Saturday, June 30, 2018

Autograph book reflections

Some of you know that the wedding ring I wear belonged to my Great-Aunt Bessie Martin. Bessie was commissioned and sent out to Ethiopia by New Zealand Baptist Missions Society in the 1930’s. Although she came home for one furlough after a five-year stint, not much more is known about her ministry, except that she died on the Mission Field and is buried in what was then Addis Ababa. I often wonder what life and ministry would have been like in Ethiopia in the 30’s.

Part of Bessie’s training was to attend the New Zealand Bible College—in those days it was called the BTI (Bible Training Institute), and during that time, Bessie collected shared autographs, as was the custom then, from various students, some of whom were also training for the Mission Field.

Recently, I noticed Bessie’s Autograph Book on the shelf and started reading it. All of the contributors would be in heaven now, and it was quite moving to read of their passion for the Lord as they prepared themselves for Mission service. I invite you to share some of this inspiration...

His Lamp am I, to shine where He shall say, 
and lamps are not for sunny rooms,
nor for the light of day; 
but for dark places of the earth, 
where shame and crime and wrong have birth; 
or for the murky twilight gray,
where wandering sheep have gone astray; 
or where the light of faith grows dim,
and souls are groping after HIM. 

And as sometimes a flame we find,
clear shining through the night, 
so bright we do not see the lamp
—but only see the light, 
so may I shine—His light the flame,
that men may glorify His name. 

(Annie Johnson Flint) 
Signed J.O. Sanders NZBTI, 1929. 
Pastor Roger