‘But … he had compassion on him and went to him’, Luke 10. 33, 34

I am writing this editorial sitting in the dinning room of the home of our sister Ruth Hadley in Saurimo, Angola. For the first time in my spiritual experience I have been exposed these last three weeks to New Testament Christianity on the African continent as it is practised by some of the many assemblies in Angola. It has been a most precious and challenging time as indeed I expected it to be. I am therefore using this editorial, prematurely, but I hope profitably, to reflect upon some of this exposure and provoke our hearts to think again about what and how we are doing in the service of Christ wherever we are in the world.

I was immediately impressed by the fact that I needed to be up at 5.30 a.m. in order to be at the daily meeting for prayer and the teaching of the word of God that commences at 6.00 a.m., and by the number of believers attending, from 80 to 300, who will be expecting at least 45 minutes of exposition. On the Lord’s Day the numbers can vary from around 30 in the villages to nearly a 1000 in the city, and this is another remarkable difference from home. To hear the brethren complain that the Sunday School work is suffering because they cannot get enough teachers to cope with the 800 to 1000 children that turn up wanting to be taught the word of God makes me wonder how we might cope also with numbers like that!

So, these are numbers that impress and with them the many problems that arise from profession that is not possession marked by a real work of God. However, there is a noticeable and deep hunger to know and understand the scriptures. Always they ask for more meetings and that others will come to teach the word to them. I have sat and prayed more with elder brethren here in the last three weeks than I have ever done at home in over three years. They are concerned for whatever the future holds for the work and deeply moved for the younger generation now ‘the peace’ has come to their land. The war took a generation of young men and growing materialism is leading the present young generation to turn away from spiritual things and to hunger after the world (i.e., the West) and all it offers. We can fully sympathize with that situation as we have lived with it for years now. It struck me that the spiritual battles differ little be it Angola or the UK.

What the older men constantly refer to is the debt of gratitude they feel they owe to those who pioneered the gospel in their country. The names readily come to their lips: Crawford Allison, T. Ernest Wilson, David Long, George Wiseman, Olford and Gammon, together with Taylor, one of the first, and buried near to Luma Kassai, and of course more recently, Roy and Karen Wood, to mention just a few. Clearly, these servants of God had what I would like to call a ‘Samaritan’ ministry among them. They came to where they were, gave of their love, time, substance and commitment in such a way that what we see today arose from the foundations they laid. To quote one elder’s words, ‘We owe your people so much. They brought us the gospel and if they had not we would still be in great darkness. We want to thank you from our hearts that you came’.

That surely is just what the man who fell among thieves on his way down to Jericho would have said to his Samaritan saviour too! ‘Thank you for stopping, making the commitment to my welfare and bringing me my salvation’. If we are seriously interested in seeing God at work in our day then it is exactly this vision that we need to have. Let’s begin to have compassion again, be prepared to give what we have without reticence to the service of those outside of Christ, and above all let’s see the job through to the end without giving up. This is ‘Samaritan’ ministry and we could do with a great deal more of it in line with the Lord’s exhortation to, ‘Go, and do thou likewise’.

The August issue of the magazine seems a long way from the experience of Angola but thank you for all the encouragement we receive as each issue is published. The Lord in His mercy gives us much to thank Him for. This issue carries a good mix of articles. The Da Vinci Code has had much comment made on it recently but I could not resist Paul Young’s excellent attempt to help us answer those that might ask us regarding it. Please read it as it is well worthwhile. Also, as a worthy follow up to the article, ‘Guard Your Heritage’ in the last issue is J. E. Todd’s piece in this one entitled, ‘A Lesson from the Past’. I do hope you are enjoying the new series on Daniel from the pen of brother James Cochrane as much as I am. It is a sterling and sensitive exposition with much to challenge us all. So, we send out another issue of Precious Seed trusting that, according to His promise, we shall come again with rejoicing and bringing sheaves with us! Ps 126 .6.

We have another Trustee and welcome our brother Sandy Jack from Eastbourne and look forward to his help on the Committee.


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