Rev. John MacLeod
THE annual mission-day meeting of the Mbuma Zending was held this year at Geldermalsen on Saturday 29th April. Seating for 5,500 people had been provided and it was estimated that 5,200 of those seats were occupied when proceedings began at 10.30 am. The Chairman, Ds de Jong, in his opening remarks, reported that the past year had been a record-breaking one as far as finance was concerned. Almost two million guilders had come into the hands of the Treasurer. He extended a warm welcome to me as representing the Church whose mission work the Mbuma Zending has now been faithfully supporting these many years; ever since it was formed for that purpose.
The singing of the selected psalms, thousands of voices unaccompanied by instrumental music, was, as usual, melodious and impressive. Several ministers and one layman (who spoke more particularly to the children) addressed the gathering. Apart from that of the writer, these addresses were all delivered in Dutch. The total collection for the day was around ninety eight thousand guilders which is about twenty eight thousand pounds sterling. Among those busy in the hall gathering support for our African mission work was Lia Terlouw, one of the nursing sisters at Mbuma Hospital, who is at present home in Holland on well-earned furlough. We were glad to meet her and her parents.
The burden of co-ordinating all the activities that take place at these annual meetings is in large part carried by Mr H van Vliet, the Secretary of the Mbuma Zending. Much preparation is needed and that everything goes so very smoothly year after year speaks for itself, and bears testimony to his organisational abilities. For him and for all who help him behind the scenes, it is, we believe, a work and labour of love. We are most grateful to Mr and Mrs van Vliet and Mr and Mrs Jan Slabbekoorn for their kindness and hospitality.
The support of our friends in Holland is not diminishing but increasing as the years pass by and we are grateful to them for their continuing support. They realise, however, as we do, that what is needed, above all, is heaven-called and heaven-sent ministers to preach the Gospel in Africa and elsewhere with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.
It was very kind of the Mbuma Zending Board to invite me once again to attend this meeting and give me the opportunity of addressing you. I bring with me the greetings of the Foreign Missions Committee, and indeed the greetings of our Church at home and abroad. Your support of our mission work in Zimbabwe and Kenya is very well and widely known throughout the bounds of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and I can assure you that it is much appreciated. Without your help we would not be able to bring the Gospel to the ears of so many of our African fellow sinners or provide to the extent that we do much-needed schools and other facilities for the education of African children, nor would we be able to supply medical and nursing facilities for the benefit of the sick, young and old. I, therefore, wish to thank you most sincerely for your interest and support.
The One whose cause and kingdom we seek to advance in Africa has made it very plain that without Him we can do nothing and our greatest need is the one which He alone can supply an outpouring of the Spirit of Grace and of Supplications. We are encouraged to pray for this: “For thus saith the Lord God: I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them.” He has promised that His name is to be known throughout the whole earth, from the rising of the sun to where it sets, and we are encouraged to ground our petitions on His promises. He will not fail to fulfil them.
The Gospel came to Thessalonica long ago “not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance”, and the fact that it came in that manner explains why it was that those who brought it came to be known there as “these that have turned the world upside down”. We might ask: How was it that they gained this reputation and so soon after being commissioned by the risen Saviour to go into all the world preaching the Gospel of His kingdom? They gained it because they proved themselves to be faithful heralds declaring all the counsel of God, holding nothing back which was regarded as profitable to their hearers; and Christ, their exalted King, was faithful to His promise, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
We must always remember that it is to Him that all power is given in heaven and in earth. The more conscious we are of this, the more we shall be encouraged to labour for Him. It was said of the disciples in Thessalonica that they were preaching sedition because they were saying, “There is another king, one Jesus.” They were indeed declaring this, but not with a view to undermining the authority of Caesar, as their enemies represented it, but with a view to drawing attention to the King “eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God”, whose ambassadors they were and whom they served.
That is what we are endeavouring to do in Africa and elsewhere. We preach that men should honour earthly kings and queens and be subject to them, bearing always in mind that if any conflict of duty arises we are to obey God rather than men. Earthly kings have nothing to fear from the Gospel being preached within their kingdoms but Satan the prince of this world has every reason to fear, and he knows it. It is into his domain that the ministers of the Gospel have been commanded to go and preach the Gospel to every creature. Whatever difficulties we encounter whatever obstacles may be placed in the way we are to persevere in proclaiming that there is another King, one Jesus! We draw attention to Him an Almighty Saviour and declare that there is salvation in none other “for there is none other name given under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Man by nature wherever found on the face of the earth having fallen in Adam, is in a lost and ruined state. He has lost communion with God, is under His wrath and curse, is made liable to all miseries in this life, and to the pains of hell forever! How great then the need of salvation! What a welcome sound the Gospel ought to be when it comes to the ears of lost sinners. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
To save His people to deliver them both from the guilt and pollution of sin it was necessary for Him to die. To die, He must assume a human nature into union with His divine person, so that God came to be manifest in the flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The crown of thorns which the King of the Jews wore was emblematic of the curse. “Christ,” it is written, “has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.” In dying the accursed death of the cross He secured the salvation of a number which no man can number of our race, and they are to be gathered to Him in every age, “of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation”.
Sinners in Africa, with never-dying souls are facing death and eternity as we all are ourselves and we are to do all within our power to set Christ before them in the hope that many enlightened by the Holy Spirit will receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation as He is freely offered in the Gospel. To all that believe He is precious. May He be precious to each one of us and may we earnestly pray that many in Africa, and throughout the nations of the world, would come to a saving knowledge of Him, whom to know is life eternal come to “see Jesus, who was a made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour”. And blessed be his glorious name forever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.