Manuscript Releases, vol. 15 [Nos. 1136-1185]


MR No. 1168—More Souls May Be Won by Camp Meetings Than by Gospel Wagons; The Importance of Providing Church Buildings for New Converts

(Written December 18, 1898, from Sunnyside, Cooranbong, N.S.W., to Dr. John Harvey Kellogg.)

Some good will result from equipping Gospel Wagons in America, and thousands of dollars will be consumed in this way. When the season is ended, some sheaves may be gathered, but not many. The money could be used in lines that would have a more lasting influence. Camp meetings should be more abundant, but not large. Gospel Wagons will not accomplish the work of these meetings. They will not have the very best influence over those who work in connection with them. They will have a sort of infatuation for many who will think, “That is just the kind of work I would like to do—to ride through the country, and sing, and listen to instrumental music.” But this kind of labor does not make the best impression on minds. 15MR 250.1

In the place of having one mammoth camp meeting, have several small camp meetings. And when companies are raised up in the places where these meetings are held, let a place of worship be built for them. We cannot do otherwise here, so that labor shall not be lost. To do otherwise is too much like carrying a torch through a district in the night. The places where the torchbearer goes are light, but there are not many tapers kindled from his torch, to become true workers in giving light to others. 15MR 250.2

People have been called to the Gospel Wagon to listen to the music and the speeches that are made. But after they are gone little is left on the mind that will ripen into fruit. Many are enchanted with these outward performances; but the life and work of Christ was not after this order. God has not appointed us to proclaim the truth in this way, when there are better methods. Outward display is not to characterize our work. 15MR 250.3

Please consider this before you spend on Gospel Wagon thousands of dollars. This money would erect humble houses of worship, something that the people really need, where they can meet to worship God. After an effort has been made in a certain place, do not leave that place without building a church. Then you must go farther. A school building should be erected, and a school teacher employed to educate the children. Thus the whole community may hear the last message of warning. 15MR 251.1

We should employ methods of work that are not transient. Every action should be done solidly, for time and for eternity. We must not give the impression that we link amusement with the solemn work for this time. 15MR 251.2

We have just visited Queensland. Both in Brisbane and Rockhampton there are companies of our people, but they need places of worship. The basement of a church can be used as a schoolroom. 15MR 251.3

We have a most serious work to do. We are not merely to exalt the medical missionary work. The reasons of our faith are to be given in clear, distinct lines. Meet the people where they are. Outward attractions and display may encourage sensational ideas that will spoil some of the workers and the influence they leave behind. The Lord Jesus Christ was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, but He laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown and humbled Himself to meet the people where they are. The last days are upon us, and you, my brother, are devising ways to consume means which could be better invested by building churches for the people, in which they can meet to worship God. 15MR 251.4

I send you a letter from Brother Haskell. This will show you the situation of things in Brisbane. There is not a place in which they can meet to worship God, and the rains have been breaking up their meetings in the tent. Souls are deeply convicted, and several have taken their stand. But the rain has come, and the tent is very much like a sieve. But the interest still continues good, and if at this time a house of worship could be built in that large city, the souls who are seeking for truth would take courage. 15MR 252.1

We are very sorry to say that our dear Brother Wilson has had a severe hemorrhage of the lungs. On Friday last a telegram came from Sister Wilson soliciting us to pray for her husband at six o'clock Sabbath evening. We did so, and had a very solemn season of prayer. We presented to the Lord the promise, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” 15MR 252.2

This cuts off the only helper that Brother Haskell has. There are a large number of inquirers for truth in Brisbane, and a church should be built there. But funds are lacking. We have drawn and drawn upon our people here to help sustain the school and the health food enterprise, and we cannot ask them to do much toward this church. If outside parties in Brisbane will help by furnishing the land, that will be something. But as far as money is concerned, we have been using up and borrowing money until now I have nothing with which to pay my workers. They have waited six months.—Letter 124, 1898. 15MR 252.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D.C.,

December 5, 1985.

Entire Letter.