Life Sketches of Ellen G. White


A Training Ground for Mission Fields

In behalf of the brethren and sisters in Australasia who were eager to share the burdens of missionary endeavor in the regions beyond, Elder A. G. Daniells, at that time the president of the Australasian Union Conference, reported to the 1899 General Conference the rapid developments taking place, and the strong faith of all in their ability to unite with their fellow workers in America and Europe in carrying the third angel's message into missionary territory. LS 372.2

“We in Australasia,” he wrote, “have been slow to grasp the meaning of God's providence in keeping His servant, Sister White, in this country. When she came, we all thought she was making us only a brief visit. She thought so. But the Lord knew better. He placed her in this land, and does not cause the cloud to lift and move elsewhere. LS 372.3

“Ever since she came, God has been instructing her regarding the work here. He has pointed out the mistakes in our methods of labor. He has caused another mould to be placed upon the work throughout the entire field. He has constantly admonished to ‘go forward,’ to break forth on every side. All the time He is directing us to enlarge our work. He has given His servant a great burden regarding the educational work. The struggle it has taken to carry out what God has plainly revealed should be done, has been terrible. Satan has contested every inch of the ground; but God has given us many victories. He has planted the Avondale School, and we have the plainest evidences that He will be glorified by it. He has given minute instructions regarding its location, object, and management. Now He is telling us that if we will walk in the light He has given, Avondale will become the training ground for many missionary fields. The hand of God is in all these things. We are endeavoring to arouse our people to understand the situation, and do all in their power to sustain the work. They are responding nobly; but our visible resources are small for the great work we are urged to do.... LS 373.1

“We have an army of intelligent young men and women, anxious to fit themselves for the work of God. We believe that in a short time we shall be able to furnish a large number of valuable workers for various mission fields under the British flag. The “Lord is revealing this to us through the Spirit of prophecy, and He will bring it to pass.” General Conference Daily Bulletin, 1899. LS 373.2

In a talk on the Avondale School and its work, given Sabbath afternoon, July 22, 1899, before the Australasian Union Conference session of that year, Mrs. White emphasized at considerable length the missionary character of the work to be done there. She said: LS 374.1

“God designs that this place shall be a center, an object lesson. Our school is not to pattern after any school that has been established in America, or after any school that has been established in this country. We are looking to the Sun of Righteousness, trying to catch every beam of light that we can.... LS 374.2

“From this center we are to send forth missionaries. Here they are to be educated and trained, and sent to the islands of the sea and other countries. The Lord wants us to be preparing for missionary work.... LS 374.3

“There is a great and grand work to be done. Some who are here may feel that they must go to China or other places to proclaim the message. These should first place themselves in the position of learners, and thus be tested and tried.” (Australasian) Union Conference Record, July 28, 1899, pp. 8, 9. LS 374.4

And this ideal—the training of many Christian workers for the needy mission fields lying beyond—was continually held before the supporters of the Avondale School, and is the ideal that has characterized the work there in the years that have followed, as indicated by the very name the school now bears, “The Australasian Missionary College.” LS 374.5

“We have moved out by faith and have made large advancement,” Mrs. White wrote at the close of 1899, “because we saw what needed to be done, and we dared not hesitate. But we have not done the half of that which should be done. We are not yet on vantage ground. There is a great work before us. All about us are souls longing for light and truth; and how are they to be reached? ... LS 374.6

“My brethren and sisters in Australasia, there is in every city and every suburb a work to be done in presenting the last message of mercy to a fallen world. And while we are trying to work these destitute fields, the cry comes from far-off lands, ‘Come over and help us.’ These are not so easily reached, and perhaps not so ready for the harvest, as the fields within our sight, but they must not be neglected. We want to push the triumphs of the cross. Our watchword is to be, ‘Onward, ever onward!’ Our burden for the ‘regions beyond’ can never be laid down until the whole earth shall be lightened with the glory of the Lord. LS 375.1

“But what can we do? We sit down and consider, we pray, and plan how to begin the work in the places all around us. Where are the faithful missionaries who will carry it forward? and how shall they be sustained? LS 375.2

“Above all, how shall missionaries be trained? How shall workers be prepared to enter the opening fields? Here is now our greatest burden. Therefore our special anxiety is for our school in Avondale. We must here provide suitable facilities for educating workers in different lines. We see young men possessing qualifications that, if they can be rightly educated, will enable them to become laborers together with God. We must give them the opportunity. Some are placing students in our school, and are assisting them in defraying their expenses, that they may become workers in some part of the Lord's vineyard. Much more should be done in this line, and special efforts should be made in behalf of those whom our workers shall send from the islands to be trained as missionaries. LS 375.3

“In the future, more than in the past, our school must be an active missionary agency, as the Lord has specified.... Workers we must have, and in twenty-fold greater numbers, to supply the need in both the home and the foreign field. Therefore, the Avondale School must not be restricted in its facilities.” (Australasian) Union Conference Record, January 1, 1900 LS 376.1