Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 55, 1893

Foss, Mary

Russel Bay, off Island New Zealand

February 21, 1893

Portions of this letter are published in TMK 203; 4Bio 73-74.

Dear Sister Mary:

We have been anchored here for some hours. Yesterday we left Auckland, New Zealand. At six p.m. we left the hired house which we had occupied for nearly two weeks, and at seven p.m. our boat started from the wharf. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 1

During the twelve days while in Auckland, I labored hard. I spoke eight times, six times in the chapel, and twice in the opera house. All these meetings were held in the evening except two upon the Sabbath. The labor wore on me. I found my power of walking was not so good, and my hips were becoming more helpless. I had not been able to transfer a comfortable chair from Melbourne; I was so much improved in health I thought I could do without the conveniences; but, O, I had a hard time. Bro. Starr and Willie found an easy chair which they purchased for me. It was a new pattern and suited me as if made for me. I do not know how I could have taken this journey without this chair. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 2

When we came on the boat at Auckland, there was a stiff breeze, but I chose to stay in my chair on deck. The state rooms were all below the deck, and very close; I could not occupy them. I was wrapped up like a mummy to shelter me from the storm and wind. My chair was the easiest I ever had, but after about two hours my hip began to pain me, and I knew I must lie down. When Willie came to see if all was well with me, I told him I could not endure to sit up any longer. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 3

The only place open to me on deck was the smoking room, but all said if I could not do better they would empty that room and put my spring bed in there; but lo, the bed would not go in. Then the steward and W. C. White went off by themselves to get things fixed. After a while they came and helped me to the other side of the boat, where a shelter had been made with rugs, and I lay down on a good spring cot, O, so grateful for the privilege. The brass band had come on board at Auckland, and they entertained us with music, but I had become so nervous from weariness and pain that I could not enjoy it. I had a burning fever nearly all night. The arrangement made for me on deck was a great comfort, and I felt so thankful for the change from chair to cot. Emily lay in a steamer chair next me. Willie had a steamer chair on the other side of me. Bro. and Sr. Starr were below in a state room. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 4

About midnight I saw an immense rock towering out of the sea at a great height; it looked so singular in the midst of the water. This rock is called Faranga. It belongs to a group called the hen and chickens. We came quite near this island about seven in the morning, but suddenly the fog settled down upon us, and the sailors cast anchor and delayed landing the passengers. The musicians whiled away the time in giving us music, which was more agreeable to me now than last evening, when every nerve was throbbing with pain. We had our breakfast after the boat drew up to the wharf, being delayed one hour. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 5

The steward was very kind and attentive. He will do anything and everything for us that we hint we want to have done. He is an intelligent, prepossessing young man, the son of Bro. Rout of Auckland. He belongs to a family of nineteen children, his father having twice married. The young man does not keep the Sabbath, but no one could be more attentive to us than he is. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 6

Yesterday the captain visited a long time with us and told us what he had suffered from rheumatism. He had been drawn out of shape and had to go on crutches. He went to the hot sulphur springs and was entirely cured by the hot baths. His wife was very urgent that I should go to the springs on my return to Auckland from the conference. If the way seems to open I will do so, as the springs are not far from Auckland. The Lord direct me is my prayer. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 7

This place, Russel, is a beautiful rural seaport town. Bro. and Sr. Starr, Willie, and Emily went on shore and made a nice little visit to the place. They brought back some sweet briar and a few plants of the myrtle family and some sprigs from the pine trees. I think it is not possible for any one who is not a Christian to understand and enjoy the works of God and the precious things in nature. When we behold the evidences of His matchless love, in the lofty trees, the shrubs and opening flowers, our minds are carried up from nature to nature’s God, and our hearts overflow with gratitude to the great Master Artist who has given us all these beautiful things to delight our senses. We recognize the expression of His love, and His delight in making us happy. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 8

I love Jesus, I love my heavenly Father for His love and mercy and gentleness to the children of men. Who can be indifferent to His manifest interest in us? Who can forbear to love Him? Truly in our coldness and indifference and disobedience it may be said, “We treat no other friend so ill.” The love of God should be constantly welling up in our hearts and should find expression in grateful words, in praise and gratitude to our heavenly Father for His mercies every day. It is through Jesus Christ our Mediator that all our blessings come. And how appropriate for us to acknowledge His unremitting care and ceaseless love. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 9

We have now only a few hours ride to Kaeo. Here is a company of interesting people—a father and his children and grandchildren. Father Hare is now in the seventies. He has a family of twenty-four children. He is living with his second wife and is rearing the second family of children. He is a man much respected. The community was so anxious to see us that we consented to take this trip from Auckland to Kaeo. They have a little chapel, which was built by the Hare family. One son is in Auckland, one son obtained his education at our college in Healdsburg, California. We feel pleased that we can visit this church consisting mostly of the members of this one large family. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 10

I suppose you receive the Review and Herald and Signs of the Times. I will send you with this the Echo published in Melbourne, Australia. Willie stands at the head of the publishing office in the absence of Elder Tenney who has gone to the General Conference in America by the way of India and Palestine. It was necessary, however, for Willie to accompany me to New Zealand. We are to have an important meeting, a conference and camp meeting, in this country in a few weeks. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 11

Then after three-months’ labor in New Zealand we return to Sydney, and shall probably make our home this winter in Parramatta, a few miles from Sydney. Sydney has a mild climate and has many advantages over Melbourne. This is the only season of the year when it is safe for me to visit New Zealand. They have a great deal of rain; summer and winter the grass is green. They raise much very fine fruit in this country. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 12

Willie’s family is in Battle Creek, Michigan. The children are well cared for by one of the best of girls. They love Mary Mortensen, and she loves them. We receive letters from Mary and from Ella May White every month. Ella May is now eleven years old and Mabel seven. They are very good, sensible children. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 13

May Walling is still with me, but she was not feeling very well, and I consented that Emily alone should accompany me on this journey. I think I told you that Elder Starr and his wife were appointed by the General Conference to accompany me from America to Australia and New Zealand. Byron Belden and Sarah were doing well when we left Melbourne five weeks ago. Stephen is now delivering books for the canvassers. His health is not good. He lives close by Byron, but he and his wife keep house by themselves. Byron helps his father considerably, for Stephen’s health is so poor that he is not able to do very much work. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 14

I would be so glad to see you and to have you live with me if I ever return to America. We expect to remain in this country one year longer. There was a very urgent call for us to attend the General Conference now in session, but we knew that this was not our duty. For eleven months I have been sick and unable to attend meetings much. The people believing the truth in this country feel that they have met with a great loss because of my illness, and I would not dishearten them by turning my face toward America until I labor in the cities and the churches that have been raised up. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 15

For many years I have not followed inclination or impulse or my choice. I have studied what is God’s will. What shall I do to glorify God? I am pledged to serve my Saviour with undivided affection. I count everything but dross that I may win Christ. Heaven, eternal life, is worth everything to me, and Christ has died that I might come into possession of the eternal weight of glory. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 16

I hope, my dear sister, that the Lord will comfort you with His rich grace, and that you will have His strength to overcome and have a home in the mansions of the blest. We cannot afford to make any mistake where eternal interests are involved. To be indifferent to the claims of God upon us is most ungrateful. We cannot neglect this great salvation and be guiltless. An eternity of bliss has been purchased for every son and daughter of Adam, and all may have a clear title to the immortal inheritance, the eternal substance, if they will in probationary time prove their obedience to the commandments of God. All will be tested in this life. If they show that they love God, if they by faith lay hold on the merits of Christ and serve God with all their hearts, they will have a title to those mansions that Jesus has prepared for all that love Him. But how will heaven look upon those for whom Christ gave His life, but who have no thought or care for these things? 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 17

My sister, let us love God supremely, allowing no influence to come between us and our God. We must give heed to the light which God has permitted to shine upon our pathway; we must show before all heaven that we appreciate every ray of light; we must reflect that light upon others. We are responsible to God for our influence. Even if we are compelled to stand apparently alone, we are not alone, for Christ is with us to encourage and strengthen and bless us. He is acquainted, dear sister, with every desire of your heart, with every purpose of your soul. He says, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” [John 14:18.] 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 18

Let us believe that God will do just as He has promised. “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” [Hebrews 2:17, 18; 4:15, 16.] 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 19

My dear sister, I am so sorry you did not attend the camp meeting. You needed the comfort and blessing, the light and hope and courage, you could have received had you been present. If the camp meeting is so near you another year, I hope that you will not miss the opportunity. We want every ray of light we can obtain. Darkness has covered the earth, and gross darkness the people, but those who will press on in the footsteps of Jesus will not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. We must not allow our minds to drift, and come to no point. We know that the Lord is soon to come, and we must serve God from principle, and be firm as a rock to follow in the path of obedience, because it is the only safe path. We cannot follow where the world leads the way. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 20

“Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 17:17; 14:15.] “Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whosoever keepeth his words, in him verily is the love of God perfected. Hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk, even as he walked.” Mark these words: “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye have heard from the beginning.” [1 John 2:3-7.] 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 21

May the Lord impress your mind that it is time you walked in the light, not as if begging pardon of your children and all the world because you choose to obey the light, but as a faithful steward of the grace of Christ. Exert every jot of influence God has given you to win every child from disobedience to faith and obedience, and you will have your reward by and by. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 22

Love to all your children. 8LtMs, Lt 55, 1893, par. 23