Michael Cassidy - My Life and Times: Part 1
Alongside the African Enterprise, I (like SPCK) am committed to reaching people and discipling them by books and Christian literature - Michael Cassidy's book publishes today.
Sharing about my life story in my soon to be published memoir Footprints in the African Sand could not be done without telling of the dream, vision, founding and bringing to reality of African Enterprise which has been my life work.
It happened like this. Some weeks after my conversion at Cambridge in October 1955, I read a book called The Cambridge Seven about seven young graduates who went out post graduating to China and gave their lives to distinguished missionary endeavour there. It was an inspiring story. But I was especially challenged by a sentence on the last page which read: "This is the story of ordinary men and thus may be repeated."
The word which really struck me was "ordinary." If there was anything I knew with certainty it was that I was very ordinary. Although I was planning at that stage on either being a lawyer or a schoolmaster, I nevertheless was deeply challenged by the notion that even if I was very ordinary I could nevertheless be used of God back in my home country of South Africa and on my continent of Africa. Perhaps with a team.
The challenge was huge. Then in 1957 I found myself in New York attending the Billy Graham Crusade. One night in the basement of Madison Square Garden where people were being counselled, like Isaiah, " I heard the voice of the Lord."(Is.6:8). It said: "I want you to do city evangelism in Africa." And in spite of my protestations over inadequacy, that was that! I was a called man. And the call held me in its grip ever after.
This gave birth in due time and it's an intriguing story I tell about fully in my book, to the founding and launching of African Enterprise whose vision statement is to "evangelise the cities of Africa through Word and Deed in partnership with the Church."
The outcome over the years has been the establishing of ten teams around Africa. These work mainly in their own countries, but once a year they combine for a major city-wide mission in one of the continent's capitals or major cities. Last year we were in Kampala, Uganda, and this year in Cape Town, South Africa. And it's all been so worthwhile. Last week I got a letter from a couple in Australia. They said they came to a stadium rally I was having in Pietermaritzburg, Natal, back in 1975. Their marriage was on the rocks, but they saw I was speaking on Marriage and the Family. They came, gave their lives to Christ, reconciled with each other and have now been married 51 years. Praise God.
This is part one of a two-piece blog post.
Part 2 coming soon.
You can purchase Footprints in the African Sand here.
For additional content, you can watch Michael Cassidy in conversation with pastor Greg Smerdon at God's Family Life Church here (divided in six short parts).