Of [the work in] Ogbomosho, our [African colleague], Moses L. Stone, remarked: “Surely the Lord is working among us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. I have some one hundred and forty, every Sunday to hear about our blessed Savior. From these he will, no doubt, choose His own. I go on Saturday to prepare the people for Sunday, and go on Monday to impress what they heard on Sunday.”
The following simple and interesting lines are from the journal of this young brother [Mr. Stone]:
The people sing songs and give their property to this god or image. Even the lives of their children are not too dear to devote to the thing. On October 5th a boy was killed by lightening. Orders were given to the parents not to mourn, as the god Sango had killed the child. The next day a large compound was set on fire, and the town filled with dancing and praises to Sango for what he had done. My heart cried out, “Oh God, when will deliverance come to this people!”
A young man of my congregation came to me and said: “I have something to tell you privately. My soul is not in health. I have not done what the Lord tells me to do. ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.’ I find here a duty which I have not done. I am sick and weakly, and if death should come I know not what my portion would be.” A tear started to my eye. I knelt and prayed with him. I then questioned him about faith in Jesus. I am satisfied with his experience, and he is put down as one of fifteen or twenty candidates for baptism.
Persecution and Triumph
One of the converts, after he heard the call of Jesus, “Follow me,” said to his household: “I have found Jesus to be precious to my soul, and you must not call on me to make sacrifices to the gods. I shall have nothing more to do with them. Even death shall not force me to worship.” His friends rose up against him, and declared that one of them had dreamed that Sango would burn his compound, and that it would cost him twenty bags of cowries ($48) to appease his wrath. He replied: “I am the head of this house, and if you fear the wrath of Sango more than the wrath of God you can leave the compound.” In a day or two the dreamer died. Another convert was brought before the chief, but he conquered, and a third fought with Sango’s priests. They are all awaiting baptism.
Giving Up Ifas
A young man, who is a slave, was brought to the house of God by a friend. Every Sunday he came, and then said: “I have learned that my Ifa cannot save me.” His owner hearing of it, told him he would sell him away from his friends and country if he went to the church. The young man said: “You may do what you please, but I shall not quit the house of God.” A court was held and warned him, but he held his ground. I could not redeem him, but I tried to strengthen his faith, telling him to pray to God always to deliver him. On April the 28th, his old mother, who had tried to keep him from church, came to me and said with a sorrowful voice: “Pray for me, for I have sinned against my son, not knowing it.” I told her to put her trust in Jesus, and her sins would be no more remembered against her. She and her son attend the church. This young man and another who is a convert, gave up this Ifas.
Excerpted from Thirty-Third Annual Report of the Foreign Mission Board, May 9, 1878.