DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY - CLASSICAL TESTIMONIES… Althea Brown.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. – Revelation 12:11.
By way of encouragement, I would like to devote Tuesdays to classical testimonies which have brought great blessing and glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. These are of men and women, who have faithfully served for the Kingdom of God. My prayer is that you will be blessed, encouraged, and inspired by these testimonies as I was. Enjoy…
Althea Brown Edmiston (1874-1937), African American missionary to Africa, was the daughter of Robert and Molly Suggs Brown of Russelville, Alabama. In 1876 the family moved to Rolling Fork, Mississippi. In the fall of 1892, she left Mississippi to study at Fisk University for the next nine years.
After graduating from Fisk, she applied to be a missionary in the American Presbyterian Congo Mission and left for Africa in August 1902. In the Congo, she was made mistress of the Maria Carey Home for Girls, a day school in Ibanche. She survived the destruction of the mission at Ibanche during the Bakuba uprisings in the Congo in 1904.
On this day, November 2, 1904, the missionaries at Ibanche station in The Congo (Zaire), trembled for their lives. After making strong "medicine" that was supposed to deflect bullets, King Lukenga ordered that the hearts of all traders and the heads of all missionaries be brought to him, and every dwelling of a white person burned. In issuing this order, he was acting in rebellion to the internationally recognized Congo government.
A runner brought a branch dripping red to Ibanche, and said it was the blood of a Christian killed by rebel arrows. Warriors were on the march, burning Christian villages as they advanced. By evening, fierce fighting surrounded the mission compound. Night fell. "None of us expected to see the rising of another sun. Every breath we took was a prayer for deliverance or of fitness to stand before the King [God]," wrote Althea Brown later.
Althea Brown was an African-American who had learned patient trust in her God. When, without linguistic training, she accomplished the amazing feat of preparing a Bakuba grammar, she had to wait twelve years before anyone would publish it!
An honors student and beloved teacher, she left her native United States in order to tell the Bantu about Christ. On either side of the Atlantic, she was an example of applied faith, loving others and making things better for everyone through determined effort. She had even made and sold fudge in college to cover her expenses! She acquired any skill necessary for success, whether to learn a language or sew a dress.
But her efforts seemed destined to end that night. "The hours until dawn seemed endless. Then we sang the doxology."
During the day, the fighting eased off. There was a second long night of fear, until, on the following day, a few Congolese soldiers, well-armed, but fearful of attack, escorted the women and children to a safer town. "There must have been five hundred of us. It was a pathetic sight. Small children four and five years old were walking and even bearing burdens. The native soldiers, fearing an attack along the road ordered us to march at full speed."
Fleeing to Luebo, she met and later married Reverend Alonzo L. Edmiston on July 8, 1905. They had two children Sherman Lucius Edmiston (b. 1906) and Alonzo Leaucourt Edmiston (b. 1913). The Edmistons made their home at the newly rebuilt village of Ibanche. In 1906 she returned to America because their child had become ill, her husband joined her a year later and they settled in Tuscaloosa, Alabama until 1911.
After raising enough money, they returned to Africa, but left their son in America. He too became ill, so she took him to America and left both children with relatives so that she could return to her mission work. They came back to America in 1920 to raise money for the mission and returned to Africa in 1921, taking their children with them. Althea Brown Edmiston wrote the first dictionary of the Bakuba language. She died in 1937 in Africa of sleeping sickness and malaria.
Are you willing to do whatever it takes and give your all to win the lost to Christ? Then like, Althea Brown, put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water, and dare to follow Jesus wherever He leads you?
Loving Father, I thank you for the life of Althea Brown, and I pray that anyone reading this may be inspired by her testimony to give their life to you, and that you would use them in the same way, as you used Althea. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to be a person of like faith, that I may bring glory to your name. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.