Incidents in Travel and Soul Winning – By Elmer & Julia Shelhamer

Chapter 6

“That Man”

Her appearance so nearly resembled an animal that it was hard to distinguish her as a human being. She was a native of Africa and very black. Nobody knew her age, she looked anything between ninety and a hundred years, and she was not burdened with an over-amount of intelligence. Besides this, she literally lived in filth; it must have been years since she last washed her hands and face — not to mention her body. A terrible burn had rendered her almost helpless, so that her only way of creeping along was on her haunches, using her feet and elbows as legs. She lived all alone in a mud hut, slept on the earth floor, and had a dirty, lousy blanket for cover. Nobody seemed to love this poor creature, and as she was too helpless to beg she often went hungry.

Hearing of her condition, Mr. J. U. Buehler, Senior, of Montagu, occasionally took provisions to her. Though he did not use tobacco himself, he usually included a ration of it in her supply of groceries. This he did because he considered it impossible for her at her age to break with this evil habit without serious effects on her health; besides she was too dull of comprehension to be taught the evils of tobacco. Then, too she was apparently unaccountable to God, being about as devoid of a soul as any mass of filthy, black, human flesh could be.

One day, after having carried her a load of groceries, Mr. Buehler announced to his family that the old woman had become a Christian. Of course this was hard to believe, but he confidently affirmed that it was so. Behind his back, his son Johannes said it was impossible and made fun of it.

Some time later Johannes himself was converted. One Sabbath afternoon, wondering what he could do for the Lord, after deliberation with his two sisters they decided to visit the old black woman. They hoped at least to cheer her a little by singing to her.

A native hut is like a smoker; it has no chimney, all the smoke has to come out the front door. This, combined with decaying grass, and other objects in the room such as skins and other things giving off smells, to which must be added human breaths, and the peculiar odor of the natives themselves, causes a fermented, stale, sickening, affluvia so offensive that no European, not compelled to, stays inside such a hut. So Johannes stayed outside and the Old Granny sat near the door.

After a few words of salutation, the three sang a hymn, accompanied with an accordion, and then offered to read to her. Johannes himself only recently converted and utterly ignorant how to help a soul, opened his Bible at random, thinking that one part of the Bible was about as good as another to read to a person who understood so little He opened his Bible at Revelation one. He read on to the 13th verse which gives a description of the appearance of our Lord, when the Old Granny interrupted, clapping her hands and shouting: “Why, that is the man who comes to see me every night,” and then continued the description, which tallied perfectly with that of John the Revelator, to the utter amazement of Johannes and his sisters! And then the tables turned; they were the ignorant ones and she started to tell them of Jesus, with the greatest enthusiasm.

A little later Mr. Buehler took her another load of groceries and of course some tobacco with it. But this time Granny told him she did not care for any more tobacco. “Why?” asked her kind benefactor. “Because,” said she, “that Man who comes to see me every night told me that if I wanted to live with Him, I must not use it any more, and my desire for it is gone.” What a rebuke this should be to many professed civilized Christians, including ministers!

Christians from far and near came to see this wonderful sight of such a marvelous transformation, and to hear the story out of her own mouth of what God had done for her. She lived for several years and then had an abundant entrance into God’s Kingdom.

Johannes is now a minister of the Gospel in Johannesburg, and at this writing I am holding a revival in his church, while my husband is conducting one in Durban.

Reader, I know you would like to visit these mud huts and lead others like “Granny” to Christ, but since you cannot, will you help support those who can? If you cannot give because you have no work, will you join me in prayer and fasting one meal a week, that you may secure a job? The answer to your prayer will likely be given, provided you agree to go into partnership with God in business, which of course will imply that He will get a certain percent of your income.

Let this percent be a considerable amount, or it will not pay God to bother with you. Do not insult Him by offering a mere tenth; that belongs to Him anyhow, and is not a gift. The larger the share your heavenly Father owns in your business the more interest will He take in its success. If He can trust you to keep your contract, He will give you a blessing that will surprise you. Be simple in obedience and. simple in faith in this matter.

Mr. Welch had a call to a foreign mission field. His wife’s failing health prevented their going. Nothing daunted, he decided that if he could not go he would send others. He began bottling unfermented grape juice and gave a large proportion of his income to missions. Because of this God greatly prospered him until “Welch’s Grape Juice” is the most popular brand on the market. If you want God to be generous with you, deal generously with Him.

“The liberal soul shall he made fat and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” — Prov. 11:25.