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Sacred
Footprints By Eric Bohman
Bimi africa DirEctor
I My heart was greatly challenged recently when I
visited South Africa. Missionary Adam Lewis and
I drove up to the country of Botswana where we
were able to see one of David Livingstone’s old
mission stations called Kolobeng.

was disappointed to see that the area had been
grossly neglected, and all that was left was some
foundation stones of the home and the church that
Livingstone personally built by hand. This was the first
church that later doubled as the first school that was
built in Botswana. It was there that Livingstone had one
of his few salvation decisions—a chief named Sechele,
the first convert in Botswana.

Situated near what would have
been the front door of Liv-
ingstone’s house is the
large flat rock where
he sat to preach,
teach, and doctor
the hundreds who
visited this mission
station during the
five years he lived
there. Farther down
the hill from the re-
mains of the house, I
was sobered at the sight
Mary Moffat
of a large pile of rocks; and the
burial place of one of Livingstone’s children, a “bonny,
blue-eyed lass” named Elizabeth.

History views Livingstone’s time in Kolobeng as a
failure. The only convert was Sechele, who was also
8 • NATIONS
the area “rain maker.” After his conversion, no rain fell
for over four years, and locals blamed his conversion to
Christianity as the cause.

Famine, draught, and disease nearly destroyed the
young missionary family. In despair, the Livingstones
left—never to return to Kolobeng.

Four hundred and fifty kilometers to the southwest
in present day South Africa was the mission station of
Livingstone’s father-in-law Robert Moffat. The sta-
Robert Moffat



world.” However, this supposedly
“successful” mission station was not
without its cemetery.

In a small grove of trees were the
graves of several of the Moffats’ chil-
dren and several of their fellow mis-
sionaries. One grave, a very large
one, held the wife and five children of
William Ashton, the man who printed
Moffat’s Bible.

I was overwhelmed in both plac-
es of the immense sacrifice that was
made. Standing in the little grove
where so many heroic missionaries
were buried (some of whom I have
never heard, but thankfully, our Heav-
tion is in an area called Kuruman where
Moffat and his wife, Mary, labored
for 50 years. This mission station, al-
though also neglected, still had a few
of its original buildings, namely the
house that the Moffats built and lived
in, the home of their colleague Robert
Hamilton, and the stately old church.

Kuruman, in contrast to Kolobeng, was
a success story. It was there that Robert
Moffat translated the entire Bible into
the native language of Setswana. This
was the first Bible translated into a
previously unwritten African language
and the first Bible ever to be printed on
the African continent.

Moffat’s original printing press is
still there! Although there are some re-
cords, it would be impossible to deter-
mine the tens of thousands of Africans
who were reached through the efforts
of this humble missionary couple.

Throughout his lifetime, Moffat
was truly able to reach the villages he
saw many years before when he said,
“I have seen, at different times, the
smoke of a thousand villages—villag-
es whose people are without Christ,
without God, and without hope in this
The Moffat Home in Africa
enly Father knew each one), I choked
up and told the other missionary that in
contrast to how these people lived and
ministered, we as God’s servants today
know nothing of sacrifice! Yet, it was
this sacrifice that became the catalyst
Printing Press Used by Moffat
for the great missionary endeavor that
continues today.

How true was Tertullian’s observa-
tion that the blood of the
martyrs is the seed of the
church! For with each life
given and with each seed
of sacrifice sown, a boun-
tiful harvest of souls has
been reaped. However,
how much more sacrifice
is needed! How many
more laborers are required!
How many more souls are
waiting to be won!
May we never allow—through ne-
glect—the sacrifices of those who have
labored before us to reap a less bounti-
ful harvest. May God grant us the grace
to continue the precedent of sacrifice
for all those who have yet to hear.

Nearby Cemetery Where Some of the Moffat Children Are Buried
NATIONS • 9