by Ivor Powell

Calvary: Place of Prayer
Ivor Powell
Luke 23:34

J. Allistair Smith was one of the earliest pioneer missionaries ofthe Salvation Army; from his lips I heard the story I am about to write. The founder and first general of the Army visited South Africa in 1891, and quickly realized the African hinterland was a place of darkness. Millions of tribesmen had never heard about Jesus, and everywhere the power of the witch doctor went unchallenged. The general decided to change this situation, and in August of the same year, commissioned five Salvationist missionaries. Allistair Smith was appointed as leader of that expedition. He was twenty-five years of age, and his first effort was made approximately one hundred miles north of Durban. The magistrate's clerk summoned the chiefs of the tribes and commanded them to attend to hear what the white teachers would say.

On Sunday, November 22, 1891, the first meeting was held. It was eleven o'clock in the morning, and stalwart Zulus had come from every direction. The missionaries stood in the shade of a great mimosa tree, and the huge crowd of Zulus waited expectantly. The Scriptures were read, and then Allistair Smith explained very simply the meaning of the words. At the close of the service, he asked whether any person would like to serve Nkulunkulu (God-the Great-Great), and two men lifted their bare arms, saying, ''I am willing.'' The next day they returned to say, ''Now, Teachers, you made us Christians yesterday, and we are showing our fathers that we are Christians because we are going away to earn money for them to pay taxes.'' The missionary said, ''Children, if ever you should be in doubt how to act, pray to Nkulunkulu and He will teach you what to do.''

After a time of prayer, the young Zulus commenced their five hundred mile walk to Johannesburg.Three months later, a letter arrived from one of those men. In it he stated, ''My wife, you know what I did on the hilltop of the teachers before I left Zululand. ...

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