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SOUTH AFRICA CONVENTION
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
The Lord has been pleased to grant us much of His fellowship and blessing these latter days, and our hearts are full of gratitude accordingly. The Memorial season was a time of much refreshing to all the Lord’s people in South Africa. Our hearts were deeply and joyfully moved with the thought that in all probability this celebration would be the last on this side of the veil, and that ere long we would drink of the fruit of the vine NEW with our dear Master in the Father’s Kingdom.
At Durban forty-seven partook of the symbols of our Lord’s death and our dying with Him, renewing our covenant of consecration and seeking grace to “run with patience the race set before us.” Next on the list was the Zulu class at Ndwedwe, who at the Memorial numbered thirty-eight. Fifteen memorialized at Johannesburg, eight at Capetown, six at Douglas and two at Balfour. Reports are not yet to hand from Pretoria, where there is also a Class, and the disturbed state of affairs beyond the Zambezi, due to the war, will I fear make reports from Central Africa impossible. All alike testify, however, to the great blessing received.
During the Easter holidays we had a glorious Convention at Durban—truly “the best yet”! For four days we were on the Mountain-top with the Lord and as one brother expressed it, “We would fain build tabernacles and dwell there.” Excellent addresses were given by Brothers Ancketill, Moller and Stubbs, and in this feature I had the privilege to share.
Two Symposiums, one on “The Three Graces” (1 Corinthians 13:13) and the other on “The Panoply of God” (Ephesians 6:14-17), discovered much latent talent among the brethren that gives promise of large service, and was a source of much edification to the Convention.
The praise and testimony meetings gave opportunity for grateful praise and thanksgiving to God, a feature so much appreciated that it prolonged the program.
On Easter Sunday a baptismal service furnished opportunity for seven Sisters and six Brothers to symbolize their consecration, while at a dedication service two children were presented as a thank-offering to the Lord. When, on Monday evening, we came to the final meeting and farewell address, we all felt that our cup was running over; and as we sang the old, familiar strain, “God be with you till we meet again,” we felt that surely we would not have a more blessed experience “Till we meet at Jesus’ feet”! Loth to part, some of the brethren who had gathered from a distance tarried with us, and we had Convention-Echo and Re-echo meetings in the week that followed.
We realized that you were with us in spirit, dear Brother, and that we had your prayers. By a unanimous rising vote I was instructed to convey to you the loving greeting of the assembled brethren and the Ecclesias in Africa which they represented, and to assure you of our deep gratitude to God and to you for your faithful ministry, by which we have all so largely profited. I have the greatest pleasure in passing on this message. May our Heavenly Father give you grace for every trial, strength for every duty, much of the joy of His fellowship here below, and at last an abundant entrance into His Kingdom!
We feel, dear Brother, that we have all been greatly strengthened by this time of refreshing for the last lap of the Race, and that by God’s assisting grace we are going to be faithful unto the end, and gain the crown of life.
The hope of the PHOTO-DRAMA coming to Africa is a great stimulus to the brethren and we are confidently expecting much blessing to accrue from it when it arrives.
With much love in the Lord to yourself and to all the brethren at the Tabernacle, I am
Your brother and colaborer,
WM. W. JOHNSTON.—Africa.
SPENT FIFTY YEARS SEARCHING FOR TRUE CHURCH
DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:—
Please excuse me for taking up your precious time in reading this poorly written letter, but I feel I must write you a few lines to testify to what the Truth has done for me.
I am 78 years old. I spent fifty years of my life searching for the true Church, but did not find what I was seeking until five years ago. My eyes were opened by reading the Russell-White Debate published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, distributed by Sister Croul and Sister Green. After carefully reading that debate I exchanged the yoke of bondage for Christ’s yoke, and since then I have been learning of Him. I find His yoke easy, His burden light, as I strive to follow faithfully in His footsteps.
Then I read, studied, re-read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES until I proved beyond a doubt that they are the true Keys to the Bible, unlocking the doors of our Heavenly Father’s inexhaustible source of love and mercy which He has in store for the dead and dying race. These precious truths have been the “Pearl of great price” to me, for they have led me out of darkness into light; out of fear and doubt into faith and hope; out of error into Truth; out of sorrow and despair into the oil of gladness. They have taken my weary feet from the sandy foundation of the creeds of men and the “doctrines of devils” and placed them on the Rock of Ages—that Mighty Rock whose towering form reaches above the coming storm; and from the springs that from it burst we now can drink and quench our thirst.
Your weekly sermons and THE WATCH TOWER are beacon lights that guide and comfort me on my way when the shadows are deep and the waiting-time seems so long. The Bible is my daily bread, and since I have consecrated my all to the Lord its sacred pages are illumined, and I can read it with an understanding mind and my whole being is filled with that peace and joy which is unspeakable and full of glory—which the world cannot give, and, praise the Lord, neither can it take away!
My lessons in the School of Christ have mostly been learned through the printed page; but I am so thankful that I have the privilege of feasting at the Lord’s table in any
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way that He provides. And I always have a prayer and a blessing in my heart for you, that faithful Servant, who, despite the opposition of all the agents of the Adversary, is still spreading this feast for the hungry, thirsty Truth-seekers to feast upon; and may the Lord still guide and bless you in this Harvest work until the race is run and the victory won, is the prayer of your isolated sister in the Truth, love and fellowship of our Lord and Master, and all of His consecrated children.
MRS. LOVINA PHILLIPS.—Ind.
— July 15, 1915 —