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ByFaith 2008 Africa Mission

Overview of the Mission

In the second week of January 2008, the ByFaith team set off on a two hundred day mission from the Cairo to the Cape.

The short-term mission down the East Coast would lead them into Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho on a journey of discovery as they travelled more than 21,000km overland on public transport.

The team had lots of divine appointments and were able to share the Good News, pray for the sick, and work alongside and meet fellow labourers of differing denominations who were all passionate about the Kingdom of God – that His will would be done, here on earth as in heaven.

The team visited five revival related sites, many mission stations of historical interest and numerous places connected with the famed nineteenth century missionary explorer, Dr. David Livingstone, including the renowned Victoria Falls as they filmed for ByFaith TV on the work of the Lord.

As the team travelled they always prayed for divine appointments, for God’s will to be done. They prayed for revival that God would ‘pour out His Spirit’ on each town and country; that God would ‘thrust forth more labourers into His harvest field’ and that the brethren would ‘bear much fruit’ for His glory.

Egypt and the Bible

The ByFaith team mission began in Egypt – an archaeological treasure trove and visited numerous sites that are connected and linked with biblical history.

Shishak king of Egypt, (known as Sheshonk I in Egyptian history) attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam and carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord (1 Kings 14:25-26 and 2 Chronicles 12:9). On the walls inside the complex of the Temple of Karnak in Luxor is a well-worn depiction of Pharaoh Shishak, yet the large relief clearly portrays this conquest and others.

Thirty minutes drive from the land of Goshen, or just a few hours from Cairo is San-El Hagar, better known as Tanis, where Shishak’s sons were buried amidst plenty of gold and silver which could have come from the Temple of the Lord!

One of the highlights in Egypt was walking up the traditional site of Mount Sinai (where Moses received the Ten Commandments), when more than half way up it began to snow. Only by the grace of God did the team reach the summit and descend safely in the dark after a near seven hour trek in freezing weather.


Leaving Egypt aboard the ferry to the Sudan, the ByFaith team had a divine appointment with a Sudanese born pastor who ministers in Cairo with whom they spent the next week.

The ferry docked in late afternoon and after spending the night in their sand floor hotel, in a dustbowl border town, which resembled a scene from a Wild West movie, they embarked on a two day train ride into Khartoum, Sudan. They arrived at gone 2am and after lengthy negotiations for transport to the city centre were grateful to have found a hotel by 4am!

The next few days and some thereafter were a largely tied up with bureaucracy and red tape, having to register at the Alien Office within three days of arrival, paying for the privilege on top of the already expensive visa.

Before we got our Sudan visa from Cairo we had to get a letter of introduction from the British Embassy stating that we were British citizens, even though we hold British passports and this cost us more money. And when we went to leave we had to have a piece of paper from another office which permitted us to leave the capital – this was free! And we could not buy our bus tickets to leave the capital, until we had showed this paper to the police officer at the bus station!

The team were able to give their testimony at a large Evangelical Church and were guided through two other large churches which were in the very centre of this Islamic stronghold and were greatly encouraged by the Christian witness of these brethren.


Ethiopia is a poor nation, very evident by the worn and often torn and patched clothes of its lovely citizens. Ethiopia is the land of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. It has a rich history of Judo-Christian traditions which some believe date from the time of Solomon and Queen Bathsheeba.

Ethiopian Orthodox tradition states that the Ark of the Covenant now resides in Axum, the holiest city in Ethiopia. We were informed that mosques were not permitted in the city and even under political pressure they have told the Saudi Arabian authorities that when an Ethiopian Orthodox church is permitted in Mecca, they will permit a mosque in Axum and not until then!

The team, guided by a deacon of the Ethiopian Coptic Church visited the eleven Rock Churches of Lalibela which were cut from solid rock in the twelfth century and according to tradition the workers were angels.

After speaking at a church in Gondar, the team asked their translator what was the Churches greatest need? They were told that it was Bibles in the Amharic tongue, and upon further inquiry found the cost to be only $5 (£2.60) each (March 2008 exchange rate) – though a large sum for the locals.


Leaving Ethiopia and its largely potholed body-jarring gravel roads behind over mountainous passes, the team crossed into Kenya where a day and night travel was spent inside a bouncy grain truck, being tossed around like a rag doll alongside thirty to forty other passengers as part of an armed convoy; the only transport to take them to the next major town from where Africa travel opened up with minibus taxis which would only depart when the "bus" (from eight to fifteen seats) was full – and this was the mode of the majority of transport for all subsequent journeys down the East Coast of Africa.

By the teams arrival, Kenya had just a few month previously encountered server political election crisis which resulted in opposing tribes massacring each other. It was a sad sight to drive by entire villages on one side of the road which had been burnt down and field which had suffered at the result of what appeared an unofficial scorched earth policy. Even in some of the large cities, building, supermarkets, paint shops and even a doctors surgery etc. had been ransacked and then burnt to the ground, “Why we asked?” - “Because they belonged to the wrong tribe” our hotel worker informed us.

Tanzania and Zanzibar

In Tanzania the team went to the west and the east visiting many towns. Ujiji is where Henry M. Stanley, an American newspaper reporter ‘found’ Dr. David Livingstone, a ‘living skeleton’ on the 10 November 1871. On this site now stands the Livingstone Memorial where the two indefatigable men met under a mango tree.

At Bagamo the team visited the Livingstone Tower where Dr. Livingstone’s body lay in wait for one night before being shipped to Zanzibar after his two native servants carried the body inland for nearly one thousand miles over nine months!

In Stone Town, Zanzibar is the famous Universities Mission Church which was built on the site of the old slave market; the High Altar marking the exact location of the old whipping post. Inside was a cross made from the tree under which David Livingstone’s heart was buried before his body was carried to Bagomo, and then shipped to Zanzibar and finally laid to rest in Westminster Abbey, London, England.

Also at Stone Town was Livingstone House where the Zanzibar Tourist Cooperation now resides. This is where Dr. Livingstone resided in the Sultans of Zanzibar’s property from the end of January 1866 until the end of March before he set out on his final inland expedition from which he was carried home in a native bark-lined body bag.

Inside the House of Wonders, Stone Town’s museum was Livingstone’s shoebox sized medical chest and other related memorabilia. The team also saw the old British Consulate where Livingstone stayed and which has a well-worn plaque outside on the building, whilst downstairs is the plush Livingstone’s Restaurant with wifi connection.

A final night train ride from Dar es Sallam, Tanzania took the team just a two hours drive to the border of Malawi.


Malawi is known as ‘The warm heart of Africa’ and it certainly felt like it in many of the towns and cities visited.

After two days in Malawi the team hitched a lift on the back of a pick-up for a 16km uphill dirt-ride to Livingstonia, a small town which was founded in 1894 by missionaries who had been inspired by Dr. Livingstone. Livingstonia was the team’s base for three days and was an open heaven. Divine appointments abounded with numerous opportunities for sharing the gospel with locals, tourists and their tour guides as well as encouraging the brethren and giving advice when asked.

In one city, an indigenous lodge owner asked the team what they were doing in his country. “Travelling in the footsteps of Livingstone” they responded. “Ah, Livingstone” said the owner, “The father of our nation.” Dr. Livingstone mapped out Nyasaland (Malawi), helped its people and exposed the world to the evil slave trade that decimated a plethora of villages and towns.

The city of Blanytre which has a population of more than half a million sprang from a missionary station, with its church dated from 1888-1891. Inside was a plaque to many of the pioneer missionaries and one to the memory of Livingstone donated by his grandchildren in 1913, the centenary of his birth in Blanytre, Scotland.


In Zambia the team was greatly encouraged by a native evangelist, who on the bus stood up and gave a gospel message for fifteen minutes and closed in a prayer of protection before the vehicle departed for the capital. Most people were attentive and closed their eyes and bowed their heads when asked to do so. The evangelist had an official badge from the local council which permitted him to preach the good news on any vehicle within the bus station.

In the city of Livingstone, the highlight was seeing Victoria Falls for the first time. Dr. David Livingstone first saw it in November 1855 and again in 1860. We saw Livingstone Island where the missionary explorer first peered over the edge and measured the 100 plus metre drop by tying a bullet to a piece of string.

But before entering the National Park we crossed onto the border bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe for the view of the Falls without officially crossing the border post into Zimbabwe.

There were a handful of Zimbabwean sellers, trying to make a living for their starving families where inflation is the highest in the world and food prices can change three times in a day. One man showed us a 50 million dollar Zimbabwe note which was for sale; he wanted $10 dollars; and even after explaining to this man that we were not going to buy anything (and without telling him that the note was virtually worthless) the price came down to one dollar for two notes. Zimbabwe now issues trillion dollar notes!


We arrived in the capital of Botswana having the night before slept in a cockroach infested room on the Zambian side. We killed at least twenty of the vermin. On the Sunday we attended the early morning English service in a Dutch Reformed Church in Gaborone.

A South African pastor was the guest speaker who had just returned from a two week mission in Zimbabwe and was in town for a conference on revival. The pastor explained that the situation was so bad in Zimbabwe that the brethren were mixing sand with their mealie (a staple food) to fill their bellies and cutting tree roots and frying them as chips.

The team had wanted to visit Zimbabwe, but because of the political crisis and their film camera they knew that if they did get through the border they would have been quickly arrested. All western media has been banned from reporting in recent months and even an aid agency that had a film camera was expelled from the country.

The team jumped on a local bus and visited Kolobeng – David Livingstone mission station from 1847-1852. This was where he built the first church / school in Botswana and the first European styled house as well as irrigation techniques. This was also the place where he saw his first convert Chief Sechele. Only the foundation stones of the mission now survive.

South Africa

One of the highlights in South Africa was the Moffat Mission which was a marvel to behold. Not only was it a place of revival in 1829, under Robert Moffat but where the first African Bible was printed in the Sechwana language. David Livingstone proposed to Roberts’ daughter, Mary Moffat under the almond tree in the garden; got married in the 800-seat dung floor ‘Cathedral of the Kalahari’ and recuperated in one of the buildings on some of his return journeys to the coast.

Arriving on the coast at Durban, in the African winter, the team were pleased that the temperature had jumped to 25oC, though as they travelled nearing the Cape the temperatures gradually decreased.

The day before they boarded their plane for home the ByFaith team climbed up Table Mountain in the rain as the cable car was closed for routine maintenance.

Swaziland and Lesotho

The team also visited the landlocked countries of Swaziland and Lesotho, where in the latter they saw the oldest church in the country at Morijia. This was also a sight of revival under the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society who began work in the country in 1833.

Dinosaur footprints, discovered by the early missionaries can also be seen on the rock face if ones wishes to climb up the Morijia Mountain.

In Swaziland the oldest known intact place of Christian worship dates from 1912 and is a Gothic style Methodist Church was has been restored by EU funding. The Methodist Wesleyan Mission settled in the Shiselweni region, in the south in 1844.

The Rev. J. Allison built a school at Sankolweni which is believed to be the first in Swaziland. The school was later moved to Mahamba where it remains today.

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