Nostalgia flows in as memory conjures up the past. I see an old dilapidated farm house with a flourishing Chestnut Tree in back. In the shade of the branches lies an old fallen tree stump. Someone has said, “A school is a teacher on one end of a log with a student on the other.” Under the chestnut tree, I see a dedicated instructor sitting on a three-legged stool with an open Bible on his lap, gesturing as he speaks. I see a handful of serious students sitting huddled together on the log, notebooks in hand, intently listening. The old tree filtered out much of the warm South African sunbeams, making for a pleasant, though informal, “classroom.” However, winter’s chilling posed a mean problem at times. The cold breezes left both instructor and students shivering! Such was the modest beginning of Southern Africa Bible College fifty years ago.
Without the amenities of the modern college, the students soldiered on. While the niceties of modern academic institutions escaped them, they never lost sight of their Christ-given mission, “Go preach the gospel to every creature,” Mark 15:15. These were young men in training, 2 Timothy 2:2, for the most important work on earth—evangelizing the lost. Sacrifice and suffering were expected parts of the task. Rejoicing and gratitude were the prize for the labor of love when the harvest of souls was reaped. God’s love compelled us. His mercy motivated us. His grace guided us. We all wanted to go to heaven and we wanted to take as many precious souls as possible with us.
Ah, the sweet memories!
Eldred Echols and I knew that we had to train men on the field in order to make the work permanent. Well-meaning brethren sponsored many foreign students to go to American colleges with mostly negative results. Hardly any returned to the fields of harvest. So “on the field training” was conceived in the crucible of tough experience. From the first day until now, God has abundantly blessed the Bible College with meaningful results.
It only remains now to thank all those who helped make this happen. Along with the grace of God and the generosity of many brethren, God blessed the efforts that have been put forth. Magnificent structures—dormitories, classrooms, eating facilities and a well-stocked library now grace the campus.
Not only are students trained and motivated to spread the Word, they also have at their disposal an academic institution that is fully accredited internationally with a “Bachelor of Arts” degree in Theology.
We are determined to remain ever “sound in the faith” and true to our mission—“to seek and to save the lost.” Please continue to help us achieve this goal.
Al J. Horne, President
Southern Africa Bible College 2016