Encouraging Incident in South Africa

Ray Votaw
Transvaal, South Africa

Hendrick Morris is one of some 1,250 inhabitants of South Africa officially classified as Colored (not to be confused with 14,000,000 native blacks). The Colored are derived from an admixture over several centuries of Hottentots and imported slaves, and to some extent of whites and natives. I met Hendrick in early 1960 while he was preaching for an undenominational group here on the Reef. We studied together frequently over a period of two years before Hendrick was baptized. Since that time Hendrick has supported himself as a lorry driver and preached among the Colored in the little town of Nigel about twenty miles south of there. There are now about twenty faithful members of the congregation there.

Due to his working for the building contractor, Hendrick has been able over the course of about two years to buy materials and build himself a new home on his "freehold" property in the Colored location near Nigel. I mention this because it ties in with a thrilling experience I had last Lord's day.

Brother Morris sent word to me last week that the regular Sunday afternoon service would be at "his place" rather than the local school hall. Upon my arrival there I was in a rather "ceremonious" manner escorted to Hendrick's old property. Imagine my surprise when I found that this had been converted into a nice little meeting house for the church there with home made benches, pulpit stand, blackboard, tract rack, etc.! This had been done at Hendrick Morris' expense with various members there assisting in the labor.

Brethren, in a way, this is just a minor development in but one phase of our work among the varied races of this country. Yet as we enter our fourteenth year in what has many times been disappointing and heartbreaking work in southern Africa, I realize that this is one of those numerous "little" things which have enabled us to carry on. Rejoice with us that this bit of fruition indicates that we are a step, nearer our goal in trying to instill greater responsibility within the people of this country and less dependence upon outside help.

We had a very fine first service in this new meeting place on Sunday afternoon. Three adults requested to be baptized.

November 1967