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


The Work in New Fields

[Remarks before the Swiss conference, Friday, September 11.]

I have been deeply interested this morning in listening to the reports of labor from the various fields. I have been connected with the work in America from its very commencement, and understand something about the difficulties to be met when the cause is in its infancy. We have seen the work go hard, and we have seen of the salvation of God in the presentation of truth. The reports we have heard here sound the same as those we have heard in America. Those who accept the truth in this country have a great cross to lift; and when they do take their stand firmly, our brethren no doubt feel as we did when the work first started. One soul who embraced the truth was regarded of more value than mountains of gold. We wept and rejoiced, and could scarcely sleep. Our hearts were so filled with gratitude, and so closely united in love and sympathy, that we wanted to praise God day and night. HS 147.1

The Piedmont valleys have been spoken of. From the light that I have had, there are, all through these valleys, precious souls who will receive the truth. I have no personal knowledge of these places; but they were presented to me as being in some way connected with God's work of the past. He now has an advance step for this people to take. Those who labor in these valleys must take a deep interest in their work, or they will not succeed. The third angel is represented as flying through the midst of heaven. The work is one that must be done quickly. They must keep in working order, laboring intelligently and with consecration, and be prepared by the grace of God to meet opposition. They are not only to preach, but to minister. As they go forth to labor, they are to make personal efforts for the people, coming heart to heart with them, as they open to them the Scriptures. There may at first be only a few here and there who will accept the truth; but when these are truly converted, they will labor for others, and soon, with proper efforts, larger companies will be raised up, and the work will move forward more rapidly. HS 147.2

There is a great work yet to be accomplished in all the fields from which we have heard reports. All through these countries there is precious talent that God will use; and we must be wide awake to secure it. The great obstacle to the advancement of the work is the lack of means. Ought we not to make this a special subject of prayer? Men who have means will receive the truth in this country; but the Lord would have us labor earnestly in faith until that time comes. He would have all who accept the truth become light-bearers. They should act as though they had a message of infinite importance to present. It is God's truth, and all should be sanctified through it. All should have a living faith, a living connection with heaven. HS 147.3

The work of the minister is not simply to preach, but it is to visit families at their homes, to pray with them, and open to them the Scriptures. He who conducts the work outside the pulpit in a proper manner will accomplish tenfold more than he who confines his labor to the desk. When Christ was teaching on earth, he watched the countenances of his hearers, and the kindling eye, the animated expression, told him in a moment when one assented to the truth. Even so should the teachers of the people now study the countenances of their hearers. HS 147.4

When they see a person in the audience who seems interested, they should make it a point to form his acquaintance before leaving the place of meeting, and, if possible, should ascertain where he lives, and visit him. It is this kind of personal labor that helps to make him a perfect workman. It enables him to prove his work, to give full proof of his ministry. HS 148.1

This is also the most successful way of reaching the people; for by this means their attention is best secured. Unless the attention of the people is gained, all effort for them will be useless. The word of God cannot be understood by the inattentive. They need a plain “Thus saith the Lord” to arrest their attention. Let them see that their cases are tried and condemned by the Bible, not by the lips of man; that they are arraigned at the bar of infinite justice, not before an earthly tribunal. When the plain, cutting truth of the Bible is presented before them, it comes directly across long-cherished desires and confirmed habits. They are convicted, and then it is that they specially need your counsel, encouragement, and prayers. Many a precious soul balances for a time, and then takes his position on the side of error, because he does not have this personal effort at the right time. HS 148.2

It is not always pleasant for our brethren to live where the people need help most; but their labors would often be productive of far more good if they would do so. They ought to come close to the people, sit with them at their tables, and lodge in their humble homes. The laborers may have to take their families to places not at all desirable; but they should remember that Jesus did not remain in the most desirable places. He came down to earth that he might help those who needed help. HS 148.3

I can sympathize with some of my brethren who have strong feelings but not strong bodies. I do not know what we would do without men who do feel intensely. God would have them regard the laws of life and health; for when they are exhausted by long speaking and praying, or by much writing, the enemy takes advantage of the tired condition of their nerves, and causes them to become impatient and to move rashly. It was after Christ was greatly reduced by long fasting that Satan thought to gain the victory over him; but Christ drove him from the field of battle, and came off conqueror. Even so may those who preach the word overcome their wily foe when they are tempted in a similar way. HS 148.4

It is also necessary that they labor with discretion, in order that they may preserve their health and strength in the best possible condition for an emergency. Then, when occasion requires, they can put forth special efforts, and, relying upon Him who has conquered the enemy in their behalf, can come off more than conquerors. He who sends forth the laborers says, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” The billows may go over your heads, brethren, but there is an arm that will raise you above all danger. HS 148.5

Brethren and sisters, you who tarry by the stuff at home, there is something for you to do. The work of saving souls is not to be done by the ministers alone. Every one who has been converted will seek to bring others to a knowledge of the truth. Commence to work for those in your own homes and neighborhoods. Labor with wisdom and earnestness, with perseverance and much prayer, that they may be brought to accept the light of truth. You can also send up your petitions for the laborers in the different fields. God will hear your prayers, and will make them like sharp sickles in the harvest field. HS 148.6