King's Business - 1942-04

April, 1942



Spiritual Advance on the African Front S

By EVELYN W. WOODSWORTH* Brooklyn, New York

New things are happening in Africa. A new seriousness, born of viewing the world at war, has brought to the African church marked progress along indige­ nous lines. The African Christian is look­ ing beyond his own kith and kin and giving himself at last to the spreading of the gospel even to enemy tribes. In Kenya Colony, the first na­ tive-supported missionary has been sent from the A k a m b a tribe to the hostile Masai tribe, an e l u s i v e , warlike people whose h a r d n e s s for decades baffled the faithful missionaries who have labored there. In Kenya Colony, the first year of the war showed a rec­ ord of 1,293 additions to the church by baptism. The American church has no right to take a defeatist out­ l oo k on missions, despite the present world situation. Sailings, or the lack of them, can never measure a mission’s work.

naturally a generous giver. He hangs on to his scant supply of cash, and really much prefers to be in debt. It is a long, untraveled road through his heart to his pocketbook, or should we say to the depths of his khaki shorts’ pocket? But new things are coming to pass in Africa — among them spiritual victories in the face of war—and the spirit of giving is one of them. During the past year, one assembly of believers in Kenya has been great­ ly depleted because many of its mem­ bers have been taken for military service. The natural result should have been a falling off in interest and offerings. But not so—those who-were left have made willing sacrifice, and the offerings have tripled! The Sengani outpost in Ukamba- land is another example of victory the Lord has won in the hearts of His own in teaching them to give. At a time when money could not be expected to flow freely, the Akamba Christians have erected an attractive cut-stone chapel, with concrete floörs and iron roof. The cost of the mate­ rials was equal to a thousand Amer­ ican dollars—supplied by the natives themselves. The craftsmen were all Akamba, and most of the labor was given without wages. Just before this building was dedi­ cated ' last December, a huge box mysteriously, appeared at the front entrance. Nothing had been ordered of its dimensions, and no one had been seen delivering it—yet there it was! Inside was a beautiful twenty- four-inch church bell, the gift of an African Christian. Its value must have been over one hundred dollars. Although it is true that the Akamba are in a section of the country where cash is more easily obtained than in districts farther removed from the centers of colonial civilization, even that fact does not lessen the marvel of this extraordinary giving. [ Continued on Päge 131]

I N THE SPRING of 1940, when the war burst into Kenya Colony, the Nandi Christians began to do some thinking and then to take stock of their financial resources. Those who had work were well paid if they got the equivalent of two dollars a month—but most of them had-no work. Not a word was said to the white workers at the big mis­ sion station, but each little outpost strained to do its part. Cent by cent, the thin brown copper coins were brought in until these loyal folk had accumulated the stupendous sum of one hundred shillings (roughly equiv­ alent to twenty-five American dol­ lars at normal exchange). Then the great day came to present their offer­ ing. The missionary was taken by surprise when they surrendered to him the precious g^ft—wholly inde­ pendent of their giving for Christian work—with instructions to forward it to the Government “to help Britain win the war.” * Victories in Giving Nor do these African Christians stop at merely patriotic generosity.' A new seriousness born of viewing the world at war is taking hold of the African church, and marked prog­ ress along indigenous lines has been the result. Now the African is not * Missionary of the Africa Inland Mission, and a graduate of the Bible Institute of Los An­ geles. Class of 1931.

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