After spending sometime in the Cape learning the Dutch language, Dr Adams and Mrs Adams and the other missionaries arrived in Port Natal in 1835. The inland mission did not last long as it faced many mishaps such as illness and unrest. Dr Adams’ maritime group, were more successful. It was not long before Adams had a school of 50 pupils and a Sunday congregation ranging from 200 to 1500. As early as 1836 a Grahamstown trader, who visited Natal said: ‘A school for girls has been established by Dr Adams, in which were 29 scholars, all neatly clothed in cotton dresses. Some were employed at needlework and others learning to read”. The missionaries now turned their attention to Natal, where Adams had established a station in 1836.
In 1843 the British Government took control of Natal. This gradually allowed for mission work to become firmly established. In 1847 Dr Adams moved from Umlazi and went to Amanzimtoti, about 22 miles down the coast from Durban, and started a new mission station. He made this decision because his congregation was moving there and because Amanzimtoti was the centre of a large population. At this time the first convert, Umbalasi, a Zulu woman, was accepted into the church by Adams. Dr Adams started by teaching black people the English language and his wife held meetings for women and taught them how to sew, cook and take care of their children according to the western way of life.
At Amanzimtoti Adams seemed to become popular among the local people, he was given a Zulu name which meant ”the man with three coats”. This name referred to the white overall which he wore as a doctor, the black frock coat in which he took services and short lumber jacket which he wore when chopping down trees. At this mission Adams built a residence that carried his name, and which remained on the mission grounds until it was pulled down in 1958. Dr Adams died in 1851, and so not to lose the benefits of the work he had done, the American Board sent Rev. Rood to Amanzimtoti in 1853 with the express object of opening up a school.