Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 50, 1894

Lindsay, Harmon

Granville, Australia

June 14, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in 9MR 94; 12MR 92-94; 4Bio 142.

Harmon Lindsay,

We occupy a house in Granville, a one story cottage, for which we pay $27 per month. The house affords but limited room for our large family and frequent visitors, so I purchased a tent for $35 and had it pitched close by the house. The tent is brought into use when company comes. Our expenses are much heavier in this country than in America. We have to make very close figuring in order to do our duty to ourselves and to all outside our own family who need assistance and who will suffer without it. My clothing is getting very shabby, but I cannot expend money even on needed articles of dress when I see families that cannot buy bread. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 1

One family, that of Brother Whiteman, who lives at Castle Hill, have been in great financial perplexity. Before the hard times came, Brother Whiteman was in good circumstances. During the land boom he purchased twenty acres of land, and set it out to orange, lemon, and other fruit trees. These bring him no profit for three or four years. Elder Starr and his wife, Brother McCullagh and myself went to visit them, twelve miles from Granville. We always take more provisions with us than we need, for we wish to be a spiritual blessing to the ones we visit, and do not want them to be worrying in preparing food for us. We found a very needy family. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 2

Brother Whiteman has a consumptive wife and seven children. They have a comfortable house, nicely located on a beautiful spot of ground, but the house is [only] partially furnished, and everything bespeaks pressure and want. The purchase was made before they accepted the truth. Brother Whiteman is an intelligent man, and his children are well behaved. They will soon be left motherless. In building their house Brother Whitman incurred a debt, and now he cannot obtain work. He is a stone mason by trade. His brother, who has money in the bank, promised to loan him money if necessary, but in the financial pressure the bank closed, and the brother cannot obtain a pound; he must wait until better times for his money. Brother Whiteman is in debt to the same bank, and he is in daily expectation of receiving a summons either to repay the money loaned him or to lose all that he has. He said, “For many months we have not lived, only existed.” 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 3

This depression of finances has brought several families who believe the truth into destitution because of foreclosures. Brother Whiteman was in great discouragement as he looked upon his dependent family. He was in danger of giving up everything. We had a most precious season in praying and conversing with them. They had not attended meetings for months. The Lord blessed us, and comforted the hearts of this dear family, and although they live twelve miles from Parramatta church, and ten miles from Kellyville church, of which they are members, they have been out every Sabbath since, and now instead of talking unbelief and discouragement, they are talking faith and hope and courage. Thank the Lord for this. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 4

A week ago Sabbath I rode with Willie to Kellyville to meet with the little flock there, and I was so glad the Lord inclined our hearts to go. I had been quite ill, and had not designed to attend meeting, but to rest and be prepared to give a discourse on temperance Sunday afternoon in the Masonic Hall at Parramatta. On Sabbath the little church at Kellyville was full. Brother Whiteman and his family were all there, and with him came still another family, his neighbors; the father had not been a believer, but he is planting his feet upon the Rock of Ages. I had a word in season for the little flock, and then Willie talked in the Spirit. He was as tender in heart as a little child, and the melting Spirit of God rested upon us. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 5

Some of those who are newly come to the faith knew not how to bear testimony, for they had never done this; but I presented the matter before them, and urged them to be earnest, interested workers for the Lord Jesus, and to serve Him. This they must do if they had a living church; every one must bear his share of the responsibility. If they would exercise their ability, God would give them increased power, and this was the way to let their light shine out to the world. Well, fifteen testimonies were borne. Some had never before opened their lips in meeting, although they were intelligent men. Among these were the two Firth brothers, who had recently been persecuted for working on their farm on Sunday. On the day of our visit they bore their testimony for the first time. The blessing of the Lord rested upon all present. After meeting we rode home, a distance of twelve miles, eating our lunch as we slowly climbed the hills. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 6

Brother McKenzie lives at Kellyville. He has been a real estate agent, earning from twenty to forty pounds sterling a month. When the tent was pitched at Kellyville, he, with his wife and elder children, embraced the truth. This is a most precious family, intelligent and devoted. They had purchased and cleared twenty acres of land, which cost them thirty pounds sterling an acre, and set it out to fruit trees. It was entirely paid for, and, expecting to be as prosperous as he had been, Brother McKenzie built himself a nice cottage and had it expensively furnished. But the financial crisis came, and he with hundreds of others was thrown out of employment for men had no money to purchase land and dwelling houses. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 7

The Sabbath is a very serious obstacle in the way of doing business, yet the discouraging outlook does not deter souls from obeying the truth. Brother McKenzie and all his house are on the Lord’s side. Parents and children number ten. Brother McKenzie could not get work, and his property was sold, all his household goods. His brethren bid in a few of the most essential articles for housekeeping, and gave them to him. He is now trying to work in the canvassing field, but poverty prevents people from buying books. Last Sabbath I inquired of Sister McKenzie in regard to her husband, how he was doing. “Oh,” she said, “Sister White, he is doing very badly. A box of books sent from Sydney went astray, and my husband and fellow worker depended on these books to pay for their food and lodgings. He has written for me to sell anything in the house to raise two pounds, and send [to] him to pay their expenses. He is in company with the state canvassing agent, and both are in the same situation.” 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 8

We could not talk these things over more fully on the Sabbath. On Sunday I had an appointment to speak at Parramatta. On Tuesday I divided our supply of provisions, and Sister Belden and I rode out to visit the family. We took them peas, tapioca, flour, graham and white, and one pound in money to supply the necessities of their family. We found Sister McKenzie full of courage and faith. When we gave her the supplies, she said, “Sister White, I thank you, I thank you oh so much. This will keep us a fortnight. My son is at work, doing a man’s labor, but he can get only a boy’s wages, $2 a week. He sends every dollar to me. Until quite lately he has been out of work. Awhile ago he had a job of clearing land, for which he received one pound per week. His work was pronounced satisfactory, but the man who employed him persisted in withholding $2 which was his due; he would not pay it because my son worked on Sunday.” 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 9

Those who keep the Sabbath in this country, and do not respect Sunday, arouse the ire of the beast. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” [Revelation 12:17.] This we experience. Many honest souls would keep the Sabbath, but they can see nothing but starvation for their families. Many who have kept the Sabbath for years barely exist, the times are so hard. We have felt it impossible to sustain ourselves in this country upon the wages we receive. We simply cannot possibly do this. I feel the need of wisdom to know what to do. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 10

In every place where souls are coming into the truth, humble houses of worship have to be erected, and the people are poor, and able to do little to help. Many are in debt, and what can we do but to give? Starting out with a donation, we are able to call out all that possibly can be drawn from the believers. In Gisborne I gave five pounds to help clear the church from debt. This called out all we could obtain, which was twenty-five pounds. Of this Brother and Sister Wilson gave one pound. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 11

When the little church at Ormondville was completed, I was called upon to give the dedicatory discourse. We insisted that there must not be a debt on the house; it must be cleared before it was dedicated. Every dollar was raised that seemed possible, and I made up the amount by contributing five pounds. Brethren in the church had worked diligently in building, all giving their labor. One excellent brother had been waiting for baptism for months, but could not receive the ordinance until he could purchase a second suit of clothes. This brother I helped to attend the camp meeting at Wellington. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 12

The camp meeting at Wellington was a grand success, but it costs money to hold such a meeting in this country. I gave $130 toward the expenses of the camp meeting, and to help the tract and missionary work. At Napier I gave five pounds toward the expenses of the camp meeting, and five pounds more to meet other demands at that time and place. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 13

At Brighton, Victoria, I pledged $1,000 toward purchasing the land for the school building. This one donation more than covers my year’s wages from the conference. On the Brighton campground was a brother from Queensland, who had been a German minister and an excellent man, who had just accepted the truth. He had sold a horse to meet the expenses of his family in his absence, but the purchaser went back on his bargain, and the brother was in great distress, for his family had nothing with which to supply themselves with food. Willie came to me for help, and I gave the brother five or six pounds to sustain his family while he should remain a few weeks after camp meeting to study in preparation for going into the work. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 14

This is a sample of the way matters go. I gave ten pounds to help lift the indebtedness of the church in Parramatta. Forty dollars of this had been given me in donations from my friends in California during the time of my sickness. I have pledged ten pounds toward erecting a little church, which is a positive necessity, at Seven Hills. The brethren there are in limited circumstances; their little families live in very small, cheap houses. They will do all they possibly can do, for after the tent is taken down, there is not a place in which they can assemble to worship God. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 15

It is winter now, and night meetings under a tent are not comfortable or really safe, on account of the cold. Every dollar that has been sent me by my friends for my special benefit I have donated to the work, adding quite a little to every gift, in order to meet the various calls for means. I have had to be the bank for the school, to start it, and do much to keep it going for the first year. I have obtained a loan of twelve hundred dollars from America, and expended it all in meeting the necessities of the work in these new opening fields and in helping forward the school enterprise. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 16

My expenses in this country have been double what they would be in America. I pay my hired girl $3, and much of the time $4, besides her board, which is worth $3. May Walling receives $3 per week as my nurse, and for taking care of the rooms, and assisting in various ways. I have had one to serve as matron, for her board and room, $3.50 per week. We do not call on our landlord for any expense incurred for repairs or improvements, as my tenants in America call on me. I think if they understood my large expenses, they would not be quite so free to make expenses for me. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 17

Our expense in moving to this place was large. Then I keep a horse and carriage; this I cannot avoid. The churches in Kellyville, Castle Hill, and Seven Hills must be reached by private conveyance, and my horse and carriage is freely used by myself and others in the work and cause of God. But nothing of this expense has been brought into my account. At the conference in Melbourne in 1893 I saved our brethren carfare to the amount of five pounds by taking them to and from the meetings. Thus it has been, to some extent, in 1894. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 18

I have felt that it was my duty to enlighten my brethren somewhat in these matters. We are on missionary soil. W. C. White has had to step into the gaps, and make up the sums necessary to carry on the work or it would not be pushed. Our brethren in America have no idea of what it costs to work in these countries unless they have had an experience. What does it mean, such lack of perception? 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 19

And Brother Olsen has been here, could he not take in the situation? Could he not speak, and enlighten the board? I cannot think he went through this country and did not become intelligent in regard to the situation. He must have seen that we were straining every nerve and muscle to advance the work. I have never worked harder. I have devoted but a few weeks’ time to writing on The Life of Christ since I came to this country. Yet I am constantly at work, writing, arising at twelve o’clock at night, at one or two o’clock, and seldom sleeping later than four a.m. But I know not how to manage. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 20

In our journeys, when Willie does not accompany me, to care for me, he goes in the steerage, eats steerage food, and his mind having been on a continual strain, day and night, in council meetings, all this has been very taxing; but he thought he would set an example to the students and the canvassers to be saving of means. There is such a thing, however, as being far more economical of money than of brain, bone, and muscle, which are the gift of God in trust, to be treated respectfully. He is now suffering from a slow fever and congestion. 9LtMs, Lt 50, 1894, par. 21