Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 21, 1879

Bourdeau, Brother and Sister

Camp Ground, Dunlap, Iowa

June 28, 1879

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother and Sister Bourdeau:

We received your letter last night. I read it to my husband this morning. I have decided to write you and then submit it to him to approve or disapprove. 3LtMs, Lt 21, 1879, par. 1

Your case was opened before me in vision and the course you pursued in Europe from first to last, and I tell you it was a sad picture—your independence, your strong feelings, your lack of self-control, your continual talk in regard to yourself and your troubles. And you are so constituted that you cannot have trouble and bear it yourself. You have not self-control to be perplexed without talking it, concentrating your mind upon it, and magnifying little matters to large things. The only hope of your wife’s recovery is separation from you, as much as possible, that your peculiarities will not make scars or wounds upon her spirits or for you to be situated as pleasantly as possible, you laboring not very hard, but taking time to rest your mind and speaking organs. 3LtMs, Lt 21, 1879, par. 2

Do what you can and not overdo. Be guarded, keep your mind free in the love of God. I cannot feel that you should in consideration of the past go back to Europe. Your mind while there much of the time was overstrained by your dwelling upon matters that the enemy magnified before you into terrible, fearful proportions. It will take time for your mind to become what God would have it and you find rest under the yoke Christ lays upon you. You have put a yoke upon your own neck, grievous to be borne. Jesus lays no such yoke upon us. We get into hard places and make the yoke for our necks grievous and the burdens exceedingly heavy to carry because we want our own will and our own ways and do not submit to God’s will and way; especially is this true of yourself. Lay off this burden of Europe until your brethren shall feel the burden. Let your mind be at rest. You are doing well where you are. You need [not] to make any arrangements for permanent location at any point. But your brethren will take you in their hearts and love you and do for you if you will let them. 3LtMs, Lt 21, 1879, par. 3

Do what you can as God opens the way. Do not be always stretching your mind ahead for some time to come, but labor as God clears your way and be at peace and rest in Him. What you want is rest now in Jesus. If you could see the condition you were in while in Europe you would know that you are not ready yet to go there again. Your wife was a constant sufferer. Your returning to Europe will not change the condition of the climate in its effect upon Patience. Probably the climate is against her. Then it is important to get her away. I cannot see how you dare run the risk again of placing your family in Europe after what you have experienced. I think the present opportunity favorable indeed for the return of your daughter. 3LtMs, Lt 21, 1879, par. 4

As to your goods, you cannot have a very large amount. Could not you dispose of these things among your brethren and thus save transportation? If you can do this, is it not best to do it? Would you not risk your wife’s health and her life by returning to Europe? I fear you would, and it is a little surprising to me that you would dare to do it with your experience in the past, and you knowing she has not fully recovered from her difficulty. Let Sister Bourdeau have the very best opportunities and privileges she can to have peace and quiet and her mind not be continually agitated by your talk and your feelings, and I know she will do well enough. You are more to blame for her present condition of health than anything and everything else put together. Now I do not write this to grieve you, but because it is the truth, and it is essential you should understand it. And may the Lord so impress your mind as He has mine that you will make decided reforms, for your happiness and the health and happiness of your wife depend upon your course of action. 3LtMs, Lt 21, 1879, par. 5

I do not wish you to think that we consider your case hopeless and you useless, not at all. You are a man that cannot bear difficulties and affliction as well as some. You lose your patience and self-control. You would not make a good and effectual missionary unless your surroundings were favorable. I know whereof I speak. You do not, my dear brother, see things I am well aware just as they are. Your surroundings must be favorable. You have encouragement from friends, and be surrounded by friends until your mind shall regain its healthy tone. It will take more than a few months to do this. And yet you may be at work, trusting in God and not taking your life in your own hands, but giving that life to Jesus; let Him take care of you and your case, caring so much for yourself; rest in the love of God, hide yourself in Jesus, your life hid with Christ in God. 3LtMs, Lt 21, 1879, par. 6

Talk less or yourself and of your children and talk less of your trials, but talk of Jesus, of the truth, of heaven. Do not be overanxious in regard to Patience. God can care for her in Europe as well as you could. Oh, for that faith and trust and repose in God. These are the lessons you have to learn—calmness and cease worrying and give God a chance to work for you. 3LtMs, Lt 21, 1879, par. 7

I think you should avail yourselves of this opportunity to get Patience to you. If you fail, then let Sister Ings have a care for her till another opportunity presents. The sooner she comes to you the better, if her health is not good. May the Lord deal tenderly with you and your child, is my prayer. 3LtMs, Lt 21, 1879, par. 8

In much love. 3LtMs, Lt 21, 1879, par. 9