News from Pretoria
Pretoria, South Africa
According to the information I have, there were 415,989 people in the metropolitan area of Pretoria in 1960. There has been a substantial increase over the last few years, but I have no later figures on hand. Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa, while Pretoria is the seat of the administration. Many foreign dignitaries reside in Pretoria. When I compare Pretoria with the other cities, which I have been privileged to visit, I believe it is by far the most beautiful city in the Republic.
My family and I moved from Port Elizabeth to Pretoria in December, 1966 to assist in starting a new work in this city. We had been told that several would probably begin worshipping with us from the very beginning, but this was not the case. Christopher Barnes and his sister Diane were the only ones to worship regularly with us after we were settled in the city.
In a few weeks we received word that a family had moved here from Bulawayo, Rhodesia and I was asked to contact them, but we had no address. We were able to get the address from the municipality and to our delight found that they lived only about three blocks from us. The following Sunday afternoon I went around to get acquainted with the Noel Chandler family and to invite them to worship with us. Noel and Linda have four children, so our attendance was almost doubled. In a short time two more were added to our number when Steve and Cora Kearney were baptized. Steve and Cora are from Ireland and both were members of the Roman Catholic Church. Steve and Cora have a desire to return to their native land some day to spread the gospel.
Another lady was baptized, but to our sad disappointment she has become unfaithful. Sister van Rooyen, who is now in the hospital recovering from her fourth stroke, moved to Pretoria and began worshipping with us. We also contacted another family who met with us for awhile, but later moved to Durban. We contacted a member of the church who had not attended services since sometime in 1965 and she, along with her daughter, attended a few services and they appeared very happy. However she has a brother-in-law who preaches for one of the "liberal churches" in Johannesburg and he has "poisoned" her mind against us. She gave no reason, but told me she would not meet with the "liberal group" in Pretoria. She indicated that she would probably return to the Catholic Church. I guess our "liberal" brethren can rejoice because they saved her from those dreadful "antis."
We may be small in number, but I think there is a good group of dedicated Christians meeting here in Valhalla, Pretoria. The church is able to carry on its program of work. We have put tracts and printed material in the mail boxes in this area, placed ads in the newspaper and made personal contacts. No, we have not set the woods on fire, but our presence is known and some progress is being made. There are some children attending the Bible classes and this may open some doors unto us. Some of our personal contacts are beginning to show signs of becoming interested. Yes, I believe the future looks real good. We have recently started meeting in the English Primary School for all our services and this should help in many ways. This certainly gives us a more adequate place to meet.
The Fred Liggin family arrived the 9th of January to work with us and continue the work after we leave. We certainly pray that they will have an enjoyable and prosperous work. Fred plans to learn the Afrikaans language, which I believe will be a great asset to the work.
I have been able to work only in a limited way with the Bantu people in this area and I hope that Fred will be able to do more in that area than I have been able to do. The outlook among both the blacks and whites is very good, but it will take much patience and hard work.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to all who have had a part in any way in the work here. My family and I deeply appreciate the prayers and all the words of encouragement from so many of our brethren in the States. The brethren here have often made mention of our brethren in the States who have supported the preaching of the gospel here. All of us here will always be grateful for what you have done. May you never become weary in well doing.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XII: 9, pp. 10-11