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Unable to Pray

I, too, made myself believe that I was satisfied. For years I had been the missionary in this place and imagined that I had the congregation well in hand. I did not see how blind and foolish I was. And yet, somehow I feared an awakening in my soul, for I never permitted myself a momentís rest. Without realising it I was constantly seeking diversions and work in order to evade quietness for thinking.

Ours was a beautiful mission station. It was situated remote from the world. Rare indeed was the visit of a white man. Our children grew up, as we had done, in the real Africa. Four boys followed our little daughter in quick succession. Later, in Natal, another girl, was born and finally in the big city to the north, another little daughter. We can recall most vividly the night in which our Bruno came into the world. We were all alone on the Mission station. The night was dark and full of dread. My wife conducted the confinement herself and calmly issued her instructions. At last the little oneís first cry. The next morning the African women chattered excitedly in their huts about their Mfundisi who was even a midwife. Little did they know of his fear and helplessness. During the day the nurse from the deaconess station arrived. She had had to take a roundabout route owing to the swollen river which had already taken a heavy toll of life. Did we pray that night? I cannot remember. Quite possibly I did. But I knew not, as yet, how to pray apart from the times when I had to do so in the services, officially clad in the clerical robe. And that was not the prayer of the heart.