April NewsletterPosted on April 11th, 2018.
“And although I see few results, future missionaries will see conversions following every sermon. May they not forget the pioneers who worked in the thick gloom with few rays to cheer except such as flow from faith of the precious promises of God’s Word.”
David Livingstone, Missionary/Explorer (1813 -1873)
The morning of February 18, 2018, I awakened to hear the news that Billy Graham had died. Memories immediately filtered back to 1960 when Billy Graham came to East Africa to hold two crusades. One of the crusades was in Tanganyika, aka Tanzania, where my parents were missionaries.
Prior to the crusade Dad was contacted by the BGEA and invited to serve on the committee to prepare for this event. Several of Billy’s front team stayed in our home and after the crusade Dad took two of them on a safari to get film to further document BGEA’s visit to East Africa.
The East African Standard newspaper reported daily that thousands of people stood for hours in anticipation for the first service to begin in Moshi. An avalanche of people responded to the salvation message. My dad was thrilled to be a part of such an outreach.
This crusade was strategic to the move of God that had begun several years earlier in Northern Tanganyika when our family opened up a mission station in Arusha.
By the time Billy came, the newly built Arusha Bible School was brimming to capacity with first year students. Hundreds of new churches were springing up as the students preached in their villages on weekends and thousands were receiving Christ weekly. I now realize, as a teenager I was witnessing a mighty visitation of God that was empowered by the same Holy Spirit that fell on the early church in the book of Acts.
One afternoon, fifty plus years later and shortly before my mom went to Heaven, she told me a story that happened at the Graham crusade in Moshi, Tanzania – 45 miles from Arusha. A very old man requested to personally have an audience with Billy. He had traveled hundreds of miles over difficult terrain with the express purpose to speak with Billy.
As Billy approached the old man he reached out to shake the man’s hand, but the old man, as is the African custom when meeting someone of importance, humbly placed both hands on Billy’s hand and bowed low to the ground in honor of Billy.
An interpreter translated the old man’s words. “I was a young boy when the first great white man came to my people to tell us about the Good News that you have brought to our country again today, His name was David Livingstone.”
“I have traveled a long distance,” he said, “to meet another great man and to thank you for coming to tell my people this great news.”
The significance of that sacred moment profoundly touched Billy and all those standing by. This man had heard the good news when he was a young boy from David Livingstone, the first known missionary to Africa, in the latter part of the 19th century.
The works of Paul & Helen Bruton from 1948 – 1976 can also be traced across the continent of Africa. I believe that the accomplishments of my parents and other missionaries that have spread the Gospel in Africa are a direct answer to the prayer of David Livingstone.
Today, men and women are waiting to be trained at the Northern Bible College that Paul Bruton built in Arusha in 1958.
And now a great opportunity is before us to build another dorm on the campus of the Bible School that was established by the Brutons 60 years ago,
Will you join us with fervent prayer, faith and giving for God to deliver the funds to build the second dormitory on the college campus in Arusha? Our vision is big but when this dorm is built it will accommodate 240 more students!
And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Matthew 24:14.
Tanzania for Jesus!
Joel & Sally