Ms 97, 1897

Ms 97, 1897

Building the Church in Cooranbong

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

September 12, 1897

Previously unpublished. +Note

The Lord has moved upon us here in Cooranbong to arise and build a house of worship for the Lord. When the matter was first considered, we could not see how the building could be erected. I was referred to Ezra 1:2-6; 3:8-13; 5:1. We have had none of this hindrance. When the matter was laid before our people in Cooranbong, who assemble to worship God, they unanimously, with one or two exceptions decided to follow the counsel of the Lord. We had only £100 in our hands; and some thought we ought not to rush the matter until we were sure that we could accomplish the work. The proposition was made that we could enclose the building, and finish it at some convenient time. I conceded in this decision. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 1

I was requested to visit the location which they said had been selected for a church. It stood in the midst of uncleared brush and trees, and a large amount of labor would be required to prepare it. It was low land, nearer the swamp than I should have chosen. They said that this was the piece of land that Brother Rousseau and W. C. White had selected. I asked them to look at another spot. When we were considering the proposition of buying this land, Sister Campbell and myself were called by W. C. White to look over the ground. Then my son and myself selected this very piece of land. There was the log I had leaned against. I could walk but little at that time, so I rested here while Sister Campbell and W. C. White looked at the surrounding land. We thought that this would be the place for the school buildings or for the meeting house. I think this was in March, 1894. We also looked at another spot, equally as desirable, on which the school buildings now stand. This first allotment was more desirable for the church. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 2

When we looked at this place, the matter was settled at once. All who have seen this spot, regard it as a beautiful location. It is easy of access, saving some who now attend our meetings a long walk over a bad road. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 3

Some remarked that the building of the meeting house should not be proceeded without ascertaining the mind of the whole church. I said, I will not rush the work. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 4

But that night light was given me from the Scripture in the first and second chapters of Haggai. The matter I wrote then I will send you, if it has not been already sent. The next mail brought me a letter with a donation of £200 for the meeting house in Cooranbong. This made £300 wherewith to make a start. We then set men at work to clear the land. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 5

In the providence of God there were among us at this time skilled carpenters, who could take hold of the work. A meeting was called, but because of rainy weather, few were present. Another meeting was held, and it was unanimously decided to arise and build. The only drawback was that we desired brick piles under the building. But to bring bricks from Sydney or Newcastle would incur great expense. This matter was laid before the people, and all but two decided the best of our timber, blood wood or swamp mahogany, would serve for at least twenty years. Then, if necessary, these could be replaced by brick piers. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 6

So the work has gone forward. Our best carpenters are Brother Hardy, Brother Lamplough, Brother Baron, who has just come from Lord Howe Island, and an outsider, who has been employed by Brother James to build his house and by Brother Hare to build his house. These are experienced carpenters, and they have all given either time or money. Many pledged labor, so that twelve or fourteen men commenced last Sunday to make the frame. The men ar cheerful and happy in the work, and the angels of God are around them. The frame is all up, and the two wings are roofed, so that if the rain comes, the workmen can find shelter. The main part of the building will be roofed wither today or tomorrow. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 7

The instruction given me by the Lord seems to have been received by all the workers. All seem to have a spirit to arise and build. O I am so thankful that we did not stand back in unbelief. I praise the Lord that we did walk out by faith. Our workmen were right on the ground. We did not have to send away to pay the expenses of one hand <to come here.> If we had waited in hesitancy, these workmen would have <soon> left the place to engage in other jobs. We might not have been able to secure them. It looked to Elder Haskell and myself that we could not afford to lose one day; and we have not. Since the work began, no rain has fallen. One or two showers have fallen during the night, but none during the day. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 8

We believe that the building will be ready to dedicate in four weeks. With the two wings, it will accommodate four hundred people. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 9

Last Sabbath we assembled in the chamber above the school dining room. There are six windows on each side of this room, and although they were all open, the iron roof above our heads made the atmosphere very oppressive. I felt that I had a decided testimony to bear. The Spirit of the Lord came upon me as I spoke from the first chapter of Second Peter. I gave my testimony, and the Spirit of the Lord came into our midst. The testimony meeting was excellent. Two, yes three, of the students who had caused us much anxiety bore good testimonies. They also spoke last Sabbath, when I addressed the people on [the] <subject,> There is a right side and a wrong side. Which side will you be on? Last Sabbath many more <bore> clear and decided testimony that they had chosen the right side, the side of God and Jesus Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 10

After the meeting I felt the effect of the heat, and was unable to sleep the first part of the night. This morning I feel exhausted as the result. We are not a week or a day too soon in putting up the church. During the summer months the heat would make the room in the school almost unbearable. It is the only room in which we can assemble to worship God, and it is crowded to its utmost capacity. One row of seats in front of the pulpit might be fuller, but this would add to the oppressive atmosphere. All over the house our brethren and sisters can scarcely hold their eyes open. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” [Matthew 26:41.] 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 11

We feel so grateful to our heavenly Father for the advancement of the work. Brother Hardy offered to give two week’s work or five pounds. We chose the work. Brother Baron will work for six shillings a day as long as he is required on the building, and will give half. Brother Lamplough gave five pounds worth of work. Others with large families to support have given all that could be expected of them. I believe that the Spirit of the Lord has moved upon the people and made them willing. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 12

The building of the meeting house will give character to the work. The next thing we must have is a hospital or sanitarium, where the sick in this locality can be treated. It need not be large, but we must do something in this line. Lately Sara McEnterfer has had a very trying case of a lad eight years old, who cut his foot while running. He was driving a calf out of the paddock, and he stepped into a hole where some broken glass had been thrown. He went with such force that the glass cut to the ankle bone. The gash was about an inch and a half long. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 13

Two weeks after this had happened, one of the neighbors called at the house, and found the boy in such a state that they feared his life was at stake. She told them that they had better come over to Mrs. White’s, saying that there was a lady there who, she thought, would be able to tell them what to do for the wound. They had been to Newcastle twice to consult a physician. He had given them a small bottle of medicine, and told them to put bread poultice on the wound. When the boy first hurt his foot, they took him in and dressed it with lard, and as this seemed to do it no good, they consulted the physician. They then submitted to his treatment, or intended to, but evidently did not understand how to put on poultices, as the boy’s foot grew gradually worse. When the neighbor referred them to Sara, the grandfather, with whom the boy makes his home, came over to see if she would go and see the child. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 14

We were away from the house at the time he called, but as soon as we returned, she went over to see if she could do anything to relieve the child. She found the wound quite black, and it looked as though mortification had set in. The child could not sleep, but had cried day and night for a week. She at once began with fomentations and so relieved the child that before she had finished her treatment and go the wound properly dressed, the boy was fast asleep. She came home, and left him sleeping. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 15

The next morning she went back, and they told her that he had had a very comfortable night. She gave it another treatment, and dressed it, and came home. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 16

The boy’s grandmother is an invalid, and is a great sufferer, and the wailing of the child seemed to make her very much worse. Then the boy’s aunt, who lives at the same place and cares for his grandmother, tipped the tea kettle of boiling water on her foot, and scalded the whole top of the foot. She was getting about on one foot, and when Sara asked the cause of her lameness, she showed her what had happened. Sara then dressed her foot. When she came home and told me the condition of the family, I told her to bring the lad to our house, where she could attend to his wound properly. This would relieve the whole family, and be a blessing to the other afflicted ones. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 17

On Sabbath morning she took the easy carriage and brought the boy into May White’s parlor. His auntie, who had just come down from the country, came with him to care for him, as the boy’s mother had a babe ten months old, which occupied a great deal of her time. The aunt had only been here about two days with the boy when her foot and ankle became very much swollen and was exceedingly painful, so Sara had another case. She set to, and treated her foot until it became quite well again. This swelling seemed to have been brought on by overworking and taking cold. The young lady was quite helpless for several days, so that instead of taking care of her little nephew, Sara had the care of both of them. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 18

The boy’s foot had treatment every hour until the pain was relieved. His auntie’s foot was treated three or four times a day, until the swelling left. The boy and his aunt have been with us about ten days. We have boarded them and cared for them as though they were members of our own family. The wound is nearly healed, and the boy will be able to be taken back to his grandfather’s in a few days. But he will not be able to use his foot for several weeks. The people are poor but intelligent, and the treatment of this boy will give publicity to our manner of treating the sick. This foot saved will be a wonderful advertisement; for it was a most horrible wound. We charge them nothing for our services. The Lord is in these things, preparing the way before us for the entrance of truth. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 19

The day before we heard of this lad’s accident, a family that live some five miles away had a sick child, a babe of thirteen months old. It had been quite ill for some days, and they knew not what to do for it. One of their neighbors advised them to bring the child to our place, saying that there was a lady there that could tell them what to do. They came with their baby, and Sara told them what she thought would relieve the child, promising that the next morning we would call and see how the treatment acted. It was while we were at this place that our neighbor came for her to come and see his little grandson. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 20

She found the baby much better, and the mother told her that it had slept will all night. As soon as we got home, she had to go and see the boy who had stepped in the glass and cut his foot. A few days after bringing the boy to our house, she was called to attend a sister who gave birth to a son. The husband had to leave his wife to go after a lady who attends such cases, and in his absence, Sara remained with his wife. The brother was disappointed in not finding the lady at home, and before he could go to the place where she was and bring her to his house, the child was born, and Sara had to act the part of the physician. Notwithstanding she was all alone with the case, she got through all right, and both the child and the mother are getting along nicely. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 21

Just after she was through with the confinement case, the parents who had brought their child before came with it again. It had had an ill turn, and they did not know what to do, so in their distress they came back to see what she could tell them further. But with the two other cases, her time was so fully occupied that she could not give this baby the attention that it must have. After their first visit, it had improved so much that they thought it was quite well again and carelessly exposed it, so that it came down worse than it was before. Sister Robb was at our place, and as she had had some considerable experience in looking after the sick, Sara turned the case over to her. She went home with the people, and is still at the place caring for the baby. It is very much improved, but she dare not leave it with them alone until it is quite well again, because they know so little how to care for their sick that she fears they will again do something that will make the child worse. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 22

Some two months ago one of our brethren from Dora Creek, a place about three miles off, came running to our house to solicit Sara to visit a man who was sick with inflammation of the lungs. She went as speedily as possible, and found the man unconscious. His every breath was a groan, and he was in a high fever. The room in which he lay was very small, with one window and a door opening into another room. There was a grown family of at least eight children all young men and women, and they felt so anxious about the sick brother that they, including the father and mother, would all crowd into this little room, for they thought he was dying. When Sara got there and saw the condition that the man was in, she went to his parents, and told them that he must have fresh, pure air or he could not breathe much longer. The father said, Anything you want us to do will be done. She then asked them to put a bed into the large room that had two outside doors and one window. This they did. Then she went to work to give the man some treatment to relieve his head and allay the fever. After she got through with the treatment, the man came to his right mind, and went to sleep. They let him sleep a few minutes, and when the room was all prepared, they carried him into it. She then continued the treatment, giving cool compresses and sponge baths until his temperature was very much better. He recognized his parents and brothers, and told them that he felt very much relieved. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 23

Sara stayed with them several hours, and showed them how to keep his temperature down. He had quite a rest during the time that she was with them. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 24

Previous to their sending for her, they had sent to Newcastle, about twenty miles off, for a physician, but on account of the train, he could not get there until about eight o’clock in the evening. When Sara left the place, about three o’clock, the man was rational, and was resting very easily, so that when the doctor came, he saw that a great change had taken place. [He] said, when they told him that she had been there and what she had done, that it was exactly the thing he needed, and that he was very much better, and also that they should continue to follow out the treatment that she had ordered. Then one of the family asked the doctor what he thought about giving the sick man spirits to keep up his strength, and he told them that they might give him some spirits if they chose to. It seems that after the doctor had gone, other members of the family got the bottle and began to drink, and also gave it to the sick man to drink. In a very short time, the man was delirious, and it took four men to hold him on the bed. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 25

A neighbor lady, who had had some experience in caring for the sick, was with them, and had been following the treatment that Sara suggested. When they began to give the man spirits, she told them that she could not remain and see him treated in that way, because she saw that it would soon end his life. So she went home, and left them to do with him as they chose. All the men folks, except the youngest son, who was very much opposed to giving his brother liquor, got drunk, and made the sick man drunk; and about midnight, he died in a drunken fit. I suppose if Sara could have stayed with them and continued the treatment, and controlled the case, the man would have been alive today. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 26

Thus, you see, we are getting into the medical missionary work. We shall continue to take every case that comes, if we have to make a hospital of our own home in order to give them treatment. We will do all we can, and leave the result with God. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 27

There is work to be done in this section of the country. We are far from the city, but we are in God’s world, and there are the poor, the sick, the afflicted, and the sorrowful that need comforting. We must clothe the poor. This will be the best gospel sermon that we can give them. We shall have to put up a building in which we can treat the sick, because cases are being brought to us every week that must have attention. 12LtMs, Ms 97, 1897, par. 28