Lt 203, 1899

Lt 203, 1899

White, J. E.; White, Emma

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

December 3, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in DG 226-227.

Dear children Edson and Emma:

I have not been able to write you much lately. I have sent you copies, but I have not had time to write as much as I would like to write. At this date we are still engaged in the work at Maitland, a town twenty-seven miles from Cooranbong. When we wish to go to Maitland, we harness Jessie White and Jasper Haskell in the surrey, and drive over. We start early to avoid the heat of the day, taking our breakfast with us, and eating it by the way. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 1

What shall I tell you of Maitland? We felt much anxiety about holding a camp meeting in this place, because not many weeks before it had been flooded. But light came to me so decidedly that this field was all ripe for the harvest that we dared not delay. It was reported that there was no place favorable for pitching the tents. Brother Starr went to Maitland, and visiting the mayor and the Town clerk, asked them for the use of the city park, a most beautiful park in the center of the city. These officials treated Brother Starr courteously, and said that they would consider the matter favorably. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 2

Soon word came that we could have the use of the park for two weeks free of charge. The businessmen in Maitland did everything they could to accommodate us. We shall certainly always respect and feel grateful to those who from first to last were so kind to us. I made the mayor a present of The Desire of Ages, in the best binding. Brother Starr gave one to the town clerk. I received from the mayor a very politely written acknowledgement, thanking me for my present. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 3

Our meeting opened Thursday evening. The attendance was good. Elder Daniells spoke to a tent well-filled with people. On Sabbath the attendance was good. I spoke with much freedom in the afternoon. I felt so thankful that after so much anxiety we were just where we hoped to be able to plant the standard of truth. On Sunday the large tent was full to overflowing. The children met in tents prepared for them, where they were taught in classes by excellent teachers. I understand that the ministers warned their people not to let their children go to the tent meetings under any consideration, but nevertheless, every Sabbath and Sunday afternoon the children came, and were much interested in the meetings held for them. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 4

The Lord gave me freedom in speaking, and I beheld before me the faces of many of those presented to me in a dream, calling, “Come over and help us.” [Acts 16:9.] Before Christ left His disciples, He commissioned them to preach the gospel to all nations, tongues, and peoples. He knew that the gospel was the hope of mankind. He died to relieve the spiritual necessities of the fallen race. He hears their every sigh, knows their every longing for salvation. He declared, “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” [John 12:32.] For the joy that was set before Him, He died on the cross. The Son of the living God became a sin-offering for the world. In that act the heart of Christ was given to the world. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 5

As I spoke to the people, I had great freedom. The people listened as if for their lives, and I know that the Word of God made an impression on human minds. I have now spoken four Sabbath and Sunday afternoons in succession. The work is still going forward. The Tuesday after the meeting started, a terrible cyclone struck the campground, and all but five of the tents were blown down. Seven of the small tents were torn into shreds. Great holes were made in the large meeting tent. At this time, in our great necessity, the citizens of Maitland came forward and showed themselves our friends. The people opened their houses and invited the campers in. They inconvenienced themselves to make room for the wet bedding to be dried. They could not possibly have done more than they did do. This has endeared the people of Maitland to me. The Lord will bless them for their kindly deeds. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 6

We believe that this storm will be for the glory of God. After it was over, the people, deeply solicitous, came on the ground, saying, “Will you go away because of this? We do not want you to go. We have only just begun to receive the good things you have for us.” When they saw that all were cheerful, and when they were assured that we would not leave, they were happy and cheerful themselves. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 7

The meetings have been excellent. Our ministers have carried out Paul’s charge to Timothy, “I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom, Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine.” [2 Timothy 4:1, 2.] The Word has been preached, and many people have heard it. Grey haired men say, “I never knew before I came to this tent that such things were in the Bible. I never read my Bible so much before.” 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 8

I have scarcely been able to restrain my tears as I have seen the eagerness of the people to take in the words of truth. I know these are some of the people presented to me as reaching out their hands, and saying, “Come over and help us; we want spiritual food.” My Guide said, “They are as sheep without a shepherd.” [Mark 6:34.] As I stood before the people in the tent, I thought how earnestly the heavenly angels were looking down upon us as we opened the Word of life to this people. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 9

On this very ground is to be fought out the struggle between good and evil, between a “Thus saith the Lord” and the sophistries of Satan, between truth and error. Here the cross of Christ is to be uplifted, challenging every power arrayed against the truth. Who is not anxious to know the plan of the contest? Let us study the plans of God in the work of redemption. God uses human instrumentalities in the ministry of His Word for the conversion of souls. The cross is to be established between earth and heaven, to draw all men. All will not come, but some will. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 10

The work in Maitland is a very important work. The ministers of other denominations are doing all they can with falsehoods and mischievous reports to hinder the work, but the sound has gone forth throughout all the settlements about Maitland. Our prayer to God is that the truth shall bear away the victory in such a convincing manner that many souls shall be added to the church of such as shall be saved. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 11

The people who live on farms and in the mining districts come to hear, for never before has the standard of present truth been uplifted in this locality, and everything is new to them. We do not always consider this. The same truths have to be repeated over and over again. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 12

I spoke on Sunday afternoon to an interested audience. There were present many of the members of other churches. All seem to prefer the tent to a hall, for they say that they have more air in a tent. I spoke earnestly, and prayed that the Lord would send home the truth to the hearts of the hearers. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 13

One evening twenty men and women walked from a town three miles off to attend the meeting, and these are now asking that meetings be held in the place where they live. Brother and Sister Starr visited them, and talked with them about the truth. I may not be able to speak in this place, but I shall try to do so. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 14

On Monday morning Sara and I were up at one o’clock. The horses were fed, and at three o’clock we were on our way home. At eight o’clock a.m. we entered our gates at Sunnyside. We make our journey thus early in the day that we may escape the heat, which is very strong in the middle of the day. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 15

We have had a consultation with our brethren regarding our workers. We need more workers. We do not know how to divide the few we have among the different localities where work is needed to be done. We have decided to make some changes. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 16

On Sabbath I spoke in the church at Cooranbong. I felt deeply the needs of our work in Maitland, and I asked that earnest prayer be made to our heavenly Father for the Holy Spirit to work in our midst, that the people now in error might be converted to the truth. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 17

On Sunday I had a very busy day. The heat wave had passed off, and beautiful, refreshing showers were gladdening everything in nature. This brought us great relief. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 18

On Sabbath Brother and Sister Gates and Brother Gates’ sister took dinner at Willie’s. They have just come up from Sydney. They report an excellent passage from America. On Sunday we had a counsel meeting in the Health Retreat. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 19

On Monday morning I thought my family appeared unnatural. Some strange shadow seemed to hang over them. In the morning Sara and I drove to the station for Willie, but he did not come. Elder Gates, who had spoken to the people in Wallsend Sunday evening, drove up with us from the station, and Sara took him to the school, bringing back with her Elder Daniells and Brother Hare. Sara told me that these brethren would like to speak with me. I had a few words with Elder Daniells about the work in Maitland, and then Brother Hare drew his chair up close to mine, and said he had something to tell me. Then he told me that the evening before an accident had occurred near the school. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 20

Sister Peck, Miss Gates, and Sister Boyd’s daughter were driving from Sunnyside to the school with a horse which we have always considered safe and manageable, though awkward. If we did not watch her while driving, she would turn to one side. The road to the school is not a permanent one, but is laid out for present use until a better can be made. Under the management of Elder Haskell, the school boys made a log bridge over the creek. As the trap neared this bridge, those in it saw that a tree had fallen across the road, and Sister Peck, who had the lines, thought she would get out and lead the horse round it. But instead of standing still, the horse began to back, and tried to turn round toward home again. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 21

No one anticipated any danger. But they were nearer to the edge of the creek than they supposed, and in a few seconds, the carriage and those who were in it, except Miss Peck, were in the river, which at that place, is about fifteen feet deep. Sister Peck was thrown out on the bank, and the carriage in its descent passed over her. But she was not much hurt. She helped Ella Boyd out of the water, but Miss Gates was beyond their reach. Ella Boyd ran to the school and called out the men, and in about three minutes they had the body of Miss Gates out of the water. They carried her to the school, and did everything possible to restore her, but without success. She was dead. It is believed by all that she did not die from drowning, for she made no struggle to save herself. We think that the shock killed her. She was buried on Monday afternoon. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 22

This, of course, has delayed our preparation for the American mail, and we cannot answer all the letters we have received. Sara, with other of my workers, was up all Sunday night, and so, you see, they have not had a fair chance to work. The mail leaves at nine o’clock this morning, and I am writing at one o’clock. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 23

We feel so thankful that Miss Peck and Sister Boyd’s daughter were uninjured. The angel of God must have worked their deliverance. Sister Gates was in delicate health. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 24

She has suffered much from lung difficulty. Only the day before her death, she spoke to Sister Hughes in reference to her case. She said that her lung difficulty had returned to her, and that she knew a long illness was before her. To her the future was a terrible dread, for her brother and his wife are both struggling with ill health, and she could not endure the thought of being a burden to them. Her father and mother, brothers and sisters, are all dead except this brother. We feel that it is well that she did not have to suffer from a lingering disease, and we have laid her away for a little while, till she shall be called forth to a glorious immortality. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 25

Brother and Sister Gates regard this matter as one of the remarkable providences of God. They are thankful that all did not sink beneath the water, for then help could not have been brought to them. 14LtMs, Lt 203, 1899, par. 26