Missionary died thinking he was a failure; 84 years later thriving churches found hidden in the jungle

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By Mark Ellis

After crossing the Kwilu

In 1912, medical missionary Dr. William Leslie went to live and minister to tribal people in a remote corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After 17 years he returned to the U.S. a discouraged man – believing he failed to make an impact for Christ. He died nine years after his return.

But in 2010, a team led by Eric Ramsey with Tom Cox World Ministries made a shocking and sensational discovery. They found a network of reproducing churches hidden like glittering diamonds in the dense jungle across the Kwilu River from Vanga, where Dr. Leslie was stationed.

Loading Cessna Caravan
Loading Cessna Caravan

With the help of a Mission Aviation Fellowship pilot, Ramsey and his team flew east from Kinshasa to Vanga, a two and a half hour flight in a Cessna Caravan. After they reached Vanga, they hiked a mile to the Kwilu River and used dugout canoes to cross the half-mile-wide expanse. Then they hiked with backpacks another 10 miles into the jungle before they reached the first village of the Yansi people.

Based on his previous research, Ramsey thought the Yansi in this remote area might have some exposure to the name of Jesus, but no real understanding of who He is. They were unprepared for their remarkable find.

“When we got in there, we found a network of reproducing churches throughout the jungle,” Ramsey reports. “Each village had its own gospel choir, although they wouldn’t call it that,” he notes. “They wrote their own songs and would have sing-offs from village to village.”

They found a church in each of the eight

The Yansi jungle "cathedral"
The Yansi jungle “cathedral”

villages they visited scattered across 34 miles. Ramsey and his team even found a 1000-seat stone “cathedral” in one of the villages. He learned that this church got so crowded in the 1980s – with many walking miles to attend — that a church planting movement began in the surrounding villages.

“There is no Bible in the Yansi language,” Ramsey says. “They used a French Bible, so those who taught had to be fluent in French.”

Apparently, Dr. Leslie crossed the Kwilu River once a year from Vanga and spent a month traveling through the jungle, carried by servants in a sedan chair.

Yansi men and boys
Yansi men and boys

“He would teach the Bible, taught the tribal children how to read and write, talked about the importance of education, and told Bible stories,” Ramsey notes. Dr. Leslie started the first organized educational system in these villages, Ramsey learned.

It took some digging for Ramsey to uncover Leslie’s identity. “The tribal people only knew him by one name and I didn’t know if that was a first or last name. They knew he was a Baptist and he was based in that one city and they knew the years.”

When Ramsey returned home he did some additional investigation and discovered Dr. Leslie was affiliated with the American Baptist Missionary Union. The American Baptist Missionary Union was founded in 1814 by Adoniram Judson, who led a pioneering work in Burma.

Born in Ontario, Canada, William H. Leslie followed his intended profession as a pharmacist until his conversion

Dr. William H. Leslie, M.D.
Dr. William H. Leslie, M.D.

in 1888. He moved to the Chicago area, where God began to grip his heart with the desire to become a medical missionary.

Dr. Leslie initiated his Congo service in 1893 at Banza-Manteke. Two years later he developed a serious illness. A young missionary named Clara Hill took care of him until he recovered. Their budding friendship ripened into love and a marriage proposal. They were wed in 1896.

In 1905 William and Clara pioneered a work in Cuilo, Anglola, where they overcame a hurricane that struck the night before one of their children was born, and more mundane obstacles like charging buffaloes and armies of ants.

Seven years later they cleared enough of the leopard-infested jungle along the Kwilu River at Vanga for a new

mission station perched on a small plateau. Some of the villages surrounding Vanga were still practicing cannibalism at that time.

They spent 17 years at Vanga, but their service ended on a rocky note. “Dr. Leslie had a relational falling out with some of the tribal leaders and was asked not to come back,” Ramsey says. “They reconciled later; there were apologies and forgiveness, but it didn’t end like he hoped.”

“His goal was to spread Christianity. He felt like he was there for 17 years and he never really made a big impact, but the legacy he left is huge.”

Leslie_Vanga_Settlement_Africa
Land for the Vanga mission was first cleared in 1912

 

 

128 COMMENTS

  1. Oh the wonder of the mighty and wondrous ways in which “THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY” moves!!!
    “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”
    (Jer 32:27 – KJV)

    Exactly as He tells those who will but come to Him in Saving Faith – He does exactly what He wrote in Isaiah Chapter 55 – when there are people that truly believe in “THE LORD JESUS CHRIST” as their Personal Saviour!!! ”

    Our Brothers and Sisters in The LORD Jesus Christ from Vanga, DRC had the best teacher any of us can have – The Holy Ghost:
    “17 Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
    18 For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.
    19 That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.
    20 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,
    21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” (Prov 22:17-21 – KJV)

  2. This story is so wonderful, thank God for Dr Leslie and the power of the Holy Spirit. This miracle also points to the truth that God has much to say to the World through Africa.

  3. What a wonderful story! It reminded me of what the Lord taught me early in ministry when I worked with youth in a setting where I had them only for 10 months and felt I had to bring them to a confession of faith before they left and went on to other places. I felt like a failure because of the lack of response until I started to receive letters a couple of years later, telling me how they had accepted Jesus and were told by the preacher they had heard at that time to contact me and tell me how the seeds I had planted had come to fruition.
    It is the Holy Spirit who does the work in the heart; we simply preach the gospel and pray!

  4. To GOD be all glory! Great things HE has done! Whether a “Billy Graham” or a “nobody”, FAITHFULNESS is what is required of us! What a testimony of God’s love.

  5. Oh, the faithfulness of God to his faithful! It’s true, God doesn’t call the equipped, but equips the called! All praise to the One and Only!

  6. Glory be to God on high through Jesus Christ. This also shows that we are only planters, and it is left with the Holy Spirit to water, and nurture the seeds we plant to the purpose of God. But if we want to plant, water and nurture in the way God would do, we find ourselves as failure and disappointed as if it is our duty to do. Know that it is God, through the Holy Spirit who does the conversion and conviction. To God be all the glory for watering and nurturing the seeds that He gave to Dr. Leslie for such harvest.

  7. A pleasant reminder to me to trust the seed. The Lord reminds me of His goodness on many return trips to unreached places when people to whom I have previously preached tell me they still believe in The Lord and the gospel of the Kingdom. His Word will not return void. Our job is to rain faithful. He will watch over His Word. Blessings to all. Jedidiah

    • Hi Jedidaiah! May I ask whether your parents are Max and Liz Crittenden? I stayed in their/your home for a few days while visting Bosnia and ministering with Healthcare Christian Fellowship International. I guess that must have been sometime between the years 2000 and 2005. They had a young boy with your name. They/you also came to Poland for a leaders conference.
      Blessings.

      • Helga!! That is not our Jedidiah, but I just “happened” to see this! I don’t know if you will see this as it is 2 years later, but would LOVE to be in contact again! BosniaLiz@gmail.com
        Hugs & Blessings,
        Liz Crittenden

  8. It’s really an amazing report of a real missionary, he died without see the Holy Sprit move, but I’m sure he will get the rewards in heaven!

    • YES sister Jennifer you are right. God will show him the works of the Holy Spirit with the seeds he planted and the missionary will jump with happiness. ONE THING I want to tell you all here — JUST plant the seeds and He (The Great Almighty) will water it.

  9. Amazing. God always rewards the faithfulness of His servants. He knows the tears, heartaches and pains of the gospel. He also sees each seed of faith sown in His name. Heaven will be a great reunion for Dr Leslie and His Congo converts. Glory!

  10. Thanks for this interesting background. Having been to Vanga on 4 separate short term visits I learned only a little about Dr Leslie. The good news is the outcome is not up to us. God is the one that bring the increase and sustains the work. My wife Kathy, a nurse, our 16 year old daughter and I are leaving soon to Vanga as a Medical Missionary teaching in the hospital. To learn more see our web page at CongoHealthConnection.org.

    The hospital in Vanga provides excellent care for the those in Vanga and the surrounding villages. This hospital has such a great reputation that folks travel from Kinshasa to Vanga to get care. Also, I do not think this old photo is of Vanga.

  11. It’s also a good lesson on not getting discouraged when we don’t see the fruits of our labors, but rather trust the Lord, since, as some others have mentioned above, it is the Holy Ghost that makes growth, and we should trust the seed, and His promises about it. We can be happy and rejoice “by faith” in the work that He has helped us to do by His grace, since it is not our work anyways but His, leaving the results with Him.

      • Ditto the above comment! It was a wonderful pick-me-up reminder to me also to not get discouraged! Gotta rid that “Do it–now (please)” attitude, for sure, and KNOW that God is faithful, ALWAYS. Furthermore, I believe that even if Dr Leslie’s efforts resulted in NADA (which is IMPOSSIBLE if He was led by the Spirit of God), Dr. Leslie STILL WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN A FAILURE because HE BELIEVED AND OBEYED GOD, and that’s what pleases God, and that’s what makes us a success! His heavenly reward is evidence of him NOT being a failure, and I’m equally sure he was blessed in many, many ways while he sojourned this side of heaven. But as is God’s way, in His great sovereignty and grace, He chose to reveal to us the evidence of His power working in the lives of these previous people.

        • God bless you dear sister, for your words, ” lf Dr. Leslie’s efforts resulted in NADA (which is IMPOSSIBLE if He was LED by the Holy Spirit of God), Dr. Leslie still wouldn’t have been a failure because he believed and obeyed God and that’s what pleases God, and that’s what makes us a success. Your word’s have blessed me more than you could imagine. One day you will know why. Not everyone is called to do extraordinary things, like going to the jungle as Dr. Leslie did; and praise God for his obedience now that we have had the joy and encouragement of hearing about the outcome of his obedience to the Lord. A marvelous story which has given me a lot of joy and plenty to this about having read the many interesting comments.

  12. I spent six months at Vanga on a college internship in 1996. At that time, Dr. Dan Fountain and his wife Miriam were ending their 30 plus years of service there. There were also workers from Germany, England and the a States who were serving at the hospital. It is no surprise to me that Christian churches and believers were found across the river from the hospital in 2010. There have been many faithful people who have served diligently for years in that area.

  13. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. – Psalm 126:6

    So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but It shall accomplish that which I please, and It shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11

    Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters… – Isaiah 32:20a

    Hallelujah!

  14. It is always thrilling of learn about more brothers & sisters in Christ. Anticipating meeting them in Heaven. We need to pray for their ministry so even more will come to know the saving redeeming grace of our Heavenly Father

    • Amen, l won’t forget now that l have Dr. Leslie’s photo to remind me of others who are continuing to labour there. God bless you every one.

  15. Wow,!!! What an inspiring narrative. So great to hear from you, Dr. Turner. And congratulations on your GRAND baby’s birthday celebration (notice the emphasis on ‘grand’). Really miss you down here.
    Hugh

  16. As a missionary myself, this article really is a great encouragement. The mission field has
    its shares of difficulties that can make the work discouraging. Especially when you do not see the changes in the communities that your heart so longs to see. What a great reminder that it is the Word that does the work by the power of God! We’ve got to continue to sow it, God makes it grow. Amen!

  17. I visited Vanga in 1995 and spent several days with Dr. Dan Fountain and his lovely wife Miriam whose home was situated right on the banks of the Vanga River. Our son, Tim, gave his life while trying to build a church in the Capital city of Kinshasha and had helped put in water wells all over that part of the jungle. I walked that jungle and saw first hand how God had used the Vanga hospital to bring physical and spiritual healing to the many people of that area. Some plant and some water and some harvest but all to the glory of God.

  18. And this is exactly why I don’t like hearing of church’s dropping missionaries because the missionary sees few get saved…..not all fields are as ripe as others, but all must hear the Gospel. You may never know the impact you have, but your job is to be faithful.

  19. God word had been planted on fertile land and Dr. Leslie’s effort was not in vain after all.
    This article is great encouragement to all our missionaries out there .

  20. Prayer in private, giving in secret and a ministry without any known publicity brings its fruits and rewards. Praise God. We need to keep on doing good and the ministry the Lord has called us to do even if we do not see the result and even when our own people do not consider it as a ministry at all. Hillel !!

    • Amen and again l say Amen.
      May the Lord richly bless you one and all as you endeavour to serve Him in whatever capacity He has called you to serve. It’s so good to hear about other member’s in the body of Christ and to be reminded to continually pray without ceasing one for another.
      How lovely on the mountain’s are the feet of them that bring good news…

  21. This is a great story. Unfortunately, it is a little bit misleading. The churches in that area are not “hidden like glittering diamonds in the dense jungle”, but well known throughout the area. I not only grew up in Vanga (1962-1976) but also served there from 1984-1999. I traveled many times though the area east of the Kwilu and in fact have preached in the church (“cathedral”) that is pictured.
    I was privileged to be part of the welcoming committee at Vanga when Dr. Leslie’s grandson, Bill Leslie, visited Vanga with his family in 1988.
    Anyway, there ARE many churches planted in that area, but they are not, nor ever have been ‘hidden’, except maybe from the West.
    Also, Dr. Tim Rice is correct. That photo at the bottom of the article is not Vanga.

    • And what encouragement should anyone take from your correction, which need not have been stated, other than to assert your “special” knowledge?

      • Grace, Mike. Historical accuracy is important. Jonathan’s sharing of details gives credence to the claim that he knows a lot about Vanga.

    • I also was born on the Vanga mission station in 1957 to Missionaries, Norman and Von Riddle. a part of my heart is still there although I am now a missionary of 25 years in the Philippines.

      This story is a great encouragement to all of us who serve The Lord to remember that indeed our work is not in vein. Thank you for sharing.

  22. In 1969, while visiting alumni of Moody Bible Institute around the world, I was
    blessed to meet Dr. Dan Fountain in Vanga, to meet hundreds of believers in the
    city, and to witness a phenomenon not seen anywhere else in my travels: Christians
    singing hymns, while in the Kwilu River, clapping their hands with drum-like cadence,
    smiling with the joy of Christ’s salvation. What made the visit so special was to be
    present in the same community where my parents, Johannes and Esther Gotaas,
    worked with Dr. William Leslie. Yes, in Vanga! My father went there in 1904 as a single missionary with the American Baptists, returning to USA in 1909. In 1911, he married my mother, and went with her to Belgian Congo in 1911, returning to the USA in 1916. Wow, one hundred years later! What a rich legacy! Thank you, LORD!

  23. […] I debated whether or not to make this one the sole subject of today’s blog post… Do you know someone who labors in ministry and gets discouraged by what seems to be so little fruit? A pastor whose small church seems lost in a megachurch world? A youth worker who spends long hours working with kids who seem unresponsive? Send them this story.This is the recently uncovered story of a missionary who died thinking he was a failure. 84 years later a thriving church is found hidden in the Congo jungle. […]

  24. GOD IS GREAT and His Spirit is to be praised. He is able to do all things when we just submit to His will.

  25. How wonderful, since I grew up at Vanga, my Dad being an evangelist working in that area for a number of years! Though the Lord has not permitted me to visit Vanga for a long time.
    I have had that whole region on my heart, and I have interceded for the Christians there, for many years, Praise God, can’t wait to meet our brethren some day.

  26. I also was born at Vanga. My father, Lewis A. Brown, took over the responsibility of the evangelistic work in the Vanga area when Dr. Leslie retired. My father was the first to share the Gospel with many of the Yansi villages. WHen I filmed “Congo Miracle” in 1
    1953, Chester Jump was the leading American Baptist missionary. Hundreds of Yansi believers were baptized. We Filmed the baptism of thee 30,00oth believer in the Vanga area. Norman Riddle, Joan Ingrum ‘s father, was overseeing the outreach among the Yansi when I arrived at Vanga in 1959. After independence on June 30, 1960, a Yansi pastor, Justin Walusayi, became the overseeing pastor for the more than 140 Yansi villages where we had churches. I went on to help train Yansi and other Congolese pastors. Wes Brown

  27. Dear Bro Mark,
    Praise the most wonderful name of our Lord Christ Jesus. My heart rejoice as I reflect the fact that all of us share the abundance
    grace of Christ. I am sincerely grateful unto God for the wonderful work I believe you are doing and involved in during this last days, as you continually sharing the love of Christ with broken world and in the midst of the poorest community. (Isaiah 61:1). A world which is desperately in need of the saving grace and power of our Lord Christ Jesus. It is with this in mind that I have always been in earnest prayers and in seeking the divine will of God to introduce me with
    you.
    I am Pastor Jonathan tellewoyan, I got saved in 1999, and God called me into this great work of the kingdom in the year 2001 and since then I have witnessed the mighty move of God as souls are saved. I appreciated and thank God for calling me among the poor, as poor man to serve the community. On behalf of the servants of God and believers here,
    most humbly request and appeal to you to allow us to partner together and build up the Lord’s Ministry here in Liberia, so that all of us may be joined with bond of Christ Jesus in the fulfillment of the Great Commission according to the word of Jesus in the book of (Mathew 28:18 – 20) We are therefore more ready to work with you and be directly connected with you in the promoting of the gospel of Christ in Africa. We are bears of the good tidings of great joy.
    This world hungers for good news and this is why God chose, called and ordained you in his harvest field for His purpose. I therefore warmly welcome you here so that together we can armor the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bring down every stronghold of the enemy (Satan) since he is our main enemy. May the blessing of God abundantly be with you even as you meet this challenge with a lot of love and thanksgiving in the glory of God.
    We again appeal to you to stand with us in prayers as we seek the will of the father.
    May God of peace himself sanctify you

    • Yes, you have permission to reprint the entire story in your newsletter.
      For online use, you may use up to half the story, with a link to God Reports for the rest.

  28. […] A medical missionary went to minister to tribal people in a remote area of the DR Congo. After 17 years he returned to the U.S. a discouraged man – believing he failed to make an impact for Christ. But in 2010, a mission team made a sensational discovery. They found a network of reproducing churches hidden in the dense jungle across the river from where the doctor was stationed… MORE […]

  29. My husband and I served as as missionaries in Central America (Honduras) over 20 years ago for 10 months. It felt like 10 years. I continuously pray that our labour was not in vain.

  30. Tears in my eyes, I’m speechless and very grateful to our Heavenly parents and to all missionaries. I’m from that region. I bow 3000 times, thank you.

  31. A fabulous story that just keeps getting better. As I researched the Vanga region, I found this link to a demographic study. The opening paragraphs reveal that God didn’t just use Leslie as a catalyst for spiritual change, but also revolutionary medical change in that region:

    http://www.leeds.ac.uk/demographic_entrapment/Vanga,%20web%20English.htm

    If you’d like to hear William Leslie’s story as dramatized by Focus on the Family’s long-running audio drama Adventures in Odyssey, that program will be available May 1, 2016 in the Odyssey Adventure Club (oaclub.org).

  32. I have been a missionary now for 27 years in the Central American jungles of Belize. For the first 15 years, there were many hardships and not much fruit. I would often get discouraged and want to give up. We are now seeing a mighty harvest, as thousands are coming to Christ all across this precious country. I thank God every day now that I’ve been able to finally see this amazing harvest.

    Thank you for writing this wonderful article of encouragement. To all the other veteran missionaries who’ve sacrificed for decades: keep pressing on for Jesus!

    Dr. Paul Whisnant
    Belize Mission Director
    International Servants
    iServants.org

  33. Thanks so much for sharing these amazing happenings. Our dear Lord works in amazing ways using people for all around the globe. Praise the Lord also for these faithful men and women who obeyed Him. Let´d do the same. Isiah 45:2

  34. This is a wonderful story! Does anyone know where , in Ontario, William Leslie was born? This is a fascinating piece of history that should be linked to it’s origin. Thanks.

  35. About 40 years ago I read about one of his converts who began church planting. This story inspired me to Christian service and was one of the things that led to becoming a missionary to Nigeria 35 years ago.

  36. The “missionary” was correct. Why do Americans feel the need into invade people’s lives and attempt to change them into “little Americans”? Do you feel you have license to affect others lives without regard to how they feel about it? Did you not learn the lesson of Jim Jones and the people’s temple?
    The truth being is that your nothing less than invading army that kills all that is good of others humanity

  37. Hallelujah … Reminds me of 1 Corinthians 4:1-4 … We never know, so ‘let us not be weary in well doing, for in DUE SEASON we shall reap if we faint not …’

  38. Clara Hill Leslie was my grandfather’s sister. I would love to have any additional background information you could provide on William and Clara Leslie for my family genealogy.

  39. >> Apparently, Dr. Leslie crossed the Kwilu River once a year from Vanga and spent a month traveling through the jungle, carried by servants in a sedan chair.

    Yeah very f***ing meek. So much for “love they neighbor” and racial equality I guess.

  40. Congolese born in Vanga in the early 1960, I have experienced the impact of Missionary work both spiritually and socially. My father worked in Vanga Hospital.
    William Leslie and other missionaries deserve God’s blessings for what they did and continue to do. Some plant, others water and God gives the increase. They should be proud of their work and continue!

  41. Congolese born in Vanga in the early 1960, I have experienced the impact of Missionary work both spiritually and socially. My father worked in Vanga Hospital.
    William Leslie and other missionaries deserve God’s blessings for what they did and continue to do. Some plant, others water and God gives the increase. They should be proud of their work and continue!

    • It’s all blood,sweat and tears or sacrifice .You may call it by another name,it is the same thing.The beauty lies in having done it for the glory of our Father in heaven.The rewards cannot be fathomed by civilized men.

  42. The unknown Soldiers, the unnamed warriors, so many. Thankyou Lord for those who have heeded your call, obeyed and regardless of results followed you to the corners of the earth, who left family, lands, and loved ones to share your love to others. Small beginnings, a seed in the ground, before life comes, death , burial then in newness of life your word grows, spreads and your glory fills the earth. I’m sure that just like this missionary so many have felt they have failed , yet they obeyed and heeded your voice, you said “Go” and they went. Please water the seeds they planted,blow on your word so that it spreads and covers the earth,every hidden crevice and exposed surface so that your word will be fulfilled, Lord Jesus come !’. To those who heeded the call, the overcomers crown and to those who are still here on this earth, thankyou.

  43. Truly God’s word will not return void. Our labor of love will never be void. It will accomplish some thing.

  44. How can this not warm the hearts of all Christians? Such a beautiful story! We as believers are all a part of a wonderful story that God himself pens. He is truly the author and the finisher of our faith!

  45. Glory to God! As a short-term missionary myself, this is a very encouraging story of the miraculous work of God through us (who claim to be God’s children). It’s indeed in His perfect time, not ours that His ministry flourishes.

  46. Daniel 12v3 that man is a shining star leading many to christ and the seeds are still being sown and GOD IS FAITHFULL TO HIS WORD AMEN THANKYOU JESUS FILL US AFRESH WE PRAY HOLY SPIRIT YOU ARE WELCOME HERE COME FILL US AND SEND US IN THE MIGHTY NAME OF JESUS GODBLESS THE LOVE SHOWN ABOVE FOR DR LESLIE WHOS LEGACY SHINES ON AMEN I HAVE HUGE TESTIMONY I WAS ONCE ON DRUGS IN PRISON NOW MY TWO OLDER BROS ARE IN CHRIST AND IM WRITTING A BOOK CALLED I WENT TO PRISON AND FOUND FREEDOM….ONLY JESUS CAN GIVE THAT BOOK TITLE AND IT WILL GO IN PRISONS ACROSS THE GLOBE FROM UK MANCHESTER TO THE NATIONS PSALM 2V8 ASK OF ME OF THE NATIONS WOW OH WOW PSALM45V1AN2 READY TO WRITE FOR YOU LORD JESUS LET THE WILDERNESS PROPHETS AND PIONEERS TO ARISE amen

  47. Sorry to be overtly technical, but Cuilo, Angola was probably not hit by a “hurricane” in 1905. Hurricanes in the South Atlantic (where Angola is located) are extremely rare, and not one has been known to make landfall in Africa. Further, Cuilo is located far inland from the sea coast, and at a high altitude, where a hurricane would stand no chance. Most likely, he and his wife experienced one of the seasonal storms that affect the area, which *do* bring torrential rains and strong winds for several hours, similar to what one would experience during a real hurricane.

    Nevertheless, I have been blessed in reading this article, and am reminded that faithfulness comes before fruitfulness, and we are called to be faithful even in the absence of any visible fruit. I too am from Ontario, though I spent much of my early childhood in China.

    • The storm information is from the missionary’s personal notes. There was no “weather report” he could access to explain what was happening. He just described what he had experienced.

  48. It wasn’t a failure at all! My grand father was a pastor at the Vanga mission. My mother was born there and received her education at the mission. She went on to become one of the first Medical doctors in the Congo, saved thousand of lives in both treating their physical body and bringing them to Christ.
    I have always wanted to tell this success story.
    Reading this article sends chill down my spine!
    I do rember all the stories about the mission. I will tell my mom about this.

  49. The missionary work for church planting and disciple-making Churches was done much more in the great lake countries after the evangelism done by the western missionaries. we do give God praise because they have done a good work for the global glory of God

  50. Fascinating! I am a Yansi man living in South Africa for the past 25 years. in my search to get to know where my parents come from, I come accross this story.
    I thank God for the missionary who have paved the way for the Yansi to have an inheritance of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  51. To God be the Glory for the things He has done I’m us and through us. Lesson never be discouraged when serving God because He controls the outcome.

    1 Corinthians 3:6-9 ESV /
    I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

  52. What a great story to reviewed the faithfulness of God, Almighty. Our job is to spread the good news of the Gospel of Christ. It is the work of the Holy Spirit who does the harvest of souls into the kingdom of God. So fear not, don’t worry about whether we will have them converted or not. We just sow the seeds of the gospel, the Holy Spirit will help to water & take care of it & at the right time God will does the harvest of souls into His Kingdom. Ya, my Bible knowledge is indeed very very little only. But I love God & would like to serve Him very much from the bottom of my heart. My faith is also very tiny, pray that God is willing to used me as His instrument in what ever ministry He put me to do. Amen!

  53. Jungle… tribal people… thank you for seeing us in that lense, you and your condescending superiority arrogant language

  54. Such lasting results can only come through the faithfulness of preparing hearts through His Word and the work of the Holy Spirit. What a heart touching account of the power in the Bible…the written Word of God!!!

  55. For all who do God’s work and feel discouraged, Dr. Leslie is a lantern that all can follow, to be inspired by the light of Jesus! Praise Jesus!!!

  56. Wonderful… God is doing his work. So we may go to a place to plant a seed. Water it or reap. As a missionary. I learn to leave it to God. Did Dr. Went through the re entry series before or when he got bad.??? Bless him.

  57. What an encouraging report! Wish it were translated into French! If no one volunteers, I am willing to give it a try (pastor in Paris).

  58. […] 5. Don’t become a missionary if you are expecting to see fruit. A lot of times, especially in short-term missions, we get upset when we don’t see results right away. And that’s how it can be sometimes in the world we live in. Many are focused on the numbers, but in reality, numbers don’t give a full picture. In 1912, medical missionary Dr. William Leslie went to live and minister to tribal people in a remote corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After 17 years he returned to the U.S. a discouraged man – believing he failed to make an impact for Christ. He died nine years after his return. 84 years later, in 2010, two men went back to that same area only to discover that there was a thriving church still there. Are you ready to be patient or willing for someone else to come along and see the fruit of your labor? Read more about the story here. […]

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