Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)

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Lt 92, 1902

Brethren in Medical Missionary Work

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

April 8, 1902

Portions of this letter are published in WM 329-330; UL 112; TDG 107; 1MR 228.

To my brethren in responsible positions in the medical missionary work,—

I have this night been passing through a severe conflict. In the night season I was in an assembly where important business was being transacted. Words were spoken in regard to the work of rebuilding the Battle Creek Sanitarium. A paper on this subject was read before believers and unbelievers. I listened attentively to all that was spoken and read. One point was mentioned that I wish to notice particularly. It was in regard to the profits accruing from the working of the Battle Creek Sanitarium’s not being used outside the State of Michigan. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 1

One of authority stood before the company and spoke words to which all listened with the deepest interest. A most solemn impression was made by what He said. He spoke of the mistakes that had been made by similar resolutions regarding the income of the Sanitarium. He said that these restrictions were not inspired by God, but were of human devisings. The means coming to the Sanitarium were brought by people from all parts of the world, and should not be used in one state only. God has never made provision that His money shall be thus localized. Grave mistakes have been made by following resolutions that are contrary to the mind of God. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 2

The restrictions that binds the Sanitarium to use its earnings in Michigan is not of God, but of man. God calls for a different showing. Such restrictions cannot be obeyed and the work of God be accomplished. I wish to be plainly understood. God is dishonored by the specifying of certain localities as places where means shall be used that are needed to establish memorials for Him in foreign fields. Restrictions that bind the means of an institution to any particular place are not after the mind of God. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 3

In new fields, where the work of God is yet to be established, medical missionary work is to be done. This work removes prejudice, and prepares the way for the proclamation of the third angel’s message. It is the means by which doors are opened for the entrance of the special truths for this time. Medical missionary work and the gospel are one. If united, they make a complete whole. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 4

The establishment of sanitariums is necessary for the success of God’s work. Medical missionary work is the right hand of the gospel. The saving power of the truth is to be made known as men and women are led to see the importance of right habits of living. Workers are to be trained to go into every city to do medical missionary work. I am instructed to say to our people that sanitariums are to be established. We shall find correct methods of treating disease to be the right hand of the third angel’s message, opening doors for the entrance of present truth. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 5

God sent experienced workers to Australia, that this part of His vineyard might be worked. And He instructed me to make calls for means to help the work there. But the appeals were not heeded. Many things were done in the home field that need not have been done, placing on the General Conference a heavy burden of debt, while far off fields were in great need of the means thus unnecessarily expended. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 6

How could the workers in Australia start and sustain the work without help? They were among a people who were unacquainted with Seventh-day Adventists, in a field where there were few churches, and no institutions upon which they could call for help. Their work was like swimming against a strong current. Believers were few. A printing office had been established in Melbourne, but it was itself in need of help. Little by little, by struggling efforts, the work was carried forward. And in America, those who should have helped in this work were investing means in enterprises that brought little returns. The Lord has not been glorified. His vineyard has been left unworked, because men have followed their own way instead of His way. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 7

The Sanitarium in Battle Creek was established by the self-denial and self-sacrifice of our people throughout the field, and in its prosperity it should have done its utmost to erect a sanitarium in Australia and to place it in running order. There was not a dearth of means at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, and this institution was called upon to give of its means for the establishment of a sister-sanitarium in a field across the broad waters of the Pacific, that the workers in Australia and the islands of the sea might be enabled to do their work on vantage ground. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 8

The work in Michigan had every advantage, and the managers of the Sanitarium should have looked upon it as a duty and a privilege to help in the erection of a sanitarium in a foreign field, where the establishment of such an institution would have opened doors for the entrance of present truth. Any institution that had had the advantages that the Battle Creek Sanitarium has had should have made plants in many places. Thus many souls would have been brought to a knowledge of the truth. The directors of the Sanitarium should have felt it their positive duty to help to set in operation a sanitarium in Australia. This duty God enjoined upon this long-established institution, which had been blessed with every facility for making medical missionary work a success in this far-off field. It had been greatly favored by God, and it ought to have shown a deep and earnest interest in establishing memorials for God in far-off fields. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 9

Had the managers of the Sanitarium been worked by the Holy Spirit, they would have understood the situation, and instead of investing means in a field where were so many institutions, they would have given liberally for the erection of a sanitarium in Australia. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 10

To the Mission Board, to the Medical Missionary Association, and to our largest institution in America, earnest appeals were made by the workers in Australia, who were authorized by God to call for help. But the calls made were not heeded. At the time when help was most needed in Australia, much money was used to erect large and expensive buildings in the home field. The means that could have been used to erect and equip a sanitarium in Australia was turned out of its proper channel by men who ought to have known better, who ought to have understood the needs of the work in the foreign fields. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 11

For want of means, the workers in Australia could not advance; they could not establish the institutions that were essential for the advancement of the work in a field where Seventh-day Adventists were not known, while in the home field money was invested in various uncalled-for ways, in buildings that were not absolutely needed; and heavy debts were incurred. Means that God designed should be used in establishing schools and sanitariums in new fields were misappropriated. Years have been wasted; and the sanitarium in Australia is still incomplete. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 12

God did not design that His experienced and faithful workers should be placed in so hard a position; but men were blinded. They did not see afar off. The Holy Spirit was not controlling their minds. Again and again the needs of the work in foreign fields were placed before them, and they should have co-operated with the pioneers in our cause, who were laboring to establish a similar work in Australia. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 13

When those in charge of the medical missionary work realize that plants must be made in other places, God’s work will be carried forward even in the hardest fields. When men see that it is necessary to establish the medical missionary work in America, can they not see that the same work is needed in new fields, where there is nothing to give character to the work? 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 14

To send missionaries into foreign fields to do missionary work, unprovided with facilities and means, is like requiring bricks to be made without straw. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 15

Let God’s servants act like wise men, remembering the work in every part of the world is to assist the work in every other part. “Be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” [Ephesians 5:17.] God has kept the unworked condition of the Southern field continually before His people. He points you to this destitute portion of His vineyard and bids you remember that a picture is taken by the heavenly Artist of the field just as it now is. The Australian field and the Southern field are as surely part of the Lord’s vineyard as is Michigan or California. But they are not worked as they should be, and favorable opportunities to advance the truth are passing. For years means have been used in ways that have not accomplished the most for the Lord. These barren, unworked fields should present an altogether different appearance. There is now to be a thorough understanding of this matter. There should be hundreds of workers in these fields. In no case is one part of the Lord’s vineyard to be favored above another part. This is not the Lord’s plan. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 16

It was not for the glory of God that the medical missionary work in Australia should be handicapped as it has been. This field should have been provided with facilities, that the work might be opened up in the right way. But the work that might now be far advanced has been greatly retarded because it did not receive the help God designed it to receive. Such restrictions as those confining the earnings of the Battle Creek Sanitarium to Michigan have been a great hindrance to the medical missionary work. God sees and knows. The binding about of His work by documents of human devising is not His will. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 17

The lessons on the parable of the vineyard and of the two sons come close home to all who have had the light of truth, and who should have realized that those on whom God laid the burden of establishing the work on foreign fields should have special and abundant advantages, that they may be in no way trammeled in their efforts. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 18

The instruction contained in these parables is of great value. All who are bearing responsibilities, be these responsibilities great or small, should study this instruction carefully. God looks for fruit from His vineyard. This fruit is the result of the work of His laborers. Every soul who believes in Christ has a work to do for Him. No true Christian can be idle in this time of such solemn importance. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 19

There has been great danger of making light of God’s work in opening the gospel to those in the darkness of error. America is not the whole world. God’s work is to be established in other countries also. Missionary effort is to be put forth in new fields. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 20

The Lord sent to Australia some who had had a part in establishing the work in Battle Creek and in California. Had those who had the disposal of means sent help to these workers, a sanitarium would have been erected in Australia years ago. They should have remembered that it was just as essential to do in Australia the work that had been done in America; that a sanitarium would be of just as much help to the work in Australia as to the work in America. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 21

This was plainly stated over and over again; but men did not see eye to eye with God. The motives that led to this indifference to the needs of a field so greatly in need of help bear the rebuke of God. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 22

Last night this matter was presented to me as a mistake that must never be repeated. The work in missionary fields has been hindered in proportion as money has been needlessly spent for facilities for the work in America. The brethren here should have erected fewer buildings in this country if they saw that it would be necessary to do this in order to help the work in foreign countries as it should be helped. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 23

Workers in new places, where there may not be one believer in present truth, should be furnished with means for helping the needy. They meet with many who are sick and in need of help. As they relieve their temporal necessities, the way opens for them to speak of the Saviour and His precious truth. These workers must be given facilities for preparing the way of the Lord and making straight in the desert a highway for our God. Let our publishing houses help by gifts of books and papers, and let our sanitariums furnish facilities for the care of the sick. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 24

Our heavenly Father acknowledges every worker as a member of His family. Shall those who have everything to do with close their eyes and ears to the needs of His servants in foreign countries? Those who have the mind of Christ will do all in their power to advance His work. They will count no sacrifice too great if only they can further His cause. Those who are indeed laborers together with God will show an unselfish interest in the workers in foreign fields and will strive to help them. The Saviour recognizes and blesses their efforts. Those who are unwilling to share with the workers in new fields their advantages of means and facilities hinder the advancement of God’s work and dishonor Him who has promised to be with His workers. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 25

Have you become a silent partner? Have you no desire to see that the workers in new fields have the help that will enable them to bear the hardships that must come to them and to do their work successfully? 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 26

The brethren in the home field have but partially fulfilled their duty in this respect. The Lord was represented to me as saying, “Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. My work in foreign fields has needed help that it has not received.” 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 27

There are in our world many large cities in which the truth has not yet been proclaimed. Why should not the people of these cities hear the gospel message for this time? Has not Christ purchased them with His own blood? Are they not of as much value in His sight as those who have already received the truth? Are these portions of His vineyard to be left unworked, while upon other portions blessings are poured so abundantly that they are not appreciated? The truth is not appreciated, not being mixed with faith in them that hear, because they do not arouse and give to others the light they have received. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 28

Why are buildings erected in places where there are already too many buildings, while places unworked and needy are left without memorials for God? The means needed in new places is not to be used in places that are not in special need of help. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 29

In some places the work has been built up in a way that does not bear God’s approval. In Battle Creek many institutions have been erected, when instead, plants should have been many in other cities of America and in foreign countries. These plants would have given strength to the work, and field after field would have been opened to the gospel; but men, trusting in human wisdom, put their hand on the lever, and gave it a turn that stopped the means from going into circulation as God designed. They carried out their plans as if they were God. The Lord calls for wiser generalship than has been shown in the past. We are not fulfilling the commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 30

The money God impresses His people to give for the advancement of His work is never to be bound about by human jurisdiction. Had the will of God been done, His work in foreign fields would have been placed on a firm basis, and a hundredfold more would have been accomplished than has been. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 31

In Australia many more would have been brought to a knowledge of the truth if some in positions of trust in America had not manifested a selfishness that God condemns. Their first work should have been to see that those whom the Lord sent to Australia were equipped with facilities for starting school work and sanitarium work. Medical missionary work is the helping hand of the gospel, and it opens doors for the entrance of present truth. But this work cannot possibly be done without means, and for lack of means it has been long delayed in Australia. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 32

If the sanitariums established in America understood the will of God, they would never [have] decided to keep their advantages to themselves, refusing to help the medical work on foreign fields. Those who take part in such decisions would not wish to see their outworking. Let such decisions be reversed; for they are selfish and greatly displease the Lord. He will judge for the difficulties thrown in the way of His workers in foreign fields by the diversion of His money from places in which help was greatly needed. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 33

Those who go into new fields to use the breaking-up plough in preparing the soil for the sowing of the seed of truth are to be encouraged, prayed for, sustained. It is the Lord’s desire that every worker sent into new fields shall be furnished with means and facilities for the successful accomplishment of His work. They are to receive help and encouragement from those in the home field, that they may have courage to overcome the difficulties that they meet in their work. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 34

Those in the home field who have a knowledge of the truth, and of the blessings that this knowledge brings, should remember the needs of those who are laboring in new fields where the work is hard and facilities few. They should remember that the work in the home field has the support of the sanitariums, publishing houses, and schools that have been established, and that the Lord expects them to set in operation plans for the advancement of His work in new fields. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 35

The instruction given in the tenth chapter of Matthew shows how the Lord regards those who go forth to work for Him in new fields. Read this chapter. Study what Christ said in regard to the perils that the messengers would have to meet and the hardships they would have to endure. “Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves,” He said to His disciples; “be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” [Verse 16.] Today those who labor in new fields have many trials and difficulties to encounter. They need the help and sympathy of their brethren in the home field, where facilities for work are more abundant and means more easily obtained. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 36

Christ’s last words to His disciples show the importance to be placed on the work of spreading the truth. Just before His ascension He gave them the commission, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:19, 20.] 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 37

Christ did not confine His labors to one place. Of His work we read, “When the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on everyone of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ, the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak; for they knew that he was Christ. And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place; and the people sought him, and came unto him and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also; for therefore am I sent. And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.” [Luke 4:40-44.] 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 38

Would that all who have the light of truth would follow the example set by Christ, and not expend their God-given time and ability and means in one or two places, when the light of truth is to go to all the world. The wonderful display of grace shown in the gospel message is to be carried to all places. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 39

When from henceforth sanitariums are established, let it be understood that they are to do all in their power to advance the work in new fields. 17LtMs, Lt 92, 1902, par. 40