Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists



Sabbath and Sunday, October 24 and 25, we spent at Grythyttehed, a village surrounded by forests, nearly a hundred and fifty miles north-west from Stockholm. Here we were kindly cared for at the hospitable home of Bro. and Sister Hedin. This brother had in former years been a man of dissipated habits; and as the result, he was poor in every sense. When the truth was preached here, he received it, and it began its work in his life and character. He became temperate and industrious, and began to prosper in his business, so that he now keeps several men in his employ. He desired to entertain the ministers that visited them; but his house was small, and his family large, and it was often necessary for the ministering brethren to find a place among strangers. Such was Bro. Hedin's love for the truth, that he hired money to build a good-sized two-story house where he could have room to receive the Lord's servants. Two large chambers, comfortably furnished, and provided with stoves and writing-tables, are kept for their use. This brother's history shows what Bible truth can do for a man. It elevates, ennobles, and refines him; it will fit him for the society of holy angels in the kingdom of God. HS 194.3

But worldly prosperity is not often the lot of those who receive the truth. Our brethren in America have but little idea of the difficulties to be met by those who keep the Sabbath in these countries. The laboring class is poorly paid, especially in the country. Many a man works for thirty-five cents a day in the summer, and fifteen in the winter. Most of our people are poor, and it is very difficult for them to obtain work, even at low prices. The elder of this church is employed in a store as general manager, and when he began to keep the Sabbath, his salary was cut down from 700 to 600 kroner, about $162, a year; on this small sum he supports a family of five. There are many who have to lift a heavy cross, and walk by faith, not by sight. Many suffer poverty and reproach; but this should not prevent them from obeying God's commandments. Their reward will be in accordance with their self-denial and sacrifice for the truth's sake. HS 194.4

At this place is one of the oldest companies of Sabbath-keepers in Sweden. They number about fifty. Here there was the greatest interest in the meetings. Our people hold their meetings in a union house built by dissenters, and open to all denominations. Here a plan quite common in Sweden, but new to us, was adopted to supply the lack of an organ. A lady who occupied a room adjoining the meeting-hall, and who had charge of the building, was a skillful player on the guitar, and possessed a sweet, musical voice; at public worship she was accustomed to supply the place of both choir and instrument. At our request she played and sung at the opening of our meetings. HS 194.5

Our people here are considerably scattered, but on the Sabbath they came in from all the surrounding country. The ground was covered with snow, and one brother came thirty miles in a sleigh, while others, both men and women, walked from six to twenty miles. Eld. Matteson preached in the morning, and when all had had time to come in from a distance, I followed, speaking from Philippians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always.” I dwelt upon the importance of exercising faith in God, so that we can rejoice in him even in the midst of trials and persecutions, and of laboring in the spirit of Christ to win others to the truth. HS 195.1

We saw in this company several brethren, who, we believe, could do good work as canvassers and colporteurs. The importance of this work was set before them, and the brethren agreed to meet together and study the Bible, preparatory to engaging in missionary labor. As we passed out of the house at the close of the meeting, many crowded around to shake hands with me. They could not express their feelings in words, but they pressed my hand, and with the tears coursing down their cheeks silently pointed upward. We hope to meet these dear friends among the saved, when we shall all have one language, and there will be no barriers to our communion with one another. HS 195.2