Preaching at Lake Victoria

It thrills my heart every time I visit these faithful believers, adding strength and courage to my own soul.

By R. L. GARBER, Director, Katikamu Mission, Uganda, Africa

About one degree north of the equator, on the north shore of Lake Victoria, lies cen­tral Uganda, which comprises the territory of Katikamu Mission. It thrills my heart every time I visit these faithful believers, adding strength and courage to my own soul.

From the shores of beautiful Lake Victoria the terrain undulates from high hills to low val­leys. It is indeed picturesque. Rubber and ba­nana plantations greet the eye as far as one can see. There are no large native villages. The homes are nestled here and there on the hill­sides and in the valleys. Each family has their own land on which they grow their food. The banana is the staple diet, and it serves very well, too, with a thick ground-nut (peanut) gravy. The bananas are prepared while still green, and resemble mashed sweet potatoes in taste and appearance.

These people are of the higher type of Afri­can. Some are very rich in money, land, and cattle. There are schools which provide almost a full college education for them. It is difficult to reach them with our truth, for they have been so-called Christians for several genera­tions. It seems that their hearts are more or less hardened to the gospel story. Yet the honest seeker after truth is stepping out and is faithful.

In presenting the truth to these people, we use much the same list of subjects as is used in America. They are not raw heathen. Many have a college training. The vital doctrines of our message, such as the love of God, the God-man, state of the dead, the law and the gospel, and the Sabbath, are studied in detail from the Bible and history, so that these truths may be clearly seen. Subject material must be adapted somewhat to the local condition and people, but the truth is presented in all its fullness, includ­ing the Spirit of prophecy. Oh, that we had the books of the Spirit of prophecy in the language of the people !

In holding a series of meetings one may use screen pictures to good advantage, but the psychology of these people is such that they may forget the truth presented while remem­bering only the pictures. Prizes for faithful at­tendance may serve an ill purpose also, if not done carefully. Platform posters and devices are very effective. Methods vary some, but the truth presented plainly and clearly, as it is in the Bible, dispels darkness.

Short evangelistic efforts have been held heretofore. They have done a great deal of good, but because of lack of proper follow-up work some have gone back to their former be­lief. It has been found that a longer effort, from two to three months, is much more suc­cessful. I remember one case in point, where the long effort was held. Today a thriving company of faithful believers exists. On the other side, I recall one effort of short duration where today only one or two are staying by and are really converted. Before the African is fully settled and grounded in the truth, the al­lurements of the beer dance, old associates, old customs, usually become too strong for him.

Our standards here are high, but not too high. The African may be a good member of the Catholic Church here and do almost as he wishes. We had a Catholic boy working in our home for a time. He told us he had to go to mass at least once a month. There were no other standards, it seemed. So with the Church of England and the Moslem people.

Katikamu Mission is located astride the top of a slow-rising hill with the main road run­ning past the mission at the bottom. Another smaller hill rises immediately on the other side of the road, and built atop the hill is the beau­tiful, burnt-brick building of the Church of England. They have moved there from the val­ley below to challenge the truth of God since the missionary came to Katikamu.

Yes, in presenting the gospel to these people, we must pray for the wisdom which comes from above, the wisdom of which Jesus spoke when He said, "Be ye therefore wise as ser­pents, and harmless as doves."

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By R. L. GARBER, Director, Katikamu Mission, Uganda, Africa

November 1949

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