African Safari for Jesus
The book: “African Safari for Jesus” is an endeavor to give a genuine picture of what it is like for an American family, including three very young boys, to leave home and go to a place that is a totally different world, to serve as missionaries. The Herman Bauman family left Washington State to go to Nigeria, West Africa, where Pastor Bauman was to serve as a theology professor at the Adventist College of West Africa. In that place they would experience sickness and danger unimagined and would be subjected to religious philosophies, principles and methods that are beyond belief. However, amid the poverty and primitive conditions they would be privileged to befriend and help train dedicated, brilliant African leaders who would far surpass anything missionaries had ever done, and could ever do, in making an impact for God in that huge continent.
Before leaving for Nigeria the Baumans studied a great deal about that part of Africa to help prepare them for service there. They discovered that the place where they were going was located in the jungle, just about on the equator. It had almost constant temperatures in the uppers 90’s F. with humidity in the high 90% as well. Average rainfall exceeded 200 inches per year. The area had long been called “the white man’s grave” because of the numerous, often fatal, tropical diseases that were rampant there. It would be wrong to suggest that there was not some fear and trepidation in their hearts as they prepared to embark on their challenging adventure, however, many miracles made it clear that God wanted them to go.
Their journey to Africa was by cargo ship on a vessel named the AFRICAN PLANET. They had many interesting experiences as their 29 day trip included stopping at many African ports en route.
A civil war was raging between Nigeria and Biafra (formerly East Nigeria) when the Baumans arrived in Nigeria. This added considerably to the innate danger that existed in that country. Travel on any highways included being required to go through military check points which included threats from armed soldiers.
In the midst of extremely poor, filthy conditions, and located right in the midst of thick jungle, the Adventist College of West Africa was located. It was a beautiful campus and was blessed with dedicated faculty and highly motivated, consecrated students who had a great desire to improve their status in life and to prepare themselves for service to their fellow men.
Though the large African beasts, such as lions, leopards and elephants didn’t exist in that part of Africa there were extremely dangerous beasts. For instance, it seemed that every kind of snake was found in that jungle environment. There were Adders, Cobras, Mambas and Vipers, in addition to the constrictor Pythons. Snakes were seen virtually every day. Within a week of their arrival in Nigeria the Bauman’s five year old son was attacked by what is often referred to as “the most vicious animal in Africa.”
Though there were many Christian denominations present, the dominant religion was a pagan religion, Animism. Animism teaches that there is a soul in everything, animate or inanimate. They worship many gods, at least 1700 of which are known by name. Daily sacrifices are offered to the gods to plead for their blessings and to assure that the worshipper is accepted. Sometimes even human sacrifices are offered. In the city of Benin a large statue of a woman occupies a prominent place in front of the house of the Oba, the king of the city. It is a memorial to the wife of the Oba many years ago who was offered as a sacrifice to the gods in order to bring peace to their city. The Juju man, their witch doctor, is the leader of their religion and makes demands of the worshippers. He also is involved in carrying out threats against perceived enemies. Their theology includes the belief that all who have died have gone on to live in another location and the people