Welfare Ministry


Pioneering in Australia

Prejudice Removed by Welfare Ministry—We passed through many interesting experiences while in Australia. We helped establish a school from the foundation, going into the eucalyptus woods and camping while the trees were being felled, the grounds cleared, and the school buildings erected. WM 327.3

Prejudice in the community in which the school was established, was broken down by the medical missionary work that we did. The nearest physician lived twenty miles away. I told the brethren that I would allow my secretary, a trained nurse who has been with me for twenty years, to go to visit the sick whenever they called for her. We made a hospital of our home. My nurse treated successfully some most difficult cases that the physicians had pronounced incurable. This labor was not without its reward. Suspicion and prejudice were removed. The hearts of the people were won, and many accepted the truth. At the time we went there it was regarded necessary to keep everything under lock and key, for fear of theft. Only once was anything stolen from us, and that was shortly after our arrival. Now the community is law abiding, and no one thinks of being robbed.—Manuscript 126, 1902. WM 327.4

Personal Interest in the People—We tried to take a personal interest in the people. If we met someone walking as we were driving to the station four and a half miles away, we were glad to let them ride with us in our carriage. We did what we could to develop our land, and encouraged our neighbors to cultivate the soil, that they too might have fruit and vegetables of their own. We taught them how to prepare the soil, what to plant, and how to take care of the growing produce. They soon learned the advantages of providing for themselves in this way. We realized that Christ took a personal interest in men and women while He lived on this earth. He was a medical missionary everywhere He went. We are to go about doing good, even as He did. We are instructed to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, to heal the sick and comfort those that mourn.—Manuscript 126, 1902. WM 328.1

Economizing to Help Others—We live economically in every way and make a study of how every penny is to be laid out.... We make over and over our clothing, patching and enlarging garments in order to make them wear a little longer, so that we can supply with clothing those who are more needy. One of our brethren in Ormondville, who is an intelligent carpenter, could not go forward in baptism because he had not a change of clothing. When he was able to get a cheap suit he was the most grateful man I ever saw, because he could then go forward in the ordinance of baptism.—Letter 89a, 1894. WM 328.2

New Durable Material Bought for Relief Work—Some of our people say to me, “Give away your old clothes, and that will help the poor.” Should I give away the garments that I patch and enlarge, the people would not be able to see anything of which they could make use. I buy for them new, strong, durable material. I have visited the factories where they make tweed cloth and have bought a number of remnants that perhaps have a flaw but can be purchased cheap, and will do some good to those to whom we give. I can afford to wear the old garments until they are beyond repair. I have purchased your uncle excellent cloth for pants and vest, and he is now supplied with good respectable clothing. In this way I can supply large families of children with durable garments, which the parents would not think of getting for them.—Ibid. WM 328.3

Purchasing Wood From Needy Farmers—Poverty is so widespread in the colonies that starvation is staring many in the face, and the strangest part of the matter is that the farmers seem so perfectly helpless to devise plans by which to turn their time and money to account.... We purchase wood from our brethren who are farmers, and we try to give their sons and daughters employment. But we need a large charitable fund upon which to draw to keep families from starvation. Those who need our help are not of the tramp order, but are men who have earned in prosperous times as high as twenty and forty dollars per week.... I divided my household stores of provisions with families of this sort, sometimes going eleven miles to relieve their necessities.—Letter 89a, 1894. WM 329.1

Solicitous for a Needy Student—Will you please inquire of Brother ----- in regard to the clothing that he requires, and what he needs please furnish to him, and charge the same to my account. He has not received his trunk, and I fear he may suffer for the want of necessary changes.—Letter 100, 1893. WM 329.2

Helping a Minister Suffering Illness—Brother and Sister A. have been laboring in Ormondville, about one hundred miles from here, with good results.... I met him in Napier, and he told me I was the one who sent him to school in Healdsburg, paying his expenses to obtain an education. I was so thankful to see the result of this investment. WM 329.3

We sent Brother A.... to the institute at St. Helena.... He is a great sufferer. I have appropriated three hundred dollars to this case, although there are many cases where every dollar is needed, but I feel perfectly clear in helping in this case. It is a case where those who love and fear God must show their sympathy in a tangible manner and bear in mind that Christ identified his interest with suffering humanity.—Letters 79 and 33, 1893. WM 330.1

Mrs. White Meeting the Problems of Depression—Brother M.’s family are industrious workers if they can only get work to do. We will not see them go hungry or destitute of clothing or become discouraged. They are bought, bought by the blood of Christ, and are of value with God. While in this country we will continue to help the poor and distressed as far as possible. Brother M. is in debt on his place; I met the last quarter's interest, seven pounds, for which I expect nothing, but I would not, could not, see the family turned into the street.... We pray most earnestly that the Lord will work in behalf of this dear family. WM 330.2

We are sorely perplexed ourselves to understand our duty to all these suffering ones. So many families are out of employment, and that means destitute, hungry, afflicted, and oppressed. I can see no way but to help these poor souls in their great need, and I shall do this if the Lord will. And He does will. His word is sure, and cannot fail, nor be changed by any of the human devices to evade it. WM 330.3

We must help the needy and the oppressed lest Satan take them out of our hands, out of our ranks, and place them, while under temptation, in his own ranks.—Letter 42, 1894. WM 330.4

Shopping to Meet the Needs of the Poor—I go to Sydney today to the yearly sales to purchase some goods. They have these sales to rid the stores of their old stock. The poor around us are suffering for food and clothing, and I can buy at an advantage by visiting these stores. We economize as much as possible, and there is need enough for it.... There are many poor who are distressed for want of food and clothing who are of the household of faith. Our purses will scarcely suffice to reach the needs of those we know. Jesus says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” How precious are these words of comfort to the poor!—Letter 39, 1895. WM 330.5

A Dorcas Society Organized—Sunday has been a busy day for us, planning for the very, very poor and setting in operation some plans which will relieve myself and family from doing everything that is to be done. Sister C., a worthy woman, is prostrated upon her bed with sciatica. She has a son thirteen years of age and an aged mother, who is an invalid with no means of support. The mother has had help from her sons in paying house rent, and as times have become harder and closer this is all they seem able to do. We have also Bro. R. and his wife with four helpless children. He does his level best to support his innocent children, but they are in want all the time. He gets little for his fruit. We now go round to the members of the church to see if they can supply us with old clothes for these destitute families. I have been buying good material at sales to make up for them, as well as supplying them with food. WM 331.1

Some of our family were out on a charity expedition yesterday, and made a little beginning. Some things were collected. There are eight families that we have been helping all that we thought advisable. WM 331.2

A Dorcas society is to open this week to examine and remodel old and new material to help the needy. The members of my family and I have made many donations of money and clothing. The draft upon us has not been small. We do not have to hunt up cases; they hunt us up. These things are forced upon our notice; we cannot be Christians and pass them by, and say, “Be ye warmed and clothed,” and do not those things that will warm and clothe them. The Lord Jesus says, “The poor always ye have with you.” They are God's legacy to us.—Manuscript 4, 1895. WM 331.3

Assisting With Food and Clothing—The poor, our family have had to assist in food and clothing, and to help the widow and fatherless by money gifts as well as food and clothing. This is part of our work as Christians which cannot be neglected. Christ said, “The poor always ye have with you,” and in this part of the Lord's vineyard that is literally true. Doing good in all its forms is enjoined upon the Lord's missionaries by the Holy Scriptures. Read 2 Corinthians 9. You see, not only is our work to preach, but as we see suffering humanity in the world, we are to help them in their temporal necessities. Thus we will be instruments in the hands of God.... WM 332.1

Those who have given themselves to the Lord will yoke up with Christ and will work in Christ's lines, ever looking to Jesus for wisdom and correct judgment as to how to move. Many bring their zeal and natural temperaments into their benevolence; they move by impulse: they give to those to whom they take a notion to give; and others who are every bit as worthy, they, like the priest and Levite, look upon them but do not feel any particular interest, and pass by on the other side, which is the side of indifference and neglect. Doing good in all its forms is enjoined in the Holy Scriptures, but prudence and careful consideration are needed to know how to show mercy and help the really needy. The way that is profitable to both parties is to help them to help themselves; open ways before them in the place of giving them money; find some work for them to do; manifest discretion; and be sure we make such use of means as will do the most good for the Lord's poor in the present and future.—Letter 31b, 1895. WM 332.2

Work Supplied to Needy Families—There were many here who were poor and in need. Men who were trying to serve the Lord and keep His commandments could not provide food for their families, and they begged us to give them something to do. We employed them, and they ate at our table. We gave them suitable wages until their families were fed and comfortably clothed. Then we let them go to find work somewhere else. Some of them we had to provide with a suit of Willie's clothes, to make them fit for Sabbath meetings.—Letter 33, 1897. WM 332.3

Providing Work, Books, and Clothes—Those in this country who receive the truth are mostly poor, and in the winter time it is a hard matter for them to sustain their families. Since I wrote the foregoing, a letter was brought to me from ... a man who was a coachbuilder. He was in great poverty two years ago, and we gave him work. He was obliged to leave his family, a wife and five children, in the suburbs of Sydney, and come to Cooranbong, about ninety miles off, to obtain work. Before this he was in partnership with his brother, who also is a coachbuilder. WM 333.1

But when he embraced the Sabbath he lost his situation, and he worked for small wages, and finally he could get no work. He is an intelligent, refined man, an able teacher in the Sabbath school, and a sincere Christian. We kept him as long as we had work that he could do, and when he left he modestly asked if we could let him have a few books on present truth, for he had none. I gave him about six dollars’ worth of books. He also asked if we had any cast-off clothing that we could give him, that his wife might make over for the children. I provided him a box of clothing, for which he was very grateful.—Letter 113, 1897. WM 333.2

As Set Before Her by the Lord—Why do you not search out the cases of such men as Brother_____? He is a Christian gentleman in every sense of the word. He is a man that God loves. Such men as he are precious in the Lord's sight. I know him well. WM 333.3

I interested myself in his case.... I endeavored to anticipate his needs and never to place him where he would have to beg for work. While in Cooranbong I tried to set an example of how the needy should be helped. I tried to work in the way set before me by the Lord.—Letter 105, 1902. WM 333.4

A Dorcas Society in the E. G. White Home—Last evening we had a Dorcas Society in our home, and my workers who help in the preparation of my articles for the papers and do the cooking and sewing, five of them, sat up until midnight, cutting out clothing. They made three pairs of pants for the children of one family. Two sewing machines were running until midnight. I think there was never a happier set of workers than were these girls last evening. WM 334.1

We made up a bundle of clothing for this family, and thought it was about all we could do. Sister C. is now on this errand of mercy to this poor family, cutting out garments from the material provided. There are also other families to be supplied. And now comes another request, and we must supply them with things for winter wear. Thus it has been ever since we came to this country. We shall certainly heed the call to send a box of clothing to these needy ones. I merely tell you these things that you may know that we are surrounded by poverty. The wife of this fisherman is to be baptized next Sabbath. The poor have the gospel preached unto them. The people of this locality have very little of this world's goods.—Letter 113, 1897. WM 334.2

Assisting the Sick and Destitute—The sick call upon us for help, and we go to their assistance. Sister McEnterfer, my helper and nurse, is called upon from miles around to prescribe for them and give them treatment. She has had wonderful success. There is no physician in Cooranbong, but we shall build a hospital or sanitarium soon, where the sick can be brought in and cared for. In the past we have brought them to our own home and cared for them, for we cannot let human beings suffer without doing something to relieve them.... WM 334.3

We take no pay for anything we do, but we must have a hospital, which will cost as little as possible, where we can have some conveniences and facilities for caring for the sick. WM 334.4

This is the work of Christ, and this must be our work. We want to follow closely in the footsteps of the Master. We find in this place intelligent people, who once were in comfortable positions, but poverty has come to them. We find these work, and pay them for it, and thus relieve their necessities. This is the very work to be done in order to heal the maladies of the soul as well as of the body. Christ is the mighty Healer of soul and body. WM 334.5

Christ declared, “The poor always have ye with you.” Oh, how I long to do more than I am now doing. May the Lord strengthen me, is my prayer, that I may be able to do all He has appointed me to do. Yesterday a box of clothing was sent to a poor but intelligent and industrious family. The father is a fine workman, a coachmaker by trade. He works when he can get work. This is now the third box of clothing we have sent him. Souls are coming into the truth through the influence of this family, and Brother Starr is going to Sydney to baptize several who have been converted to the truth. WM 335.1

I long to see the work advancing. We shall labor on patiently, and the Lord will do the convicting and the converting. We cannot neglect the poor. Christ was poor. He knew privation and want. I use every dollar of my income to advance the work.... We mean to work while the day lasts, for the night cometh in which no man can work.—Letter 111, 1898. WM 335.2

Medical Missionary Work Around Cooranbong—Sr. Sara McEnterfer, in company with Bro. James, my farmer, has just gone to visit Bro. C., who lives six miles from here in the bush. This brother has embraced the truth since we came to Cooranbong.... WM 335.3

Now news has come to us that our beloved brother has come down with typhoid fever. Mr. Pringle is the only man in the village who knows anything about giving treatment without drugs; but six weeks ago he was called upon to attend Mr. B., who was also down with typhoid. He has stayed with him night and day, and has now returned to his home, worn out with the strain. So he cannot be depended on to nurse Bro. C. WM 335.4

Sara and Bro. J. have gone up to see what the situation is. If Bro. C. can be moved, he must be brought within our reach, even if he has to be carried on a litter. We cannot let him lie there and die, to leave his wife and children to the mercy of whoever will have mercy upon them.... WM 335.5

March 21. Sara has just returned with the good news that Bro. C. is much better. He was attacked, but Mr. Pringle, who was able to visit him, found him a very different subject from Mr. B. Bro. C. is a health reformer, and when his case was given vigorous treatment the fever was mastered. He is weak, but is up and dressed, and is cheerful and happy in the Lord. Sara says that the corn he is growing will help largely to sustain his family. They have a hand mill, and grind this corn over and over until it is fine. From this they make their bread, for they have not money to purchase fine flour. We shall send them some flour. This is the work that has been done in several cases. We have just helped men to help themselves. WM 336.1

Bro. C. has that in him that will not allow him, if he has health, to depend on anyone. But the man who purchased his boat has paid him nothing, for he could not. W. C. White saw Bro. C.’s necessity, and borrowed eight pounds from our blacksmith and loaned it to him, that he might make a beginning. And all are glad and more than astonished to see the beginning he has made. About twelve acres have been declared and planted with sweet corn and field corn. The sweet corn they will eat, and the field corn they will sell. The vegetables that have been grown help a great deal in supporting the family. The little lads are working with their father like little farmers. They are so earnest and full of zeal that it is amusing to look at them and see how happy they are in their work. They have not much society besides their own family connections, but they are in the very best school they could be in.—Letter 48, 1899. WM 336.2

First Attention to Needy Church Members—There are families who have lost their situations which they have held for twenty years. One man and his wife have a large family of children which we have been caring for. I am paying the expenses of four children in school from this one family. We see many cases we must help. These are excellent men we have helped. They have large families, but they are the Lord's poor. One man was a coachbuilder, a cabinetmaker, and a wheelwright, and a gentleman of superior order in the sight of God, who reads the heart of all. This family we provided with clothing from our family for three years. We moved the family to Cooranbong. We hoped to help them get a home this winter. I let them live in my tent, and they put an iron roof on it and have lived in it a year. Everyone loves this man, his wife, and children. We must help them. They have a father and a mother they must support. Three families of this same order are on the school premises, and oh, if we only had money to help them build a cheap wooden home, how glad they would be! I use every penny I have in this helping work. But it makes a difference with me whom I help, whether it is God's suffering poor who are keeping His commandments and lose their situations in consequence or whether it is a blasphemer treading under foot the commandments of God. And God regards the difference. We should make these men and women all workers together with God.—Letter 45, 1900. WM 336.3

“We Helped All We Could.”—In Australia we have tried to do all we could in this line. We located in Cooranbong, and there, where the people have to send twenty-five miles for a doctor, and pay him twenty-five dollars a visit, we helped the sick and suffering all we could. Seeing that we understood something of disease, the people brought their sick to us, and we cared for them. Thus we entirely broke down the prejudice in that place.... WM 337.1

Medical missionary work is the pioneer work. It is to be connected with the gospel ministry. It is the gospel in practice, the gospel practically carried out. I have been made so sorry to see that our people have not taken hold of this work as they should.... WM 337.2

All heaven is interested in the work of relieving suffering humanity. Satan is exerting all his powers to obtain control over the souls and bodies of men. He is trying to bind them to the wheels of his chariot. My heart is made sad as I look at our churches, which ought to be connected in heart and soul and practice with the medical missionary work.—The General Conference Bulletin, April 12, 1901. WM 337.3