Tuesday 22 September 2009

John Boyana Radasi

He has a lovely name, but how many people have heard of him? He has the honour of being the first Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland missionary to Zimbabwe. This was back in 1904, not long after the 'wee frees' started. He was a native south african, which I imagine was pretty unusual for missionaries working in Africa at the time. So, although he wasn't the very first missionary of any denomination to venture into southern Zimbabwe (then Matabeleland), he must have been about the first black african missionary field director. Jean Nicolson wrote an interesting account of his work back in 1996, aimed at the more easy reading end of the market. That's why I have just read it... The great hardships endured by Radasi, shared alongside his converts, are exemplary. He was widely respected. He had very slender resources apart from faith, but a work was begun then which has grown and continues to this day. More importantly a work of grace was done in many hearts. There are good accounts of young people converted, some of whom also died young due to outbreaks of virulent malaria, and other perils.
It is good to be reminded that although modern Zimbabwe is a broken country due to political problems, it has had the gospel. And from what I gather elsewhere, there are still a good number who are thriving in the truth, although they are destitute materially. Completely the opposite to the UK today.
John Boyana Radasi, FPP 1996, £4.95

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