Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 86, 1902

Report of Council About Medical Missionary Work, II

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

April 13, 1902

Portions of this manuscript are drawn from Ms 50, 1902 and are published in 7T 78-79, 82-83.

Sanitariums Not to Be in Cities

Mrs. E. G. White: Our sanitariums should not be established in the large cities. According to the light that the Lord has given me, in a little while from now, these cities will be terribly shaken. No matter how large or how strong a building may be, no matter how many safeguards against fire have been provided, if God touches it, in a few moments or in a few hours, it is in ruins. Let our sanitariums workers remember that those who establish sanitariums in cities do not reveal wisdom. The besom of destruction is to sweep away these ungodly cities. In the calamities that are now befalling immense buildings and large portions of cities, God is showing us what will soon come upon the whole earth. He has told us, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree: When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh; so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it (the coming of the Son of man) is near, even at the doors.” [Matthew 24:32, 33.] The intemperance in eating and drinking, the extravagance in dress, the increase of crime, the many accidents and disasters of daily occurrence—all these are indications of the soon coming of the Son of man. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 1

If a sanitarium is established in a city, the patients are largely prisoners in their rooms. They are shut up within four walls; and if, perchance, they are able to look out of a window, they can see little except houses, houses, houses. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 2

An invalid confined within four walls is liable to brood over his physical conditions. He becomes weary of looking at nothing but the walls of his room. Often he is poisoned by his own breath. These are some of the reasons why I have had no faith in establishing great medical institutions in the large cities. There may be small establishments in some of our great cities to serve as “feeders,” so to speak, to larger institutions in the country. In these small branches, patients could remain a day or two and then go on to the sanitarium. Usually if they are physically able to go to a sanitarium in a city, they are able to go a little farther to a sanitarium in the country. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 3

In the location of sanitariums, our physicians have missed the mark. They have not taken the advantage of nature that God desires them to take. He intends that the sick shall be placed in the midst of the beautiful objects of nature, where they will have opportunity to be in the warm sunshine and the pure air. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 4

Let the places chosen for sanitarium work be beautiful. Let the patients be surrounded with everything that delights the senses. Nature is God’s physician. Outdoor life is the only medicine that many invalids need. Pure air, sunshine, beautiful flowers and trees, orchards and vineyards, outdoor exercise—these combined are health-giving, an elixir of life. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 5

Placed in the midst of conditions so favorable, patients will not require half the care that they would if confined in a sanitarium in the city and closely watched by nurses. Nor will they in the country be so much inclined to be discontented and to repine. They will be ready to learn lessons in regard to the God of nature—ready to acknowledge that He who cares for nature so wonderfully is willing to care for the creatures formed in His own image. Thus opportunity is given physicians and helpers to reach souls, uplifting the God of nature before those who are seeking the restoration of health. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 6

In the night season a view of a sanitarium was shown me. The institution was not so very large, but it was complete. It was surrounded by beautiful ornamental trees, and beyond these were orange groves. Connected with the place were gardens in which the women patients, if they chose, could cultivate flowers of every description, each patient selecting a special plot for which to care. Outdoor exercise in these gardens was prescribed as a part of the regular treatment. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 7

Thus I was instructed by the Lord. Scene after scene passed before me. In one scene there were a number of suffering patients who had just come to one of our country sanitariums. In another I saw the same company, but oh, how transformed. They were walking about, and talking, and appeared happy. Disease had gone, the skin was clear, and the countenance joyful; body and mind seemed full of health. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 8

Never did I value outdoor life as a means of restoring the sick to health as I valued it after these scenes had passed before me. I had always taught these principles, but never before had I so clearly seen the life-giving power in nature. Since these views were given to me, I have felt intensely over the matter and have earnestly desired to give the light to all who are engaged in medical missionary work. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 9

I was also instructed that as those who have been sick are restored to health in our sanitariums in this country, and return to their homes, many will be favorably impressed by the transformation that has taken place in them. Those who have been benefited will be, as it were, living object lessons. Many of the sick and suffering will turn from the cities to the country. Refusing to conform to the habits, customs, and fashions of city life, they will seek to regain health in some of our medical institutions in the country. Thus even if we are removed from the cities twenty or thirty miles, we shall be able to reach the people. Those who desire health will have opportunity to regain it under conditions most favorable. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 10

God will work wonders for us if we work in faith; when we co-operate with Him, He is ready to do His part. Everything in my power I desire to do, that my brethren may be led to pursue a sensible course, and that their efforts may be most successful. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 11

The Sanitarium Work in Southern California

For months I carried on my soul the burden of the medical missionary work in Southern California. Recently light has been given me in regard to the manner in which God desires to conduct sanitarium work. We are to encourage the patients to spend much of their time out-of-doors. I have been instructed to tell our brethren to keep on the lookout for cheap, desirable properties in healthful places suitable for sanitarium purposes. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 12

Under no circumstances are we to put all our means into one great, expensive medical institution. To bring together a large number of people in one place is not favorable to the securing of the best results in physical and spiritual restoration. And besides this, to establish such an institution would be to rob other places where health institutions should be established. Wherever we work, some will desire to secure as much means as possible in order to erect a large building; but this is not the wisest plan. When planning for a medical institution in one place, we should keep in mind the needs of other places. Let economy be practiced so that it will be possible to give the people in other sections of the country similar advantages. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 13

I have been shown that the present is an opportune time to advance the sanitarium work in Southern California. In the vicinity of such tourist resorts as Los Angeles and San Diego, we should become informed in regard to desirable properties that may be secured at low rates. Instead of investing in one medical institution all the means obtainable, we ought to establish smaller sanitariums in many places. Soon the reputation of the health resorts in Southern California will stand higher than now. NOW is our time to enter that field for the purpose of carrying forward medical missionary work. 17LtMs, Ms 86, 1902, par. 14