THAT MAN PATHETIC STORY FROM AFRICA WITH A BEAUTIFUL ENDING
BY JULIA A. SHELHAMER
She was old, possible one hundred years–maybe more. It seemed that no one knew her history except that she had lived near Johannesburg in a little mud hut ever since they could remember, and went by the name of Granny.” She was a native of Africa, and very black-a real heathen.
She could not read or write–indeed her mind was deficient. It was said that she never took a bath, never even washed her hands or face. Within her home was a medley of odors, and no one liked to enter. She had but one room, and it had no windows, or even openings in the wall. Her only door was a low one.
Hence it was very dark in her house–a sort of dog kennel affair.
She had no furniture of any kind, so lay on the earthen floor at night, covered by an old blanket so filthy it was stiff. She had no chairs, so sat on the floor. For want of a stove she made a small bonfire in the
middle of the floor, and the smoke filled the room.
She often went hungry until Rev. Buchler, a very fine Christian gentleman from Johannesburg supplied her with groceries. Occasionally he placed in the basket a little box of snuff. Although he never used
tobacco himself, and did not believe it was proper for a Christian to use it, yet since “Granny” had had the habit for possibly ninety-five years, and since she was mentally deficient and would not understand
were she told of the evil effects of tobacco, he felt that it was only an act of kindness to supply it.
One day Granny caught fire and was terribly burned. She lay on her hard floor for weeks, suffering with little attention, until finally, in spite of filth and neglect, she recovered; but the burn had left her
almost helpless. She could only creep about a little, and that on all fours, not on her face but while lying on her back using her elbows and heels for propellers. She was merely a mass of filthy humanity, and so
crisped by the fire, one could hardly tell whether she were a human being or an animal. Even the most credulous might wonder if she had a soul; or, if she did have, they believed her irresponsible. One day,
after Rev. Buchler had taken her some groceries, he returned to his beautiful home and announced to his family that Granny had been converted to Christ. No one believed it. How could one so lacking in
intelligence and refinement comprehend the Way of Salvation? Why waste breath praying for her? But he constantly affirmed that it was even so, that she had really found peace with God.
Rev. Buchler had a young son by the name of Johannas, a well-educated but somewhat sophisticated young man, who wasted no time in making fun of the idea of Granny’s becoming a Christian. It was not long after this’ however, that Johannas himself was gloriously converted. The world seemed bright and beautiful to him, for his heart was bubbling over with his new found joy.
When Sunday came he wondered how he should spend the afternoon. Instead of going joy riding, or visiting his friends, or strolling about town, he decided to take his sisters and walk out in the country to see poor old black Granny. They went. The sun was shining and, when they arrived. they sat on the ground outside of the hut, because the air was better there than inside. Granny sat and watched them.
They sang a beautiful hymn for her. Then Johannas thought he would read to her out of the Bible. He opened the Book at random, thinking that one place was as good as another for her, since she could not
understand very much. The portion he found was a description of the appearance of Jesus as John the Revelator saw Him.
When he had read but a little way, her old, dim eyes sparkled, and she said, “Wait a minute! I know ‘That Man.’ He is the One that comes to see me every night.”
The young people were astonished. She repeated the statement, then began to d Jesus. To the amazement of Johannas and his sisters, her description agreed exactly with that of the Scripture which she had
never read. Her visitors sat and marveled at the language she used, as she talked more of the beautiful appearance of Christ. They had gone to teach her, but now had found to their great astonishment that instead of that, she was teaching them. The news spread far and wide to see and to hear her wonderful story of Jesus.
One day when Rev. Buchler carried her another basket of groceries, she said, “You don’t need to bring me any more snuff.”
“Why?” asked the kindhearted gentleman. “Because,” she said, “that Man Who comes to see me every night, told me that if I wanted to live for Him, I must not use any more snuff”-and she never touched it again.
When I heard this beautiful story from the lips of Johannas himself, I wondered why so many professing Christians use tobacco. Do you suppose that it could be because they have never met ‘THAT MAN’? At this
writing, January, 1934, 1 am conducting a revival for Rev. Johannas F. Buchler, who is pastor of a church in Johannesburg. Yes, it pays to send money to foreign lands; for the heathen are more appreciative of
Christ than are some in civilized countries. Will you pray for them?
Pilgrim Tract Soc., Randleman, N.C. 27317. Send postage for samples and “Messenger.”
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