General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1




I THOUGHT I would place before the meeting this afternoon something of the working of the Foreign Mission Board. I want our brethren to understand this matter as fully as possible. No matter where we may be, no matter what our special work may be, we are all interested in the field at large. We are always glad to hear of people accepting the truth, and it does not make any difference where it is, and sometimes it seems that the more remote it may be, the more we are rejoiced over it. It gladdens us to know that the truth is going to nations, peoples, kindreds, and tongues. the sending out of sixty-five workers in one year to twenty-three different countries means much work and anxiety connected with it. GCB February 13, 1895, page 122.3

At the present time the Foreign Mission Board numbers seventeen members, but it is rather difficult to get all the members together at one time, but at all important meetings we generally have a large majority. GCB February 13, 1895, page 122.4

I am glad to state that none of the workers sent abroad have made a failure of their work. Of course every one has not had the same degree of success. Circumstances vary, conditions are different. But the work has been advancing, and for this I am exceedingly thankful; and among all the recommendations that have been made either by the General Conference direct or by its Board, it is also a matter of much interest that there have been so few that have not been carried out. And in all cases where the appointment has not been carried out there has been some special reasons for it. Now I believe with all firmness that God leads in the work and that it is our duty and privilege to know the mind of the Spirit of God. We have had some very marked experiences in this line, and it has given us as a Board great encouragement to see the providence of God leading so definitely in the matter. The Board has to study not only the field to be supplied but the field from which supplies are to be received. GCB February 13, 1895, page 122.5

Some may think that the General Conference Committee and the Foreign Mission Board do not understand the field in all parts of the world. Well, we may not know all about the details, but we sometimes know considerable, and you have thought so when we picked upon the very worker that you appreciated the most. You can readily see that in sending men to distant lands where they will have to bear weighty responsibilities, we have to look for the very best men and women, those who have been able to stand some trials and have shown themselves persons that can be depended upon in a hard place, persons that manifest good judgment, largemindedness, those that are practical as well as devoted. Of course they must be devoted and consecrated to the work. But many who are devoted are not always practical and prepared for certain lines of work. Hence the first duty of the Board is to study the field which needs workers, and the field which can supply the workers. GCB February 13, 1895, page 122.6

In conducting correspondence concerning men to fill these places, we first write to the president of the Conference before writing to the individual himself, and many times we have sent the letter to the individual through the president of the Conference, so that he may be fully advised of what was being done, and if there was any special reason or question involved why the letter should not go to the individual, it did not go there but returned to us. GCB February 13, 1895, page 122.7

In that way, several letters have been returned to us, and probably the individual involved never knew anything about it. I consider that the proper way, because the president of every Conference has the direct charge of the workers and the field over which he is placed. GCB February 13, 1895, page 123.1

The promise is, “Seek and ye shall find,” and so we have to seek. but sometimes we correspond with individuals that appear to have a fitness for the work as far as we know them, and we find that they have no burden for the place to which we are calling them. But I would never send a man to do a work who had no burden for it. I have no reasons for believing that the first time we cast our eyes upon an individual, we shall be able to decide that he is the one to go to a certain place, whether or no. I see nothing in all the word of the Lord that should indicate that. GCB February 13, 1895, page 123.2

Now I will give you an illustration of this point, and those interested will pardon me for using their names. Many of our brethren remember that four years ago we were making efforts to find a man to go to South Africa, and you remember how we labored in the General Conference, and those that were on the Committee on Distribution of Labor worked very hard, and how we finally decided on a certain brother, and it appeared to them that he was the man. We prayed over it and studied over it, and yet all the while he said, “I see no light in it.” He said he was willing to go, but he could see no light in it; he had no burden for it. Well, the Conference voted and left it there, but he did not go. Yet he got himself ready, packed up his stuff and started, but he did not go. He got as far as Michigan, and at the time that the Committee was in council at Harbor Springs, we had several seasons of prayer over the situation. We could not for a moment endure the thought of sending him, without his feeling that God was in the call. And although we were anxious to have him go, and he was willing to go and on the way, yet we would not consent to having him go further without clear evidence that God was in the move. GCB February 13, 1895, page 123.3

We were drawing near the close of our institute, and one evening Elder Porter was with the Committee, and we had a very earnest season of prayer. The Lord’s blessing was there, and I really felt while we were praying that God was giving light, and I had the evidence that when we should arise from prayer the matter would be clear. But when we arose, I asked Brother Porter if the way was clear, and he said, “Just as dark as ever.” I was very much taken back, for I felt so sure that God was hearing prayer, and was giving light. Then I was mistaken? No, I was not; the Lord heard prayer, and gave light, and very definite light too, right on that very occasion. While we were sitting there, it came to me just like a flash, saying, That man sitting on the other side of the tent has a burden to go to Africa.” That was A. T. Robinson; and I could hardly hold myself still until Brother Porter got out of the tent, and then I said to Elder Robinson, “Haven’t you a burden to go to Africa?” It came on him so suddenly he hardly knew what to say. But he finally said, “I cannot deny that I have?” His mind had been wrought upon with regard to that very thing, and yet he had not said a word to any of us. GCB February 13, 1895, page 123.4

He related then how that, two weeks before, he was very sorely tried during the meeting, and he went to the grove to seek the Lord, and it came to him that he had not made an entire surrender, and he thought of some things, and he told the Lord that he would give all to him; and the Lord said, “Will you go to Africa if they call you?” He said he was stunned at first; he had never thought of going to Africa; we had our appointment for Africa, and finally he said, “I will, Lord.” Then he had such light, and such a sense of his acceptance with God as never before. Well, now you see how the Lord was directing all that, and all there was for us was to find the man that God had selected. I might mention many other circumstances almost equally as marked, but I will not take the time. GCB February 13, 1895, page 123.5

We have a person under appointment now to go to another field. We had corresponded with as many as twenty persons, and then wrote to him. In response to our first letter, he said, “Now I understand some things that I have not been able to understand for months. Things have taken a certain shape with me, and I did not know what it meant, but it is all as clear as day now.” GCB February 13, 1895, page 123.6

Another subject that might properly come in here is that of finances. With every new enterprise the question arises, Have we the ability financially to undertake that work? But nothing would be more inconsistent for this people at this time than to begin to contract and narrow up our work. We must not do it. god says the gold and silver are his, and God is not circumscribed for means. Israel did not need to build a bridge across the sea to cross it. When God said go forward, it was, Go Forward! So let us go forward and God can open the way, even though it be a Red Sea or an overflowing Jordan. GCB February 13, 1895, page 123.7

You know that from our very beginning we have done a great deal of moving. No other denomination has done so much moving around as Seventh-day Adventists; we have done more traveling than any other denomination comparatively. In the last days the chariots were to go like lightning, and that was to carry the heralds of the Message with rapidity. GCB February 13, 1895, page 124.1

If a conference should take on the one-man idea, they would have only the one or two good points that he has, and be defective in all the others. It is not the Lord’s idea that individuals should be bound up with man but with God. But some have said, If they change us so often, we can never get a grip on the work. there is nothing more dangerous than to become “gripped” to some particular work. If we get a grip on some one enterprise with the idea that its success depends on us the sooner that we let go, the better it will be for the work. Some have urged that because the people have become attached to a certain worker, he can as a consequence do much more good than a new man could. They would not like a new man. But their salvation is being connected with God and not with man. When the Lord comes, he desires to see his own image in his people, and not the image of the man who has worked for them. GCB February 13, 1895, page 124.2

On the other hand, when a man is moved to some other field, it is not because he is a failure in the place where he was, and it was desired to get rid of him. Brethren, do not think that wicked thought. It is wrong. But it is a fact that the General Conference Committee studies the fields and the men, and tries to learn where the different ones can work to the best advantage. When we find a man who cannot work successfully in one field, we endeavor to place him under different circumstances, where he can work successfully, and it often happens that the Lord greatly blesses such in the new field. And it helps to develop men to change them from one field to another. We have been reproved in the past for not having done more in developing the workers. We should place them in one position and in another position, and thus develop qualifications for advanced work. this is a question that I want this Conference to consider very carefully. In a time when our work is developing so rapidly, it is of the utmost importance that we meet the mind of God in developing men for the work. GCB February 13, 1895, page 124.3

Some have thought when they were changed from one field to another that it was humiliating to them, and others have thought that they were promoted. both of these thoughts are of Satan, and neither must be indulged in. We are all servants of God, and both thoughts stand decidedly in the way of those brethren becoming what God would have them to be. Had Joseph taken such a view of his captivity, he would never have been placed at the head of that family, and those affairs. He would never have been placed at the head of all Egypt, but the Lord was in all that experience. They took him away from his home and sent him down there to Egypt. Cruel? Joseph does not take it that way. he says, “I will be a man of God, let come what will; I will do my best. I will be faithful. I will trust.” And he just took hold, and God blessed him most marvelously. Well, finally he was plunged into prison. That was cruel, was it not? but you see how the providence of God brings prosperity out of adversity. So wherever we are placed, if we have confidence in God, he will bring it out all right, no matter what the circumstances may be. The Lord tries us, to find out on whom he can depend, who can be trusted, and when I think of those things, I pray God, “Make me a man that you can depend upon.” I want to be where God can trust me. if I can only be where God can trust me, then I care nothing about the rest of it. GCB February 13, 1895, page 124.4

We may have convictions that we ought to do a certain thing, and that is all right. I have had convictions that I ought to do so and so, but I have never found a time or an occasion when I should break out and take the bits in my mouth and go. GCB February 13, 1895, page 124.5

I have great respect for a man’s convictions, for I believe that every individual ought to have convictions from the Spirit of God with reference to his work and his duty, but if we seek the Lord and strive to know his will, others will know it as well as ourselves. GCB February 13, 1895, page 125.1