Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 63, 1894

Olsen, O. A.

“Norfolk Villa,” Prospect St., Granville, New South Wales, Australia

July 19, 1894

Previously unpublished. +Note

Dear Brother,

You may regard this letter as a strange note to come from me, but what shall I do? I cannot follow two guides, two counselors. The Lord has given me words of caution in regard to certain positions and transactions that I am not to coincide with, for if I do, I shall be placed in discouraging positions, that your board would place me in if I were not guarded. Think you it is pleasant for me to stand in my own defense? Yet I must oppose a course that would be made as law from time to time in your councils in regard to matters which concern myself and the work God has given me to do. Think you it is pleasant for me to have to present eye-opening facts to my brethren in regard to W. C. White and myself? Those who are entrusted with responsibilities connected with the work of God should have sufficient discrimination, discernment, to understand the situation without my being compelled to war my way through. This is distasteful to me, and bruises my soul. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 1

If you, my brother, had not just visited this country, if you had not been on the ground yourself, then the matters that have transpired, the decisions made, would not have such a depressing influence upon my soul. I have written you largely; I need not repeat the matter here. W. C. White has had work to do of a most trying character. I know not of another individual who is fitted to do just that class of work. It is exceedingly depressing, and tells upon brain and heart. He has had no one to work in connection with him. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 2

In regard to my own situation I think I have laid the matter all out before you. You have been on the ground and could have borne testimony as an eyewitness. But the news comes. One dollar cut off from W. C. White’s wages. Under the circumstances, considering that he is provided with no helper, his wages should rather have been increased, for you have not had an extra man’s labor to pay for. W. C. is grinding out the very life of brain and body, to do all that he can, and then I have seen him weep and mourn because he has not power to do more. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 3

I had thought you would have discrimination; I thought that in councils and board meetings you could present in a correct light the work we are doing. But when the result of your board meetings and councils led you who were in responsible positions to cut down the means which has not been sufficient to sustain us in the position we were compelled to occupy as missionaries; when I have had to receive loans of $1,200 and use all in the work, with hundreds besides; when I have felt it a duty devolving on me to lift a burden of debt of $1,200 for W. C. White that he might feel free from this harassing perplexity of running behind, could not you have borne a decided testimony in regard to our work? You knew how I had donated toward building meetinghouses and given from $100 to $200 at the camp meetings in New Zealand and Australia, besides the $1,000 for the school land, and at the same time I was carrying several students through school, using the royalty on my foreign books sold in America. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 4

How can we feel that our work is discerned and appreciated when the cutting down must reach over to a field almost destitute of facilities and means? But let me tell you that the value of the money which you as a board have taken from us is little; it is the principle, it is the conviction that comes with it, that is not of a pleasant character. Wherever we are, we work with brain, heart, and means, not to be seen of men, but as in the sight of the whole universe of heaven. The money, God knows, we want not, only to advance His work and cause. You understand, or ought to understand the situation; and the thought that you could consent to this proposition testifies to me one of two things: either your eyes were holden that you did not discern the true situation of things when you were in this country and the character of the work that W. C. White is doing, and therefore in your action moved blindly, or your board is composed of men who are not taught of God, and yet you permit them to rule your judgments and your decisions. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 5

The Lord will not sanction any such administration, for it reveals a spirit that is not in harmony with the councils of heaven in regard to God’s workers who have given evidence that their life is bound up with His cause and work. The wound is deep, but I know it comes not from God’s hand; it is from the hand of man. This has done vastly more than anything that has ever before transpired in our lifetime to show me why the warnings have been so often given that my husband and myself could not rely upon our brethren to understand or appreciate our work, and we must not depend on councils or board meetings to point out our duty, nor must we follow their advice unless we knew that it is not contrary to the counsel of God. For in a special manner God has made us His agents to take a leading position in His work. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 6

This is why I write you this, that you may not class us with the disloyal, independent ones, if we do not agree to all the decisions made in your councils. I write that you may understand, if you have not hitherto understood, that I may have to take positions differing from those of my brethren in some things. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 7

The Lord presented before me reasons why building should not be added to building in Battle Creek, for this was an expression of selfishness. The reasons I have no liberty to give, for this would have made an impression upon many minds that would have led to extravagant movements in some directions. I dare not now speak what I have seen in reference to these matters. I told the brethren then that I had received light from the Lord, and gave them the counsel of the Lord, that money invested in the enlargement of the school building and other improvements might better be appropriated to this and other destitute fields in the regions beyond. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 8

I will now let this matter rest. I do not want to be under the necessity of appropriating in this field, right where I am, all the income from royalty on foreign books. I see that in so many churches there is great need that persons be educated and trained for the work in its different branches. I do not want that our people shall drive me to do this. But the Lord’s money must come to us from some source. We have had a perplexing experience in New Zealand and since coming to this place, with no means to handle, and the new fields opening, and no money in the treasury, the financial prospects in the colonies about as hard as possible, [and] Brother Jones feeling at liberty to withhold donations made for this field. How did he dare do this? 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 9

God has His agents, He can move on them; we are not to wait for everything to receive the superscription of Battle Creek before it shall do its work for God. The great dearth of means has tied our hands. To say nothing of other necessary outgrowths, the money hitherto received from the conference by myself would not supply my family with the necessary food and rent. Yet God has communicated to me that He expects us to act as His servants, to direct and lead out in the work. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 10

We are not to take a place to be led by those for whom we labor, but to lead, to do the work in this field under God’s guidance. In all humility of mind we must look to God for wisdom. We are to do His bidding in this portion of His great moral vineyard. God has placed my son in a position as counselor, to do a responsible work, to act as His servant, under His guidance, keeping in touch with God, counseling with His brethren, and acting in harmony with them if possible. He has been in fear and trembling, hesitating to do the very thing he should have done, fearing he would be misjudged. This has depressed him. I was shown that he was looking to others for his orders when he was to look to God and follow His leading. This fear and trembling and worriment must not be allowed to wear out his life. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 11

When the board or councils class W. C. White and myself with the laborers whom the Lord has not placed in so prominent a position, in the forefront of the battle, it is because they have not the discrimination that God gives. I have withheld these words for years, and W. C. White knows nothing of them, but I may feel it duty to tell him very soon. When I see him so self-controlled, so self-sacrificing, placing himself in any uncomfortable position to relieve others, and all the time depreciating himself, I am troubled. When I see him bowed down as a cart beneath sheaves or surprise him weeping, I have felt that it was best to tell him that we were servants to none but God. We were to listen to the words from the council of heaven, as servants not to any class of men but of the living God, and yet servants to all men, as laborers together with God. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 12

Since my brethren have made their decision as they have, that the supplies must be cut down, I must make my decisions as I have done, to use every power given me of God to bring, if possible, a salvage of means to use for the advancement of the work which my brethren cannot discern. O, the time seems so far gone now, and so many of the opportunities lost. I feel deep soul agony. I am amazed at many things. I am shaken off from every earthly dependence, and will look to God in all humility. I thought that yourself, and W. C. White and I were to stand together like a fortress, for the Lord has revealed that thus it should be. But although in some things it may be thus, in others it cannot be, for other councils prevail. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 13

Whatever donations any of my brethren may be moved by the Spirit of the Lord to send, I shall receive with gratitude, and apply carefully, as we see the cause of God demands. We do not wish to lose sight of the continually opening fields in regions beyond. O, how my soul is burdened to see that there are so few who realize the worth of precious souls for whom Christ died! A few go heavily burdened; they walk with great carefulness before the Lord, always fearing lest they shall not improve every heaven-imparted gift wisely and to the very best account. O that the Lord would grant His presence to His people because they appreciate His mighty power and goodness and love. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 14

I will not willingly do anything to keep alive envy, jealousy, and evil surmising. And now I contemplate taking nothing from the conference, although the money is God’s to be wisely and justly appropriated. But if I do this, it may remove from some minds a fear lest Sister White shall receive more than she really ought to have. When the decision of the board came to us, I was able to say, “O, God, thou knowest all things, and why the people have done to us as they have.” Poor souls, I will relieve them of this burden. If God will give me physical and mental power, I will write the book which I have so long neglected to write, and no one shall longer bear the burden of Sister White’s case. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 15

Christ is my Burden-bearer. When these souls shall drink in the Spirit of God, and have the mind of Christ, they may have some idea of the character of my mission and the work God has given me to do. When I am urged by the Spirit of the Lord to write for the Instructor, I will write. I have given myself, all that I have and am, to the Lord. The means that come into my hands I am using to advance His cause, which is dearer to me than my life. Through grace, all that I am and hope to be shall be His; my whole body and soul and spirit are the Lord’s. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 16

Do you remember that when men in positions of trust were receiving the large wages, $2 extra per week was offered me and sent to me, which I refused? If those who were paid the large wages feel clear in the sight of God today in retaining the money, I pity their consciences, for they have practiced robbery toward God. We have practiced economy in every line in order to save means to sustain the work in this country in its different branches. W. C. White has worked with brain and pen, laboring humbly and without parade. He has lived all he has talked to others in regard to economy. On the boats, when not compelled to look after me, he has taken his position in the steerage. On the cars we all ride second class, except when I must travel all night; then we have a sleeper for me and my attendant. Willie is unselfish, he is self-sacrificing, both as an example to others and for the truth’s sake. Great reforms are being made by some in this country, in both habits and practices. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 17

Several of our ministers here have said to me, “W. C. White is doing a work that is far reaching; his influence is molding and reshaping things in this country more than any preacher or president of the conference. It would be a great mistake to have him leave this field now.” I knew all this before, but had never spoken it to any one. I know how the Lord has used W. C. White in the past, and is still using him at the present time, and I know he has influence in reshaping the work. It costs him more than others realize. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 18

He has worked altogether too hard. If he is to continue in the position he now occupies, his work must be lightened, or he must have a helper. As his mother, I must not permit him to labor as he has done, although his work is performed uncomplainingly. I shall not be clear before God to hold my peace. If W. C. White could feel free in my work of book making, I should be rejoiced. For years I have had several books in mind that I greatly desire to write. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 19

If I do bring out these things, as I am so much burdened to do, I shall not be able to furnish articles for the papers as I have done, and the extensive letter writing must stop. Not long since, the Lord said to me, “I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] How or when it is to be given, I am not able to determine. I am now pleading with God, “Show me Thy way,” for great perplexities come upon me in connection with the work which torture my soul. I tremble and fear for the future of the cause. 9LtMs, Lt 63, 1894, par. 20