Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists


Laborers for Foreign Missions

Dear Brethren and Sisters in America,

I am deeply exercised in regard to our present position, realizing how far down we are in prophetic history, so near the close of time, and so much work undone that must be accomplished to prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord. The end of all things is at hand. Our time to work is short, and there is a world to be warned. There is need of more thorough missionary work. The calls are urgent for more laborers, but where are the light-bearers to the world? God has sent the truth to our doors, but are we doing all in our power to send it to the dark corners of the earth? HS 287.3

As we look over the vast field here in Europe, we can truly say, “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few.” We are encouraged to see some taking their stand upon the truth; but how little is being done in comparison with the great work before us. There are hundreds of large cities that have not yet been entered by the living preacher; but the silent messengers have been exerting their influence, and now the question arises, Shall these fields be entered? Angels of God are preparing ears to hear and hearts to receive the warning. A deep longing is taking possession of the people, a desire for light and truth which they have not. Many are calling for help, for some one to open to them the Scriptures. Europe is stretching out her hands, and the Macedonian cry comes to you across the broad waters, “Come over and help us.” HS 287.4

The work here has advanced very slowly for want of workers and for want of means. My heart aches when I think what ought to have been done in years gone by, and how far the work might now be advanced if the churches had been faithful to their trust. Had they done the work which God made it their duty to do, we should today see thousands rejoicing in the truth, and there would be light-bearers in all parts of Europe. HS 287.5

Among our people in America, there are very few of the different nationalities who are bearing the burden of the work. There is a great lack of the missionary spirit among those who can labor in the German, the French, and other languages. How can you who have received the truth, feel so little burden for those of your own tongue in other countries? Is your interest selfishly shut up to your own family or to your own church? God pity your narrowness! You should have that undying zeal, that far-reaching love, that encircles the world. There are hundreds of millions of men, women, and children who have never heard the truth, and multitudes are constantly going down to the grave without any sense of their accountability to God. How can you who repeat the Lord's prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” sit at ease in your homes without helping to carry the torch of truth to others? How can you lift up your hands before God and ask his blessing upon yourselves and your families when you are doing so little to help others? HS 287.6

When Jesus ascended to heaven he committed his work on earth to those who had received the light of the gospel. They were to carry the work forward to completion. He has provided no other agency for the promulgation of his truth. Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” “And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” This solemn commission reaches us in this age. God leaves with his church the responsibility of receiving or rejecting it. HS 288.1

The Prince of life once came from heaven to earth, for our sake to bear insult and mockery and death. Preparation is now being made in heaven for his reign in glory, and the message must be proclaimed to all nations, tongues, and peoples. Many seem to rest perfectly easy, as if heavenly messengers were to come to earth to proclaim in an audible voice the message of warning; but while angels have their work to do, we are to do ours in opening the word of God to those who are in darkness. HS 288.2

The heavenly messengers are doing their work; but what are we doing? Brethren and sisters, God calls upon you to redeem the time. Draw nigh to God. Stir up the gift that is within you. Let those who have had the opportunity to become familiar with the reasons of our faith, now use this knowledge to some purpose. HS 288.3

Where are our youth? Are they earnestly seeking the Lord, endeavoring to obtain a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus that they may become light-bearers to the world? What is the aim of those who are enjoying the advantages of our schools, of Bible lectures and the Sabbath-school? You who have precious opportunities and privileges, who are feasting upon the truth, what use are you making of these blessings? Are you seeking a preparation to unite with Christ in his work? Are you obtaining a thorough knowledge of the truth, that you may impart it to others? HS 288.4

What our youth need now is the burden of the missionary work, which is the sure outgrowth of a soul truly converted. I would recount to them the sufferings, the sacrifices, the persistent and untiring labors of the Majesty of heaven that he might save fallen man. Upon the cross of Calvary he paid the redemption price for a world lost. It was the world that he loved, the one lost sheep that he would bring back to his Father's fold. Would that you could appreciate the strength and fervor of that divine compassion. HS 288.5

Young friends, if you take hold of the work right where you are at the present time, doing what you can, be sure that you will have the help of Jesus. Begin the work by laboring for your companions. Ministers, or church-members advanced in years, cannot have one-half the influence over your young associates that you are capable of exerting; and you ought to feel that a responsibility rests upon you to do all you can for their salvation. Those who have themselves tasted the sweets of redeeming love, will not, cannot rest until all with whom they associate are made acquainted with the plan of salvation. Oh that you would use your powers of mind in seeking to so approach sinners that you may win them to the path of righteousness! HS 288.6

The work of our missions in foreign lands must be extended; and if the converting power of God shall come to our youth, we shall see them pressing into the ranks of the workers. Greater effort should be made to afford them facilities to prepare for labor in these foreign fields. A fund should be raised to be devoted to assisting those to prepare for the work who will give themselves unreservedly to God and his cause, and who will labor, not for large wages, but for the love of Christ, to save souls for whom he died. In every mission established there should be a school for the training of laborers. The very best talent among the Germans, the French, and the Scandinavians should be enlisted in the education of promising young men and women of the different nationalities. And in all our educational institutions special facilities should be provided for the instruction and training of those who want to become missionaries among their own people in foreign lands. HS 289.1

In the office at Battle Creek, at Basle, and at Christiania, there is pressing need of translators in the different languages, and the various branches of the work are crippled for the want of competent and experienced laborers. God-fearing workers are wanted in our houses of publication, in our missions, and in our churches. There is need of persons educated in the English, the French, the German, and the Scandinavian. We want a hundred laborers where there is one. The heavy responsibilities should not rest alone upon any one man in any branch of the work. Two or three should be fitted to share the burden, so that if one shall be called to another post of duty, others may be prepared to supply his place. Provision has not been made half as extensively as it should have been against any and every emergency. HS 289.2

Care should be exercised to select the right men for teachers in the missionary schools. Young men who are themselves deficient in Christian experience are not wanted. Our work is not to be done in a hap-hazard manner. Satan is united with human agencies to take advantage of every mistake. Unclean hands and unholy hearts cannot be intrusted with this sacred work. Those whose lips and hearts have not been touched as with a live coal from off God's altar, should not be allowed to connect themselves with his work until they are converted. “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” HS 289.3

We need men who fear God, men who mean to learn, and who will labor with an eye single to his glory. The workers need to come closer to God than they have done. They must have his converting power upon the heart in order that he may impart to them wisdom and knowledge as he did to Daniel, and make them channels of light to others. Let those who are to be educators of others seek God daily for this heavenly endowment, that the understanding may be quick and clear, and that the beauty of holiness may be revealed in the character. God will help them if they seek him. Those who have been under their instruction may be presented before God ready to do his work with thoroughness and fidelity. HS 289.4

Our ideas are altogether too narrow. God calls for continual advancement in the work of diffusing light. We must study improved ways and means of reaching the people. We need to hear with ears of faith the mighty Captain of the Lord's host saying, “Go forward.” We must act, and God will not fail us. He will do his part, when we in faith do ours. Brethren and sisters who have been long in the truth, you have not done the work God calls upon you to do. Where is your love for souls? HS 289.5

Error is prevailing everywhere. The great adversary of souls is mustering his forces. He is setting every device in operation in order to confuse the minds of men with specious errors, and thus destroy souls. Those with whom God has intrusted the treasures of his truth are to let the light shine amid the moral darkness. HS 290.1

Seventh-day Adventists are making progress, doubling their numbers, establishing missions, and unfurling the banner of truth in the dark places of the earth; and yet the work moves far more slowly than God would have it. The members of the church are not individually aroused to put forth the earnest effort they are capable of making, and every branch of the work is crippled by the lack of fervent piety, and devoted, humble, God-fearing laborers. Where are the soldiers of the cross of Christ? Let the God-fearing, the honest, the single-hearted, who look steadfastly to the glory of God, prepare themselves for the battle against error. There are too many faint, cowardly hearts in this hour of spiritual conflict. Oh that out of weakness they may be made strong, and wax valiant in fight, and put to flight the armies of the aliens! HS 290.2

There is a class that are represented by Meroz. The missionary spirit has never taken hold of their souls. The calls of foreign missions have not stirred them to action. What account will those render to God, who are doing nothing in his cause,—nothing to win souls to Christ? Such will receive the denunciation, “Thou wicked and slothful servant.” HS 290.3

The interest and labors of the church must be extended more earnestly and decidedly to both home and foreign missions. Those who have been successful in using their talents to secure earthly treasures should now employ these capabilities to advance God's cause and build up his kingdom. Their tact and ability sanctified to God, will be accepted, and he will make it effective in the grand work of turning men from error to truth. There should be deep heart-searching with our young men and women to see if they have not a work to do for the Master. There is a work to be accomplished which money cannot do. Destitute fields must be supplied with earnest laborers, with those whose hearts are warm with the love of Christ and with love for souls. All who enter the missionary field will have hardships and trials to endure; they will find hard work, and plenty of it; but those of the right stamp of character will persevere under difficulties, discouragements, and privations, holding firmly to the arm of the Lord. They will show a zeal that will not flag, a faith that will not yield, a resolution that will not weaken. They are doing no more than God requires, when they dedicate themselves, soul, body, and spirit, to his service, becoming partakers with Christ in his sufferings. If they share his self-denial and cross-bearing, they will be partakers also in his joy,—the joy of seeing souls saved through their instrumentality in the kingdom of glory. HS 290.4