55 – February – 24 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

George Grenfells

 

He knew not retreat

 

1876 – George Grenfell, Congo’s Pioneer and Explorer, having just married, sailed with his new bride for Africa.  Within a year she succumbed to dysentery, and sometime later George remarried his second wife Rose, who was able to travel with him on many of his most thrilling journeys.  George had been reared in a very religious Anglican home in England but was influenced by a Baptist Sunday school at the Heneage Street Baptist Church at Birmingham.  It was during this time that he read Livingstone’s Travels and dedicated himself for service in Africa.   He then entered Bristol Baptist College in 1873, but learning that his missionary hero, Alfred Saker was in England, after connecting through correspondence, accompanied him to the Cameroons, beginning his work in Africa at twenty-five years of age.  In August 1877, Henry M. Stanley, having been sent to find Livingstone, appeared at the mouth of the Congo, and the world was electrified in that it had taken him three years to go from the east to the west coast.  Even though the Cameroons were six hundred miles north of the Congo River, Grenfel was immediately burdened to plant the message of the cross through this great waterway.  In God’s providence, a wealthy man in England provided a ship to penetrate Central Africa with the gospel that was made available for Grenfell’s use.  With untold sacrifices and privations he gave himself to the work.  He buried his children in Africa and grieved continually over the deaths of his fellow missionaries.  But he wrote, “God’s finger points ONWARD! FORWARD! What caused him the most pain was the indifference of the home churches to sending missionaries.  When his mission agency considered receding, he wrote, “It is either advance or retreat; but if it is retreat, you must not count on me, I will not be a party to it, and you will have to go on without me.”  Grenfell died on July 1, 1906.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 76.

 

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