Kuruman is 1,195km from Cape Town. Kuruman was the first Mission station, school, church and printing press established north of the Orange River in Sub-Saharan Africa. Rev. Robert Moffat of the London Missionary Society served at this base from 1820 to 1870. Having learnt Setswana, Robert Moffat produced the first complete translation of the Bible in an African language by 1857. It was printed on the hand-operated Printing Press at Kuruman. This was the first time that the Bible had been printed in its entirety anywhere in Africa, and in a previously unwritten language. Robert Moffat also translated Pilgrims Progress into Setswana. After walking 920km from Algoa Bay (present day Port Elizabeth), Dr. David Livingstone arrived at Kuruman in 1841, which became his first Mission base in Africa.
Closed Until Further Notice
Imagine our amazement and frustration when arriving at last at Kuruman we were greeted by a large sign stating that the Moffatt Mission Station was closed until further notice! We had not driven all that way in order to be put off by such a sign and as it was clear that the buildings were still standing, there seemed to be no reason for us not to explore as much as possible. On a number of occasions some rude individuals informed us that "You are not allowed to be here!" and "This is closed!" However, as they, and numerous other workers, were wandering around this historic site there seemed to be no reason why we could not do the same and take such photographs as possible.
Historic Printing Press
Amazingly, the Printing Press, which had been brought to Cape Town in 1825 and transported to Kuruman in 1831 by Rev. Moffatt, who used it until 1870, when he retired, was standing, vulnerably exposed to the elements, in a building without a roof! Many valuable historic documents, pictures and books were being exposed to the elements in the building which was the first school erected North of the Orange River and the site of the first print shop. While the walls still stood, there was no roof, as all the thatch had been removed, presumably for re-thatching in the future. Insects, cobwebs, dust and damp were evident in many of the historic displays and the Mission station was in a sad state of neglect and disrepair.
Strategic Mission Base
Yet, we could see much that testified to the dynamic Missionary work that had been carried out from this base for over 150 years. "The Missionary Road to the Interior" was boldly declared on a sign by the road that ran through Kuruman and signposts informed us that Victoria Falls was 1,445km North, and Luanda was 3,080km to the North West. Graaff Reneit, where David Livingstone stayed with Rev. Andrew Murray's family, was 763km South. David Livingstone described Graaff Reneit as "the prettiest town in Africa". The Moffatt Church was completed in 1838 and designed to seat 800 people. It was fully restored in 1938 to mark its centenary. On the wall a marble slate listed the names of Missionaries who had served at Kuruman under The London Missionary Society and the dates they were based at Kuruman. Dr. David Livingstone is listed as the 8th LMS Missionary in residence at Kuruman.
Livingstone Mission School
For several years Frontline Fellowship has been praying over acquiring a farm to establish Livingstone Missionary School. We have thoroughly investigated a remarkable farm which appears to meet most of our needs. With the increasing demands for our camps and courses, this farm would be an ideal site for Wilderness Bush Camps, Leadership Training Courses, Youth Camps, School and Church Camps, Biblical Worldview Seminars and Summits, Great Commission Courses, Survival Courses and the Livingstone Missionary School. This farm is in a remote and mountainous region with a wide variety of wildlife, including some leopards. 17 of our Missionaries and staff have explored the well-watered area and are in agreement that this is the most suitable place that we have yet found to establish Livingstone Farm. Our Board has thoroughly discussed and adopted the project and we are now trusting the Lord for the funds needed in order to purchase the farm and develop it.
Mobilise to Evangelise
In order to expand the Missions' capabilities and impact, we are convinced that acquiring and developing this Mission farm will enable us to develop the most effective, hands-on, practical in-service training facilities for the many Missionaries needed to reclaim Africa for Christ. The needs are urgent, the opportunities unprecedented, yet the labourers are far too few. The only way that we will be able to respond to the overwhelming demands and requests to serve suffering Christians throughout Africa, is to recruit and train dedicated and effective Mission workers. Livingstone Farm will be the Missionary Training Centre that we pray will prepare and mobilise the kind of Missionaries that Andrew Murray mobilised through the Africa Institute, following the 1860 Revival.
We are most grateful for your prayers, encouragement, and support, without which none of our ministries would be possible. Thank you for the financial sacrifices you have made to enable this Mission to advance in Africa. Please continue to pray for our many ongoing Book Projects, outreaches and cross-border Missions.
May God continue to be your joy and strength.
Yours for the fulfilment of the Great Commission
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Articles on Dr. David Livingstone
The Challenge of Missions
The Greatness of the Great Commission