Huguenot College: Founded and Built Up in Prayer,
by Miss A. P. Ferguson.*
"I know of no work that gives greater promise for the evangelization of Africa than the educational work founded by Dr. Andrew Murray." So writes a friend who spent several months in South Africa. This work was founded and built up in prayer. First it was the prayers of Catherine Elliott from Cape Colony who visited Mount Holyoke Seminary, and who prayed that there might be a similar institution in South Africa. Then the prayers of Andrew Murray and his sainted wife to whom Catherine Elliott gave the "Life of Mary Lyon." They read and prayed and acted. Then the prayer of God's people who joined Andrew Murray in asking that the teachers for their "Mary Lyon School" might be found, that a suitable building might be provided, and that scholars might come to this school. The teachers came, impelled, they believed, by the prayers of God's people in Goodnow Hall. The building, just the one that was most suitable, was obtained after a special time of waiting upon God; and the scholars came, forty of them, led by the Spirit of God, not only to be scholars of the Huguenot Seminary, but, during the first term, to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus were the foundations laid in prayer, and as the years came and went the work was built up in prayer. It deepened and extended. More pupils came, and God met and helped them; year by year His spirit rested upon them, and souls were saved. Many went out as teachers, as missionaries, to help others as they had been helped, and not the least important work accomplished was the Christ-like influence in the home life.
Buildings were added, each one marking an epoch in the history of the work. Goodnow Hall came as a gift right out of heaven. It was much needed—the work was being crippled for want of it. When one of the teachers, on leave in America, wrote, "Mr. Goodnow will give the building," and there was great joy over this answered prayer. Faith was sorely put to the test when the news came that the vessel bringing all the woodwork for this building had been wrecked a few miles from Cape Town. And yet they trusted, and God honored the faith of His children; for out of the sea and from the wrecked vessel the building was given back to them, no essential part wanting, and the wood improved in grain and appearance by its immersion in the water; and there was no charge for freight or custom duty.
Who can measure the earnest effort, the deep study of problems and conditions, the wrestlings in prayer on the part of Andrew Murray and those associated with him during all these thirty-two years? It was not the building up of one institution, but of many that became in one way and another linked with the first. It was not the problem of one section of the country, but of the nation, of the continent. It was not only the spiritual and intellectual development of the students for themselves, but how they might best be fitted to meet the growing needs of others. There were teachers to be trained who should instruct many—first there was a teachers' class, and then a normal training school. There were missionaries to be prepared by study and practice for their great work—first there was a mission training class, and then a Bible training school. There were those who must be ready for positions of responsibility at the head of large boarding and day schools, those who were to be leaders in thought and spiritual power—first there was a collegiate class going further than the high-school course, and then there was a college, the earliest for young women in Africa. It was a small beginning, but it has grown, and God has blessed it.
There have been times of trial, times of sickness, of death, of opposition, of war, testing times that have tried souls, but God has cared and His work has gone forward.
News is now coming of the beginning of a new year of work after the summer vacation. There are more students in the college than ever before, some taking college normal work, but the majority taking the work prescribed by the University of the Cape of Good Hope in reference to the exanimations for the B. A. degree, and two B. A. graduates are reading for their M. A..
The president of the Students' Christian Association writes, pleading for prayer for God's blessing upon the work of the Association. Much has to be done in planning the work of the year, getting in touch with the new students, arranging for committees and Bible study circles. There is a glimpse of the possibility of the work. She says, "It seems as if we ought to do so much for these girls," and there is a realization of "not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord." Not by organization, not by committees, not by Bible study circles or prayer meetings, but by God taking possession and vivifying the whole.
On April 16 Mr. John R. Mott and his wife and Miss Ruth Rouse arrived in South Africa. Mr. Mott for a six week campaign in the interests of the Student Association and the Student Volunteers, and Miss Rouse to remain until August. There was a general visiting of the different colleges and high schools, and a conference in Cape Town, not only for students, but for representatives from the different missionary, Christian, and philanthropic organizations, thus bringing into touch many of the forces already at work in the interests of God's kingdom with the young life of the colleges and the schools, in a way that has never been done in South Africa before.
The cry of the Sudan has reached South Africa, and a committee representing different denominations has been formed for the purpose of sending missionaries from the churches of South Africa to the Sudan.
There is a strong plea from members of the staff of the Huguenot College for means for advance. Desirable students, giving promise of usefulness, have been refused because the scholarships had all been taken, and the students were not able to meet their own expenses. The work is being sadly crippled for want of suitable buildings and equipment. The very success of the work and increase in the number of students is its embarrassment. Are there not those who will say, "Arise and build," for the money shall not be wanting? We thank those who have helped, but we need much more.
Never was there such a demand for college trained young women to fill positions of responsibility. This is a time of opportunity.”
The College Council have sent a plea, signed by Dr. Andrew Murray as chairman, asking for aid in the way of buildings, scholarships, and endowment. They will be happy to give further information to any desiring this, or to receive contributions for the work.
Taken from Record of Christian work, Volume 25, edited by Alexander McConnell, William Revell Moody, Arthur Percy Fitt
• Miss Ferguson was the president of the Huguenot College, founded by the Rev. Andrew Murray in South Africa in 1874.