|AIM's beginnings in South Africa|
An Advisory Council was intiated by Charles Hurlburt in South Africa in 1917. The first President of this Council was Rev Andrew C Murray. This Council coordinated prayer for missions, and also met missionaries passing through Cape Town en route to their field of service in the North. The name of Reg Reynolds is very prominent in the early history of AIM in South Africa.
Reg Reynolds and Billy Graham at dinner at Kijabe c1961Reg was born in Australia in 1901 and moved with his family to South Africa as a young boy. As a young boy, Reg accompanied his father Henry on expedition to Kenya. En route, young Reg contracted black water fever at Shinyanga in Tanganyika (Tanzania). He was brought to the Kola Ndoto mission station of AIM where he was nursed back to health and converted to Christianity in the process. Impressed by the missionaries there, Reg went to Moody Bible Institute in the USA in 1918 intending to return as a missionary himself. There he met Zan, a Canadian, married her and the couple went to Kenya with AIM (USA). They were at Githumu for some years, then moved to the Eldoret area and served on a number of AIM mission stations. Reg was renowned as a linguist and a builder and became known as Bwana Morongaro (the man who likes things straight!). He was a pioneer at heart and was involved in many outreach safaris. He used his photographic skills and enthusiasm to produce a number of quality missionary films.
Later, the family moved to Cape Town with their three children (their eldest son had died in Kenya). Reg initiated a Council of Reference of AIM in South Africa in 1952. He was a well-known deputation speaker and he recruited some excellent Council members and missionaries. The first missionary to go to Kenya from South Africa with AIM was Jack Pienaar in 1951. He was followed by Mary Newlands, Peggy Pienaar, Philip McMinn, Lorna Eglin, Margaret Herringshaw and Joyce Scott who all arrived in Kenya before the end of 1961.
After some years the Reynolds were called back to Kenya where Reg was appointed Field Leader of AIM in Kenya. They permanently returned to South Africa in 1961. Reg by this time was ill. However, he did not allow his sickness to restrict his enthusiasm for the work of AIM, and they used their home in Claremont, Cape Town, as AIM’s headquarters, and developed a constituency of workers and supporters. In November 1964 Reg died of leukaemia and was buried in the cemetery in Hermanus.
Before Reg passed away, he indicated his wish that Ian McDonald succeed him as Chairman. Ian’s chairmanship continued for only two years before he agreed to fill the vacant position of honorary General Secretary and Mr Jock Schoeman took over as Chairman. In 1972, Jack Pienaar was appointed as the first full time General Secretary of the mission. In 1978, the ‘committee’ met the requirements of having enough full time missionaries to become a Council.
Today AIM is the largest interdenominational mission which focuses exclusively on working with Africans and people of the close-by Indian Ocean islands. We have more than 800 missionaries working in over 15 African countries as well as the nearby islands of the Indian Ocean. AIM’s outreach also extends to Africans living in the U.S., Canada and Europe. South Africa plays its part in this overall picture.