Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 50, 1892

Olsen, O. A.

Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

March 12, 1892

Portions of this letter are published in PH002 17-20; 10MR 73.

Dear Brother Olsen:

I thought I should have to let this mail pass and not trouble you with any of my letters; but I must speak of some things, although it pains me to use my hand and arm. I have been, and am still, having a long, hard pull with rheumatism. Yet I do not feel at rest when I see so much to be done. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 1

At the conference I bore a very straight forward testimony which I know the Lord set home to the hearts. First we had special meetings with the ministers, and I bore a straight testimony to them individually. We had a meeting three hours long. I felt deeply. I showed them the things which the Lord had been pleased to open before me. Brother Curtis I addressed especially and have written out general principles which the ministers should act upon. Then I have written personal testimonies for Brothers Curtis and Hare, which I am prepared to send them. I want to send you a copy of the same, and will do this if I can get a calligraph copy. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 2

I cannot be very much surprised that there is a disposition to want to send out ministers from their own country, when I see by revelation of the Spirit of the Lord the great defects and want of wisdom among those who have come from America. Elder Israel is not a preacher and is very narrow in his ideas. Elder Corliss and Elder Israel did not draw in even cords. This left a wrong mold upon the work. Brother Scott, in the publishing house, managed so as to keep everything in his own hands and was afraid to have others get a hold in the work. And these working-apart elements have kept things here in a sad condition. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 3

Brother Curtis was sent here from America; but he was not the man they needed. They should not be, in America, so wanting in understanding as to send such a man as Elder Curtis. He preaches to the people, but makes no after effort to follow up the sermons given. He said he could not visit families, that he just despised that kind of labor. You can imagine the condition of a flock unvisited by the shepherd. I have repeatedly had this matter presented before me, that these men who are ordained to preach the Word should be educated to make full proof of their ministry in their personal labors in families, talking with the members of the family, understanding their spiritual condition, encouraging, reproving with all longsuffering and doctrine, praying with them, binding up his interest with their heart and souls. This is the work of a faithful shepherd. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 4

But there have been solemn duties neglected in accepting ministers, to labor in word and doctrine, who can only preach. They do not watch for souls as they that shall give an account. They sermonize; but the work is left undone which the sheep and lambs need to have done for them. And this half kind of work has been done all through America and wages paid to the men employed, when if they were dismissed and let them find work less responsible and care taking. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 5

In sending men to foreign fields, let there be great caution used. Those who have been accepted as preachers in America, and have not been educated to watch for souls as they that must give an account, are not the men to enter new fields as missionaries. If there is any corner of the world where churches can be built up and kept in a prosperous condition by sermonizing, while they neglect personal labor, I have yet to learn this. Men who are accepted to preach and not to minister better not go into foreign countries. Better have one thorough shepherd who will care for the flock as a faithful shepherd should, than to have twenty sermonizers who will excuse themselves, saying, It is not in my line to visit; I can not visit the church in their families. Then let there not be a moment’s hesitation in telling them, We do not propose to accept you and give you credentials. You cannot labor. But educate yourself to do a shepherd’s work, to care for the sheep and lambs, and you will not be like Ephraim, “a cake unturned.” [Hosea 7:8.] You will give full proof of your ministry. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 6

Those who can only preach are not missionaries, and never can be until they learn the skill, the watchful, tender compassion of a shepherd. The flock of God have a right to expect to be visited by their pastor, to be instructed, advised, counselled in their own homes. And if a man fails to do this part of the work he cannot be a minister after God’s order. Well, Brother Hare is this kind of preacher. Brother Curtis is this kind of missionary, and the churches that have such labor are disorganized, weak and sickly and ready to die. The sermons are not vitalized by the Spirit of God, because the blessing of God will not rest upon any man who is neglecting the flock of God. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 7

It is in the labor out of the pulpit, among families, that the richest and most valuable experience is gained, that the minister learns how he can feed the flock of God, giving to each his portion of meat in due season. If there is a backslider, the shepherd knows how to present the truth in such a manner that the soul will be convicted. We will leave the ninety and nine and seek the lost sheep. But if the shepherd does not visit his flock, he knows not their condition; he knows not what truths to set before them, which is appropriate to their case. And more than this, as the preacher manifests so little interest in the souls under his charge, he cannot set an example to the flock to have an interest and love and watchcare for souls. Everything is at loose ends; his work is strongly mixed with self and is not bound off, but left to ravel out; and because of those neglects you often hear, “I do not have success in bringing souls into the church.” 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 8

The Lord cannot work for those who are unfaithful, who neglect their manifest duty, the most important part of a shepherd’s duty. Should the Lord move upon the hearts of the sinners, and they become converted, who will watch for them as one who must give an account? Who will visit them? Who will strengthen the diseased and the feeble ones? The truth, if presented to those of our faith and outsiders, should be as it is in Jesus. See with what love, tender sympathy and perseverance He labored. His work was done after this order, “He will not fail nor be discouraged.” [Isaiah 42:4.] This spirit should be with all the laborers. Better, far better, have less preachers and far more earnest, humble, God-fearing workers. We are laborers together with God. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 9

Now, it is highly essential in this field that men are the right kind of laborers, for they are molding the churches to do as the preacher does; they feel it is the right way to have just as little interest in the prosperity of their brethren and sisters in the church as their minister has given them an example in their way of laboring. They may raise up churches; but they will always be weak and inefficient and unreliable. Such kind of work at such an expense will not pay. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 10

Now I wish Brother Curtis were called out of this field. I do not think he has an idea of changing his manner of laboring. After they have become dyed in the wool, it is not easy to transform such men. A slack, shiftless, irresponsible shepherd will lose more sheep than he will gather in. The state of things in Adelaide is truly deplorable. It will require more earnest labor to counteract the mold given to that people organized into a church than to raise up new churches, for the members seem to have no right and just ideas of doing anything, [or] bearing any responsibilities in building up a healthful, growing church. If there are good sensible men who can speak the words of life, and then follow up their labor with personal instruction, they are needed here. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 11

I hope nothing will deter Brother Rousseau from coming to this field. I am sure we made no mistake in having Elder Starr come here; would there were twenty more as well adapted to the work as is Elder Starr. What we need is workers. They should go out two and two, and make the work just as thorough and complete in all its parts, in small and larger churches, as possible. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 12

The people here can but feel the deficiency of some sent from America; and they have been disposed to set men to preaching from their own country, and if they were qualified we would sanction this. But we see that they are not fitted for the work; yet after a school is established and patient, wise teaching done by Elders Starr and Rousseau, then men may be sent into the work. But they will have to be watched carefully, and instructed in regard to the character of the work and the influence which they should exert. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 13

I am anxiously waiting for help. Please bear in mind that there is not a church in New Zealand, or in Australia, that an American could live as they cook. I have had a hard time, for we had no cook. Mary understands cooking, but I have demanded almost her undivided attention. Emily Campbell is not a cook. We hire a girl to do our housework, and she does not know how to cook; so Emily has had to be in the kitchen; and my housework, boarding the two, and their wages has cost me above $12.00 per week, and then half the time I have not had anything prepared that I could possibly relish. We have now thought best to try an experiment, to set May in the kitchen for a short time to teach our girl, then leave the responsibilities upon her, simply giving her directions. We have had to do something. I have asked, Is there not a girl I can get in this country who knows how to cook? Brother Tenney and Brother Daniells answer, There is not one in the whole colony that can prepare food for an American to eat. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 14

Now, we want, if we have a school, the very best cook that can be provided, who can educate and stand as a missionary here to keep the boarding house for the students and [those] who shall enter the ministerial school. I am distressed over the situation of things. We are doing the best we can with the pen. But I cannot go from home because of the rheumatism. I am taking electric baths, which I am hoping will relieve me. I have paid $10.00 for six. I shall take ten more, for I want to recover. My time is precious. I have spoken three Sabbaths in succession. Was carried up into the hall arm-chair fashion, for it is with the most excruciating pain in my hips and loins that I raise my feet to ascend or descend steps. I have had to buy a carriage, which cost me $200.00. It is an easy, double-seated phaeton, second-hand, and I ride with comfort. Yet after sitting in the carriage a while, when I come to get out, the stepping down one step requires the greatest effort on my part, and, O, how much pain it costs me! 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 15

Above two months I have now suffered; but I know the Lord will bring this to an end ere long. I have dropped my case at His feet, and the Lord will answer my prayers. There is not anything I can do in outward applications, for I would drive it to the heart. I can only lie on my back, alternating between the lounge and the bed—one hour in bed, and then one hour on the spring lounge—and this is kept up all night. For hours I cannot sleep a wink; but the grace of Christ sustains me. I am not discouraged. I believe I shall see the salvation of God. I will trust in Jesus. “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither fruit be in the vine, and the labor of the olive should fail, and the field shall yield no meat, and the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stall: yet will I rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation.” [Habakkuk 3:17, 18.] 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 16

Now I want you to consider my request and send workers here. We can get along in Australia better than they can in New Zealand. But there is great need of workers in New Zealand. I cry to you in America, Come over and help us. I pray the Lord to give you wisdom and judgment whom to select. Do get some man and his wife who will not feel it is their first work to fill their house with children, and give to these the care and charge they should give to the churches. Do not send over here a numerous family, for this will engross half the time of the man and his wife to take care of them. Do send us true missionaries who believe the end of all things is at hand and [that] at this time they have a higher work than to fill their houses and hands with the little children, who in no case must be neglected. Workers, Brother Olsen, unselfish workers, who have an eye single to the glory of God; men and women who for Christ’s sake, for the building up of Christ’s kingdom, will keep self and animal passions under control and give themselves unreservedly to the work! There is so much needed to be done in this crisis. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 17

If I could see you, I could talk of these things and set them before you better than I can write. We need one who can cook and teach cooking and can educate the people here in this line. They need it so much. If there are not full fledged ministers, are there not men and women who have good influence, who understand the truth, and who can exert an influence and teach others how to cook? There should be medical missionaries. My prayer is, “Lord, move upon the hearts of some of thy faithful servants to come and settle in this country and be missionaries for God.” 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 18

There are men of excellent abilities who have embraced the truth. There is a large number who are devoted and love the truth. If these could have the molding so essential, then they will, through proper education and training, be able to educate and train others, and then [will] the talents be put out to the exchangers. We have felt afraid that moves would be made to hurry men into the field prematurely, before they know intelligently how to present the truth as it is in Jesus that they may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 19

We greatly feared this movement would take place at the conference recently held here. There were strong feelings in this line; but we discouraged any such work. They were not ready. If these could link up with one of experience, and their interest could be blended, praying, working, searching the Scriptures with contrite hearts, the two could do a much more effective work than one alone where there is no one to question his discourses, no one to speak a word of warning and counsel if he becomes too offensive and soars too high, away above the comprehension of common minds, placing the crib so high the sheep and lambs would starve for nourishing food. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 20

These high-flown speeches do not come right to the hearts of the hearers, but fly above their heads. Here Brother Hare will need to learn simplicity of speech. Oh, why can we not all study the life of Christ and practice His manner of educating? Why do we not learn the meekness and lowliness of Christ? Why will self seek to be recognized and exalted? Why shall we not hide self in the dust and lift up Jesus? 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 21

March 13

Well, Willie left us this day noon. Elder Daniells and Willie take the steamer for New Zealand about four o’clock, going by way of Tasmania. Here I am left behind, crippled and compassed with infirmities; but not in despair, not discouraged. I know not what to make of this all. I am fiercely tempted and tried at times; but I have it all to lay at the feet of Jesus, and be content to hear His voice [saying], “What thou knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter.” [John 13:7.] I do not feel that my work is done. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 22

After this mail goes I hope to have some strength to write on The Life of Christ. I have been able to write but a few pages as yet. I solicit the prayers of my brethren and sisters in America, that the Lord will restore me to health, that in this new field I shall be able to bear the testimony, to hungry, starving souls, of the love of God to men, the righteousness of Christ freely given to all that believe. The people here everywhere seem to be in ignorance of this precious light which would bring courage and hope to their souls. Oh, they will exclaim, How precious; I never saw these things before; I long to have the peace and assurance of the love of God in my soul. They will look up so beseechingly and inquire, Do you really think this blessing is for me? Tears run down their faces as we tell them, Yes it is for you, full, abundant, for you. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 23

But I must close. May the Lord bless you and yours. I rejoice at any good news of the advance of the work of God in America. 7LtMs, Lt 50, 1892, par. 24