Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Ms 55, 1896


“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

October 1, 1896

Portions of this manuscript are published in 8MR 365; 12MR 95. +Note

On October 1, 1896, we assembled on the school grounds to lay the corner stone of our first school building. A draft for one thousand pounds had come a few days before, and we were able to walk by sight. The Lord has moved upon the hearts of Sister Wessels and her sons to grant my request for a loan of one thousand pounds at four and a-half per cent interest. 11LtMs, Ms 55, 1896, par. 1

This was an important occasion, but only a few were present. It had been hurriedly planned that I should have the privilege of laying the corner stone, as I was to leave the following day for Sydney, on route for Melbourne and Adelaide. We had a season of prayer and singing, and then I took the stone in my hand, and laid it in position. My heart was filled with gratitude to God that He had opened the way that we could erect this first building. We praised the Lord for this favor. The building had been delayed for want of means, and the faith of our people had almost come to a stand still. Many, I fear, had lost faith. But I knew that God would work in our behalf, and prepare the way. 11LtMs, Ms 55, 1896, par. 2

Our faith has been tested and tried. We have been pressed with poverty on every side. Families were continually coming to me and telling me that they had no money to buy bread, but what could I do? I could not pay my own workers any wages, and our grocery bills were accumulating. For three or four months my workers could not be paid, but they were willing to suffer inconvenience. I received from Battle Creek six hundred dollars. This would barely set me straight with my creditors, but some of them were willing to wait. I immediately set to work on my garden men who were in need, some of them destitute of daily food. One man with a family of four children came to me and said that they had had nothing but squash to eat for a week. I gave them a cow; for they must have something for their children. We also ploughed their land for them, my hired man doing the work. To another family I loaned a cow, that they might have milk for their children. I cannot see such poverty as this, without great pain of heart, for I know that there is enough in the world to sustain all if economy were practiced by those who have the means. 11LtMs, Ms 55, 1896, par. 3

I have awakened in the night season sorely distressed over the situation. To what source could we look for help? One night I fell asleep and dreamed that I was weeping and praying before the Lord. A hand touched me on the shoulder, and a voice said, “I have means in many families in Africa that is being bound up in worldly enterprises. Tell them the Lord has need of it. Send to the Wessels brothers. It will do them great good to help to advance my work with their entrusted means by erecting buildings where a proper education can be given to young men and women, that they may go out to teach others what they must do to be saved. Tell them to lay up treasure for themselves in heaven, where moth will not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where their treasure is, there will their heart be also. 11LtMs, Ms 55, 1896, par. 4

“The children of Sister Wessels must be sanctified to me. I have heard the mother’s prayers, and if they will come to me, I will give them peace and rest. Satan desires their souls, that he may sift them as wheat, but I have prayed for them. I have written their names on the palms of my hands. Although some do not now receive Me, yet the truth will become truth to them if they will not turn away from the Holy Spirit’s strivings. Jesus has died for them. They are His property. 11LtMs, Ms 55, 1896, par. 5

“Talents of means must flow into the treasury from these who are now dead in trespasses and sins. The hearts of many who know the truth are bound upon their worldly treasure. Selfishness must die. The church needs to be reconverted. The Holy Spirit must move upon hearts that are now fast bound in selfishness.” 11LtMs, Ms 55, 1896, par. 6

Discouraging reports have gone forth from this place. Those who should have come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty have thrown themselves as stumbling blocks in the way of our progress. May the Lord convict their hearts, and give them a firm faith. The faith of many is at a low ebb. It is an unusual thing to them to go into the midst of a forest and there make a place for school buildings. But my faith has not wavered from the first. Things look very dark sometimes, but aggressive warfare must be done. 11LtMs, Ms 55, 1896, par. 7

So far no ministerial labor has been done in Newcastle, twenty-five miles from here. There is not a Sabbathkeeper there. But the Lord knows that there is work to be done in that mining city, that there are souls to be saved. If there is not so, why are we here? God has placed us here, and He can spread a table in the wilderness. The Lord help His people to have faith instead of doubts. Our warfare is aggressive, and we must “Go forward.” [Exodus 14:15.] We walk by faith, looking not at the things that are seen, but on the things that are unseen. The Lord God omnipotent has His plans and His resources. He says to us, Establish your schools out of the cities, in localities where there will be few enticements to allure the youth from truth and righteousness. 11LtMs, Ms 55, 1896, par. 8

I was very desirous to see this building erected, but I was afraid the faith of my brethren would fail. I never felt more sure that the Lord would work in our behalf. He will honor them that honor Him. He loves His commandment-keeping people. I prayed earnestly for the Lord to open the way for us to build, and when there seemed no prospect of securing means, He sent the needed help. He has located the school here, and means will come, for He has promised the He will never fail us. 11LtMs, Ms 55, 1896, par. 9