Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

136/300

Lt 111, 1896

Wessels, Sister

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

May 3, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in 4Bio 266.

Dear Sister Wessels:

I address Mother Wessels, whom I have seen and love in the Lord. Could I see you, I might talk with you face to face, and this would be much better, much more satisfactory than writing. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 1

All of us who have come to Cooranbong are perfectly satisfied with the location chosen for our school. It was thought best for me to purchase forty acres of land and build a cottage, which in the first place we intended to use for an office. Our building proper was to be erected as soon as the office was enclosed. But demands came for money from other directions. We held two camp meetings, one in Melbourne, and one in Hobart, Tasmania. These meetings cost something, and I must help all I can, so I have made my cottage commodious, and have given up the other building until our school building is erected. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 2

Willie and his family came with us from Granville, and we fitted up the washhouse, two small rooms each twelve by twelve, and my family tent, for them. Monday, April 6, May Lacey White presented her husband with a pair of boys, the first weighing six and a half pounds, the second five and a half. They have perfect forms. The heads of both are well developed. We were all much pleased, and Ella May and Mabel White were delighted. Mabel has given away her dolls, for she says she now has two living babies, and she has no time to play with dolls. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 3

The mother and children are both doing well. The babies are very quiet. The mother has plenty of nourishment for them, and she appears very motherly with her two little boys. The father feels very much pleased over his little human treasures. The family now number six. We will have to begin to build a home for this family which will be more convenient and comfortable than the washhouse can be made, as the winter is coming; but we will do anything if the school buildings can go up. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 4

It was thought advisable to clear the land and set out fruit trees before any building was done, for all our fruit and vegetables must come from Newcastle or Sydney, and much of it spoils in the transportation. We are pleased to report that our trees are doing well, and the words of the heavenly messenger are correct, “False witness has been borne against the land. Properly worked, the land will produce its treasures.” So it is doing. We planted our first crop very late, and yet the second crop is now up. We have had beautiful tomatoes, peas, beans of a superior quality, watermelons, squashes, cucumbers, carrots, and turnips. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 5

We did not plant as extensively as we shall do the coming season. We were obliged to attend the camp meetings, and the men employed to clear the land and plant the crops, had no faith, for they had been influenced by false reports. On this account we had only a small portion of land cultivated. But the growth of that which was planted surprised us all. It was luxuriant. Thus we have learned that the land will produce fruit and vegetables, and have demonstrated the testimony given by heaven. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 6

The climate in this place is excellent. Ella May and Mabel White have grown fleshy and robust. Ella May has gained twenty-five pounds since leaving San Francisco. When they reached here they both looked so pale that it made me feel bad. At present Ella May weighs one hundred and seven pounds. She has outgrown all her clothes. Mabel is improving in every way; her cheeks are as red as a rose. They are real little workers. I have just come from their kitchen where Ella had six loaves of bread nicely baked, just from the oven. Ella cooks one week and Mabel the next. They find abundance to do without spending their time in mere play or diversion. I think the climate is good for animals also, for our old grey horse, which you rode after when here, seems to have gained a new lease of life. She is full of energy. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 7

I have been interrupted in my writing by a visit from Brother and Sister Starr and Sister Rousseau. They will take dinner with us, but while they are visiting with May Lacey White, I will resume my writing. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 8

You will remember that after coming to this country, I had a severe attack of rheumatism. After my recovery from my helpless, crippled state, the lower part of my spine was severely afflicted with pain. I had a spring seat which I was obliged to use when riding, and it was with difficulty that I could walk. I prayed much about this, and since coming to Cooranbong the Lord has removed this difficulty. I now use no spring seat when travelling. This relieves me from much suffering and embarrassment. I have every reason to praise the Lord for His precious, healing power. I begin my writing very early in the morning. Sometimes I am compelled to rise at twelve midnight, sometimes at one a.m., and sometimes at two, but my usual hour is three a.m. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 9

Brother and Sister Prescott, Grace, and Lewis, left Cooranbong last Wednesday. I felt sorry to have them go. We have enjoyed their company and our association together very much. Brother Prescott has a message from the Lord, and we know that he will do much good in the churches in Africa. May the Lord prepare the way for the message He shall send. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 10

Our meetings here were most excellent. The meeting was in session for one month. The outside interest was so great when the meeting closed that we decided to keep the tent up at least two weeks longer, and give an opportunity for all who desired the truth to come and hear. Elder Starr and myself are carrying on the meetings. We hold two meetings on Sabbath and two on Sunday. During the week Elder Starr and his wife visit the people. There are several who are convicted of the truth. They bear testimony that after hearing the minister at the tent discourse upon the Bible, they can get nothing that feeds them in the other churches. One old gentleman stated that when Mrs. White spoke he could hear every word that she said, she talked so plain; and he was much pleased. This is the greatest recommendation I can have. This same old gentleman said that once he thought he was a Christian, but he was persuaded to go into a saloon, and he took liquor and became drunk. I think he said he lost his property. At least, after this he quit using liquor, wine, and tobacco. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 11

A few miles from here there is a neighborhood composed of three families. They are strictly temperate, using nothing in the line of narcotics. They are walking in the light so far as they have it, and they are eager to hear more. Brother Starr is visiting them; quite an excitement is created by opposition. The schoolmistress of Cooranbong wrote to one lady, asking her not to let her children go to the tent for Sabbath school, as it was not the right thing for them to do. But the one to whom the letter was written sent back word that she should do as she thought best in that matter, and straightway sent all her children to the tent. The sound has gone forth, and the truth has been spoken in a clear, distinct manner. The first and most responsible men in Cooranbong and the surrounding localities have been out to hear. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 12

This is the second Sunday since the institute closed, and as yet all those who came from a distance to attend the institute and returned home at its close have not been missed in numbers. But we miss their faces and their labors. This afternoon I speak at three o’clock, and Brother Starr speaks this evening. Oh, my soul is burdened for these poor, scattered sheep, who might just as well be without a shepherd. The minister who comes every two weeks to preach to them, came today. This was not his Sunday to come, but he came to warn all to keep away from the tent. Thus you see that the enemy is alarmed. I think we will keep the tent up two weeks longer if we can, but there is danger that the heavy winds will tear it to pieces. At this time of the year the winds are apt to arise and blow quite severely for a time. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 13

Two young men by the name of Whitehead attend our meetings. They live on the border of the lake. These brothers live together on a farm, and employ another young man. All three are bachelors. They have hired a farm and are raising grapes, persimmons, melons, peaches, apples, and sweet potatoes. They also keep bees. They came here from the island of St. Helena, to which Napoleon was exiled. They have no relatives in this country, but seem to be fine young men. They say that at times they are very lonely. I have given them Patriarchs and Prophets and Steps to Christ. We feel a deep interest in them, and desire that they shall see and believe the truth. They came to our meetings last Sabbath and Sunday, and were out yesterday. They will also be there today. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 14

The Lord has jewels scattered all through the bush here. The farms are located in the woods at some distance from the road. We are much pleased to think that there is a possibility of some souls receiving the truth. Jewels are to be found here, and we shall labor for them; but we have a school and meeting house to build. We are expecting that the Lord has money for us to use in His work. We are waiting and watching and praying, and we know that the Lord will move on some souls to help us in this our time of need. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 15

I am so glad I am here. I should like to go to Africa, but Not yet, not yet, seems to be the word. They are calling for us to come to America, but the same word comes, Not yet, not yet. I have important writing to do, and this must be done before I can leave this locality. The school must be started, a meeting house must be built before we can leave the work. I feel forbidden to go now. We must not leave, for the people here would be utterly discouraged if we did. Poverty binds them about in this country. They say, If you had not been able to help us, what would we have done? I tell them that all the gold and silver in the world belongs to the Lord. The cattle upon a thousand hills are His, and He will not let His work come to a standstill. It must go. “Go forward,” saith the Lord; and if we move the way will open. The work here must not stop. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 16

The influence of our last camp meeting in Armadale, Melbourne, is still felt in the regions round about Melbourne. Souls are coming into the truth as the result of that effort. Some attended the Armadale meeting who were in attendance at the first camp meeting held in Australia. They were convicted then, but turned away. They came to the meeting at Armadale, received the truth, and are now laborers in the cause of God. We intend to hold several camp meetings this year. We cannot see our way clearly, and we know not from whence the means is coming, but we must do our part, use all the means we can possibly get hold of, and leave the rest with God. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 17

Over and over again I say, Dear heavenly Father, the work is Thine, the cause is Thine: let not the heathen say, Where is now thy God? We will go forward; we will not yield to Satan’s discouraging presentations. The work must go, even though the conference is in debt. We cannot lay down the work now. We must go forward. We will not fail nor be discouraged. Jesus died to save poor perishing souls, and we must act our part in order to be co-laborers with God. I believe the Lord will work. I ask the Lord, and I expect to receive according to His promise. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 18

We have just come home from the afternoon meeting. Brother Starr gave a very interesting Bible reading, and then I spoke for about an hour. Several not of our faith were present and seemed deeply interested. O, that the Lord will send the truth home to the hearts of the people is my prayer. 11LtMs, Lt 111, 1896, par. 19