Anthony was returning back from a long, difficult and dangerous mission to five countries. Anthony had been part of a Frontline Fellowship mission team that had successfully delivered a ton of desperately needed medicines and Bibles into war-torn Angola. Despite an ambush and arrest at the Namibian border with Angola, which maintained a shoot-on sight policy to enforce the United Nations blockade on Unita-controlled “Free Angola”, the team had succeeded in delivering the desperately needed medicines and Bibles to the suffering Christians in Angola. They were on the way back from this eventful trip, which had also included the same vehicle rolling down an embankment and crushing the canopy on the way up to Zambia.
Anthony had often faced life-threatening situations before, when he was in the army and later as a game ranger, even before becoming a missionary. He had been knocked down and trampled underfoot by a rhino, charged by elephants and attacked by lions. Once, while reversing fast up a road to escape a charging elephant, he literally bumped into a herd of elephants! On another occasion, Anthony warded off an attack by lions by throwing stones at them! He was armed but, being a serious animal lover, he couldn’t bring himself to shoot a magnificent lion – even when being threatened by them!
Anthony had survived several other vehicle accidents – including coming off an 1100cc motorbike at 200 km’s/hr. Like a cat, Anthony seemed to have had nine lives and he lived everyone of those to the full.
Anthony was a remarkably dedicated Christian, whose possessions could fit into his backpack. Everything in excess of his bare necessities he gave away. Anthony was a zealous evangelist, a patient and compassionate counsellor and a calm and cheerful co-worker in times of crisis. His testimony of single-minded devotion to the Lord continues to challenge, convict and compel others to give our all for Christ.
Anthony Duncan served in the 7th South African Infantry Battalion as a tracker from 1985 – 1987. After his military service, Anthony worked as a game ranger in Timbivati, Jabula and Etosha. During this time he distinguished himself as a tracker on the anti-poaching tracker team. One of his fellow game rangers, Michael, led him to the Lord. Once he gave his life to Christ, Anthony was wholehearted in his single-minded dedication to follow Christ and to lead others to Him.
This last mission trip of Anthony’s involved him driving him across the length of South Africa, ministry and travel throughout Zimbabwe and Zambia, before beginning the Bible smuggling operation into Angola from Namibia.
November/December 1994 stands out in Frontline Fellowship’s history as the marathon obstacle course where we sent four vehicles into the field and only one came back. The vehicle I drove up to Zambia needed to be diverted after our Biblical Worldview Seminar in Lusaka, to rescue our workers stranded in Caprivi (Namibia). Their landrover had broken down for the last time after a successful ministry trip into Angola. One of our vehicles had been donated to a ministry in Zambia (Anthony had driven this vehicle up), and now our other vehicle had been totally destroyed in the head-on collision.
On the way back to Cape Town, Anthony stopped in the game park where he had been converted, climbed up themountain where he had first placed his faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and spent a special time in prayer there. That was the last sunrise he would see before entering the presence of our Lord. When he came down from this mountaintop experience, Anthony found all his personal belongings stolen from the vehicle. Anthony and his co-worker drove through the day and the next night and in the early hours of the next morning a speeding vehicle, overtaking a big transport truck, collided head-on with our mission vehicle. Our pick-up truck burst into flame, but a fire extinguisher quickly put out the flames. Anthony had died instantly in the collision.
Anthony had always travelled light. He never collected a lot of material possessions. All of his worldly possessions were stowed neatly in a backpack. He was a generous person who gave away everything he did not need. We cannot take our possessions with us when we die. Anthony is the one person that I know who actually had no possessions to take with him when he died. He died, literally, with his boots on, but he didn’t leave an extra pair behind. What Anthony did leave behind cannot be measured in earthly value.
Those who knew him were struck by his radiant faith and his deep love for our Lord Jesus Christ. We will always remember his friendly smile, his kind words and his helpful deeds. He died in the service of Christ, after having faithfully ensured that suffering Christians had received life-giving medicines and the life-transforming Word of God - which an international shoot-on-sight blockade was seeking to deny them. Anthony chose to obey God rather than man.
Anthony Paul Duncan can truly say:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the Faith.’” 2 Timothy 4:7