Andrew Connally (as given by his wife, Claudene, in her book, I Walked By His Side, pp.103ff) told of a heart-touching moment, when he stood near Lake Nyasa (Africa) in the midst of “The graves of Bandawe.”
Here were some twenty three missionaries who left Scotland in the 1870’s with a burning desire to establish the Church of Scotland in the hearts of the natives of Nyasaland. Most were in their early twenties, whose love and devotion for lost, struggling souls brought them excitedly to the dark, uncivilized regions of Africa. They surely knew they faced a gigantic challenge—undeveloped terrain; multiple diseases such as malaria, Blackwater fever, tropical sores, etc.; wild animals such as lions, elephants, baboons, snakes, etc.; communication with loved ones would largely be lost. There would be language barriers, cultural conflicts, tribal laws to learn, daily demands, dangers and disappointments galore.
As Brother Connally stood in the midst of the graveyard, two things captured his thoughts: 1. The oldest to die was 33, and one marker had on it the single word, “Baby.” 2. Not one of them had returned to die in their homeland!
Andrew raised some questions: “What spark of fire was kindled in the breast of these souls that led them to such sacrifices that cannot be rekindled in us today? Why would they leave all they held dear to spend and be sent in their devotion to their cause? What type of love did they have for their fellowman that we cannot have today? What visions of tomorrow made the trials of today so easy to bear? And, O Lord, what did they have that I lack, and what were they that I am not? Remember that Jesus once said that “the sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of light” (Luke 16:18).
Have you been complaining lately about “hard times?” Where have you gone, and what have you done to make Jesus known to someone?