For His Name's Sake
We started holding evangelistic campaigns as Brother Helper for many years had been doing with much blessing. Our travels, which took us chiefly into German communities, stirred up the wrath of those for whose eternal well being we were so concerned. The Germans turned against us in hot anger by passing synodal resolutions and by the spoken as well as the written word. Doors where we had longed for opportunity were slammed in our faces and preposterous rumours were circulated.
However, it was not opposition, alone, that made me wonder if this was the way we should go. A growing restlessness was taking hold of me, for something seemed to be looming up ahead. Something which the Lord, who had called us, was preparing. Nevertheless the compelling solicitude which God had put in my heart for my countrymen remained as strong as ever. It was obvious to us that many of them were living – as we had done in the past – quite out of touch with the living God. They were being taught to put their trust in their baptism as infants. This tragic need burdened our heats continually.
In the meantime we continued to be objects of ever growing indignation and hatred. In fact hostility blazed so fiercely that the two evangelist, Brother Helper and my brother were once turned away at the church door. Their sole motive had been to join with the congregation in singing and listening to God’s Word. ‘You want to see blood flow?’ one of the influential men had hissed.
This incident hurt, particularly, because it happened at the very door of the church in which we had gathered together for the last time, only a few months previously, to proclaim the Gospel and to praise God.
It certainly did not leave us unmoved that these men often cast their wrathful hatred decisively into the balance when far reaching resolutions were brought forward against ‘evangelism’ and all those who actively supported it.
Sharp as these tribulations were, they were not the prime cause of our questioning whether we had been called to move from one German community to another conducting meetings – nor was my restlessness due to any lessening of our concern for our kith and kin.
One day, when my wife and I, with the children, had been far away from home in South West Africa for several months, light began to dawn. It happened while we were quietly waiting on the Lord.
Suddenly I became fully assured that we should start long term Bible study courses similar to a Bible school. As this guidance took shape I was astonished, for I myself strongly disliked any kind of formal teaching. I certainly could not teach. Neither had I ever wanted to do so since discarding confirmation classes.
In spite of this the assurance remained, banishing all excuses. So there was nothing for it but to pack our suitcases and return to Pretoria to discuss the matter with our dear brothers there. The journey was tedious and long – four days without a break on the train.
Part of the way lay through dreary and dusty country. As the train wound its interminable way a deep depression settled over me. Was it due to the nature of the landscape or to weariness, or was it due to something else? – Who knows? It seemed to me as if great trouble lay ahead.
The heaviness did not leave me until something my brother and I experienced a little later. We had responded to a call by friends of the old congregation to hold a Bible week. We spent the days in prayer, leading the meetings each evening.