BLOG: New century, same calling

The New Year is a time for reflecting on the past, as well as thinking about the future. As we were looking back on our 141 years as a mission agency, we came across a reflection from one of our founding members at the turn of the 20th century! What a powerful reminder of God’s faithfulness through the ages.

To the Friends of the North Africa Mission: an article by Edward Glenny from our North Africa Magazine, December 1900

Dear fellow helpers,

By the time this letter is in your hands, not only the New Year, but the New Century, will be dawning, and it is natural that at such a period we should review the past and seek to look on into the future.

Though it is only about nineteen years since the Mission was established, it is rather more than twenty years since Mr. Pearse went out to North Africa to prospect, and just about twenty years since my mind was independently turned to North Africa as a sphere of service.

What mercies we have experienced these twenty years! What numerous friends God has raised up to assist in the work of the Gospel in North Africa – friends with wisdom to give counsel – with money to sustain the work – with sympathy to pray and work at home – with consecration to give themselves and their lives to the work abroad; and as one and another have fallen out of the ranks or been called home, God has raised up others to take their places.

A Berber man in the late 19th century

Trials and perplexities we have had without number, and yet through them all the Lord has brought us to this present day. From a couple of workers at first, God has graciously increased the number of labourers to about 100. From an income of a few hundred pounds per year to eight and ten thousand a year. From occupying one village in Algeria to having Stations scattered across all the countries of North Africa. From having no converts at all to having a few converts all along the line, some of whom have themselves developed into Christian workers. We borrow courage from our past experiences of God’s grace to the unworthy, but still more so from the unfailing promises of His word; and thus trusting in the God who has been our help in the past, we step out into the New Century to work on till Christ shall come, or till we are called to be with Him.

It’s amazing to reflect on the perseverance of these pioneering missionaries, and the legacy they have left. Through God’s faithful provision, the work that they started has become part of a great movement towards Christ in the Arab world. As you enter into the New Year, how might God be calling you to be part of that movement?

If you would like to hear more about our history, check out our story or read more from the archives!

Disclaimer: although we share the same passion for mission, the language in this publication is reflective of the era and may not reflect how we would present these topics today.

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