Lt 107a, 1898


Lt 107a, 1898

Starr, Brother and Sister

Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia,

November 6, 1898

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother and Sister Starr:

We left Brisbane last Monday morning. I spoke in Brisbane nine times to the large congregations and six times to a smaller number. We have seen and felt that there was a great work to be done in Brisbane. I was drawn here to this place, for I thought I would not, I could not come. But here I am. Lt107a-1898.1

I was taken very sick on the journey and have not seen a well day since I left Brisbane. The malaria has been upon me. I think if we had been in the fruit season it might have been different, but there is not much of any kind of fruit that I can eat. Then the dust was so strong I could not get out to ride with any comfort. I rode only twice with Sister Nelson and once with Brother Haskell, who has a very pleasant conveyance, but I was very sick the very day I left for this place. Lt107a-1898.2

We were all broken up for days, moving from the campground. The confusion tired me. Our second-class compartment was rather close, but there was a lavatory in it and I was as well situated as I could be otherwise than a close fit. Rode all day until night. Came to Bundaberg; had a favorable place to sleep. Rested some. Could eat nothing and could not drink without throwing it up. Rode five hours. Came to the little town of Gladstone; there found rooms until near the time the boat went out. Lt107a-1898.3

We had as favorable a place as we could have on the boat. In the morning came out four miles to Brother and Sister Zerbig’s. Here we have found a good, comfortable resting place. But you can judge my surprise when they told me handbills had been circulated everywhere that I would speak Wednesday evening. I decided not to disappoint the people. I did have strength to ride out here, four miles’ ride, in again four miles, and speak to about one hundred and twenty-five people, and ride out again four miles. Next meeting was Sabbath, and I spoke in the little hall where they meet for worship. Well, the Spirit of the Lord came upon me and I bore a very close testimony to the people. I have the matter written out. When I can get it copied you shall have a copy. Lt107a-1898.4

I felt so very, very deeply to present the message that I did, that the little company as a whole, in their life practice, did not recommend our faith. Their homes were not neat and orderly but untidy and not a representation of our faith. I told them that they were not devoid of talents. They had abilities, but they had not improved these talents; that they could grow as members of the church of God into a lovely temple for the Lord. I told them the Lord expected much more of them than they gave Him. I saw that all acted greatly surprised. Lt107a-1898.5

I could not stand to talk. I had to sit in a chair most of the time. Liberty was given for all those who had heard the message given, to respond. They did respond and their testimonies came well wet down with tears. Nearly all spoke. Many testimonies were given, and I felt that light had been let in upon them and that they would bestir themselves and make reformation in their lives. I referred them to the Lord’s directions to Israel that every offensive thing must be put out of their homes and from their premises. The Lord made Israel to wash their clothes again. He told them to bury all offensive things, “For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.” [Deuteronomy 23:14.] “And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.” [Leviticus 26:11, 12.] Lt107a-1898.6

I can write but little now, but I cannot but feel that some who have labored here have not corrected the existing evils, for our people should never be left with their habits and practices uncorrected, to dishonor the cause of God by their untidiness, not only of premises, but of houses, and in the shameful disregard of sanitary conditions. But if they will carry out that which they promise with much weeping to do, there will be decided reformation in their midst. Unless their habits were changed, the Lord would not increase their numbers, for they dishonored their faith before the people by their outside appearance. I had not over one hundred out Sunday afternoon, but I made most earnest efforts to present before all the work that they could do for the Master. I have felt great burden here. Lt107a-1898.7

We leave now in about one hour, to traverse this four miles for the last time. We take the boat at 10 p.m. We meet with the little company in Rockhampton at 7 o’clock and then go from there to the boat. I am not sorry I came up here. I shall now know better how to help them. Lt107a-1898.8

The poor souls have large families and little income. I think they have been drawn upon abundantly. The contribution Wednesday was above two pounds. Sunday, one pound eight shillings. And now I go straight through Brisbane to Toowoomba (where they were disappointed in Elder Haskell’s not meeting them on Sabbath and Sunday before the Brisbane meeting), spend Sabbath and Sunday, then the next bustle is to get home. I am so weary, and yet I have nothing to complain of. I have had excellent people to be with, and of course I alone could bear my sickness. Lt107a-1898.9

I suppose you heard of the interest that continues in Brisbane. It has exceeded any interest we have yet had. It has seemed to be intense and there were no opposing elements to come in. I never saw a meeting that seemed to be so interesting to the outside parties that they could not leave the tent and would remain an hour after the exercises closed. Lt107a-1898.10

Now I know not what is before me, but may the Lord help me to do my best. We need much larger faith and the deep moving of the Spirit of God. God is our strength, and if we fail to depend upon God for strength we shall be naught but weakness. We must humble our hearts before God, yoke up with Christ, and learn of Him. We are not going to distrust God. Lt107a-1898.11

Queensland seems to be in need of help. Of course, we cannot judge much of Rockhampton, for the cause of God has not been represented here in a correct manner. They needed labor in their homes and that from the very first. If there could now be a strong man and his wife here to carry forward the work by precept and example, living right here, everything could be hoped for. The prejudice that has been created by the course of men and women who have taken their position for the truth can be removed only by the Holy Spirit of God. Truth is too precious to be lowered into the very dust by those who claim to believe it. But I hope changes will take place. Some things, Brother Chapman says, have been done Sunday, about the premises of Sabbath brethren. But I must close this rambling letter. Lt107a-1898.12

Much love. Lt107a-1898

Please return this to me. Lt107a-1898.13