Zebras at a Waterhole in Okaukejo, Etosha Pan, Namibia . PHOTO : J . Rieck

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Charles Whitson : 3rd April 1927- 9th December 2012



Charles Whitson, first and founding pastor of the Eastside Baptist Church  in Windhoek, Namibia   died on the Lord’s Day, 9th December 2012,  in LaFayette, Alabama, USA. He  was affectionately known as ‘Uncle Charles‘  to many in Namibia. He was  a missionary  of the Southern Baptist Convention sent out to  South West Africa (today Namibia) in 1968. He came  at the request of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa (BUSA) in order to  establish churches  in this territory, which was then under South African rule. He concluded  his ministry in Namibia at the end of 1992, and thus served for  about 24 years in  SWA/Namibia.
As at the date of writing  he had been gone  from Namibia for 20 years. Many  here  will therefore not know him, but it is my  desire  to keep  his memory alive  for the sake of our posterity. 

Charles  was married to Betty,  and  two daughters, Deborah and Virginia (Ginger)  were  born  to them. Their  marriage  was a wonderful  exhibition of faithful and committed companionship, as they served  the cause of Christ in Namibia in an unselfish and sacrificial  manner.  Charles and Betty  loved the people that they  ministered to. After their daughters had left home and had returned to the USA, Charles and Betty spent much time  visiting people, ministering to  them on a personal basis. The people they were ministering to were often  stubborn  and slow to obey the Lord Jesus Christ. I saw them weeping for such when I was privileged  to  live in their home for a few months in the early eighties.
Charles  had a great sense of humour. Once he told us  when he was growing up as a child in Alabama, “we were so poor, we couldn’t even afford the German measles!” His  winsome personality, his  southern humour, together with a homely  anecdotal style made him a preacher  that the people  liked to listen to.  He wasn’t an expository preacher; neither was he  too fond of taking firm doctrinal positions – a factor, which I believe ultimately  contributed to the loss of much of the work  that he had started.

Charles and Betty  were involved  with the churches  of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Khomasdal, Rehoboth, Luderitz and Windhoek, personally encouraging  pastors and congregations alike.
Charles was  instrumental  in  establishing   the Windhoek Baptist Church (today,  All Nations Christian Church), the Khomasdal Baptist Church, the Eastside Baptist Church in Windhoek, and in the closing days of his  missionary services,  the Luderitz Baptist church, whilst also  ministering to a small flock in Rehoboth. Sadly (and I believe, to his own sorrow)  much of the work  which he started  was lost  to other  causes. 
Eastside Baptist Church which was constituted  under his leadership in June  1985, continues  to be   a  church committed to historic  Baptist principles, continuing  to encourage  the  greater Baptist  work in Namibia.

Betty  Whitson currently   suffers from dementia ( Alzheimers)  and  now lives in a nursing home in the USA.  We  pray for her and her daughters  at this time, and continue to thank God  for the spiritual seed  planted  in Namibian soil.

Pastor Joachim Rieck/ Eastside Baptist Church  
December 2012

1 comment:

Gabriel Konayuma said...

A very inspiring and challenging testimony. To God be the glory!