Life Sketches of Ellen G. White


Help from Friends in Africa

In April, 1896, Mrs. White had written to the Wessels brothers, of Cape Town, asking them to lend her $5,000 at a low rate of interest, that she might lend it to the school board to help and encourage in the beginning of the necessary buildings. In one of her letters to these friends in South Africa, she wrote: LS 362.2

“We must build a school here, where students may be educated to form characters for eternal life, and where they may receive such an education in the Scriptures that they will go out from the school to educate others. This is the Lord's work; and when we know that we are doing the very work He has specified, we must have faith to believe that He will open the way.... The King's business requires haste. The youth in this country are expecting a school, and we do not want them to wait longer. LS 362.3

“Would you know how you can best please your Saviour? It is by putting your money to the exchangers, to be used in the Lord's service and to advance His work. By doing this, you make the very best outlay of the means God has entrusted to you. I have consecrated all I possess to the Lord, and have expended means in various lines, helping to sustain camp meetings, and building meetinghouses in those places where people have accepted the truth. I find many openings where I can help to save perishing souls.... LS 363.1

“It pays us to labor for those for whom Christ has died. Our strength and resources can be expended in no better way. If, by the help of the Spirit of God, we can build a structure which will last through the eternal ages, what a work we have done! Cooperating with God in this work, we can think of Christ's words, so full of assurance, ‘I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.’ God cares for the human souls to whom He gave His only-begotten Son, and we must see all men through the eyes of divine compassion.” LS 363.2

Not long after the dream about the ripening fruit, letters came from Africa, stating that Mrs. A. E. Wessels would lend to Sister White the money she had asked for. Joyfully this news was communicated to the school board, and immediately the cutting and sawing of timber for the buildings was hastened along. LS 363.3

October 5, 1896, at 5:30 P. M., a group of about thirty-five gathered on the school campus, and Mrs. White laid the first brick of the foundation of Bethel Hall, which was to be the young ladies’ dormitory. She then briefly related her experience, as follows: LS 363.4

“Often during this time of financial straits, I awakened in the night sorely distressed over the situation. To what source could we look for help? I earnestly prayed that the Lord would open the way for us to build, and that although there seemed no prospect of securing means, He would send the needed help. One night I fell asleep, and dreamed that I was weeping and praying before the Lord. A hand touched me on the shoulder, and a voice said: ‘I have means in many families in Africa that is being bound up in worldly enterprises. Send to the Wessels brothers. Tell them the Lord has need of money. It will do them good to help to advance My work here with their entrusted means. Tell them to lay up treasure for themselves in heaven, where moth will not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where their treasure is, there will their heart be also.’” LS 364.1