Rev. Donald A. Ross
ON Friday, 30th April, we gathered at Geldermalsen, Holland, for the annual missionary meeting of Mbuma Zending. Ds. Tj. de Jong, Staphorst, opened the meeting with prayer, which was followed by the singing of Psalm 67 and the reading of Isaiah 24:1-17. Ds. de Jong thanked the large gathering of more than 6,000 people for their generous contributions of money throughout the year. This enabled the Committee not only to continue remitting large amounts of money to our Mission in Zimbabwe, but also to fund the necessary increases in these remittances.
In making some remarks on the portion of Scripture read, he referred to the evil times we are living in, and to the war in Kosovo in which young soldiers of Holland were involved. In speaking of the righteous persons mentioned in verse 16, he stressed that they had no righteousness of their own: their righteousness was the righteousness of Christ imputed to them.
Ds. de Jong went on to express the wish of the Committee that the work of the Gospel would continue in Zimbabwe, that the Mission in Kenya would re-open, and that the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the Mbuma-Zending would continue to work together.
He then extended a hearty welcome to my wife and myself, sent the good wishes of our many supporters in Holland to the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and reminded us of their prayers that our labours would be the means of bringing elect ones in Africa to Christ.
In thanking Ds. de Jong for his kind words, I returned our good wishes, and assured him that I would convey his good wishes to the Free Presbyterian Church. I addressed the gathering from the parable of the sower, Matthew 13:4-8. The next speaker was Ds. J. Roos, Opheusden, who spoke from 2 Kings 4:26, especially the words, “Is it well with thee?” He put the question to parents and children especially, with regard to whether or not it was well with them spiritually, for time and eternity?
Ds. Tj de Jong opened the second session and welcomed three former Mission workers from Kenya who were present: Dr E. de Jong, and Misses Truus Ringelberg and Celia Renes. D. Monster, Barneveld, then spoke on Acts 13:38-39. His three points were: 1. The announcement of the forgiveness of sin. 2. To whom it was addressed. 3. Through whom forgiveness comes to men. The next speaker, Dhr. J. H. Koppelmen, addressed the children present, telling the story of a young African who, on hearing the Word of God for the first time from a missionary, was blessed by being converted. On returning to his heathen home he suffered dreadful persecution, being on many occasions whipped for his constancy in the Christian religion, and died at an early age, his soul departing to be with his Saviour in glory. The last speaker was Ds. S. de Gong, Leerbroek, who gave several exhortations from Psalm 25:12, “What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.”
In connection with each of the addresses by the ministers, a portion of Scripture was read and appropriate Psalms were sung. The singing was majestic and beautiful, and reminded me of the description given of the singing, in years gone, by the thousands of a congregation at Ferintosh Burn in Ross-shire that it was like the sweet, swelling music of a gigantic harp. What, we may ask, will the singing in heaven be like, when the redeemed will praise, with perfect heart and flawless melody, the praises of Him who brought them from darkness to His marvellous light? It is good to know that the activities of our gathering in Geldermalsen were indeed to this end: that sinners would be brought to a saving interest in Christ and would at last sing His praises in glory.
At one stage in the proceedings the National Anthem was sung, as the day was the birthday of the Queen Mother of Holland, who is now 90 years of age. Ds. de Jong observed to the meeting that in the early days of the Queens reign it was acceptable to speak among the people generally about Calvinism, but sadly that this is not so now.
The money collected at the meeting amounted to £32,000. This did not include the many collections taken throughout the year, nor the amounts given by those shopkeepers who had stands in the precincts of the meeting. The proceeds of their sales for the day went to the Mission. The readiness of our Dutch friends to give so liberally to the work of the gospel in Africa never ceases to amaze us! While our own people throughout the Church give wonderfully well for the work, there is no way in which we could possibly keep our large mission in Zimbabwe continually functioning by their contributions alone. We are deeply indebted therefore to our friends in Holland for their constant liberality.
On the Mission itself there is much work and expense in connection with the schools and the hospital, but the pre-eminent work is, of course, the preaching of the Word of God and this we must never lose sight of. The great aim of school and hospital activities on the Mission is ultimately to bring sinners in contact with the Gospel, in the prayerful hope that the Holy Spirit will convince them of sin, of their need of the only Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and bring them into saving union with Him.
On behalf of my wife and myself, I warmly thank the several families in Holland for all their kindness to us during our stay with them. We thankfully acknowledge also the Lords gracious care of us in all our travels.