THE GOOD TIDINGS SPREADING IN AFRICA
BROTHER BOOTH REPORTS FAVORABLY
RESPECTING the work in and around Pretoria it is very encouraging in many respects. While as yet not many of the English people are taking hold of the Harvest truths, the reception of them by the native Christians is very gratifying. On my first Sunday here I entered one of the large native compounds and began singing in several of the native languages successively. The dwellers responded as by an electric shock and gave close and joyful attention as they grasped some of the simpler features of the message.
At this writing several of the natives who work at the mines and other places are so situated and so interested that they are going out from Saturday p.m. to Monday a.m. delivering tracts and teaching in the various compounds for thirty miles around Johannesburg and Pretoria of the Harvest-time and Restitution truths to the 250,000 natives and Indians and some 20,000 Chinese cooped in from noon Saturday till over Sunday. They are overjoyed at having the same message brought here which they have heard was being proclaimed up in their home country, Nyassaland, by Brother Elliott Kamwana.
One who has been here only three months tells that he saw Elliott baptise 300 in one day; another gives advice that in one place there are 700 adherents. And I am further informed that there are towards 3,000 in that country in about 30 separate places who have accepted the Divine Plan as preferable to Presbyterianism and the Church of England. Brother Elliott himself reports that there are about 9,000 who are interested somewhat, though not all of them to the extent named above.
The method chiefly employed is singularly applicable to the conditions of the native towns. Every village has a Bwalo for the hearing of matters of public interest. The itinerant brother reading English translates the paragraphs in simple style into the vernacular of the people. Questions are entertained, etc.
The native brethren are sending in subscriptions for "The Watch Tower" for points in Nyassaland to the number of 76. King Lenanika and the Prince Letitia, his son, and their Prime Minister, from 600 miles north of the Pretoria Falls, have sent highly educated Christian representatives for the whole six volumes. They wish this message to be fully studied and proclaimed through their country, and throughout that of their friends, the great Basulu chiefs of Basululand.
Nor are the Europeans being neglected in this vicinity. Brother Brink and self are giving a series of lectures, gradually covering the message, in English and Dutch. Two sisters at Krugersdorp, 12 miles out of Johannesburg, are working up an interest and circulating "Dawn-Studies." These, like Brother Sargent, of Johannesburg, came out boldly in a street meeting in Cape Town.
BROTHER BRINK WRITES ALSO
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
May God bless you and keep you and spare you. I am overwhelmed by the most glorious Gospel, the love and majesty of God, the Father, that is being revealed from God's grand Book in these latter days of this Gospel Age through your instrumentality.
"Glory be to God in the Highest, on earth, peace, good will to men." This was the theme of one of my trial sermons before I came out as minister of the Divine Word in 1897. But only now, since I read your "Studies in the Scriptures," the six volumes (Millennial Dawn edition), and since yesterday "The Watch Tower" [R4422 : page 195] (Vol. XXII., January 15, 1901, No. 2), kindly lent me by Brother J. Booth, who arrived here a few days ago, do I realize the full import of that grand anthem of the heavenly hosts.
I am lifted up into mid-heavens, and even higher, by this grandest of all Gospels, and day and night I am pleading with the Father in the heavens and his Christ to accept of me and my life and whole-hearted services and to facilitate my promulgating the same.
I am endeavoring all I can to disseminate these truths, but am grievously hampered by personal indigence since I resigned my parish charge and salary already in the beginning of 1903, and worked and preached since then without income or remuneration, and besides lost all my property to the extent of L4,000 by political and ecclesiastical persecutions. I am further hampered by the indigence of the masses and the indifference of others.
To Europeans I preach through and with the delivery of your volumes and tracts. But to natives of about twelve different denominations I preach these truths in their pulpits and churches and through your volumes and tracts. They, too, are amazed and overwhelmed, the Spirit of God co-operating. Many a native minister has Vol. I. from me and is reading and preaching these truths in Pretoria and elsewhere since I met them.
I am doing the work by bicycle and have to traverse the same grounds several times, which proves rather fatiguing, with small monetary results.
I am burning to get the books into the possession of every minister in the state, also the tracts and the special issue of "The Watch Tower." But I am too impotent and indigent; I cannot finance that matter. The great plunderer has been let loose on me, and since 1903 has succeeded in completely circumventing me. I am practically bound hand and foot in respect to finances. Otherwise I am free from all sect prejudice and trammel. Thanks to God for that. My supplications are now day and night to Father "that I may know and be enabled to do Thy will." There are millions in South and Central Africa within easy reach prepared for these glorious truths. [R4422 : page 196]
There, now, my dear brother, you have the true situation in a few words. Do as the mind and will of God may direct you. I am waiting and in the meantime will do what my hand finds as opportunities may offer. There is no time to waste.
Believe me, sincerely yours in The Christ.
DEAR BROTHER BRINK:--
We are glad to hear from you and to note the influence of the Truth upon your heart and life and that you are glad to press your every energy into the Lord's service. We are glad to co-operate with you as we may be able. Our Society is small and poor as this world's affairs go, nevertheless the Lord has supplied all our needs thus far. No doubt you will yet see that the loss of your property was indirectly a favor and blessing from the Lord to direct your heart nearer to him and to prepare you the better for his service.
We are enclosing you some assistance and ask of you a candid statement of what your income is at the present time and what you would need in order to sustain you in a self-sacrificing manner. It would be far from our thought to accept monies from the friends of the Truth here at considerable sacrifice to themselves and then to dispense it to missionaries or others who might use it extravagantly. Hence our feeling that it is necessary for us to inquire carefully of you respecting the facts-- not with a desire to pry into your affairs, but with a desire to assist you and to fulfil our own responsibilities to the Lord and his cause.
In your next please give us some particulars respecting the numbers and classes to whom you are permitted to minister the Truth in the English and in the African languages.
Yours in the love and service of our Redeemer and King, C. T. RUSSELL.
Since the above is in print we learn that Brother Elliott Kamwana was arrested and deported by the government at the instigation of the Calvinistic Scotch Missionaries of Bandawe, Lake Niassa, who were greatly surprised that their work of years could be so quickly lifted to the higher plane of our teachings.
Seven at once volunteered to follow Kamwana in his preaching and if necessary to prison also. One of these is Brother Brink, the other six are of Kamwana's tribe, "Alonga." We cabled acceptance of the offer of Brother Brink and of the others, who also had been preachers previous to learning the Truth. We also sent five hundred dollars for expenses.
We have written a protest to the British Commissioner, and to the American Consul a request for his good offices for peace and righteousness.
Brother Kamwana baptized 9,126 in past year.