Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Ms 55, 1893

Labors in Gisborne, New Zealand.

Gisborne, New Zealand

October 30, 1893

Formerly Undated Ms 76. Portions of this manuscript are published in Te 264-265.

I have worked very hard since coming to New Zealand. I am constantly employed either in speaking, traveling or writing. All the recreation I feel at liberty to have is a couple of hours’ drive each day. 8LtMs, Ms 55, 1893, par. 1

We have been in Gisborne three weeks last Sunday morning. The first Sunday evening I spoke to a congregation assembled in our S.D.A. chapel. As Brother and Sister Wilson are with us we decided to work in a new line to get the people. We issued handbills, advertised in the paper, as well as sending a handbill with each paper, that I would speak in the open air in the enclosure, or lot of land, adjoining the post office. There are trees around this enclosure (paddock, as they call it), and a large tree in the center; also large piles of timber which we used, making a platform twelve feet long, on which we placed the organ and a table. Sufficient seats, without backs, were arranged to seat a large number, and Sister White, who [on] November 26 would enter her 66th year, spoke to hundreds in the open air in God’s own temple, [with] the canopy of heaven for a covering, and the ministering angels were on the ground. 8LtMs, Ms 55, 1893, par. 2

There was one intoxicated man who continued to talk, not viciously, but his reason had been sold at the bar of the liquor vendor. A policeman was sent for who kindly drew him away, and not the least disturbance was created. I paid no notice to him, and when two or three commenced smoking their pipes, I kindly invited them to let me have pure air to breathe, free from tobacco poison. To them it seemed such a strange request, because the practice is so universal. They seemed rather dazed, but put up their pipes. There has not been seen a more orderly, quiet, well-behaved meeting in a house of worship. There was quite a crowd on the outskirts of the enclosed paddock. But it was so surprising a matter that a woman’s voice could be heard so distinctly, the whole company listened with the deepest interest. 8LtMs, Ms 55, 1893, par. 3

Several intelligent Maoris were present. One half-caste was present, who has been nominated a member of Parliament from this district. The election has not yet taken place, so it is not yet ascertained whether he will succeed or not. He is an intelligent man, and he interpreted to an elderly Maori gentleman. Many children were present and you would think that an opiate had been given them, they were so quiet. 8LtMs, Ms 55, 1893, par. 4

My subject was temperance, treated from the Christian standpoint: the fall of Adam, the promise in Eden, the coming of Christ to our world, His baptism, His temptation in the wilderness and His victory. And all this to give man another trial, making it possible for man to overcome in his own behalf, on his own account, through the merits of Jesus Christ. Christ came to bring to man moral power, that he may be victorious in overcoming temptations on the point of appetite and break the chain of slavery of habit and indulgence of perverted appetite, and stand forth in moral power as a man; and the record of heaven accredits him in its books as a man in the sight of God. 8LtMs, Ms 55, 1893, par. 5

It was so different from anything that they had ever heard on temperance, they were held as if spellbound. Oh, I felt to thank God from my heart that I could speak to hearers that would hear, and many seemed deeply affected. This proved a success. The following Thursday I spoke in the S.D.A. chapel with freedom, but with a smaller congregation. Sabbath we had a precious meeting. The ordinance of feet washing and the Lord’s Supper were celebrated, and it was a profitable occasion for all present. Elder Wilson has labored constantly having morning and evening meetings. In these meetings he takes up one important truth after another and explains the matter very clearly. 8LtMs, Ms 55, 1893, par. 6

When I speak in the church owned by our people I have only a small audience. I spoke again on Sabbath and Thursday evening, and the attendance was limited. Sunday I again spoke in God’s temple made not with hands, and there was a large number out to hear. Many of them were young men who listened with the greatest attention. I continued the subject of temperance, which is a live question in Gisborne at this time. I can only judge by appearance that many hearts were deeply stirred. Again I spoke the third Sunday in the Theater Royal to a good large audience, although the Salvation Army was having their out-of-door parade and meeting, and all the churches had evening meetings. The Lord gave me His Holy Spirit, and I said many plain things which left a most solemn impression upon the minds of those present. The contribution more than paid for the expense of the hall, the handbills and notices in the papers. 8LtMs, Ms 55, 1893, par. 7

Now the American mail must be prepared, and I must give my attention to it. 8LtMs, Ms 55, 1893, par. 8