Life Sketches of Ellen G. White


The Opening of the Australasian Bible School

During the winter of 1892, Mrs. White watched with eager interest the efforts that were made for the opening of the proposed school. In April, she pleaded with the brethren in responsibility in America to recognize the possibilities of the future, and provide facilities for the training of a large force of workers who could advance into unentered territory. “O, what a vast number of people have never been warned!” she wrote. “Is it right that such a superabundance of opportunities and privileges should be provided for the work in America, while there is such a destitution of the right kind of workers here in this field? Where are God's missionaries?” LS 335.3

“Our field is the world,” she urged. “The Saviour directed the disciples to begin their work in Jerusalem, and then pass on through Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Only a small proportion of the people accepted the doctrines; but the messengers bore the message rapidly from place to place, passing from country to country, lifting the standard of the gospel in all the near and far-off places of the earth.” LS 336.1

In June, the committee having the matter in charge announced that on St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, two large houses in George's Terrace had been rented for the school. LS 336.2

Early in August, Elder and Mrs. L. J. Rousseau arrived from America, and on August 24 a term of sixteen weeks was begun. The teachers were Elder Rousseau, principal; Elder Starr, Bible; W. L. H. Baker and Mrs. Rousseau, assistants in common branches; Mrs. Starr, matron. Soon twenty-four students were in attendance. Nearly all were adults. Twelve had been canvassers or were preparing for that work. Half of the remaining twelve had been laborers in some other line of Christian service. LS 336.3

On the opening day, short addresses were made by Elders Daniells, Tenney, Starr, White, and Rousseau; also by Mrs. White, who in the course of her remarks outlined with clearness the broad scope of a denominational training school, and the vital relation that it sustains to the task of finishing the work of God in the earth without delay. But her special burden seemed to be to impress upon the minds of teachers and students the fact that God by His providence is opening country after country to the heralds of the cross, and that in these lands of gospel opportunity the honest in heart are groping eagerly after the light of saving truth. LS 336.4

“The plans and work of men,” she said, “are not keeping pace with the providence of God; for while some in these countries who claim to believe the truth declare by their attitude, ‘We want not Thy way, O Lord, but our own way,’ there are many who are pleading with God that they may understand what is truth. In secret places they are weeping and praying that they may see light in the Scriptures, and the Lord of heaven has commissioned His angels to cooperate with human agencies in carrying forward His vast design, that all who desire life may behold the glory of God.” LS 337.1

“We are to follow where God's providence opens the way,” the speaker continued; “and as we advance, we shall find that Heaven has moved before us, enlarging the field for labor far beyond the proportion of our means and ability to supply. The great want of the field open before us, should appeal to all to whom God has entrusted means or ability, that they may devote themselves and their all to God.” LS 337.2

Nor were those who should receive a training, to be limited in their missionary endeavors by racial or national barriers. Wherever they labored, their efforts were to be crowned with speedy triumph. “The purpose and ends to be attained by consecrated missionaries,” Mrs. White declared, “are very comprehensive. The field for missionary operation is not limited by caste or nationality. The field is the world, and the light of truth is to go to all the dark places of the earth in a much shorter time than many think possible.” Bible Echo, Supplement, September 1, 1892. LS 337.3

It was on this same occasion of the opening of the Australasian Bible School, which afterward developed into the Australasian Missionary College, that Mrs. White said: LS 338.1

“The missionary work in Australia and New Zealand is yet in its infancy, but the same work must be accomplished in Australia, New Zealand, in Africa, India, China, and the islands of the sea, as has been accomplished in the home field.” Bible Echo, Supplement, September 1, 1892. LS 338.2