Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Lt 15, 1900

Lay, George

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

February 1, 1900

Portions of this letter are published in 3MR 378.

Dear Brother George Lay:

I have heard that you have commenced once more to serve the Lord. I am more glad than I can tell you. If those who have had a knowledge of the truth will return to the Lord and seek Him with all the heart, they will find Him. O, seek again the presence of your Saviour, with true contrition of heart. Urge your suit at the throne of grace. The Lord will hear the humble, contrite prayer. He will restore you and heal your backslidings. He will make you strong to do and to suffer His blessed will. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 1

We have been working in the Australian field for over eight years. When we came the work was in its infancy. In Melbourne the Sabbathkeepers were meeting for worship in a room in the Echo office. But soon the Echo office needed this room, and for some years the people met on Sabbath in rented halls, which were unsuitable for devotional services. About three years ago our people built a church in Melbourne. We have a meetinghouse in Parramatta, in Prospect, eight miles from Parramatta; in Kellyville, some miles in the opposite direction; in Ashfield, near Sydney; in Stanmore, about three miles from Sydney. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 2

The church in Stanmore in a nice, commodious building, and is in an excellent location. Here our people from the suburbs of Sydney assemble. We have also in Cooranbong a neat, economically-built chapel, which is well-filled each Sabbath. In Newcastle, a large city twenty-five miles from Cooranbong, a church was raised up a year ago, and a meetinghouse built. In Brisbane, Queensland, a camp meeting was held two years ago, and Elder Haskell was left to ripen off the interest. A very neat little church was built there. Thus we have seen meetinghouses go up, and in each of them I have an investment of from thirty dollars to over one hundred dollars. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 3

New fields are still opening. A few months ago we held a camp meeting in Maitland, a large town twenty-seven miles from here, in the center of a rich farming district. The city park was granted us free of charge in which to pitch our tents, and for this we felt very thankful. We have never had shown us any greater kindness and attention than were shown us by the people of Maitland. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 4

Two weeks ago last Sunday the first baptismal service in Maitland was held. The candidates were immersed in a river running through a beautiful green paddock of undulating ground, dotted with clusters of trees. About two hundred people came out to witness the baptism, and besides these, there were fully one hundred on the opposite bank of the river. An organ was placed under a cluster of trees near the river, and the singing was excellent. Brother Colcord addressed the people, and then I followed, speaking for about half an hour. The interest was good, nearly all present listening earnestly and solemnly. Seven precious souls were buried with our Lord in baptism. As many more are keeping the Sabbath. The service made an excellent impression. Many were deeply convicted. I do not think the candidates will ever forget this experience. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 5

Our workers in Maitland are now visiting many people in their homes, and there explaining the Scriptures to them. The knowledge of the truth is becoming quite extensive. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 6

On Sunday evening W. C. White, Brother and Sister Hickox, Sara McEnterfer, and I drove to Greta, a mining settlement six miles from Maitland. Elder Hickox has been laboring in this suburb for several weeks, and twelve men have decided to be Christians and keep the Sabbath. I spoke with great freedom to a room full of people. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 7

Our work in Maitland seems only to have begun. We shall continue to labor in East and West Maitland, two towns three miles from each other, and in the settlements round about. This region is all ready to be worked, and Newcastle is not half worked. O, for more workers in these new fields. But it costs money to support workers here. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 8

Last week I received a letter asking me to go again to Maitland. There are eight more to be baptized. I wrote that I could not come, as I had been appointed to speak at the opening of the school on Thursday morning. I afterward received word that the baptism had been put off for one week, so that I could be present. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 9

The school opened most encouragingly. I had great freedom in speaking. I will send you a copy of a portion of my talk. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 10

On Sabbath I spoke by appointment at the church in Cooranbong to a large congregation. On Sunday afternoon I attended the mothers’ meeting, and spoke for an hour. There was present a very good representation of mothers, with babies in their arms. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 11

We have just purchased a site of land on which to build a sanitarium. Nothing so works in favor of the truth as a sanitarium conducted on right principles. At present four dwelling houses in Summer Hill, Sydney, are occupied as a sanitarium. But these buildings are entirely unfitted for our work, and the noise and confusion of the city is injurious to the patients. If we had a building of our own, we would save fifteen hundred dollars a year in rent. Every room in the sanitarium is full, and there are others suffering from disease who wish to come. We must have a sanitarium. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 12

Dr. Caro has charge of our medical work here. You may have seen him or heard of him. He was educated in Battle Creek under Dr. J. H. Kellogg. On Sunday Dr. Caro and several of our ministers assembled together to consult in reference to what should be done in regard to a sanitarium. We can defer the payment of the money for the land, and pay interest on it, or we can settle up for the land, and put all that we can obtain besides into a sanitarium. What shall we do? We must “arise and build.” [Nehemiah 2:20.] Will you tell us what to do? Will you help us by making a gift? We could purchase the lumber for the sanitarium at once, if we could only get money, and then work on the building could be set in operation. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 13

For many years we have been making aggressive warfare in this country. Will you make a generous offering to help us in building a sanitarium? Could your means be better invested than in this enterprise? Do you not want to have a part in this good work? Will you not send us your donation, and try to secure donations from others? Thus you will make the hearts of the people of God glad. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 14

Our people here have done nobly. They are ready and willing to give to the utmost of their ability. They have done all they could in erecting the school buildings. We also have a Health Retreat, formally opened several weeks ago, where several patients are being successfully treated. We all lifted as hard as we could in erecting this building, but as yet only a few rooms are furnished. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 15

Have you not a talent of means, lent you to do just such work as this? Will you not help the cause of God in this new country? Will you not help in erecting a memorial whereby God’s name shall be magnified? If you, one of our old friends in the cause and work of God, will help us in our emergency, many minds will be relieved of a great burden. Souls are being converted to the truth, and so many are eager to be instructed. Their hearts long after a good hope in Jesus Christ. The sanitarium is one of the Lord’s instrumentalities for reaching the higher classes. Already some wealthy persons have been converted, and have made donations to our sanitarium. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 16

If you are within reach of any of our old friends, ask them to help us in this, the Lord’s destitute field, a portion of His vineyard. Do not delay. We need help now. The land has been purchased, and we need the building. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 17

I commit this to you, asking you to solicit your friends in my behalf. Send us help if the Lord moves your heart to willingness. We will thank the Lord and you, His servant. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 18

I will now close, as I do not want to weary you with a long letter. 15LtMs, Lt 15, 1900, par. 19