian faith, the faith that believes in God, even when the future looks bleak.
While in Kerala, he mastered the native language, Malayalam and also penned numerous Malayalam hymns that still refreshes the soul of many a Christian believer today. He also found his family and friends in Kerala. He married Harriet Mitchell, who was an Anglo-Indian school teacher. They were blessed with 7 children. He also befriended Sathyarthy, a native, who accompanied him for all his ministries. He soon left Vaniyamkulam and relocated to Kunnamkulam.
As a missionary, he ministered to the jailed convicts at Paravoor and also took up the task of church planting. From Kunnamkulam, he later moved to Nellikunnu, Thrissur and established an orphanage for girls there. This symbol of care and Christian love still survives today to nurture hundreds of unfortunate lives and homes established as the Rehoboth Girls Home, Thrissur.
When he was 47, he planned to visit Germany, and hoped to return to Kerala after a while. But then, when he decided to do so, the First World War broke out and he had to abandon all hopes of returning to his family, his beloved brethren and his mission place. As the war progressed, he was forced to go to Switzerland. There paralysis struck him and he was bedridden. At the age of 54, this man of God, left his earthly abode and went on to be with his heavenly Master.
Personally, his songs have touched and inspired me. My personal favorites are "En needhiyum, vishudhiyum", "Yehovah ethra nalavan", "En Yeshu, En Sangeetham", "Njan Karthavinayi paadum", "Neethimaanmarin koodarangalil", "Yeshuve ninte roopam e ente kannukalku", "Yeshuvepole aakuvan" "Yeshu en swantham, hallelujah", and "Rakshaka nin aadukallin".