Evangelism

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Ellen G. White's Experience and Methods as a Personal Worker

An Early Experience—The reality of true conversion seemed so plain to me that I felt like helping my young friends into the light, and at every opportunity exerted my influence toward this end. Ev 447.3

I arranged meetings with my young friends, some of whom were considerably older than myself, and a few were married persons. A number of them were vain and thoughtless; my experience sounded to them like an idle tale, and they did not heed my entreaties. But I determined that my efforts should never cease till these dear souls, for whom I had so great an interest, yielded to God. Several entire nights were spent by me in earnest prayer for those whom I had sought out and brought together for the purpose of laboring and praying with them. Ev 447.4

Some of these had met with us from curiosity to hear what I had to say; others thought me beside myself to be so persistent in my efforts, especially when they manifested no concern on their own part. But at every one of our little meetings I continued to exhort and pray for each one separately, until every one had yielded to Jesus, acknowledging the merits of His pardoning love. Every one was converted to God. Ev 447.5

Night after night in my dreams I seemed to be laboring for the salvation of souls. At such times special cases were presented to my mind; these I afterward sought out and prayed with. In every instance but one these persons yielded themselves to the Lord.—Life Sketches, 41, 42(1915). Ev 448.1

Twenty-two Years After the Seed Sowing—After the meeting closed [a service at the Michigan camp meeting], a sister took me heartily by the hand, expressing great joy at meeting Sister White again. She inquired if I remembered calling at a log house in the woods twenty-two years before. She gave us refreshments and I left with them a little book, Experience and Views. Ev 448.2

She stated that she had lent that little book to her neighbors, as new families had settled around her, until there was very little left of it; and she expressed a great desire to obtain another copy of the work. Her neighbors were deeply interested in it, and were desirous of seeing the writer. She said that when I called upon her I talked to her of Jesus and the beauties of heaven, and that the words were spoken with such fervor that she was charmed, and had never forgotten them. Since that time the Lord had sent ministers to preach the truth to them, and now there was quite a company observing the Sabbath. The influence of that little book, now worn out with perusing, had extended from one another, performing its silent work, until the soil was ready for the seeds of truth. Ev 448.3

I well remember the long journey we took twenty-two years ago, in Michigan. We were on our way to hold a meeting in Vergennes. We were fifteen miles from our destination. Our driver had passed over the road repeatedly and was well acquainted with it, but was compelled to acknowledge that he had lost the way. We traveled forty miles that day, through the woods, over logs and fallen trees, where there was scarcely a trace of road.... Ev 449.1

We could not understand why we should be left to this singular wandering in the wilderness. We were never more pleased than when we came in sight of a little clearing on which was a log cabin, where we found the sister I have mentioned. She kindly welcomed us to her home, and provided us with refreshments, which were gratefully received. As we rested, I talked with the family and left them the little book. She gladly accepted it, and has preserved it until the present time. Ev 449.2

For twenty-two years our wanderings on this journey have seemed indeed mysterious to us, but here we met quite a company who are now believers in the truth, and who date their first experience from the influence of that little book. The sister who so kindly administered to our wants is now, with many of her neighbors, rejoicing in the light of present truth.—The Signs of the Times, October 19, 1876. Ev 449.3

An Experience in Nimes, France—When laboring in Nimes, France, we made it our work to save souls. There was a young man who had become discouraged through the temptations of Satan and through some mistakes of our brethren who did not understand how to deal with the minds of the youth. He gave up the Sabbath and engaged to work in a manufacturing establishment to perfect his trade in watchmaking. He is a very promising young man. My watch needed repairing, which brought us together. Ev 449.4

I was introduced to him, and as soon as I looked upon his countenance I knew that he was the one whom the Lord had presented before me in vision. The whole circumstance came distinctly before me.... Ev 450.1

He attended the meeting when he thought I would speak, and would sit with his eyes riveted on me through the entire discourse, which was translated into French by Brother Bourdeau. I felt a duty to labor for this young man. I talked two hours with him and urged upon him the peril of his situation. I told him because his brethren had made a mistake that was no reason that he should grieve the heart of Christ, who had loved him so much that He had died to redeem him.... Ev 450.2

I told him I knew the history of his life and his errors (which were the simple errors of youthful indiscretion), which were not of a character that should have been treated with so great severity. I then entreated him with tears to turn square about, to leave the service of Satan and of sin, for he had become a thorough backslider, and return like the prodigal to his Father's house, his Father's service. He was in good business learning his trade. If he kept the Sabbath he would lose his position.... A few months more would finish his apprenticeship, and then he would have a good trade. But I urged an immediate decision. Ev 450.3

We prayed with him most earnestly, and I told him that I dared not have him cross the threshold of the door until he would before God and angels and those present say, “I will from this day be a Christian.” How my heart rejoiced when he said this. He slept none that night. He said as soon as he made the promise he seemed to be in a new channel. His thoughts seemed purified, his purposes changed, and the responsibility that he had taken seemed so solemn that he could not sleep. The next day he notified his employer that he could work for him no longer. He slept but little for three nights. He was happy, so thankful that the Lord had evidenced to him His pardon and His love.—Letter 59, 1886. Ev 450.4

An Effective Use of Literature—There was one man whom, with his whole family, we highly prized. He is a reading man, and has a large farm, on which grow the choicest of oranges and lemons, with other fruit. But he did not in the beginning fully take his position for the truth, and went back. They told me about this. In the night season the angel of the Lord seemed to stand by me, saying, “Go to Brother _____, place your books before him, and this will save his soul.” I visited with him, taking with me a few of my large books. I talked with him just as though he were with us. I talked of his responsibilities. I said, “You have great responsibilities, my brother. Here are your neighbors all around you. You are accountable for every one of them. You have a knowledge of the truth, and if you love the truth, and stand in your integrity, you will win souls for Christ.” Ev 451.1

He looked at me in a queer way, as much as to say, “I do not think you know that I have given up the truth, that I have allowed my girls to go to dances, and to the Sunday school, that we do not keep the Sabbath.” But I did know it. However, I talked to him just as though he were with us. “Now,” I said, “we are going to help you to begin to work for your neighbors. I want to make you a present of some books.” He said, “We have a library, from which we draw books.” I said, “I do not see any books here. Perhaps you feel delicate about drawing from the library. I have come to give you these books, so that your children can read them, and this will be a strength to you.” I knelt down and prayed with him, and when we rose, the tears were rolling down his face, as he said, “I am glad that you came to see me. I thank you for the books.” Ev 451.2

The next time I visited him, he told me that he had read part of Patriarchs and Prophets. He said, “There is not one syllable I could change. Every paragraph speaks right to the soul.” Ev 452.1

I asked Brother _____ which of my large books he considered the most important. He said, “I lend them all to my neighbors, and the hotelkeeper thinks that Great Controversy is the best. But,” he said, while his lips quivered, “I think that Patriarchs and Prophets is the best. It is that which pulled me out of the mire.” Ev 452.2

But suffice it to say, he took his position firmly for the truth. His whole family united with him, and they have been the means of saving other families.—.The General Conference Bulletin, April 5, 1901. Ev 452.3

Chatting With a New Believer About the Work—A woman about forty years of age was introduced to me, who has just decided to obey the truth, in Canterbury. Her husband is in full sympathy with his wife and does everything he can to get her to the meetings. They have a nice little cottage, which they own and which is paid for. She came out to the carriage and talked with us. She said the people in Canterbury are not a churchgoing people, but the tent at _____ has been an advertisement, and they are curious to know what it all means. In this way they are brought out to attend the meetings, and many are interested. You cannot get them into a church or a hall, but the tent they will patronize.... Ev 452.4

The sister mentioned, who talked with me at the carriage, said, “These precious things of the Bible are wonderful to me. Strange we could not see them before. The Bible is full of riches, and I want to have all the opportunity to hear and improve, so that I can help others. People here in Canterbury are in need of this kind of labor. If you will pitch the tent, they will come.”—Letter 89a, 1895. Ev 453.1

Leaves From the Diary of 1892October 26. We had promised to visit Brother and Sister H, and after dinner today Elder Daniells, May Walling, and I went to fill the appointment. Through the temptations of the enemy, Sister H has given up the truth.... After a short conversation we all bowed in prayer, and the Lord breathed upon us His Holy Spirit. We felt the presence of God, and we greatly hope that this effort shall not be in vain. Ev 453.2

November 5. It has been a pleasant day, but I have been almost strengthless. We attended meeting, and invited our next-door neighbor to go with us. She readily consented to go and seemed much affected. She talked freely as we drove to the meeting place, but on our return she looked very solemn and said nothing. I spoke on the parable of the man without a wedding garment, and we had a solemn meeting. The lady afterward told my niece, May Walling, that she was sorry that she had not attended all the meetings that have been held since we came. She declared that she would not miss one while we remained. Ev 453.3

November 6. We had planned to drive into the mountains, ... but I had a burden of soul for Brother and Sister H, and felt that I could not go into the mountains and delay the Lord's business. With very imperfect directions May Walling and I started out to find Brother H's place.... At last we were successful. I told Brother and Sister H that I had come to talk with them. We began talking at half past two, and continued until five.... I tried to do all in my power to help Sister H. She wept nearly all the time that we were talking. I think the Spirit of the Lord touched her heart. I prayed with them and then left them in the hands of God. Ev 453.4

November 7. I rested well through the night. At half past four I arose and began writing. At ten o'clock, May Walling and I rode out to visit Sister E. Ev 454.1

November 8. I slept well through the night. During the day I drove to the house where Sister F is boarding with her children. We took her out to ride with us, and had a long talk with her. She is a woman who has seen great trouble. Ev 454.2

November 9. In response to an earnest invitation, we drove out to a pleasant grove, where the parents and children of the Sabbath school were having a picnic.... I spoke for about half an hour. A number of unbelievers were present. Ev 454.3

November 10. I wrote till noon, and after dinner we drove to Bourdon, to fill an appointment to meet with some sisters there. We had a very precious season of prayer, believing Christ's promise that where two or three meet together in His name, He meets with them to bless them. I read some important matter to those present, and talked with them. I labored harder than when I speak on the Sabbath; for I was with them for nearly two hours. It was almost dark when we reached home; but I was blessed of the Lord, and we were happy in His love. Ev 454.4

November 11. I fear that I have been doing too much. Since Sabbath I have written eighty-six pages, letter paper, besides making several visits to people in their homes. This afternoon I called at Brother and Sister H's and left some books. Ev 454.5

November 21. At two o'clock today I visited Brother and Sister H and read some things that I had been writing to meet the difficulties existing in Sister H's mind. Ev 455.1

November 27. Today I visited Sister K and her daughter. The daughter recently met with an accident.... We talked and prayed with her, and the Lord drew very near as we entreated Him to bless both mother and daughter. Ev 455.2

We next visited Sister G, who is a widow.... We had a season of prayer with this sister, and the tender Spirit of the Lord rested upon us. We talked with Sister G's daughter, a girl of about sixteen, telling her of the love of Jesus and entreating her to give her heart to the Saviour. I told her that if she would accept Christ as her Saviour, He would be her support in every trial and would give her peace and rest in His love. She seemed to be influenced by our words. We then went to see Brother and Sister H.—Manuscript 21, 1892. Ev 455.3

Fields Endeared to the Worker—Dora Ceek and Martinsville and the other settlements in the woods in which we labored are dear to me. I hope that the most tender solicitude will be shown for the souls in these places and that earnest efforts will be made to draw them to Christ. Much has been done in these places, and much more will need to be done.—Letter 113, 1902. Ev 455.4