Chapter 6 Lubwa (1939-1947)
During the war years streams of motor vehicles flowed northwards past Lubwa, and planes could sometimes be heard overhead. The convoys would frequently bring medical cases to the hospital, but besides that share of war work the local African recruits came for medical examination. Not only were the young men recorded as having a high standard of health, but their religion and state of literacy were recorded and made an encouraging record.
Sixty-eight percent of the young men were members or adherents of a Protestant Church. Seventy one per cent could read and write. Two percent were Roman Catholics.
But let us not forget that many of these were first generation Christians and not far removed from the imprisonment of witchcraft.
"Just as our best medical treatment is sometimes neutralised, if not actually reversed and rendered harmful, by our African brother who thinks it no ill secretly to "help" your efforts to cure him by the addition of potent though ill-understood native medicines, so, all too often, Heathen customs, practices and beliefs, from which even professing Christians have not yet been delivered, continue to sap the strength of the Church and mar its fruitfulness. Only this week a church member, a deacon at that, openly accused a fellow-Christian of having bewitched him and made him ill, with a view to snatching his job as foreman."
"So little done, so much to do," Cecil Rhodes said in earlier times, and Dr. Brown felt this often as he saw the crying need around him. Those who have been known to say that "natural childbirth is best – leave the native woman alone" have never seen the high infant mortality and all its attendant suffering. Those who have been known to say "the old traditional Heathen religions are what best suit these people" have never seen the misery and terror caused by the ancient superstitions. The next step in the work now began for a union of various Churches in the Mission Field, which must have entailed much correspondence, many meetings and discussions and many miles of travel.
In December 1945, at Chitambo, the Union was signed between the three Protestant Churches:
(See the Appendix for further material on the union.)
In 1946 when the long delayed home furlough took place, it once more entailed travel, preaching, speaking and addressing the General Assembly. Towards the end of the year, during the giving of a sermon, Dr. Brown felt a numbness in his right arm, so that he continued turning his notes and looking up his hymns with his left hand only – he had had a slight stroke. However he declared that all he needed to restore him to full health was a "dose of Africa." He must get back to work, full of plans and ambitions – he greatly wished to start a Bible school so that African ministers could be trained locally. However two months after Dr. and Mrs. Brown arrived back in Lubwa, he took another stroke, and died.
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