Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 88, 1891

General Conference Committee

Harbor Springs, Michigan

August 11, 1891

Previously unpublished.

I have a few words to say to the conference committee. You stated to me if, under the circumstances which are very perplexing to me, I felt clear to go to Australia, I should choose whoever I wished to go with me. I plainly stated I desired Brother and Sister Starr to go with me. I could work with them. Marian could read to them and let Brother Starr criticize, which is a great help to Marian. I decided I would not travel again without a man and his wife, for I have given up the hope of having either of my sons to stand by my side. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 1

Sara McEnterfer has journeyed with me alone from place to place. She has stood by me, alone, when hanging between life and death, several times. My children have heard of this, but have never seen me in the terrible, apparently deathlike struggle, therefore they cannot judge of what I have passed through. And when I decided to give up Sara and to take a stranger to stand in her place, the day I told her this she accepted the situation, saying she thought it was best and she would rest during this winter, for the strain on her had been great. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 2

But that night the past was urged upon my mind for a review of events and scenes, the journeys we had taken together, the care she had taken of me when these terrible life-and-death struggles came on, and day and night she has watched over me. Not a child could be at my side sometimes, as in Texas among comparative strangers. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 3

This can be repeated by words, but the impressions of such scenes can never be realized. I decided I could not place myself in untried hands. They knew nothing of me, and what to do and what not to do. Willie would not know what to do, because he has never been with me. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 4

Then, at my age, it is a great undertaking to go to Australia, requiring all the faith I am capable of exercising. I decided that I would not dare to go [on] such a journey without Sara, for I feel free to call upon her for anything. I could not feel free to ask a stranger to do things for me, for I am peculiarly sensitive upon this point of being waited upon. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 5

In regard to Brother and Sister Starr, I have spoken my mind before Brother Olsen and Brother Jones and Willie. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 6

I was very much surprised last night at what was said after your statements that the committee left me to choose the ones I desired to go with me, and then deliberately planned to take them away from me and thought I might trust in Brother Daniells to go with me in Australia. This is all an uncertainty. When I was so sick, in human agony at St. Helena, I there reviewed my past labors since coming from Europe, working beyond my strength, standing alone as I have had to do for the past three years, and now I was suffering. I saw I had been doing too much and submitted to answer the suggestions of others in going here and there, especially taking that long journey alone, with Sara, to the Pacific Coast while Willie was attending his sick and suffering wife. I prayed the Lord [that] if He would raise me from that sickness, I would not labor as imprudently as I had done in the past. The Lord helped me in St. Helena. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 7

Now I am considering going [on] a long journey. While I must go by faith, I will justify my faith by my works. I will have those whom I know will be a help to me and to the cause of God in that new field. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 8

I have asked the Lord to open the way if it was right for me to go, and close it if it was not right. I thought the matters would be adjusted here, and I not be kept in uncertainty, but I can but have impressions that the Lord would not have me take this journey. And if you have workers to send to Australia, let them go at once on the next steamer. Time is passing. The names should be sent in to secure berths, and do not make any calculation on me. I am more, far more, inclined to think, as matters have turned, that a Providence is in it, that my book must be completed before going. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 9

It has seemed unreasonable to expect me [to] go according to your ideas and plans. I slept but little last night. Marian worked over my head at midnight, hoping to induce sleep, but it was a long night. I do not now wish you to take any more burden of this matter. I am more than ever convinced that you do not understand me or my necessities. You see me active, talking in meetings, writing, etc., and you judge me by appearance, but the physical conflicts I pass through you do not know, and I do not expect you to be at large expense to have me go to Australia. Neither have I means to be at large expense to go. I would have to pay Marian’s fare there and back. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 10

I was, I must say, rather burdened when Brother Prescott proposed I take a Sister Bramball, that I had never seen, that had been or was in the Chicago Mission, a woman who was afflicted with a withered limb. She was prayed for and is recovering the use of her limb, but she is otherwise a feeble woman, and she was proposed as my companion. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 11

Now I want to say, do no more planning for me. I relieve you of this burden. And when the Lord opens the way that I can see I shall have helpers that will make my labors as light as possible, I will go to Australia. I have no wish to be stubborn, but I have no special light in the matter. If I had light to go, I should feel just the same, to provide myself with the best working company possible, that the brunt and burdens should not fall as heavily upon me as they have done. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 12

I have consented to go here and there alone, with Sara, and labored altogether too hard because there was not one to labor in the same line of my work; and if I had strength now, [I] would not refuse to do the same again. But I cannot command the strength. I belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to do His work, and am under obligation to God to place myself in as favorable a position as possible to do the best kind of labor. The Lord will not be pleased to have me venture as I have done. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 13

I made a solemn promise to God, when suffering at St. Helena, that I would not expose myself and labor imprudently as I had done. I am afraid I have transgressed again and again. I have no will of my own in this matter, but everything looks dark and shut up and forbidding to me. I dare not trust my brethren to plan for me. Neither dare I trust Willie to plan for me, because I know that they are not acquainted with my worn state and scarcely know me. If I follow their planning, I shall be brought into strait places, as I have been, and be compelled to labor when it will be at the risk of my life. I have no more to say. I shall now let my mind rest on these matters, for I cannot feel it my duty to trust myself with strangers, even if Willie accompanies me to Australia. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 14

If I should go there, I cannot carry the burdens I have done. I attended meetings with Brother and Sister Starr at Greenville, at Ionia, at Grand Rapids, at Petoskey, at Sherman camp meeting, and they were the most congenial help I have had. They have human sympathy, which I appreciate, for I have had so little sympathy and so few that had any appreciation of my burdens and could enter heartily with me in my work, and this is the reason, as I have told you, I wanted them. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 15

But then I think, what is the use to write this all? I have committed the matter to the Lord and I am feeling that it will be best for me [to] take up my work on the Pacific Coast and speak and write as the Lord opens the way, until I am more certain of my duty to take the long journey to Australia. 7LtMs, Lt 88, 1891, par. 16