On this day in 1816, Robert Moffat, at the young age of 21, set sail for South Africa.

Robert Moffat was a Scotchman born in 1795. His early dream was to be a sailor but the experience of one voyage changing his views.  His parents were earnest Christians and when he was leaving home for a situation in England, his mother besought her son to give her a promise that he would read the Bible night and morning. He evaded it for some time but, just as he was starting, she pleaded again affectionately, pressing his hand, “Robert, you will promise me to read the Bible, more particularly the New Testament and most especially the Gospels.  Those are the words of Christ Himself and then you cannot possibly go astray.”  It was a moment of softened feeling and he promised. He knew that his word, once given, must be kept.  While reading God’s word, this young man turned his life over to Christ.

It was while listening to Pastor William Roby preach at a missionary meeting that the missionary fire that had planted in the heart of Moffat as a boy truly began to flare up!  Growing up, his mother had told him of the Moravian missionaries in Greenland and other areas of the world.  These tales, stories of men and women who risked it all for their love of Christ, inspired the young boy.  But while listening to Roby, he suddenly realized that he himself could be one of these missionaries.

After the meeting, he sought out Pastor Roby, who listened to his simple tale, took him by the hand and told him to be of good courage. When his parents were consulted, they said they had thought and prayed over the proposal and could not withhold him from so good a work. He therefore offered his services to the London Missionary Society and, being accepted, sailed for the Cape of Good Hope.


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