Modi Din was one of the first pastors in the church begun by the Basel Mission in Cameroon in 1886. When World War I broke out, Germany was the colonial power in Cameroon, and Modi and some others were put in prison. The authorities suspected them of sympathizing with Germany's enemies.

Modi and the other prisoners were chained together two-by-two. They had to bend over as they chopped down the brush to clear the area around the prison. If a prisoner tried to stand up, or if he fell behind the others, the guard would whip him.

Modi's partner was an old chief who was not used to such work and could not keep up with the others. Modi felt sorry for the old man who would often be whipped.

During one of these beatings, Modi stood up. "Who says you can beat this old man?" he asked. "Can't you see how hard it is for him to do this work? If you must whip someone, whip me. I'lI do my work and his, too."

The astonished guard said, "What? You're a Douala man and you want to help a man from the forest and receive his punishment?"

"We're all brothers in God's sight," answered Modi. "To him, there are no Douala men and no men of the forest. You think you can beat people without being held accountable? Well, go ahead and beat us. But there's a Father in heaven who is counting the blows you give, and one day he'll hold you responsible for each one."

The soldier and all the prisoners were impressed by Modi's words. From then on, the soldier behaved differently. He didn't beat the prisoners, and when one of them was lagging behind, he would say to Modi, "Tell him to move forward."

Sometime after the war, when Modi was no longer a prisoner, he sent a young man to teach the gospel in a village ruled by a violent chief. This chief always had to have his own way. After a year, Modi came to visit the catechist and to see how his work was going. He found that some of those who had been receiving instruction from the catechist were ready for baptism.

Among those he accepted for baptism the next day were two wives of the chief. These women were pleased and went home to tell the good news. However, this made the chief's other wives jealous, and they told him they wanted to be baptized, too.

The chief sent for Modi and demanded, "Is it true that two of my wives will be baptized tomorrow?" "Yes," answered Modi.

"I want all of my wives to be baptized--not just two!' said the chief.

"How many wives do you have?" asked Modi.

"Forty-three."

"I cannot baptize all your wives.''

"But I'm ordering you to do it!

I can only baptize the two who have been instructed and who have satisfactorily answered my questions about their faith."

"I understand," said the chief. "It's the catechist's fault! He hasn't taught my wives as he should have. I'll have him whipped. Then I'll dismiss him and you can send me a better one.''

"It's not his fault if your wives are ignorant of Christianity," said Modi. "If it's anyone's fault, it's yours! It's you who forbid them to study and to attend church."

"You will baptize my wives tomorrow!" the chief shouted violently.

The catechist and the other onlookers were frightened. They feared that the chief would kill Modi. They whispered to him to give in.

Modi calmly replied to the chief, "You can issue all the orders you want. I won't do it, because it would be a sin."

The chief could not stand being contradicted. He shouted, For the last time, baptize all my wives! If not He made a slashing motion with his hand across his throat to show Modi that he would behead him.

Modi answered, Im in your power. If you want to cut off my head, do it. But know this. Your threats will never make me go against God's will. If you kill me, I have nothing to lose. In fact, I'll be better off! I'll no longer have to cross all these mountains to come to visit this village."

The chief had never before seen such courage and calm in the face of his threats. It made an impression on him. At last he said to Modi, "Until now you haven't interfered with me in my job as chief, so I won't interfere in your work either. Baptize whomever you wish tomorrow.

 

From: They loved their enemies by Marian Hostetler, pag. 47-49, 1988, Herald Press, Scottdale, Pa, USA.

 

 

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