Friday, December 18, 2015


Rachel Stuart Watt - Missionary to Africa 1885-1914
Jesus said a simple phrase to the men that were to become His disciples, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  In answer to this call the men left all that they had and immediately followed Christ. I wonder if they understood what it meant to fully answer that call. You see most of them died for their faith.

I ask myself many times “Would you really die for your faith?” I would like to think that I would. The call “Follow Me” really means to give one’s life totally and fully to God for His service.

In the early 1900's, Rachel Stuart Watt wrote a book covering the years 1885-1914 when she and her husband were pioneer missionaries to Tanzania and Kenya. I want to quote from that book.  Rachel and her husband have just left Zanzibar and barely entered the interior of Tanzania when these events happened.

“In passing through the country of Useguha, we found it necessary to pitch our tent close by a small lake; and there our little son got an attack of dysentery and fever…we hastened on in our endeavor to reach higher ground. We arrived at a place called Semagombe, where we encamped for the night…His cot [her son] was beside my bed in the tent, and I lay down beside him, moistening his lips occasionally with the muddy water, which we had, with some difficulty obtained. I knew that he was in great pain…he seemed to fall into a state of perfect rest…I too very soon became unconscious in sleep. About an hour afterwards when I awoke at 2 am I thought it strange that all was so still. Reaching out my hand over the little cot, I was terrified to find how cold was the body of my dear little son…He was already unconscious and in a few minutes his spirit passed away to the God who gave it…we were surrounded by superstitious natives who would not have a white man buried in their country fearing it might bring a plague…the death of our child was not known to them…My husband emptied one of our iron cases, and with a heavy aching heart I lined it with a linen sheet, and in it we laid the earthly remains of our precious child. We…selected a place…to dig a grave. Some time after the sun had sunk below the horizon, in the darkness of the on-coming night, the body of our little one was carried into the forest and deposited underneath the shelter of a large euphorbia tree…we had to bury our dead in the jungle.”

Then the next chapter begins…”After leaving Semagombe…”

I have to believe that there was much more to the story that could have been told. I would love to be able to talk to Rachel about the emotions that were flowing through her body as she secretly buried her son in the forest jungle knowing she would probably never return to that place again. I want to ask her how did you just go on with your ministry?

I often wonder if I would have just turned around and went back to Zanzibar and boarded a ship for England. I think I might have said “This is just too hard!”

Lisa and I went to Kenya to tell people about the love of God. Along the way God helped us to see that we needed to do good with our hands as well as our voices so the Hope Foundation was born. Let me describe our journey with Rachel’s words “We had some very difficult marches. The track which we had been following was somewhat overgrown…sometimes the bush or forest was so dense that the rays of the sun were excluded…After several days, we came to a beautiful river called Mtowamawe…our porters seemed to revel to their hearts’ content. They drank of it, bathed in it…we enjoyed very much the enchanting scenery…we saw a herd of giraffe…Lions and leopards were more numerous…”

Some days we have struggled but most days we have thrived in the challenges that God has set before us.

“Don’t give up” is our battle cry!

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