Kaboo, born in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in 1872, was the son of a chief. His life as a prince was unhappy. In those days when a tribe fought and lost a battle, the losing chief had to give his oldest son as a hostage to the winning tribe. This was to make sure that the losers would pay the required amount of ransom to the winners.

When Kaboo was very young, his father lost a war, and Kaboo became a hostage. Soon his father could pay, and the tribe returned Kaboo. Later when it happened again, the tribe kept Kaboo for several years before his father could pay enough. They treated Kaboo so badly that he never would speak to anyone about what happened.

When Kaboo was about 15, he became a hostage once more. Twice his father came to the victorious chief with all the ivory, rubber, and kola nuts he could find. But the chief claimed it was not enough and would not release Kaboo. Instead, day after day, he had him beaten with a thorny poison vine.

At last, since it was impossible for his father to pay any more, they planned to kill the young prince. They decided to bury him up to his neck in the sand, and then lure the driver ants to come and eat him.

Just when they were ready to begin his torture, a light flashed about Kaboo, blinding his tormentors. A voice called to him, "Flee!" Kaboo escaped and ran through the forest. After weeks in danger from wild animals and snakes and hostile tribes, he found his way out of the forest. He had come to Monrovia, Liberia, a safe place where some of his own Kru tribe were living.

At Monrovia, Kaboo first heard about the God of the Bible. The Christians there told him of Paul's conversion and how God's light flashed around him and how God spoke to him. (See Acts 9:1-22.) Kaboo knew it was this same God who had rescued him. He gladly gave himself to God. When he was baptized, he received the name Samuel Morris.

Sammy learned all he could about God from the missionaries he knew, but it wasn't enough to satisfy him. Even though he had no money, he talked and prayed his way onto a ship. It was sailing to America where he could learn more about the Holy Spirit.

The ship stopped first at some African ports, but had many troubles and delays for repairs. When it was finally on its way across the Atlantic Ocean, the captain gave his crew extra liquor to celebrate. The celebrations ended in a big fight.

One man, a big brute from Malay in the Pacific Ocean, thought he had been insulted by some of the others. He seized his knife and rushed at then to kill them. Sammy stepped in front of him and said quietly, "Don't kill. Don't kill."

Sammy didn't know that this Malay hated all blacks. He had been boasting to the rest of the crew that he was going to kill Sammy as he had killed other Africans before. Sammy was the only black aboard.

As Sammy stood before the man, the Malay raised his weapon. His chance had come to carry out his boast! Sammy steadily looked into the man's eyes, making no move to defend himself. Slowly, the Malay lowered his weapon and left the deck to return to his bunk.

Sometime later, the Malay became desperately ill and was dying. Sammy went to the man's bunk to pray for him. God healed the Malay--not only from his sickness, but in his mind and spirit. God changed his hatred to love for Sammy.

God used Sammy to minister among the crew of the ship, in the churches of America, and at Taylor University, the Christian college he attended. Sammy's body, weakened by many beatings and hardships, could not resist the cold winter weather. He died in 1893, after less than a year in America. He was only 20 years old.

Sammy Morris is still remembered at Taylor University. Many young people from there have gone to Africa as missionaries to carry out the work Sammy had been unable to do himself.


From: They loved their enemies by Marian Hostetler, pag. 40-42, 1988, Herald Press,  Scottdale, Pa, USA.