Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 121, 1893


Auckland, New Zealand

December 15, 1893

Portions of this letter are published in 11MR 15-19.

Dear Children:

We are now on the deck of the Wairarapa, alongside the wharf. Emily and I have not eaten our breakfast. I have been suffering some pain in stomach and bowels, having severe spasms of pain. Elder Olsen and Willie have gone off the boat now at nine a.m. to see if they can find me something in the line of fruit that I can eat, and bread. I have now lived without being able to masticate food six months, depending upon soft food and watery substances. For four weeks I have had my permanent set of teeth and must now learn to eat with them. Am making slow progress. I think eating so little fresh fruit and depending on soaked bread has produced such a condition of things with my digestive organs that it will take time to set them in a healthful condition. But I hope to overcome the difficulty very soon. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 1

Elder Olsen is to be shown now something of Auckland. We thought we would study economy. The same conveyance that will take us to ride will take us to the house of Edward Hare where we will be entertained probably until we shall leave Auckland. We will have to leave Auckland harbor, I understand, Sabbath noon. We can hold meetings with the church this evening and tomorrow forenoon, then resume our position on the boat. The carriage takes us for our drive from the boat and saves us five shillings, going both trips in one. There are very fine drives about Auckland. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 2

We were all just about used up when we came on board. Our meetings at Wellington were three weeks of solid labor, and I had spoken in Gisborne eleven times, in Napier once, and at Ormondville and Norsewood three times before this meeting in Wellington. We have not recovered from the strain yet. Elder Olsen was the main worker in Wellington. He was much liked by all who heard him. Dr. M. G. Kellogg was also much liked. He dwelt upon health questions and was a real help in the meetings. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 3

I have told you how difficult it was to get any hearing in Wellington. The prejudice that has been created by false reports from the clergy has made congregations afraid of Seventh-day Adventists. An expensive effort was made to reach the people, but with little results. It was not thought it could be a possible thing to have tent meetings and camp meetings in Wellington. The circus tried it with great loss. The winds are quite severe, coming up sometimes very, very tempestuous. Many of the circus tents were strung to ribbons soon after being pitched. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 4

A very favorable place was secured, enclosed by a high fence, with gate which was securely locked every night. This was a great protection from winds and from intruders. Nothing superfluous was arranged in the large tent. There were nature’s own treasures of flowers and growing ferns—plenty of large choice bouquets. There was a reception tent, furnished by Sister Tuxford—mostly with her own furniture. She also furnished oil cloth for the floor. The book tent was in a portion of this tent. It was nicely prepared and very attractive. The tents were all newly made in Australia and transported to Wellington and are to be taken back for the Australian camp meeting. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 5

We had much fear lest we would have a very slim attendance, but we were happily disappointed. From the first to the last there was a good appearance of congregation of the best class of our own people who fed on the bread of life during the meeting. Evenings there were good-sized congregations of outsiders. The camp meeting was such a marvel of wonders that everybody who could get to the campground came and visited it and was delighted with the order and the thoroughly nice work which was manifested on the ground. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 6

The tents are floored and carpeted. Elder Israel’s tent was a square, roomy tent. A section was reserved for my special benefit, then a center room was curtained off, then next there was a curtain between Elder Israel’s bedroom and the center room. Here I was perfectly at home. Beside this we rented two convenient rooms within two minutes’ walk of the ground. We were well situated. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 7

But the very best of all is that we have had good, large, respectful audiences, and a very large number of people now understand what we do believe. The discourses have been close, plain, and thorough upon present truth, appropriate and applicable to our time. The people listened as if spellbound. The large tent had been spliced in the middle with new canvas, making the canvas to cover double the space of last year. The citizens were impressed with this meeting as nothing else could have transpired to impress them. When the winds blew strong, there would be many looking with wonder to see every tent standing unharmed. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 8

Brethren Wilson and Kellogg and your mother had the labor to perform the first week, but the Spirit of the Lord came into the meeting and hearts were moved. Outside attendance was excellent on Sundays and evenings. The most plain testimonies were borne from the first. I felt, when speaking on Sabbath and Sunday afternoons, that the trumpet must give no uncertain sound. I showed them plainly I had a message from the Lord that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment meant much to them and to us, in reference to the manner in which we treat it. To the obedient, it is a sign of their loyalty to God, not only for the Jews but for all people, the whole posterity of Adam through all time. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 9

At first the congregation could not be accommodated with seats, but plenty of seats were secured after the initial meetings, and all seats were filled. Many were standing inside the tent and outside. Thus it has been evenings and Sundays. The third angel’s message has been heard—proclaimed with a loud voice. Elder Wilson has done splendidly in his discourses, and the people listened to the truth. It was the camp meeting which was a living notice to Wellington. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 10

One young man heard of the meeting by accident. He is about thirty years old. He has embraced the truth and has been baptized. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 11

I think I wrote you about a family by the name of Brown whom I visited—a large family twenty miles from Wellington. I remained with them ten days, and all who were at home pledged themselves to be Christians. One daughter has returned home. The mother, a very remarkable, pleasant woman, has been the mother of twenty children. Several are dead. She came the first part of the meeting. They rent a farm and the rent money comes quarterly, but for this once no rent money came in its season. I was very close in money matters, but I said, “This family, many of whom had never heard a discourse except from myself on that visit, should have the chance to attend this meeting.” Well, the mother and three youngest members of the family came—Alex, sixteen years old, and the two girls, one fourteen and the youngest nine. I advanced two pounds for them to come to the meeting. These children remained with the mother, were baptized, and returned to their home and sent the older members—four grown daughters from seventeen years of age to thirty. These were all united with the Wellington church after their baptism. They have a church now at Long Point, Paremata, numbering nine of their own household. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 12

A very nice elderly lady has been living with them six years—a widow. She has a very nice house and a little farm, but rents it. She is a member of the State Church. She received the Sabbath and came to the meeting to be baptized. All were baptized and returned home happy in the truth. Twenty-two were baptized at this meeting. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 13

I must stop writing for we now leave the boat. The hack has come. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 14

This is miserable paper, but I cannot get hold of any other so Emily let me have this, for I cannot see what time I shall get to write. I calculated to do so much talking with Elder Olsen and writing on the boat, but we are just strengthless. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 15

I am dizzy. I think the motion of the boat is the reason. Emily is unable to do much of anything. Willie is our main dependence. He makes our beds and, the last few days, does all that is done. He braves it out quite well, but he is not free or feeling much force. He has to attend to us, because we cannot help ourselves. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 16

December 24

Sydney, Tract and Mission House

Willie has not had time to read your letter to me. I have read it with joy. He has read yours to him and he wishes me to say to you that he will not have any time to write you to go in this mail. Elder Olsen and W. C. White and myself counted on doing much planning and writing on the boat, but we only had two seasons of talk together. He was under the weather and Emily much so. I was unable to hold up my head for so much of the time, and there were seven days on the boat and no writing of any consequence done. As soon as we came here, we found Captain McNursey and Brother Robert Hare and Elder Corliss waiting to see us. So we had to lay plans crisscrossing to meet the expectations of the people in Sydney, Parramatta and Kellyville. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 17

But the first journey was in the cars, fifty miles travel in the interior to see a tract of land—if suitable for the location of the school. Here was rode miles in an old wagon, with a horse that would only walk over rough roads. We saw much that was interesting, but do not know any better or come any nearer a decision until we see other places. Then, from the cars W. C. White had to rush on to Parramatta to be in Kellyville on Sabbath. Elder Olsen spoke in Sydney Friday night, and I was to speak Sabbath afternoon and Elder Olsen go on cars to Parramatta. 8LtMs, Lt 121, 1893, par. 18