Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


Difficulties in Advancing the Message in New Zealand

The workers in Wellington, both those long in the field and the newcomers, took a good look at the state of the cause and the prospects for the future. In Wellington there was no tangible work. D. M. Canright's books—as well as the activities of some of the church members, which were less than honorable but were quite widely known—had closed the eyes and ears of those who should hear and respond. A consistent opposition of Protestant ministers also had a strong influence. 4BIO 92.3

The Adventist leaders studied the map of New Zealand and could see that “only a little portion of it has yet heard the proclamation of the truth. The very best and more favorable fields have not yet been entered.”—Ibid. They felt the dire need of experienced workers. Wrote Ellen White: 4BIO 92.4

A deep, deep sleep seems to be upon the people. Pleasure-loving, something new to attract the mind, something startling, and a dish of fables from the pulpit are relished, but the truth that would arouse and disturb their self-complacency is the very thing they do not want. The people seem encased, as though nothing can penetrate the armor of self-deception and stolid indifference. 4BIO 92.5

Our cry is to God for help, for strength and power. He alone can work upon the hearts of the people of Wellington. Elder Daniells has had good congregations, but no souls have been brought into the truth. Elder Israel has been here much of the time for four years, but nothing has been successful to create an interest. The Great Controversy and other books have been taken in this city, yet no souls have been added as the result. What can be done? O Lord, lead and guide!—Ibid. 4BIO 92.6

Determined to make a break, the workers decided to rent the skating rink, which would seat about a thousand, for evangelistic meetings. Even though the rent seemed high, they would go forward in the name of the Lord and do something. At three o'clock Sunday afternoon, April 30, Ellen White spoke there on temperance to a good audience. She reported deep interest on the part of the hearers. In the evening Starr addressed an audience of about the same size on the inspiration of the Scriptures. An interest was created, and meetings continued for some time in the skating rink on Sabbath and Sunday and some evenings. 4BIO 93.1