“Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”
2 Timothy 4:2
Back to Barberton
My first speaking engagement was at the Sunday morning worship service of the Dutch Reformed Church in Barberton. Rev. Piet Erasmus, the Founder of Back to the Bible Mission, was once a pastor of this church. One of his first staff members was our missionary, George Bezuidenhout, who was also a member of this congregation. I recruited George into the Mission from Infantry School in Oudtshoorn and we put him through Baptist Theological College. George had also been arrested and imprisoned with me in Mozambique in 1989. When Dominee Erasmus began Back to the Bible Mission in February 1990, with just five students, we loaned him George as a co-worker for their first year.
Mission to Swaziland and Mozambique
My first cross-border Mission for Frontline Fellowship was also launched from Barberton. Having ministered the previous day at Barberton Baptist Church, I loaded my 250CC Honda off-road scrambler motorbike and rode up the steep gravel road to Piggs Peak into Swaziland and after many Jesus film outreaches throughout the country, rode into Mozambique. That was April 1982.
The mountains around Barberton include volcanic rocks and a greenstone belt. The Barberton area was the scene of the first Gold Rush in South Africa. Tom McLachlan discovered alluvial gold in 1881 and the town was named after Graham Barber, who discovered a rich gold-bearing reef there in 1884. The Sheba reef Gold Mining Company was founded in 1885. The Sheba mine is, today, one of the oldest and richest working gold mines in the world, having been in production for more than a century. Barberton was also home to Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of Jock of the Bushveld. A character in the Sherlock Holmes adventure “The Disappearance of Lady Francis Carfax” made his fortune in Barberton. Barberton is very close to Swaziland, Mozambique and the world famous, Kruger National Game Reserve.
Immediately after ministering at the Dutch Reformed Church, the Mulders drove me to Maximum Security Prison. Every week members of Back to the Bible Mission conduct services and Bible studies for prisoners in Maximum Security Prison. As most of the people in maximum security prison are “lifers”, few have any hope of “seeing the outside” again. As we arrived, the prisoners gathered for worship and were enthusiastically singing. I shared with them my prison experiences in Lusaka Central Prison as a presidential detainee of dictator Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia in 1987 and in Machava Security Prison, Maputo in Mozambique in 1989. Every prison is unpleasant and doubtless most there felt they were in the worst place on earth. I was able to relate to them conditions so severe as to make their situation seem almost like a five star hotel by comparison. In my prison experiences in Lusaka Central and Machava in Maputo, there was no electricity, no plumbing and no sanitation. They were stinking disease factories. No furniture, no beds, no sheets, only one cooked meal a day and that was starch, with no protein at all, aside from the flies. In the average cell in Lusaka Central, 25 feet by 15 feet, there would be 60 to 65 prisoners crammed. People died in the cells during the night and were only carried out in the morning. Barberton Maximum Security by contrast, plainly had both electricity and plumbing, good sanitation, bunk beds with mattresses, pillows, sheets and blankets, clean polished floors and access to medicine, books, Bibles and a library. The prisoners were positive, enthusiastic and responsive. It was good to hand over to them the testimony of Anthony Stander: Prison Break and other Literature4Africa and Living Waters Africa materials.
“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them - those who are mistreated - since you yourselves are in the body also.”
Back to the Bible Mission
It is always a joy and privilege to minister at Back to the Bible Mission. With over 100 students and staff from over 20 countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Benin, Tanzania, Somalia, Malawi, Madagascar, Zambia and Zimbabwe, there are something like 50 denominations and up to 60 languages represented at the Mission at any given time. Since 1990, Back to the Bible Mission has sought to fulfil the Great Commission by training pastors, evangelists and missionaries in a balanced, Biblical, body, mind and spirit programme of Discipleship.
The Illuminated Cross
As one approaches Back to the Bible Mission, the large white Cross dominates the Valley and lit up at night, can be seen from a great distance. The huge white Cross is symbolic of the Christian witness and Missionary vision which radiates out from this strategic Leadership Training Mission.
What Have You Done for Christ?
The art work of the chapel and layout of the Mission also emphasises Christ-centered, Bible-based and Missions-focussed vision. At the front of the chapel, above the pulpit, art work depicting the crucifixion of Christ confronts one with the challenge: “Jesus died for you. What are you doing for Him?” There is also a prayer: “Lord, step out through me into Africa.” The vision of Africa for Christ is reinforced in many pictures and posters.
Next Generation Takes up the Torch
This year, it was a particular joy to follow up after my daughter Andrea and son-in-law, Hunter had been ministering at Back to the Bible the previous week. Hunter was invited to lecture on Biblical Ethics. Andrea ministered to the women at the college and I was invited to give a week of lectures on Missiology. Both students and staff were enthusiastic over what Hunter had taught and what Andrea had shared and many had found our grandson, Jeremy, charming.
Each week day morning at Back to the Bible Mission, begins with the bell being rung at 6am. Devotions at the top of the hill, at chapel, involve all students, faculty and staff and sometimes guests from the surrounding community. As the principal, Professor Shai Mulder, regularly reminds us: “Your walk with God is even more important than your work for God.” Each morning the students and staff share prayer requests and praise items, with Scripture memory verses and focus on a different country from Operation World for intercession. Back to the Bible Mission is truly “a house of prayer for all nations.” For morning Devotions I presented: The Gospel According to Jesus: (Mark 10:17-31); Without a Vision a People Perish (Proverbs 29:18); Supernatural Power for World Missions (Acts 1:8); and Faith or Presumption? (Numbers 14).
Exceptional Examples of Excellence
Back in the year 2000, Professor Shai Mulder and his wife, Dr. Elreza Mulder, were asked to “step in and look after the college for 3 months”. Now, after 18 years of running Back to the Bible Mission, I commented: “It’s been a long 3 months!” General Shai Mulder was the Commander of the Military Academy in Saldanha and Commander of the Engineers. Upon retirement from the Military, he launched into Missions. Both General Shai Mulder and Mrs Mulder have earned doctorates in Theology and have poured heart and soul into investing in the lives and training of these pastors, teachers and evangelists to win Africa for Christ. Other colleges can learn from their balanced Biblical, Practical, Missionary vision and effective strategy for mobilising pastors, evangelists and missionaries to win and disciple Africa for Christ. To contact Back to the Bible Mission, email: email@example.com, or visit their website: www.bbmission.org.
The Great Commission is Our Supreme Ambition
As always, the Mulders laid on a full programme. Each day was packed with lectures and other ministry. I gave lectures and presentations on: Missions in the Old Testament, Missionary Strategy in Acts, The Gospel in Acts, The Amateurisation of Missions, What Does It Take to Be a Missionary?, Missions – Nine Ways of Going, The Greatness of the Great Commission, What is the Difference Between Christianity and All Other Religions?, Motives for Missions, Wrong Motives and False Calls, Biblical Motives, What is Missions?, What is A Missionary?, William Carey – The Father of Modern Missions, Evangelising Hindus, Understanding Islam, Effective Evangelism of Muslims, Comparing the Bible and the Quran, Communicating the Gospel Through Abraham, Making Disciples of All Nations and The Greatest Century of Missions. These resulted in many hours of discussions, answering the questions of the eager students.
On one of the evenings, I was able to listen to and evaluate Homiletics practical preaching by several of the students. On other evenings, we also screened a number of useful films which engendered much discussion, including: Beyond the Next Mountain on church planting and Bible translation in North West India. This film presents a dramatic true story of the life of Rochunga Pudaite, whose father was converted by a missionary from Wales in 1908. Rochunga dedicated his life to translating the Bible into the Hmar language. We also screened the New Tribes Mission film, EE-Taow – The Next Chapter, on chronological Evangelism and Church planting amongst remote Mouk people in Papua New Guinea and Living Waters’ Evolution vs. God film for practical one-on-one evangelistic conversations with atheists and evolutionists on university campuses. After each of these films there was much productive discussion and plainly students were being encouraged, inspired and equipped for the field.
The Greatest Century of Missions
I was able to provide each student with their own copy of The Greatest Century of Missions book as examples of excellence for Missions. Each student also received a copy of Biblical Principles for Africa. The previous week Hunter had provided every student of the college with a complimentary copy of our new Biblical Preaching Handbook.
Ministering to Body, Mind and Spirit
There were also other ministry opportunities, speaking with the Student Council, the Women’s Group, the Staff and Faculty, the Third Year Students and a special Sports Parade, P.T. session with practical self-defence skills. After Exams on Friday, I was busy marking through the night, till early the next morning. There was also an opportunity to take part in an outreach in Malelane and ministering at a local congregation there. Enroute to the airport the next morning, we delivered students to evangelise at two of the hospitals in Barberton and distributed literature there. All told, including lectures, services, presentations and devotions, I gave over 35 presentations last week.
Africa Overland Missions
Many of the students who graduate organise outreaches, pastor’s fraternals, seminars, conferences and services in their countries and invite our Mission teams to minister in their areas. Our missionaries are then able to deliver much needed Bibles, World Missionary Press Gospel booklets, doctrinal and devotional books, Sunday school materials, evangelistic tracts and film evangelism materials to empower their ministries across Africa. “After these things I looked and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” Rev 7:9
An Urgent Call for Prayer and Action
Please also continue to pray for our Africa Reformation Overland Mission team: Abrie, Daniel, Alieske, Tobie and Talita, who have already completed ministry in Tanzania and Malawi and are now ministering in Zambia. We have heard that they are battling with illness, vehicle problems and chronic shortage of funds. The Mission is struggling to meet commitments and finance much needed printing and other strategic needs. “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have Faith.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2
Yours for the fulfillment of the Great Commission
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Recent Prayer and Praise Updates:
Winning Africa for Christ
Ministry, Manuals and Missions
South African Mission
Bibles Bless the Nuba Mountains
Mission to Australia
Every Knee Shall Bow and Every Tongue Confess
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