Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12

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Lt 132, 1897

Wessels, Sister

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales

June 24, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 3MR 250, 274; 4Bio 314.

Dear Sister Wessels:

We are pleased to report a school in full running order, with an attendance far beyond our expectations. We have sixty students, besides the teachers. 12LtMs, Lt 132, 1897, par. 1

There are many things of interest going on here. Willie now has a plain, simple cottage. We think this will be a great blessing to his family. For over a year they have occupied a house built for a washhouse. We hoped to get a building put up long before this, but all the means and power that could be commanded was put into the school buildings that the opening of the school should not be delayed one day beyond the stated time. When we said that school should open on the date advertised, some said, “It is impossible; it cannot be done.” But we declared that it must be done. I told the men employed on Willie’s house and in my orchard and vegetable garden to cease their work for me, and go on to the school buildings. A call was made for donations of labor. In this way the work was done as far as possible. 12LtMs, Lt 132, 1897, par. 2

It wanted only a few weeks to the date fixed for the opening of school, and the finished building had to be cleaned, a large cistern, fifteen feet deep, to be dug and bricked up, and the second building, which was to provide school rooms, to be built. But this work was accomplished; the school opened on time, and the students were all accommodated. 12LtMs, Lt 132, 1897, par. 3

For some time the country had been suffering from a drouth, but our cistern was only finished a few days when we had blessed showers from heaven, which filled the tanks, and half filled the large cistern. We felt that we could indeed offer thanksgiving to God for His merciful provision to us in this dry time. After a few weeks another downpour of rain came, which filled the cistern to overflowing. If there is no more rain during this term, the school has enough for all its needs. Thus the Lord has favored us. We are glad, and we praise His holy name for His mercy and His love. 12LtMs, Lt 132, 1897, par. 4

School opened April 28, and from then till now, students have been coming in till they number sixty. Others are preparing to come this term. 12LtMs, Lt 132, 1897, par. 5

Last Sabbath, June 19, I spoke from the first chapter of Ephesians. The Lord gave me strength and blessed me with freedom. We knew that the heavenly Guest was in our midst. The singing, led by Brother Herbert Lacey, was excellent. The voices, raised in melody of praise to God, were uplifting and encouraging. The room in which we hold our services was quite full. We shall soon have to arise and build a meetinghouse, for the room we occupy must be given to the students, as they are greatly cramped. But I shall be glad if the students crowd us out; for we greatly desire this school to be a success. We can say that it is thus far. Praise the Lord! We are willing to be crowded out of our room because of the increasing number of students. 12LtMs, Lt 132, 1897, par. 6

My sister, we thank you for the money you loaned us. It had done a good work here in erecting these buildings, which will serve us till the main buildings are put up. These will be built when means come in. 12LtMs, Lt 132, 1897, par. 7

Brethren Daniells and Palmer from Melbourne and Brother Baker from Sydney came to visit this place a few weeks ago. In the past Elder Daniells has had little faith that a school would ever be in successful operation here, but he has been thoroughly converted on this subject. Had it not been for his unbelief and dissatisfaction in regard to the location of the school in Cooranbong, we would now be two years in advance of what we are. But in the strength of God we have moved forward under every phase of perplexity and hindrance, saying by faith, “We will not fail, nor be discouraged.” [See Isaiah 42:4.] 12LtMs, Lt 132, 1897, par. 8

These brethren were overwhelmed with surprise at the advancement made. Everything pleased them. They thought the addition of the second story just as it should be. Although I took that responsibility on myself, I never had the slightest question regarding the matter. It was a satisfaction that my proposition was fully encouraged and sustained by Brother Metcalfe Hare. This improvement was not in the plan, but it met the minds of our brethren, and they said, “What could you have done without that upper storey? There would have been no place in which the gentlemen students could be accommodated, and even now the accommodations are altogether too small.” 12LtMs, Lt 132, 1897, par. 9

Brother _____ made a most thorough acknowledgement to me. He confessed that he had not helped at all, either by his faith or his influence, but had permitted Willie and me to drag the load up hill. He said he saw that he had been wrong, and he now had to confess that the Lord had been leading step by step, but that he had had no part in it. “I am now thoroughly convinced,” he said, “that this is the place for our school, and I am going to work with all my heart and strength to advance and build up the school interest, and I may repair, as far as possible, that harm I have done.” We thank the Lord for this acknowledgement. 12LtMs, Lt 132, 1897, par. 10