King's Business - 1942-04

April, 1942



Yet in spite of William’s spiritual passion, his body soon began to rebel under the rough treatment of Bakara feeding, for, not being married, he was dependent, on the people for his meals. Although the Bakara raise the same raw produce as do the people on the mainland, their methods of cooking are so poor and so utterly filthy that even Africans who have known better food cannot long endure It. At the end of six rrionths, William’s health was gone and he was forced home for medical aid. Months of weary waiting were his lot, waiting for health, waiting on God for guidance; Sometimes h e nearly lost heart, but the fire which God had kindled within him died down to smouldering coals only to burst forth in powerful flame again, To live on the island as he did before would cost his health a second time and would defeat the purpose of his mission; so he devised another means to reach this needy tribe. Last Sep­ tember, he entered a Ukerewe Island school as head teacher, with the avowed purpose of spending his week­ ends evangelizing on Ukara, thus to hold the fort till other help can come. Not only have the Tanganyika mainland Christians reached out to Ukara Island with the gospel mes­ sage, but the past year also has seen the Akamba church in Kenya send out its first native-supported mission­ ary to another tribe. The Akamba might have chosen to help a friendly tribe. But instead they chose the hos­ tile Masai, their traditional enemies, who term the Akamba “those who stink,” frequently using the insulting epithet even to their faces. A Masai Stronghold Weakens The Masai are warlike nomads, feared and hated by other African tribes, confined to a great wasteland reserve by the British Government for their intractability. Their kraals are far from the abode of other men, hast­ ily thrown together and frequently moved as each clan journeys in search of better pasture for its enor­ mous herds. No Masai welcomes the appearance of one of his clan In European garb. The warriors are most often seen naked but for fa n ­ tastic ornaments and a generous coat of brilliant orange clay—and always they carry spears. For years this tribe has resisted missionary effort. But during the past two years, the Masai have been re­ sponding to the gospel, and glorious spiritual victories are being achieved among them. Where, a few years ago, money given to train a Masai evan­ gelist lay idle for lack of a single volunteer, now young men are asking to go to Bible school. Warriors are coming to church. Missionaries are being stopped in the path by women who ask to hear the Word of God.



Victories and not for earthly ease. He moved among the people, sharing their tem­ poral life, while he preached to them the word of eternal life. So effective was his message, that within a few days, twenty-one B a k a r a h a d re­ nounced their fear-instilling supersti­ tions to serve the true and living God. With most of them, it was no light matter either, for their faith has s£ood the test-of time and persecution to the present day. Nevertheless, it was not long until the islanders began to hate William for the new teaching he had brought among them. The searching light of the living Word was too much for their sin-scarred lives. N o t h i n g daunted by the diminishing of visible results, the evangelist faithfully con­ tinued to deliver his heaven-born mes­ sage.

[ Continued from Page 125] There is a gift, however, which means more to the Saviour’s heart than any church of stone or bag of coin. It is the gift of a life that has no other passion than to do His will. From the time that African souls first found emancipation from their pagan fears and fetishes, there have been grateful volunteers to proclaim the gospel among their fellow tribesmen. But now, amid the conflict of the nations, the African mind is accepting the challenge of a widening horizon, seeing men of other races, pondering problems of the world. And the African church is thinking, too. She is catching anew the far vision of Christless tribes and giving of her sons to bear to them the mes­ sage of salvation. The Bible schools are being crowded out. This year has seen the Tanganyika training school doubled, while the Congo school has an enrollment three times its normal size. The past two years have brought a marked increase in the number of those who have gone forth to settle amid people of strange customs and to grapple with new tongues, even as the European missionary must do when he leaves his native land in the service of his Lord. It was during the first year of the war that William Baia, a Nsukuma of northern Tanganyika, first lifted up his eyes and saw a whitened harvest on the island of Ukara. Sadly disap­ pointed at seeing the Christian girl he had chosen 'for his bride given to a man who could pay a better dowry than he and then knowing that she had died in childbirth as the result of native medicine’s being forced upon her, William sset out alone for the island. A train journey of a hundred miles and several hours’ boat trip brought him to Ukerewe Island, the largest in Lake Victoria, where he had his last touch with established 1 mission work. From Ukerewe, he went by native canoe to Ukara Island, the place to which God had called him— a black missionary to black people of another tribe. Eighteen thousand persons strug­ gled for a living on the tiny island. The crowded hilly gardens and the huddled huts were a miserable con­ trast to the free pastures of his native plains: Windowless shelters of grass over a framework of poles housed people and food and cattle under one rOof — and the cattle seldom saw the light of day, so scarce was space in which to turn; them loose. The stench of these hovels was at times almost unbearable to the lad who had been trained in a mission hospi­ tal. But William was there for souls


One of a tribe to whom native African missionaries are taking the gospel.

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