Direct Approach to Africans

Mission Problems and Methods CHALLENGE OF A WORLD TASK

By G. E. SETANKEL, Departmental Secretary, Southern African Division

One of the reasons for the large degree of success in soul winning in some mission fields, and I am thinking particularly of Africa, is easy access to homes. The African has al­ways lived a somewhat communal type of life. The African town or village seldom has a hotel, for the simple reason that strangers are always welcomed into the homes of the people to share what they have.

Then, too, there is no problem of advertising in Africa. Anyone with a message will receive a welcome hearing, to begin with, at least. Thus the method of approach to the native peoples who still live in villages under the tribal system is a very direct one. With them there are no formalities of proper introductions and other im­pedimenta of Western civilization. A member of a tribe accepts without question the hospi­tality of whatever village he happens to enter. Thus the gospel messenger is free to visit every home.

Layman evangelism makes a large contribu­tion to the soul-winning program in Africa. Even those who have severe physical disabilities gain results. A brother in Nyasaland suffers complete paralysis of arms and legs. He is car­ried from village to village and from home to home, and he turns to his texts by means of his tongue. He has prepared a considerable num­ber of people for baptism.

A few months ago I met Brother Sijamba. He is not able to speak a word, for he is dumb. When I heard that he had recently conducted a series of meetings, I was interested to know how he did his preaching. Standing by his side was an old friend. By means of gestures and facial expressions our brother was able to express every idea necessary to the presentation of our message. His friend interpreted his gestures and put the ideas into words. Thus a number of people were brought to a full knowledge of the message.

Apparently nothing can prevent a soul filled with the love of God from expressing that love. The field of evangelism does not exclude any­one. Truly saving love will find a way. Even the dumb shall speak. It is such love as I saw lighting up the face of the young brother Si­jamba that will animate all those who in the time of the loud cry will go fom home to home in the power and the Spirit of God.


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By G. E. SETANKEL, Departmental Secretary, Southern African Division

September 1943

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