Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 54, 1892

White, J. E.

St. Kilda, George’s Terrace, Melbourne, Australia

September 22, 1892

Portions of this letter are published in 9MR 339; 4Bio 45.

Dear Son Edson:

We have been having a very busy time moving. I attempted to move about very slowly in my room and arrange my writings, taking them from the drawers; but I was not strong enough to do this, and brought upon myself great suffering. I became suddenly prostrated and lay down, but was in too much pain to remain in that position. I sat up in my chair, pillowed up. I did not obtain much relief by any efforts made in my behalf. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 1

May was away at the dressmaker’s. I received a visit from two sisters whom I highly esteem. One of these sisters has recently come from Europe. It was a disappointment that I could visit with them but a few moments. May returned and I was soon in a hot bath which relieved me. Wrapped in a blanket, I was placed in bed, and for three hours sweat profusely and felt much better, rested better, and slept better during the night than I expected. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 2

This breaking up housekeeping and moving is a serious business. We are now to spend two or three months in Adelaide, seven hundred miles from here. The climate is excellent there, and the church needs help. In Australia, it is the next largest church to Melbourne. Elder Daniells is on the ground now. He has been trying to find a suitable house for us to set up housekeeping there, and help him in a series of meetings. His health is not good at the present time, and we dare not have him take the whole labor upon himself. We go to Adelaide next Monday. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 3

Today has not been agreeable. May Walling and I, accompanied by a boy, came to George’s Terrace, St. Kilda. The school is in George’s Terrace. We remain here until next Monday, then go by cars to Adelaide. Today it has been very stormy. We have had but few pleasant days this month, and I long to get where the climate is more mild. September is March with us. Many fruit trees are now in blossom, and the grass is green, and everything looks like spring. The air is harsh here and I think very unfavorable for me. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 4

We thought to move near the school and spent some time looking for suitable houses to rent, but found but one that was suitable and for that we must pay over thirty dollars per month. We offered them twenty-seven dollars and we fix it up ourselves, or thirty dollars and they do all the fixing up. We waited for a response but none came, and during that time of waiting we were praying most earnestly for the Lord to guide us. Then all thought now was the time to go to Adelaide. We would have to take two beside Willie and myself, for he could not remain there long. Take four from the family and two are left—Marian and Fannie—and the hired girl. We secured very pleasant rooms in the school building for Fannie and Marian, and they will board in the school building. We shall cut off the expense here of keeping open house and a hired girl, and put the money in a house we shall hire in Adelaide. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 5

Our expenses have been unavoidably large. For hired girl, three dollars per week, and she earns it. Her board amounts to three and a half—the very least anyone can be roomed and boarded for. There is six and a half dollars for getting our rough housework done—washing, ironing, scrubbing up, which is most thoroughly done. Besides this, I pay May Walling four dollars per week. She has to stand as matron in the kitchen and give me treatment when I need it—a massage or rubbing once per day, general bath once per week. I hire a boy fifteen years old to take care of horse and cow and bring in coke and wood. Two dollars per week, board three and half—five dollars and a half per week. Marian four dollars per week and board and room three and half—seven and half dollars per week. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 6

All this beside the expense of horse and cow and keeping up repairs on carriage, which I find is not a small sum, and living expenses. Wood costs me five dollars per week. Fannie and Emily are employed by the conference. We have lived economically here, I assure you. I am anxious Annie shall attend school and if she can get a place to work for her board I shall see that she is helped through. Then when I keep house again I shall call her to do my work. Since she came with us we have—or May has—taught her to cook quite well. She makes excellent bread and superior raised biscuits, but as she had never learned to cook, May has had to take the care of this branch of the work while the girl does all the washing and ironing for the whole family of nine, scrubbing the floors—for we have had no carpets except rugs on two floors. We think we can get along and May and Emily together do the cooking. The washings we can hire done. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 7

The school is certainly doing well. The students are the very best. They are quiet and are trying to get all the good possible. They all like Elder Rousseau and his wife as teachers. He does not show what there is in him, and there is chance for all to be disappointed by his unpretending ways, but when engaged in his work, he shows he has a store of knowledge and is apt to teach. It is so pleasant to see all the students well pleased. This is indeed a harmonious house—no jealousies, no jangling. It is refreshing. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 8

Two weeks ago last Sabbath I spoke in Prahran by urgent invitation. There is a small company who worship in a neat little hall a short distance from the school building. I was carried up in an arm chair by Willie and Brother Smith. The Lord gave me great freedom in speaking to the interested congregation. After I had spoken about forty minutes, Elder Starr followed with appropriate remarks. Brother Rousseau talked a short time. Willie spoke short and to the point. Then the students bore their testimony. Their countenances were beaming with interest and joy. They expressed their gratitude for the light given that day, and they appreciated it and would try to learn all they could to prepare themselves to do missionary work. It was an excellent meeting. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 9

We were accommodated with lodgings in the building. Brother and Sister Starr gave us their bed and room. We were all a little puzzled as to how I should manage. The bed was higher than I had been accustomed to sleeping upon, and it was an impossibility to get on and off the bed. After many preliminaries and plans the decision was made to put the wire spring on the floor. Then it occurred to me, which I mentioned to May, to get a box and I could step up on it and get up on the bed. I did so and got into bed in good order. I thought it strange none of us was sharp enough to think of this experiment sooner. It was a perfect success and simple as ABC. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 10

Next morning, Sunday, we had a very precious season of prayer with students and teachers. Then we had a council meeting with teachers and Brother and Sister Daniells and Sister Starr, the matron. We talked matters over and our consultation was profitable. We tried again to find a house but everything was hedged up. We returned to our home thankful to God for the strength that He has given me. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 11

One week ago last Sabbath the hall in the Echo office at North Fitzroy was packed full. Sabbath forenoon Elder Tenney preached. In the afternoon I spoke to the people with much freedom. Quite a large number of outsiders were present and expressed great interest in the subject presented, the love of God for His people and those that were afar off. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 12

There is need of one hundred workers right in Melbourne, and we can say there is scarcely anyone doing anything in missionary labor. A few faithful sisters are doing what they can. One sister, her husband an opposer, has a large family of children, yet she finds some hours in several days of the week to go out and give personal labor to those who are not in the light. She shows a deep zeal and earnest interest. She is humble, diligent in her work, and souls are now coming into the truth through her humble devotion to God and the truth and the love this woman reveals for their souls. There are two or three other sisters who are at work in the same way. May the Lord give them largely of His Holy Spirit and water the seed sown by these humble women of the gospel is my prayer. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 13

I am grateful to my heavenly Father that I am certainly improving. I sleep better, and I can walk better. While I cannot possibly climb a flight of stairs or descend the stairs, I can step up on the low step of the phaeton and get into it with much more ease. The Lord is good. I love Him and I will praise His holy name. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 14

I am glad Emma has gone with her mother to Colorado. I hope it will prove a great blessing to the dear child. I would much like to see my children, but I came here to do work for the Master, and I cannot see how it is possible for us to leave this country before this work is accomplished. We can do but little, but if we are willing and obedient, the Lord will use us as His human instruments to co-operate with Him. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Our efficiency is wholly in God. If we walk softly before Him and not in human independence, if we trust wholly in Jesus every day and every hour, we shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life. We are bought with a price, and our whole soul, body, and spirit belong to God. We want He should use us as His humble instruments, and all the glory of success shall be given to God. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 15

Nothing would gladden my heart so much as to hear that my children were walking in the truth, sanctified through the truth, and getting ready for the great day of God’s preparation. The end is near. We have no time to lose, no time to dally, no time to hesitate as to the course of action we should pursue. My son, I am praying for you. I am not at rest in reference to you. I long to see you a thoroughly interested, earnest worker in the cause of God; and this I know you can be if you will make a full consecration of yourself, without any reservation, to be wholly the Lord’s, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present life. We have no time for trifling. Every moment is fraught with eternal interest. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 16

We ourselves are deciding our destiny. Angels of God and Jesus Christ our Saviour, who is Judge of both quick and dead, are watching with longing, loving interest the development of character and weighing moral worth. Will the heart open to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness? Will the human agent cooperate with God? Will the truth sanctify the soul? Will the soul for whom Christ has given His own precious life respond in loving God with the whole heart and undivided affection? 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 17

Satan is playing the game of life for the soul, while Christ, the Prince of life, is drawing the soul to behold Him as the brightness of the Father’s glory, full of grace and truth, the Light of the world. Oh, how dark the world would be without this light, and yet so many turn from its bright rays, so the light is not admitted into the heart and does not illuminate the soul. Only those who reflect the image and character of Jesus Christ will be pronounced worthy of everlasting life. In every department of the work of God it is the willing mind, the earnest spirit, the love—true love for Jesus, who is truth and righteousness—that He appreciates in the human agent. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 18

September 23

I have had quite a good night’s rest in my new bedchamber. Last night a letter was received from Elder Daniells, stating that after long search a good house, furnished, containing six rooms, in a nice location in Adelaide, is secured at twenty-five dollars a month. W. C. White had just gone to return to Preston. He has not seen the letter, but I have sent downstairs the order for a telegram to be sent at once to Adelaide. We take the house. Elder Daniells says I ought to remain in the beautiful climate of Adelaide until Christmas. Our purpose was to spend six weeks in Adelaide, then go to Sydney and spend about four weeks, then return to Melbourne to the general conference and then sail for New Zealand. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 19

The temptation may come not to return to Melbourne but to go on to America, but I do not think I can do this and feel clear before God that I had done my duty unselfishly. We have Jesus before us as our pattern, and I want to follow the Pattern. He gave His life for me, and the Lord has evidenced He loves me in giving Jesus Christ His only begotten Son to die for me. Oh, shall I make no response to this large unparalleled love? God forbid! I love Jesus. I love the souls for whom He died, and I am going to do my best to save the perishing. 7LtMs, Lt 54, 1892, par. 20