THE TRUTH IN SOUTH AFRICA
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
It is with feelings of deep thankfulness to God that at the close of another year's activity in the Harvest service, I am privileged to forward the Report of our labors in Africa during 1914-15. In presenting the last Annual Report I expressed the hope that the next occasion would find us reporting to Headquarters beyond the Veil. That hope has not been realized. I feel certain, however, that I am expressing the mind of the brethren in Africa, when I say that we are deeply grateful to God for the privilege accorded to us further, to make our calling and election SURE. The past year has been one of continuous testings and trials, both to individuals and to Classes, furnishing abundant opportunities for the display of the Christian graces laboriously cultivated in years gone by, and for the demonstration of that faith and patient endurance which is the supreme test of our devotion to the Lord.--James 1:4.
These very facts assure us that the time of our deliverance is at hand, that the Lord is, as it were, putting the finishing touches to the living stones, preparatory to their being set in the Temple of His Glory in the near future. For many years the great Master Workman has been chiseling, dressing and polishing these, bringing them into conformity with the symmetrical outlines of the Chief Corner Stone, and we are grateful to Him for the likeness. Now, while still in the quarry, He is fitting them each to the other, and if the process develops friction and reveals faults and weaknesses hitherto unsuspected, these will be endured all the more patiently and we will surrender ourselves the more unreservedly into the hands of the Great Master Builder, because we know these experiences to be the prelude to the speedy establishment of the great Spiritual Temple, so admirably designed and accurately fitted as to permit of its erection "without the sound of a hammer."
The year that has gone has been the busiest in the history of the Harvest Work in Africa:
Volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES sold.. 3,141
Scenarios, Hymnals, Mannas, Diaglotts, etc.,
Free literature circulated.................. 75,131
Meetings held............................... 312
Miles travelled............................. 4,682
You will see from above Report that the output of Volumes has been well nigh double that of last year, while a gratifying increase is also noticeable in all other publications.
The various Classes are still holding up the banner of Present Truth, and the dear Brethren are not only holding fast to The Faith, but adding to their numbers as well. Perhaps there is more opposition than ever before, but that is the natural corollary of growth and a good evidence that the Brethren are alive and awake to their privileges and that the Truth is doing its separating work, gathering the wheat from among the tares in Babylon.
During the year I have made two pilgrim Tours covering nearly five thousand miles. One of these was in connection with the EUREKA DRAMA set sent us from Brooklyn. The Drama drew large audiences everywhere, but the results have not been altogether as anticipated. However, a great witness has been borne to the people of South Africa, and the outcome is in the hands of the Lord.
The Newspaper Work in Africa is, in the Lord's providence, practically closed. The war has so decreased the supply of paper in this Dominion that most of the newspapers had to curtail the size of their journals and all had to considerably economize their space. We had only two native papers publishing the Sermons, and these insisted on so abridging them as to render them useless as a means of propaganda, so I have withdrawn them.
The Native Brethren in South Africa still retain their interest in the Truth, and are waiting patiently the further development of the Lord's Purpose. The progress of the war in Nyasaland and South Africa has made reports from that region somewhat scarce; but when last heard from, the Brethren there were still holding fast to the Truth, living in that state of detachment and patient waiting upon God which is the attitude of all the Lord's people at the present time. Your communication re work in Rhodesia, to Mr. Nodehouse, was duly received. I have written that gentleman asking for particulars and am awaiting his reply.
While, therefore, our opportunities are not quite so large as formerly, there is not sufficient evidence to warrant the view that the door is closed or nearly closed in South Africa, and while the Lord permits we shall hold the Fort for Him, telling out the Glad Tidings of the coming Kingdom now so near at hand, till He says "It is enough." Pray for us, dear Brother, as we do for you, that we may be kept faithful unto death and may be counted worthy of a place in the Kingdom.
With continued personal devotion, and a large appreciation of your ministrations, prayers and loving interest in the Harvest Work in South Africa, I am
Your Brother and Co-Laborer in His Glad Service,
WM. W. JOHNSTON.--South Africa.