Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 156, 1896

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Ashfield, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

September 7, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 138.

Dear Children:

We left Cooranbong Friday. Sara accompanied me to this place for the purpose of meeting Elder Farnsworth and wife and speaking to the church in Ashfield. Brother and Sister Farnsworth and Elder Israel met with the Parramatta church Sabbath forenoon. Brother Farnsworth spoke to the church, and they said they had an excellent meeting. I spoke to those assembled in Ashfield. The house was well filled and the Lord gave me of His Holy Spirit, both forenoon and afternoon, and Sunday afternoon. Brother Farnsworth said a few words Sunday afternoon, and in the evening the church was well filled. On Sabbath afternoon there was a testimony meeting and the Lord Jesus was in our midst. 11LtMs, Lt 156, 1896, par. 1

I had not been to Sydney and suburbs for months, and after the meetings closed the church people pressed around me and expressed their great pleasure in seeing me and hearing me once more. The Lord gave me a message for them of comfort, of hope, and of courage. We were introduced to quite a number who were not in the faith, but investigating. There are souls continually coming into the church, uniting with us, but who go from Sydney to locate in other places to get employment and to let their light shine forth in new places. 11LtMs, Lt 156, 1896, par. 2

It requires moral courage to step out and accept the truth, for the Sabbath is a cross and cuts directly across their worldly prospects. But few business firms will consent to employ workmen who will not work on Saturday because they conscientiously observe that day sacredly unto the Lord. Yet there are families, entire families, embracing the truth, some by reading, others as the result of the camp meeting held in Ashfield, and others by tent meetings held since the Ashfield meetings. 11LtMs, Lt 156, 1896, par. 3

Money matters are very close; it is not a little perplexing how to manage to make the shillings and pounds go the longest way and accomplish the most good. I dismissed my workers a couple of weeks ago, but took on another company of workers who were verily destitute of food to eat and clothing to wear. One, Brother Parcels by name, had taken a little fruit farm, to raise peas and vegetables also, but the frost cut off his peas. I gave him a cow. Until he has fruit for sale, he will not have anything coming in. I learned the family were reduced so that they had lived only on squash for several days. I told him to come and I would give him work in making garden, putting in seed. This man has a wife converted from the Catholics, a fine, intelligent woman, a dressmaker. He was a sewing machine agent. They have four children to care for and very nice children they are. I cannot let this family be distressed for food and clothing. I sent my hired man, my horses and plow, and he broke up the land for them. It took him about one week to do this. 11LtMs, Lt 156, 1896, par. 4

Then there is a family in whom I am much interested named Matthews. They are Wesleyans. They attended the Bible institute meetings held in Cooranbong, and they became interested but have not fully taken their stand. They have a farm in the bush, as it is called here. They have taken up government land and have fenced it and set out orchard and improved it for three years. In two more years they will have their deed to the place—forty acres of excellent land. But he could get no work. He is a good carpenter. They have had scarcely anything to eat all winter, and he is talking of throwing up his land and moving away to South Africa, and all he has expended on it will be lost to them. I urged them to secure the place first, and then they could sell it if they wished to move away. I sent for him to come to my place, and I would find him work to do in making several large gates and doing such things for one pound per week and [they] board themselves, but I always have them sit at the table and take their noon meal with us, and I make them no extra charge for their dinner. 11LtMs, Lt 156, 1896, par. 5

And still another hearty working man has a family living at Parramatta. He came to Cooranbong to strip the bark from my wattle trees, for tanning leather. He earned something at this. While others charged him for the bark, I gave him that which he took from my place. I have set him at work at one pound per week [and] board himself, but we furnish him food from our table to help him as much as possible. 11LtMs, Lt 156, 1896, par. 6

And there is one man named Leonard, who came one year ago inquiring for work. He had buried his wife and three children, and he felt inconsolable, incapable of doing anything. He just sat in the graveyard and mourned and wept all the time. The police took his case in hand and told him he could not allow it. The second time he spoke to him he told him if he did not go to work he would shut him up in the lockup. Then he did not know what to do. He inquired for work, but was so disconsolate no one would employ him. 11LtMs, Lt 156, 1896, par. 7

He was told by someone to come to Mrs. White’s place; she might find something for him to do. He had been so tempted. He said he had walked toward the creek and said, “I will end this matter by throwing myself into the creek.” But he thought, “I will wait one day more.” That was the day he came to my place and was taken in and work given him clearing the land. For several months he has had one pound per week and board himself. As soon as he obtained money, he bought him some clothing and attended Sabbath meetings, and works on Sunday. He is an intelligent worker, but cannot read. We find many men and women who cannot read. 11LtMs, Lt 156, 1896, par. 8

When my funds were getting so low, I was compelled to discharge him and several others but he was loath to leave. He built him a little bark shanty. He had a little tent. He cooked his own food. I gave him a mattress and pillow, flannel blankets for sheets, and nice warm comfortable [comforter] for his bed. He was the most thankful man I ever saw. He has had no work for a long time. He knew he could not get work unless from Willie or from me. But he would not leave to go on anyone’s premises but the school ground or on my farm. I called on him again to help us get ready to put in our crops and to clear the land for sweet corn. We have about ten acres cleared now, all ready for our crops. It is no small job to clear land from trees so large that when down the body of the trees are higher than my head. They are one hundred feet high, and some of the roots are two and three feet through. 11LtMs, Lt 156, 1896, par. 9

In two weeks will send you a letter, if the Lord will. I am not fit to write you more now. 11LtMs, Lt 156, 1896, par. 10