MY MERCY MISSION TO CENTRAL AFRICA February 2011
By Bishop Warwick Cole-Edwardes
BACKGROUND AND ROUTE I am about to set out on one of the most challenging weeks in my life. Together with Dave de Winnaar and Tjaart van der Walt we are going to drive up into Central Africa via Botswana covering 7500 kms in 7 days …. it is crazy but I am so excited. The purpose is to deliver 500 books, some computers, a sewing machine and lots of clothes to our pastors in Lubumbashi and Kitwe. Both Mukombo and Anderson studied at our College, KwaZulu-Natal Missionary and Bible College. Mukombo has planted 12 Churches in his province plus opened a Bible School which he has called the Congo Missionary and Bible College. Anderson is planting a new church in a desperately poor area outside of Kitwe. I have been to both these men, seen their work and now Christ Church Pinetown has been amazing in collecting all this stuff for them. So off we go following in the steps of my hero David Livingstone to deliver all the goods and of course to preach in Kitwe on the Sunday. Dave has organized the car, trailer and route; Tjaart is the cook and off we go into Africa. How’s this for a quote”
“Africa has a reputation: poverty, disease, war. But when outsiders do go they are often surprised by Africa’s welcome, entranced rather than frightened. Visitors are welcome and cared for in Africa. If you go you will find most Africans friendly, gentle and infinitely polite. You will frequently be humbled by Africa’s generosity.” R Dowden. Here is the route we will follow: Leaving Pietermaritzburg driving through to Johannesburg, Nylstroom and on to Ellisras and Stockpoort and into Botswana. Up through Malalaphe, Francistown, and Nata, driving through the Chobe National Park. Then to the border post at Kazungula crossing over on the ferry into Zambia. On to Livingstone and moving up through Kafue, Lusaka, Kabwe and finally on to Kitwe.
ANSWERS TO PRAYER FOR AFRICA In the latest edition of OPERATION WORLD, Jason Mandryk has shown us some of the wonderful answers to prayer across the continent of AFRICA. Listen and be encouraged: 1. Christianity has grown to become the religion of almost half of Africa’s population, and nearly two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africa. From 1900 to 2010, Christian numbers grew from 9.1% of the population to 48.8%, and from 7.5 million to 504 million. 2. Evangelical growth has been even more spectacular. In 1990, evangelicals numbered 1.6 million (1.5%), but in 2010, they were 182 million (17.75). This is nearly as much as all evangelicals in the Americans combined and is the largest evangelical population of any continent. African evangelicals are also increasing at a faster rate than any other continent. 3. Third Wave Pentecostal groups, strongly evangelical, have become a major element in the African Church. They are strong on the Scriptures and outreach, expectant of miracles, fervent in prayer and courageous against the powers of darkness. The Redeemed Christian Church and Deeper Life Bible Church were both started in Nigeria and have planted churches in dozens of countries. Groups such as the Church of Pentecost (Ghana), the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God, and others in Kenya, Tanzania, Cô d’Ivoire and elsewhere continue to grow and plant new churches. 4. A number of countries experienced significant growth in the Church – either large-scale church growth or breakthrough among previously unevangelized peoples. These include Ethiopia, Sudan, Benin, Nigeria, Algeria, Mozambique and Angola, just to name a few. 5. Prayer movements have a remarkable impact in Africa. The Global Day of Prayer originated in Cape Town through Transformation Africa and now involves tens, if not hundreds, of millions of Christians each year. The allnight prayer meetings of the Redeemed Christian Church in Nigeria – called the Holy Ghost Services – attract an average of 500,000, but this is merely the most well known of many such meetings. The familiarity of Africans with the reality of spiritual warfare, and their willingness to faithfully put in many hours of intercession, are possibly the most significant factors in the remarkable church growth on this continent. 6. The impact of the gospel on the education. The ministries of SU, IFES and others among students have been remarkable’ through these and the ministries of churches and agencies, a large proportion of Africa’s professionals and leaders in Anglophone and Francophone countries are committed Christians. Their influence is becoming decisive in addressing corruption and social evils and in affecting the power structures of society;
the fruit of this can be seen in the positive changes all over Africa in the last decade. Pray for this to continue! 7. The mission force of African agencies and missionaries continues to grow and diversify. Lacking the established infrastructures and financial resources of the West, Africans find creative new ways to train and send church planters. Specific areas of praise: a. Mobilizing. Key to the whole African mission endeavour is the work of MANI (movement for African National Initiatives), a pan-African mission mobilizing and networking movement. Vision 2015 is the ambitious plan to raise up 50,000 Nigerian missionaries in the next 15 years. Several other nations have similar long-term mobilizing plans for raising up missionaries and reaching the unreached in their own countries. He then gives us an up-to-date picture of THE CHURCH IN AFRICA. Read carefully: African Christianity has established itself as a truly potent force, both on the continent and even on a global level. The colonial past is fading and a new level of confidence, dynamism, vision and maturity is evident. In many countries, the Church has established itself as the only effective social organization that can bring reconciliation among ethnic groups and cope with the many economic, health and education challenges in collapsing societies. Challenges the Church must address: 1. Discipleship is rightly being addressed as Africa’s greatest challenge. The growth of Christianity has been sensational, but the follow-up has traditionally been lacking. Non-Christian customs and worldviews permeate the Church. Syncretism is a major problem in many areas. Thorough repentance and renunciation of sin and the works of darkness are often lacking, and many Christians are not free from the influence of witchcraft and evil spirits. Churches and ministries throughout Africa now place a high priority on discipleship. This will shape more Christ-like character and promote a biblical worldview among church-goers. 2. Africa’s role in the global Church is more important than ever. Its contribution to revitalizing the flagging churches in Europe is crucial. Even more crucial is its role in defending biblical faith and traditional reading of the Scriptures against the creeping relativism and liberalism that besets much of the Church in the West. This is of particular importance as Africa sits on the frontline of the work of evangelizing the Muslim world; the flagging vigour and insipid moral stance of many Western denominations will have little impact – or even counterproductive impact – on the Islamic world.
3. Pray for unity in such great diversity. There are over 15,000 denominations, church clusters and networks in Africa. Countless independent congregations exist with no overarching accountability or relationships. Pray: a. That leaders might place their agendas at the foot of the cross. The desire for influence and power, the ethnocentric bias that lies behind many split, the personal pride and carnality behind many divisions in churches and ministers â€“ all must be crucified with Christ. b. For pan-African bodies such as the AEA (Association of Evangelicals of Africa). The role of the AEA is strategic in linking national evangelical denominations in fellowship, in stimulating vision and in promoting leadership training, culturally relevant biblical theology and social action. The AEA is present in 33 countries, with 34 parachurch associate members. It represents over 70 million African evangelicals. 4. Lead training is recognized as the critical bottleneck. Leaders are in short supply at every level â€“ for village congregations, for the urban educated, for theological training, for missionary endeavour and for nationallevel leadership. Pray for: a. The serious consideration of what kind of training is most appropriate for African. This includes teaching and communication methods, curriculum and content, length of courses and modules. Too much foreign structure and content has been imposed; Africans must develop training that works for Africans and deals with the Afro centric issues facing the Church. b. Theological institutions. These have multiplied for students at primary, secondary and post-secondary levels. ACTRA, Africaâ€™s primary accreditation body, lists in its directory over 150 theological colleges and programmes. There are only two post-graduate level institutions, both in Nairobi. Countries with the most accredited programmes: Nigeria (24), Kenya (21), Ethiopia (14) and South Africa (11). The high incidence of such institutions in Anglophone Africa is offset by the paucity of the same in Francophone and Portuguesespeaking Africa. c. Selection of students. Discernment is needed to know those anointed by the Spirit for future leadership and those applying out of a baser motive for prestige, potential employment, desire for education or others. d. Funds. The poverty of the Church and lack of understanding among potential donors hamper the development of Bible training institutions. The financial needs are endless. Generosity from the
African and the global Church is required for such vital ministry to continue. e. TEE programmes, modular training and training-in-service are all key for training both lay leadership and the many overworked and bivocational pastors. Several hundred TEE programmes now operate in Africa, accounting for over 100,000 students. Despite past obstacles, TEE is establishing itself as an effective alternative for theological training. f. African theologians, who are now emerging as global theological leaders. A truly indigenous evangelical African theology was slow to develop but is now making great strides. A clear stand by African theologians to expound the universal and unchangeable truths of Scripture in the African context is needed, which will also counteract error, African misconceptions of the gospel and the very real powers of darkness. One such example is the African Bible Commentary, a one-volume commentary on the whole Bible written exclusively by Africans. 5. The development of a mission’s vision in the Church. Africa is becoming a formidable missionary-sending region. Praise God for the rapid growth and spread of African missions, essential for finishing the task in Africa itself. With the background set for you, join me as we set off to cover 7,500 kms in a week - this is sheer madness!!! WOW….. it will be the ride of a lifetime…..
3 Books read in preparation:
As always I love to read books on Missions in preparation for these trips. 1. THE CALL OF AFRICA by Morrel Swart (Mission in Africa) In this amazing book we have the story of missions told through the eyes of a wife and mother who experienced the joys of birth and the tragedy of death in subSahara Africa. It is a compelling, personal account of lives committed to spreading the good news of Christ’s saving power. Morrell Swart records for us the story of the Reformed Church in America’s first 50 years in missions in sub-Sahara Africa, from 1948 – 1998. This book takes us through their years in the SUDAN where after 10 years they were ordered out of the country, into ETHIOPIA where they served under the dynamic leadership of Don McClure, through the sad days of the moratorium and revolution and the tragic murder of Don McClure, into ZAMBIA and their final years in KENYA. It was an amazing story written with such passion of
their missionaries whose one passion was to bring the Gospel to Africa. It was on March 27, 1977 when the radio transmitters crackled the following message: “on March 27, 1977 the Rev. Don McClure entered the realms of glory. He
now abides for eternity with his heavenly Father whom he loved and served so wholeheartedly for so many years.” When Harold Kurtz’s voice came on from Addis Ababa, the news he gave was beyond belief ; Don McClure had been shot and killed by Somali guerillas at Gode in the Ogaden region of south east Ethiopia. He was then buried among the people he loved and served at Gode. The simple but moving ceremony at his grave struck deep into the hearts of the 100’s who were present. It was a fantastic missionary classic of some amazing missionaries and focusing mainly on the work of Robert and Morrell Swart beginning with their service in the last days of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, then in the independent Sudan, their removal to Ethiopia when civil war broke out and a third period of mission in Kenya. Their time in the Sudan took place primarily in Akabo and Pibor, in Omo in Ethiopia and later Nairobi in Kenya. It is a book written with vivacity and intimate personal insights into mission life in Africa. It was wonderful to read.
2. THE CHURCH UNDER THE CROSS (Mission in Asia) This is a missionary memoir written by Wendell Paul Karsen. It provides us with an eyewitness, behind the scenes account of Christian witness for civil and religious rights in Taiwan and Hong Kong and for Christian presence through decades of militant Communist atheism in China. The intertwining of personal reflection with historical, cultural and religious developments, provides not only fascinating insight into the joys and dangers of missionary life during the era of the Cold War, but also a new perspective on the challenge facing Churches in Asia today. Roger Greenway wrote of this book – “this book deals with the social and political turmoil that many Asian Churches experienced in the second half of the twentieth century and how an American missionary stood in solidarity with them. It enlarges our appreciation for what it means to be a conscientious Christian in a very convoluted world and is a goldmine of information, insight and inspiration.
3. REINVENTING CHRISTIANITY (African Theology Today) By J. Parratt In this book, the first comprehensive survey of Christian Theology in Africa to appear in English, John Parrat provides a critical yet sympathetic examination of the new ways of doing theology that have recently emerged from within the African Church. Following an introduction that charts the growth and development of African Theology, Parratt examines the differing theological assumptions and methodologies throughout the continent. He then evaluates Africa’s political theologies, giving special attention to theological approaches to African Socialism and to South African black theology. Listen to what Parratt wrote:
“it is becoming increasingly clear – however unpalatable it may appear to Western theologians – that the focus of the Christian faith is moving steadily away from Europe and America to new centres in the 3rd world.” He quotes from the Pan-African Conference of the Third World Theologians in Accra in 1977:
“the Bible is the basic source of African Theology, because it is the primary witness of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ. No theology can retain its Christian identity apart from Scripture. The Bible is not simply an historical book about the people of Israel, through a rereading of this Scripture in the social context of our struggling for humanity; God speaks to us in the midst of our troublesome situations.” In Fashole Lukes’ view, however fascinating comparative religion may be, it is no substitute for a rigorous study of the Bible.”
THURSDAY, 17 FEBRUARY My alarm woke me up at 03:00am, I want to do my readings and get ready for Dave and Tjaart who will arrive at 04:30 am, …wow…I am so excited!! My daily Bible readings were from Genesis, Luke, Job and Psalms, all following the McCheyne daily Bible reading programme. I end off by reading Oswald Chambers “My Utmost for His Highest” in which he was speaking on “taking the initiative against depression”. Listen to what he said on 1 Kings 19:5:
“the angel did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable; he simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing – that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive - only material things do not suffer depression. If we do anything in order to overcome depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone.” For this trip I brought 2 fantastic books to read, God’s Generals by Robert Liardon and for the second time I want to read Missionary Travels by David Livingstone. No competition … I began with Livingstone! Listen to how he speaks of his father: “he deserves my lasting gratitude and homage for presenting me from infancy with a continuously consistent pious EXAMPLE, such as that ideal of which is so beautifully and truthfully portrayed in Burns’ “Cottars Saturday Night.” He died in February 1856, in peaceful hope of that mercy which we all expect through the death of our Lord and Saviour. I was at the time on my way below Lumbo, expecting to greater pleasure in this country than sitting by our cottage fire and telling him my travels. I revere his memory.” His Reading “in reading everything that I could lay my hands on was devoured
EXCEPT NOVELS. My reading in the factory was carried on by placing the book on a portion of the spinning machine so that I could catch sentence after sentence as I carried on my work. I thus kept up a pretty constant study undisturbed by the roar of machinery.” I am now ready, my heart is on fire and our journey into Central Africa on a mercy mission is about to begin. A few days ago we packed the 4 x 4 and a special trailer, both of which were so generously donated to us for this trip. We were also donated enough money to pay for all the diesel we would use over the 7,500 kms. We packed the 500 books, boxes full of clothes, computers, sewing machines, plus extra fuel tanks, water tanks, tents to sleep in along the way, canvas to cover the car and tents at night, food, 2 spare wheels, malaria tablets, a box of extra T-shirts to barter with …. and of course … my books to read. So with Dave at the wheel and a time of prayer, we set out on our epic journey with me reading David Livingstone in the back seat…………. First stop go and say good-bye to my students at KMBC … it was fantastic to see them at 04:15am saying “bye” to their Principal…
Listen to how Livingstone felt when he set out on a trip into Africa:
“now that I am on the point of starting on another trip into Africa I feel quite exhilarated. When one travels with the specific object in view of helping the plight of the people, every act becomes ennobled. The mere emotional pleasure of traveling in a wild unexplored country is very great. When on land of a couple of 1000 feet elevation, brisk exercise imparts elasticity to the muscles, fresh and healthy blood circulates through the brain, the mind works well, the eye is clear, the step is firm, and the days exertion makes the evening repose thoroughly enjoyable.” The roads are fairly quiet so we quickly by-passed Hilton, Howick and then drove through the magnificent Midlands, passed Nottingham Road, Mooi River, Estcourt onto Harrismith where we stopped for breakfast. Livingstone’s journals are amazing to read. James Mac Nair said of them: Journals: “it may be safely claimed that no traveler ever kept a more copious or
more meticulously careful day-by-day record than did Livingstone. No matter how difficult his situation nor how complete his exhaustion, it was rare for him to fail to make some entry, long or short, for each day. He was indefatigable in recording all that he saw or learned of native customs, of birds and beasts and their habits, of trees and flowers in immense variety.” I had such a laugh …. Livingstone dedicates himself as a Missionary to Africa. He was in his prime, about 40 years of age and in perfect physical condition. On his journeys he wrote: Water: “I have drunk water swarming with insects, thick with mud, putrid with
rhinoceroses’ urine and buffalo dung, and no stinted droughts of it either, and yet …. felt no inconvenience from it.” I have far to go to get there!! After that great breakfast kindly sponsored by some friends we headed up on the N1 towards Nylstroom, Ellisras and then on to the border post. Reading these journals is amazing for me. Tonight we will pitch our tents somewhere, listen to Livingstone again: Tents: “my little tent was now so rotten and so full of holes that every sharp
shower caused a fine mist to descend on my blanket, and made me fain to cover the head with it. Heavy dew lay on everything in the morning, even inside the tent.”
So tonight I hope the tent I have borrowed doesn’t leak … otherwise Bryan will have to bring me another one because this old one has holes in!!! … never mind Violet has made some special rusks which we will enjoy over a real cup of coffee. We had a brilliant first day, the car went so well and we stopped at Nylstroom for some diesel. From there we saw some brilliant African bushveld the further north we went. Just outside of Ellisras we stopped to take a few photographs, it was stunning. We drove over the tropic of Capricorn and along the route saw many different types of buck, a few zebras, a giraffe, nearly rode over a warthog, it was such a beautiful drive to the border post at STOCKPOORT. We had no problems at all, the people were friendly and we drove into BOTSWANA. I was so conscious as we drove along the dirt roads that this was the area which David Livingstone passed through on his way from Kuruman up north. We drove through MALALAPHE on to PALAPYE where we stayed for the night at the ITUMELA camp site. Mary had cooked the supper for us so we ended a great day in Africa, no better place to be in the world. How better to close than to listen to Livingstone again from his journals. On the 15 January 1856 he wrote:
“Thank God for His mercies thus far. How soon may I be called to stand before Him, my Righteous Judge, I know not. Oh Jesus grant me resignation to Thy will and reliance on Thy powerful hand. But wilt Thou permit me to plead for AFRICA.” He was devoted to Africa. He ended his one speech with these words:
“I direct your attention to Africa. I know that in a few years I shall be cut off in that country which is now open. I go back to try and open up a path to commerce and Christianity. Do you carry on the work that I have begun? I leave it to you.” My tent is up and the 3 of us will sleep under the African skies …what a privilege!! Our camp site was next to a railway shunting yard so the trains were coming and going all night, the cattle have bells around their necks so that went on all night … so not much sleep except for David who snored his head off!
FRIDAY, 18 FEBRUARY We broke camp at 04:00am, Tjaart made us some coffee and rusks and we headed off for FRANCISTOWN. The sunrise was out of this world and so I could do my readings from Exodus, Luke, Job and 1 Corinthians. Oswald Chambers was spot on: “never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action.” ‘Footprints into Africa” is a new venture for me, so full of opportunities for working on this great continent of Africa. We stopped along the road for our breakfast of the left over chicken and had cereal and rolls which were great and then we headed off towards NATA (1030kms). Amazing to see the landscape changing and then we saw a herd of elephants along the road. I took some amazing photos before David screamed at me to get back into the car. This route is through the famous CHOBE NATIONAL PARK. The Chobe River is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most beautiful rivers and supports a diversity and concentration of wildlife unparalled anywhere else in the country and especially it is famous for its large herds of elephants. We continued to enjoy the amazing landscape till we reached the border town of KAZUNGULA. What an experience to go through all the customs and onto the ferry. One Zimbabwean wanted to call the police because he said we had pushed in front of him …. so I had to put on my best charm to cool him down. Crossed the Zambezi by ferry and landed safely in Zambia. I loved Botswana; it was a fantastic trip through the country. About the size of France, it is a land-locked country, bordering on South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Most of the country is flat with the KALAHARI sands covering 84% of the surface areas – the first – and most lasting impression will be the vast expanses of uninhabited wilderness, stretching from horizon to horizon, the sensation of limitless space, astoundingly rich wildlife, night skies dappled with stars and heavenly bodies of an unimaginable brilliance, and stunning sunsets of unearthly beauty. Friends and then …………….on to LIVINGSTONE….. before David could switch off the engine I found out where the DAVID LIVINGSTONE MUSEUM was. At the border I bargained for an excellent exchange rate only to find that the museum took all of it …but….it was absolutely worth it. I then went in and saw David Livingstone’s:
• • • • •
Coat and cap His medical box His trommel His last letter His journals
It was one of the greatest moments in my life, Tjaart and Dave thought I had gone out of my mind!!! We made our way to the MIRAMBA RIVER LODGE where we camped alongside the river. It was amazing to hear the hippos nearby. As the sun set we made a braai overwhelmed at the sheer delight of being in Africa. Allow me to close off one of my greatest days by again quoting from David Livingstone’s Journals (which I saw …wow..) 23 September 1871
“in the latter part I felt like dying on my feet. Almost every step was pain, the appetite failed, while the mind, sorely depressed, reacted on the body … I read the whole Bible through FOUR times while I was in Manynema.” How he loved his Bible. I admit I shed a tear on reading again of his death. Listen to how McNair describes it:
“a lad was placed at the door of the hut so as to be within call, and the camp went uneasily to sleep. Some time during the night the boy looked into the hut, and, by the light of a candle, saw his master on his knees by the bed, in prayer, and so he withdrew. Early in the morning he peeped in again and noting that his Buana had not changed his position, called the senior servants. Together they entered the hut and found Livingstone kneeling by the side of his bed, his body stretched forward, and his head buried on his hands upon the pillow. He had died during the night.” Chuma and Susi carried the embalmed body of their beloved leader through 1500 miles of unfriendly country, to the coast and committed it to the keeping of men of his own race. It showed how much they had loved him and how much he had influenced them.
Two famous writers wrote this about Livingstone: Kenneth Latourette wrote: “His purpose was to open the way for the Gospel, for the righting of wrongs,
and the healing of social scores. He dreamed of the benefits which Western
civilization could bring to Africa. He loved the Africans, dealt with them tactfully and selflessly, and won their confidence. Fearless and with an indomitable will, he drove his body, often racked and spent with fever and dysentery, to incredible exploits. A keen observer, he made voluminous records of what he saw. His Christian faith sustained him, kept him humble, and in the end mellowed the native asperity of his character. In his later years he severed his connection with the London Missionary Society, not because he had changed his purpose, but because he believed that he could best fulfill it as an agent of the British Government.” Stephen Neil comments:
“The fame of Moffat has been a little over-shadowed by the superlative greatness of his friend and son-in-law David Livingstone (1813-73). Livingstone came from a hardy clan of Scotsmen, reared in poverty and godliness. He arrived in Africa in 1841, and for ten years served in the ordinary routine of missionary work. But he, like John Williams, was not a man to be held to one single reef; the mind and impulse of the explorer were in him, and he was always drawn on, in his own words, by ‘the smoke of a thousand villages’ that had never seen a missionary.” So Livingstone shows us the characteristics which go into the making of a great missionary, especially in Africa. He came from England’s poor, but he was buried among England’s kings. His cradle sat in a Scottish weaver’s hut, but his grave lies in Westminster Abbey. In between that humble cradle and the glorious burial are all the elements of drama – the challenge of the Dark Continent, the forward-faced explorer driving ever onward. Here is the will of one frail man cutting a swath through the unknown wilderness, the uncharted jungle, the untouched desert. What a man …………….my hero……………. With the most incredible sunset I prayed the prayer of David Livingstone: “My Jesus, my King, my life, my all. Once more I dedicate my whole self to Thee. Accept me and grant, gracious Father that ere this year is gone I may finish my task.” How can I sleep, my emotions are running at a high …………
SATURDAY 19 FEBRUARY What an evening. Tjaart gave us a fantastic braai and to sleep with the hippo sounding a few metres away was awesome. Up again at 04:00 and we set off from Livingstone to ZIMBA. Along the route we stopped to admire the most wonderful sunrise … WOW what a great God we have. With the sun rising I did my readings from Genesis, Luke, Job and Psalms closing as always with Oswald Chambers, he thrilled me, listen:
“we have to take the 1st step as though there were no God. It is no use to wait for God to help us, He will not, but immediately we arrive we find He is there. Whenever God inspires, the initiative is a moral one. We must do the thing and not lie like a dog.” With Tjaart at the wheel we set off stopping for breakfast along the road near CHUMBA, moving from there to cross over the KAFUE RIVER. It was wonderful to go down to the river and see some of the fishermen in their MAKORO (a canoe chiseled out of a tree trunk). Then we headed for LUSAKA where we filled up with diesel and I took a photograph of a taxi … must be the worst I have ever seen, and I started my new book ….called
GOD’S GENERALS by Robert Liardon In this book Liarden chronicles compelling spiritual biographies of some of the most powerful preachers ever to ignite the fires of revival. We follow the faith journeys and lives of the great generals of God, including John and Charles Wesley, George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, William Booth, D.L. Moody, Billy Graham and more. Listen to some quotes from these great men of God. Enjoy these ….. JOHN WESLEY – the first general The advice of his mother – “and now in good earnest resolve to make religion the business of your life, for after all, that is the one thing that, strictly speaking, is necessary; all things beside are comparatively little to the purposes of life. I heartedly wish you would now enter upon a strict examination of yourself, that you may know whether you have a reasonable hope of salvation of Jesus Christ.”
His failure as a missionary – “I went to America to convert the Indians, but oh who will convert me? Who, what is he that will deliver me from this evil heart of mischief. I have a fair summer religion. I can talk well, nay and believe myself, while no danger is near, but let death look me in the face and my spirit is troubled, nor can I say to die is gain ….” His conversion – “in the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation and assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
Finally we arrived in KITWE for the main purpose of this trip. Anderson and Mukombo were both there to meet us and after greeting each other we slowly unpacked all the goods. Christ Church Pinetown have been amazing and after 9 months have collected over 500 books for the new Bible College in Lubumbashi and 100’s of pieces of clothing for both our little churches in Kitwe and Lubumbashi. It was a wonderful experience for us to bring these love gifts over 1000’s of kms all out of our deep love for Jesus. They were moved at these expressions of love. We then enjoyed some tea and I had a meeting with both men in order to hear how the work is going and how we can further encourage them. What a privilege to see one’s past students doing such a great work. Anderson’s Mum and sister prepared a meal for us and we will sleep in the “bishop’s bedroom” which is what they have called the room where I always sleep on my trips to Zambia. I love spending the evenings at the Mwila home; one gets a taste of township life at its very best. So again what a fantastic day in Africa we have experienced. All the goods are distributed and tomorrow we will visit our little church in Kitwe, see the piece of land we have just purchased and then head back home hoping to reach the KAFUE RIVER before sunset.
SUNDAY 20 FEBRUARY Enjoyed a brilliant sleep, even David’s snoring never kept me awake!! It was so lovely waking up with the rooster crowing. Read from the Bible in Exodus, Luke, Job and 1 Corinthians. Oswald Chambers challenged me: “leave Him to be the source of all your dreams and joys and delights, and go out and obey what He has said. If you are in love, you do not sit down and dream about the one you love, you go and do something for him. Dreaming after God has spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him.” Read the second general GEORGE WHITFIELD. Here are two quotes for you: His conversion – “but oh, with what joy unspeakable, even joy that was full of, and big with glory, was my soul filled, when the weight of sin went off, and an abiding sense of the pardoning love of God, and a full assurance of faith, broke in upon my disobedient soul. Surely it was the day of my espousal, a day to be held in everlasting remembrance. At first my joys were like a spring tide, and as it were overflowed the banks. God where I would, I could not avoid singing of psalms almost aloud. Afterwards they became more settled, and blessed by God, saving a few casual intervals have abode and filled my soul ever since.” His ministry in Northampton – “there was scarcely a single person in the town of Northampton, either old or young, that was left unconcerned about the things of the eternal world. Those who were the vainest and loosest were now subject to great awakenings.” After a lovely breakfast, we all set out for the church and to see the piece of land which we have just purchased for R10,000 thanks to a very generous donor. She must be a very happy person today! What an unforgettable morning. Together with Anderson we set out for MASONDA Township where our little church is situated amongst the really poor of the area. Immediately we went to see the piece of land and there it was, perfectly situated right in the middle of the area. We took some photographs and held hands as we prayed to give thanks to the Lord. From there we all went on to the church service where about 45 had gathered together, it was beautiful. Some hymns were sung, the children sang 2 songs and for the Bible reading Anderson’s daughter recited the 23rd Psalm. I then had the privilege of preaching from Matthew (7:21-23) and at the end a number indicated of their desire to follow
Jesus. It really moves me very deeply indeed. At the end of the service I was able to give both Pastor Anderson and Pastor Mukombo a new E.S.V. Study Bible kindly donated through the efforts of Willem Herbst. What a glorious time – photographs were taken and we headed back home for South Africa. No one spoke in the car, too emotionally choked up and Dave just patted me on the knee, that said it all …..my eyes were filled with tears of gratitude. After 450 kms we arrived at KAFUE where we were to camp for the night along the banks of the river but too many people were there so we drove on looking for a place to set up camp for the night. Eventually we saw a restaurant and I asked for permission to camp on their lawn… what a mistake. The generator was only switched off at 12 and then it was difficult to fall asleep. My mind ran over the day and the sheer joy of driving 1000’s of kms to deliver the goods, see the land, preach and see souls saved … what a day, thank you God! MONDAY 21 FEBRUARY As we set out from Kafue for Livingstone, the sun began to rise and I read from my Bible readings in Exodus, Luke, Job and 1 Corinthians. Oswald Chambers was challenging, listen: “have I ever been carried away to do something for God not because it was
my duty, nor because it was useful, nor because there was anything in it at all beyond the fact that I love Him? There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give Him the abandoned tokens of how genuinely we do love Him.” Then I started to read the 3rd general – JONATHAN EDWARDS. Listen to what was said of him: His Legacy – “Jonathan and his wife Sarah, are among the most notable parents in American history. By 1990, the descendents of their 11 children included: 13 College Presidents 65 Professors 100 Lawyers 30 Judges 66 Doctors 135 Editors 1 Publisher Isn’t that incredible … and 100 foreign missionaries”
Finally we arrived in Livingstone; first to have a little breakfast before we set out for the falls to barter and bring home some mementoes … it is here where my Dad taught me. I managed to get a hippo for Mary and giraffe for my office at a third of the price plus 4 of my T-shirts and a pair of jeans. From there I found another shop where I traded Murray’s old tracksuit for a beautiful candle holder, a drum for the shorts I had on and an elephant for R40 plus my shirt. It was fun but now I have nothing left to wear except what I have on …. What fun in Africa, I love being here. THEN TO THE VICTORIA FALLS What can you say! As soon as you arrive the thunder greets you and there in all his glory is the monument to David Livingstone. For me one of the sights I have always dreamt of seeing one day. Let me remind you of how he discovered the Victoria Falls. The falls were originally called SHONGWE and Livingstone’s friend SEBITUANE used to ask him whether in his own country he had “smoke that thunders” referring to the pillars of vapour and the far carrying roar of the river as it plunged into the chasm beneath. Sliding down the river in their canoes, they came to within half a km of the falls, when Livingstone was transferred to a lighter canoe and he was guided to the central island later to be known as “Livingstone Island”. Then he saw -
“a stream of 1800 yards broad leap down 350 feet, and then became suddenly compressed into a space of 15-20 yards.” It is the most incredible sight imaginable and we walked along the route, through the rain forest spellbound! The roar is deafening and you will get soaked without a raincoat. Surely one of the greatest moments in my life. We then headed back to camp, spent the afternoon reading, ready to leave early in the morning for the ferry at Kazungula and then the long drive through Botswana to Ellisras. Listen again to how Jonathan Edwards describes his conversion: His conversion – “there came into my soul, and was as it were diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the divine being, a new sense, quite different from anything I ever experienced before … I thought to myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I shall be, if I might enjoy that God, and be wrapped up to God in heaven, and be as it were swallowed up in Him.”
What a great man Edwards was. It could be said that more than any man in the history of Christianity, he loved God with all his mind, heart, soul and strength. Even an ardent intellectual, he was as much a man of the book as he was of the Spirit. He was disciplined to the point of being fanatical, methodical in his pursuit of truth to the point of obsession.” I now want to go and soak myself in a shower and wash the only clothes I have for the next 2½ days. It’s great in Africa … then we will enjoy supper and camp on the banks of the river where we saw a hippo!!! TUESDAY 22 FEBRUARY A beautiful morning greets us as we leave early to go down to the ferry which will take us back to Botswana. On the statue of David Livingstone it was wonderful to see how in his hand he held the Bible and with his eyes he looked into Africa. I love reading the Bible and continued with Exodus, Luke, Job and 1 Corinthians. Oswald Chambers wrote on Psalms:
“Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire.” Then on to the 4th and final general in my book WILLIAM BOOTH. Listen to what he wrote:
“we are a salvation people, this is our specialty – getting people saved and keeping them saved, and then getting someone else saved … you are to be a worker together with God for the salvation of your fellow men. What is the business of your life? Not merely to save your soul and make yourself meet for paradise … NO … you are to be a redeemer, a saviour, a copy of Jesus Christ. So consecrate every awakened power to the great end of saving them, be self-sacrificing, remember the Master.” A long ride of 1200kms lies ahead of us today … up at 04:00am, packed away the wet tents because for the first time it rained during the night and as I said …. My tent leaked, so I got up and slept in the car. We headed for KAZUNGULA which opened at 6 and because we left early, we were first at the gate, went through customs and then waited for the ferry to carry us across the river into BOTSWANA. These ferries are amazing; they carried 100’s of people, a few cars and 1 huge lorry at a time – (no LIFE JACKETS). When we got to the Botswana offices they made us hand over all our fruit and sadly a drum which Tjaart had specially bought for his boys. I was so fortunate they never saw mine because I had packed it in my bag!!!??? From there along to CHOBE NATIONAL PARK where again
we saw elephants and buffalo in their hordes, it really is amazing. FRANCISTOWN was our next goal and then finally the border post at STOCKPOORT, where we had no problems at all. Dave then booked us in for our final night at THE MOLALATAU LODGE where we were able to set up camp and enjoy a long shower. I bought some chops, wors and sosaties for supper so we should eat like kings and enjoy a great braai together under the African skies after having traveled 1100 kms from Livingstone. After supper had an excellent sleep and looked forward to our final stretch home. WEDNESDAY 23 FEBRUARY Up at 04:00am and we set out for home. As the sun rose I read my readings again from Exodus, Luke, Job and 1 Corinthians, so grateful for the precious Word of God which draws us ever closer to Jesus. Then Oswald Chambers reminded me:
“according to Jesus Christ the minister is called to be the DOORMAT of other men, their spiritual leader, but never their superior. If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog, but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellowmen.” What a challenge to us today. With this in mind we set out for our last stretch which should get us home by 4. The roads are so much better here so we headed down via Johannesburg, Harrismith on to Pietermarizburg and home. I arrived home with only the clothes I have on, all the others bartered away for curios, all my airtime finished, my 2 books read and digested. How can I ever forget seeing David Livingstone’s cap, coat, medical aid box, his hand written journals, how can I forget the Victoria Falls, the huge David Livingstone statue with his Bible in his hand and his eyes set on the African continent. How can I forget being with Anderson and Mukombo, handing over all the things we had traveled 1000’s of kms to deliver, who can forget standing on our new plot of land, preaching and seeing souls being saved. It is impossible, God gave the 3 of us the most incredible few days and by God’s incredible grace we can now say
PERSONAL REFLECTIONS 1.
How can I ever thank Dave de Winnaar enough? He kindly provided us with his own car and did all the “behind the scenes” preparation, without him we would have been lost. Thank you to Tjaart for being such a great chef and providing us with all the food requirements for the trip – you were amazing. Thank you to the sponsors, Petroleum Products for the diesel, Footprints Design for the signage, Afrispoor for the trailer and to so many of you who prayed …. to you all THANK YOU, you gave the 3 of us the most amazing mercy mission trip into Central Africa. 2.
Our little church in Masonda is encouraging. The attendance was up; a beautiful piece of land has now been acquired through the generous donation of one of my friends, so the future is promising as brother Anderson keeps preaching the Word of God. He is a good man with a passion for the Gospel. 3.
Seeing that statue of my hero was moving, with his precious Bible in his hand and his eyes set on the plains of Central Africa he moved on with his mission, nothing would stop him. Please pray that I may be like that, with a deeper love for the Lord Jesus Christ, a deeper love for the Bible and an incredible heart for Africa. This trip was a very moving one for me personally, I want to spend the remaining years of my life teaching the Bible and training pastors for Africa. 4.
It was 25 years ago when I launched the KwaZulu-Natal Missionary & Bible College (formerly TAP). The dream is coming together so wonderfully. Our Campus is looking the best ever, we are almost full again and the sheer delight of teaching here thrills me more and more. So to visit 2 of our past students, Anderson and Mukombo, and to see what they are doing is fantastic.
Next month I fly out to LUBUMBASHI in the D.R.C. where Pierre has arranged a leadership conference with 300 in attendance, opportunities to lecture at the new Bible School, and preach at different churches. I then go to NAMIBIA, MOZAMBIQUE, MALAWI and have just received an invitation to RWANDA. Please pray that these will be great times of equipping men, and encouraging our past students, but the future is packed with opportunities for me of getting into Central Africa. CONCLUSION How better to close than with this beautiful prayer of Livingstone: â€œmy Jesus, my king, my life, my all. Once more I dedicate my whole self to Thee. Accept me and grant O gracious Father, That ere this year is gone I may finish my task.â€?