Johannes Theodorus van der Kemp biography, It is never too late to make a fresh beginning if Duty calls, especially if the call is from God. Johannes Theodorus became an eminent scholar, soldier and physician before he became a medical missionary in Africa at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Theodorus’ father was a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church. After graduating from the University of Leiden in 1763, where he studied medicine, Theodorus spent 16 years in the army where he was a valiant soldier. After leaving the army, he went to Edinburgh to study modern languages and natural sciences.
He then returned to Holland and practiced medicine with great success. Great sorrow came to him in the death of his wife and child in a shocking accident. This led him to accept Christ and spend the rest of his life in His service.
Johannes Theodorus van der Kemp ministry in South Africa
He joined the London Missionary Society which sent him to South Africa. He set sail in 1798, when past fifty, on a convict ship. He busied himself on the voyage in ministering to the spiritual and physical needs of the convicts. In South Africa, he laboured in different places.
After being ordered by the king to leave, he began special work for the Hottentots (indigenous nomadic people of South Africa). In 1803, he founded Bethelsdorp, a mission station near Algoa Bay through which he evangelized and civilized, and built character and society among the Hottentots. In seven years those who gathered for worship numbered fully a thousand.
The cruelties of the slave traffic so distressed the good doctor that he spent all that he had to redeem poor captives. Finally, by his efforts, aided by others, the Hottentots were made free. It was said that this missionary was wonderfully like the apostles of the early Church. His service was not long, for he died in 1811.
The brave missionary came from a society of nobles to associate with the lowest of humanity; teach the poor naked Hottentots for he found them to be worthy to know the love of God.
Beloved, whom can we go in search of and share the love of God?Take away from the article
“Lord, help me to serve You as bravely and as faithfully as Theodorus. Amen!”Word of Prayer
Johannes Theodorus van der Kemp
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