Ellen G. White Writings

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Manuscript Releases, vol. 10 [Nos. 771-850], Page 1

MR No. 771—Help to Be Given to Foreign Missions

[Note: Budgets for the financial handling of the work of the church did not come into use among Seventh-day Adventists until shortly after the turn of the century. At times workers were sent into the field on the basis that having arrived, they would be self-sustaining. Arthur G. Daniells reported that he and his wife were sent to New Zealand in 1886, equipped with a ticket to the field and an evangelistic tent, and with cautions from the General Conference president to be careful in the expenditure of means. By giving temperance lectures in various Protestant churches at $5 a night, he secured funds to get his evangelistic tent through customs and soon raised up churches with tithe-paying members. From this tithe, carefully reported to proper authorities, and with laborers' reports properly audited, he was able to sustain himself and his wife. In 1894 Elder William Thurston was sent to Brazil to open the work in Rio de Janeiro through the selling of books in the English language. It was supposed that the returns from book sales would provide support for his family. It was no easy task, as a stranger in a land where a language was spoken which he did not know, to sell English-message-filled books to a people who could not read them. In the providence of God he and his family were sustained at first by gifts of money from perfect strangers. See reports in the 1901 General Conference Bulletin.]

Ellen G. White and her helpers were sent to Australia to work in pioneer lines in a continent only shortly before opened to the message. Financial support from the home base was meager and she had to draw on limited personal funds to advance the work there, and even so she and her working staff lived most sacrificially in order to enter upon the opening providences of God.

Particularly offensive to Ellen White was the provision in the 1897 charter for the Battle Creek Sanitarium which specified all profits must be used in the state of Michigan.

It is in the light of these circumstances that the words of this manuscript release were penned in a letter to Dr. Paulson of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.—Arthur L. White.]

Those in the home field are under a solemn obligation to support foreign missions, providing means for the establishment of the interests that are positively essential to give character to the work. Those who do not know the truth cannot be expected to support the missionaries who labor among them. Surely those who have become established in the truth are not so dull of comprehension as to suppose that those who for the first time hear what to them are strange and mysterious doctrines, will take hold readily of unpopular truth, and will support the work, building houses of worship and establishing sanitariums and schools.

How does God regard those who send His servants into a barren field without means and understanding of the work to be done? Shall the messengers of God, sent with strange and peculiar doctrines to a foreign land, be left to make their own way to support themselves and the work? God forbid! If God spares my life to bear my message to our people, the experience of the Lord's workers in Australia will never be repeated in any missionary field. It is a sad thing how hard the work was made with very little means to carry this important work in fields.

I am instructed to set this matter before all our people (not merely a few) in its true light. We are to know from henceforth how to use the talent of means more wisely than we have done in the past. God's money is not to be expended to indifferent ends. Let there be less display and more praying, more sanctified planning, and less show—fewer expensive buildings. This will testify that we believe that we are living near the close of this earth's history.

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