Spalding and Magan Collection
A Missionary Field
April 17, 1907.
Elder J. S. Washburn:
Dear Brother Washburn,
I have just received and read your letter, in which you tell me about your visits to the colleges in Nashville. I am so glad that you are beginning to understand why our work should be located in Nashville. A wide interest should be manifested for the colored people. We ought to have in Nashville a first-class sanitarium established for the colored people, that shall be conducted by physicians and workers who will do their work wisely. The colored people of the South are to become educated workers; through the reception of the gospel they are to become teachers of the gospel to their own people. SpM 408.2
Brother Washburn, you and your colaborers should ever bear in mind that you are in a missionary field where a grand, all-round work is to be done for God. The heathen are right about you. Should you follow the course that has been pursued in the past toward the colored people, you would not fulfill your duty. The Lord calls for missionary work to be done. Those who make the South their field of labor are not to perpetuate the prejudice that has existed in the past against the colored people. The teachers of the truth are to labor for this neglected race, and by their efforts win the respect, not only of the colored people, but of the workers in other denominations. May the Lord bless you in this work, is my earnest prayer. SpM 408.3
The words that Christ spoke to his disciples when he sent them forth the first time, will apply to the experiences of the worker today. “Behold,” he said, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” You will need to understand how to meet all classes. “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all (black as well as white), how shall he not,” the apostle asks, “with him also freely give us all things?” Well might the apostle also ask, How shall we not all freely give him our most devoted service? SpM 408.4
We need to study the life of him who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes become poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. Then we shall not be unwilling to give kind, disinterested labor to those who need it. SpM 409.1
Do not lose interest in the work for the colored people. Do not rest until sanitarium work is established for them, both at the Huntsville school and at Nashville. In the past much labor has been given to this people under the most trying circumstances; and you should not overlook what has been done by the hardest kind of labor. Do not ignore what has been done, but unite your sympathies with the sympathies and labors of those who have gone before you and prepared the way. God help you, and give you wisdom to know how to treat your fellow workers. Christian instrumentality is a wonderful thing. If its place in the divine economy is appreciated as it should be, the workers will appreciate more than they do what has been accomplished in the Southern field. SpM 409.2
When I first visited the South, I learned many things regarding the work that has been done there, and when I can do so, I will have a history of that work published. Those who did not take part in it can not fully understand how much of self-denial and sacrifices is called for. SpM 409.3
I hope you will follow up the work begun in Nashville, for there is much to be done for all classes in that city. Give special attention to the colleges established there. Much labor has been expended in educational lines of work by other denominations. SpM 409.4
We must not treat the colored people as though God has not a message for them. Become acquainted with the teachers. Encourage them in their work, and take a part with them in their labors when this is possible. The gospel in its simplicity is to be presented to this people. If you will labor in the spirit of Christ, conversions to the truth will be the result of this work. SpM 409.5
Ellen G. White.