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202 – July 21 – This Day in Baptist History Past

Saker, AlfredOh, that I had another life to go to Africa

Alfred Saker, as an old emaciated missionary stood before a united assembly of Baptists in Glasgow, Scotland in 1879 and said, “Oh, that I had another life to go out to Africa. The field is white, and the multitudes are in darkness still.” The Dark Continent’s best-known missionary, David Livingstone, wrote concerning him, “Take it all in all, specially having regard to its many sided character, the work of Alfred Saker at Cameroons and Victoria is, in my judgment, the most remarkable on the African Coast,” having served on the Western Africa coast for 37 years. He was born on July 21, 1814 in Kent, England. He was a thin, frail boy from a large family. Though he loved reading it was necessary for him to enter the work force with his father as a millwright and engineer which served him well in Africa years later. He was saved at 16 years old when he wandered into a gospel service in Sevenoaks. He was baptized in 1834 in his hometown. Upon his father’s death, he moved to Devonport and in 1839 married Miss Helen Jessup. They offered themselves to the Baptist Missionary Society for service in Africa. In a group of eight they landed in Feb. 1844. One by one the others were forced to leave but Alfred, frail though he was, seemed to have inexhaustible energy. Though he suffered from fever and other diseases he persisted in working with the tribes at the mouth of the Cameroon River. In 1849 a church was formed. The Spanish Govern. Insisted that the Baptists depart so he led his entire church to Amboises Bay where they began a new colony with homes and gardens, etc. He translated the Bible into Dualla in 1862. He passed into the Lord’s presence in March 1880. His life’s text was, “For thou art with me.”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 298-300.

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