A Disastrous Series of Events
25 Years ago, four Frontline vehicles were sent into the field. Only one vehicle came back. In the early morning mist of 14 December 1994, Frontline Fellowship Field Worker, Anthony Duncan, was killed in a head-on collision.
A Complex Series of Missions to Five Countries
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 desperately needed medicines and Bibles into war-torn Angola. Despite a shoot-on sight policy, which was maintained to enforce the United Nations blockade on UNITA-controlled Free Angola, the Frontline Mission team had succeeded in delivering a tonne of desperately needed medicines and Bibles to suffering Christians in Angola. The Mission team was on the way back from this eventful trip, which had also included one of our vehicles rolling down an embankment and crushing the canopy on the way up to Zambia on the so-called “Golden Highway” dirt road running the length of the Caprivi Strip. A cloud of dust hung over the dirt road severely restricting visibility. Our vehicle had to swerve to avoid a head on collision with an oncoming truck.
More Lives Than a Cat
Anthony had faced life-threatening situations before, when he was in the army and later as a game ranger, even before becoming a missionary. Anthony had been knocked down and trampled underfoot in the mud 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 two lions by throwing stones at them! He was armed, but being a serious animal lover, he could not 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 160 km’s/hr. Like a cat, Anthony seemed to have had nine lives and he lived those to the full.
Consistent Christian Character
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.
Soldier and Game Ranger
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.
Anthony’s last mission involved him driving across the length of South Africa, with ministry and travel throughout Zimbabwe and Zambia, before beginning the Bible smuggling operation into Angola from Namibia.
Only One Vehicle Came Back
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 Land Rover was written off after a successful mission into Angola. The team was ambushed and arrested on re-entry to Namibia, after completing their mission to 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 a head-on collision in the early morning mist, of 14 December 1994.
From Here to Eternity
On the way back to Cape Town, Anthony stopped in the game park where he had been converted, climbed up the mountain 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 mountain top experience, Anthony found all his personal belongings stolen from the vehicle. (This was the vehicle that had rolled in the Caprivi Strip to avoid a collision in the dust cloud. The fibreglass canopy had been shattered, so the back of the pick-up truck was open.) Anthony and his co-worker drove through the day and the next night. 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.
Store up Treasures in Heaven
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 did not leave an extra pair behind. What Anthony did leave behind cannot be measured in earthly value.
He Chose to Obey God Rather Than Man
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 could truly say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the Faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Anthony’s testimony and the incredible events surrounding this series of Missions, is dealt with in Rev. Bill Bathmans’ book Angola by the Back Door, available from: Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358, Howard Place 7450, Cape Town, South Africa, Tel: 021-689-7478, Fax: 086-551-7490, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.
To listen to the radio interview dealing with Anthony’s life and final mission, listen to the latest From the Frontline podcast: What Can Go Wrong on a Mission.