Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 216, 1897

Farnsworth, Brother and Sister

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

September 7, 1897

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother and Sister Farnsworth:

I have some things I wish to write you. We have reason to be encouraged in our school. There has been success with teachers and students. There are fifty students in the home, one hundred students in the school, twenty in the primary department. Brother Budd has just moved his family up here to Cooranbong. He means to get him a piece of land and build him a home if he can get means to do this. Our advantages for room are now quite limited. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 1

We felt the burden, Arise and build. We are doing this. Ten carpenters are now on the work, giving either time or money. The frame is going up, the foundation is laid, and everything is moving as fast as possible, that the house shall be prepared to be dedicated just before the school closes. Two weeks is to be cut off from the school term in Avondale and completed at the camp meeting in Sydney. In four weeks we expect the home will be done, if the Lord favors us. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 2

I have now spoken to the people four Sabbaths in succession, and besides speaking to the students in the morning at nine o’clock several times, have attended one early morning meeting. I now feel I must stop this constant labor in speaking and in writing. I wish I could have the next two months on my book work. Both speaking and writing is becoming too large for me. I question whether it be my duty to attend the camp meetings. I cannot do this without being reined up to an intensity of feelings in behalf of souls ready to die. I have had a long, hard pull here, and have had in every sense of the word to watch for souls as they that must give an account. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 3

They would have their committee meetings and make propositions for Gregg to be elder of the church with[out] intimating a word to me. This name was read in the meeting on Sabbath when we were in a fix. The vote would have placed him in office at once if carried through, but we thank the Lord that part of the business was delayed for consideration. I then had an interview with the brethren and plainly stated I would not consent for Gregg to be elder of the church, for he was not proved, and no man should be placed in such a position without the most careful investigation. He was, to my certain knowledge, unfitted for the office of responsibility, for he was one who would do after the example of Shannon and Lawrence. He is a profane man. The swearing comes from his lips as a man that had been habituated to such exhibitions, damning this and that, and especially the horse Lawrence sold to him. He becomes very passionate. He is not a converted man, and yet he places himself in as high a place as he can get. These things have been a trial to my soul, to see how little our brethren know of how to move discreetly. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 4

Brother Hardy is here living in Cooranbong. Shannon filled his mind with bitterness by his false reports, but he attends our meetings, paid one hundred dollars tithe, and has given two weeks’ work to the church as first carpenter. Twelve carpenters are now at work. All are full of zeal and earnestness to make every stroke count. We have had some pulling back, but the ones pulling forward are strong and do not mind them. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 5

We cannot stop for palavering. Onward and upward; Arise, and build, is our watchword. The Lord is indeed good and merciful, and He knows what we need here; and I am so thankful that at this time we have a fine number of first class carpenters. The light has come to me, Arise, and build, and we expect in four weeks to have a meetinghouse completed for dedication. We could not but see the providence of God in this matter. All donate something in work, or in building, or in money. We are crowded in the room we now occupy for a place of worship. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 6

There are about one hundred students in the school, and the power of God is at work upon hearts, and has been at work ever since the school started. We have felt as did Jacob—“The Lord is in this place.” [Genesis 28:16.] We will give His name all the glory. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 7

We sincerely hope that you and your wife will attend our camp meeting; it will be an important meeting. Come [with] time enough to attend the closing of the school and the dedication of our church. We want you to act a part in the services. We expect the delegates will be at the meeting in Cooranbong in our church. The Lord’s house will be built. You come to our house as our guests while you shall remain here. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 8

I am so glad, so glad, that we would not listen to delay. Not one day had we [to] lose. The frame is all up. Everyone who is at work feels they must put in all the time possible and make every stroke tell. Had we waited until after the camp meeting, the workers would have been scattered, working away from this place. But they were, in the providence of God, right on the ground and ready for action. Some of the carpenters had personal interests, building houses for themselves, but they do not need any urging. They are working on the house for the Lord. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 9

You will see some changes when you shall visit us. Our peach trees are again (some of them) in bloom, and the school ground has its two buildings up. Willie has his home built, and his family in it. Brother James, elder of the church, is my farmer now. Connell leaves me in one week to go canvassing. His arm is not sound for hard work. The twins are two healthy, sturdy boys, sixteen months old, trotting about everywhere. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 10

Sara has her cases of medical missionary work to do. Women send for [her] to prescribe for sick babies. No sooner was one case off than before we reached our home we learned a messenger had been sent [for her] to come as soon as possible to their house to visit a boy eight years old. He was running to drive a calf out of the yard. He was barefoot, and one foot stepped into a hole where there was a broken bottle, and [it] cut his foot in a most terrible manner. Two weeks he had been suffering until, obtaining no relief, they sent for Sara. The poor little fellow they thought was going to die with blood poisoning. He could not eat, and this was the only favorable feature in the case. When Sara looked at the foot, the cut wound was most horrible. She felt faint and sick, but she went [to] work, cleansed the wound and put on poultices after fomenting the foot with hot water. We saw no favorable chance for the lad to recover where he was, and the question was, will there be any chance for his life anyway? But we thought it worth trying. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 11

We had the lad brought to our house in May White’s parlor. His mother and aunt took turns in caring for him constantly. But no one could touch the foot but Sara. She got Maggie Hare to go with her, and as soon as she looked at the foot she fainted dead away. All who look at [the] foot care not to look a second time. They turn white and go out of the house. May has given up her parlor to the sick boy. We take him and his attendant food. Yesterday was the first real meal he has eaten. The foot, under hygienic treatment is doing excellently well. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 12

The poor boy had suffered so much pain he could not sleep or eat. He has no pain now, but itching of the wound which means recovery. He is a little bunch of skin and bones, but he is doing well. His father and mother live 12 miles from here, but his mother is with him. The boy lives with his grandfather and grandmother. They all think much of the boy, and they are so astonished that we have taken hold of the matter and done so much and so interestedly. It is to them a marvel of wonders. This missionary medical work will do more to convert the people than all the sermons could do without this work being done. This case has, coming in just now, been rather of a drawback, for Sara has to give [it] her entire time. Then the aunt of the boy poured boiling water on her foot by accident, and Sara had that case, which was quite serious. Another aunt has, just now, a foot swollen terribly, and Sara has that to foment and bandage and work over. Well, I let her take these cases, for it is ministry—just what our Saviour would have done were He on the earth. His mission was to bless and restore suffering humanity to health. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 13

What can be done for Brother Hickox? Do you hear from him? Is he doing anything to free himself from debt? Is he getting deeper into debt? I wish it was possible for them to come to our camp meeting. I fear one of his temperament might become tempted and separate his soul from God. He is one who wishes to take the lead, and he often, when crossed in his ideas, is unreasonable. The Lord forbid that he shall give place to the devil. I fear he has not cultivated the grace of patience but too much the objectionable feature of stubbornness and accusing and retaliation. Unless he becomes as a little child, willing to be taught, he will, I fear, make crooked paths for his feet. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 14

Can nothing be done to help him? Can you see anything that you can do in New Zealand to help him? Is he not one that is almost in the position of a lost sheep that must be hunted up and rescued? Will you consider this matter carefully? Every soul is precious in the sight of God and He wants us, His workers, to do our best to save any souls ready to die. [Please do] anything you can do to help him. If it is to pay his fare to the camp meeting, I will help do that, only you are nearer him than we are. Any arrangement that seems to be advisable to be done, I will do a part if it takes money to do it. I now can write no more. But I do want that Brother and Sister Hickox shall come into the work if they have learned the humble lesson of wearing the yoke of Christ and surrendering all to Him. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 15

In much love. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 16

Sara is called out again this morning to attend the confinement of Sister James. She seems to have enough cases. We could establish a hospital. 12LtMs, Lt 216, 1897, par. 17