Astonishing. Hayes is not moving. He’d like to be gone from the Heart of Africa Mission but daily torrential rains prevent travel. In this and the next post I’ll lay out his case against C.T. Studd – the reason Hayes wanted to leave. In following posts I’ll describe his relationship with the African people among whom he lived and worked – the reason he loved his time at Niangara.
February 21, 1914 – December 24, 1914
Hayes lasted ten months at the Heart of Africa Mission – a long time in one place for him, but fourteen months short of his intended commitment. For most of 1914 he, Studd, and Buxton were the only non-Africans living at the mission; for two extended periods, Hayes took sole charge of the fledgling compound while Studd and Buxton hunted or traveled in search of new mission sites. The others at The Heart of Africa Mission in 1914 as listed with Hayes in Grubb’s appendix to Christ in Congo Forests: Miss Chapman, Miss Flangham, Mr. Coles, and the Richardsons, (Bowers died at Yei before reaching the mission), arrived on December 21, three days before Hayes departed.
Hayes loved this part of Africa with all its adventures, but hated both Buxton and Studd. The disgust for Buxton derived mostly from Buxton’s lockstep worship of Studd who styled himself “Bwana” of the mission. (“Studd has proclaimed his native name shall be “Bwana”, Swahili for Master. The term is unknown in Bangala.”) Buxton wasn’t alone in admiring C. T. Studd. Even today one finds no shortage of adulation directed toward Studd on the internet and in various biographies written by his admirers – though even the most ardent admit that Studd could be a difficult colleague. Writing about Bowers, the would-be missionary who died en route to Niangara, Hayes says, “If he had lived and stayed on here, he would have become disillusioned and disgusted even as I am now, or else have succumbed to the general hero worship of this charlatan Studd.” These seem to be the two polarized responses others had to C. T. Studd. Granting Hayes was constitutionally averse to hero worship, neither was he given to unwarranted hatreds. Hayes’ diary of his time at The Heart of Africa Mission lays out three general critiques of Studd’s missionary style that disqualify Studd from Hayes’ respect.
First, Hayes, very much grounded in practical concerns of this world, followed his own rough-and-ready, golden-rule style of Christianity, so had little regard for Studd’s evangelical soul-saving fervor. After one month at the mission Hayes wrote of Studd: “He is as arbitrary a man as I have ever seen. There is no viewpoint but his own….” Where other biographers of Studd have seen zeal for the Lord, Hayes perceives self-aggrandizement: “These two men [Buxton and Studd] spend most of their time writing to London telling of their exploits, misrepresenting the country and in every way publicizing themselves to gain further fame.”
Studd permitted no boss at the mission other than Studd. “Strangely, they [Buxton and Studd] realize I know my work. I hear them talking after I have retired, and then Studd praises me, but he wants me to know he is boss, and wants every native in the country to know he is the big shot of the Heart of Africa Mission.” So, for example, halfway through Hayes’ supervision of a house building project in April, Studd “calls the [Azande] men before him and harangues them, saying he is master, and that if he says build a house, I must build it, and if he says not, that goes too. To not listen to what I have to say, but to always appeal to him.” What other result could follow? Hayes temporarily lost control of all discipline among the working men.
In addition to building, Hayes supervised care of the grounds and gardens he and the working men planted at the mission. In June, Studd, furthering the soul-saving work of the mission, imposed another serious restriction on the practical work Hayes did housing and feeding them all: “If the nightly two or three-hour discourses Buxton hands the workmen were not enough, now morning lectures of a theological nature have been instituted. These last until ten A. M., the men’s eyes wandering in utter bewilderment.” Buxton delivered the sermons in Bangala in which he and Hayes were fluent; Studd had not learned the language. “He [Buxton] endeavors to translate the Bible to them, old genealogies of Christ and other Bible characters, dry and dull to one conversant in English, let alone one who knows nothing of books or languages other than their own tribal dialects short on expressions and words for such theological discussions as Buxton puts forth.” In June, Hayes joked with the working men, whose jobs depended on attendance at the twice-daily sermons, that he might lose his job as well by interceding for them, “an answer that brings peals of laughter, for every man knows the strain between these two men and me.” By September “I got up and walked out of the services when Studd tried to say a few words as to his being the big boss, I was only a small boy.”
Though shaking with fury, Studd dismissed the men and “calling Buxton, he began to pray God to cast out the silent devil troubling me.” According to Hayes, their plan had been to domesticate Hayes by marriage to a “helpmate.” He writes that this was to have been the role of the 28-year-old Miss Flangham, one of the missionaries arriving December 21,1914. On meeting her just before his departure Hayes wrote, “I try to be courteous to her, but it is with an effort. She is not to blame for it.” (Miss Flangham married Mr. A. W. Davies, pictured top right above, who arrived at The Heart of Africa Mission in 1916. The two remained at the mission until 1931.)
So, Hayes’ first indictment of Studd: an autocratic leadership style, an otherworldly fanaticism about soul saving, and a patronizing supercilious attitude. Hayes encountered these characteristics in bosses all over the world. They always caused him to move on, as he will when the Congo rainy season allows travel, but these alone cannot account for the bitter invective Hayes heaps on Studd, the famous cricketeer turned missionary. The next chapter describes Hayes critique of C. T. Studd’s attitude to Belgian tax graft.