Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

November 11, 1902

Sending Missionaries Abroad

[Sabbath sermon at the Fresno, Cal., camp meeting after thirteen conference laborers had been chosen to go to foreign fields, under pay of the California Conference. Afterward nearly as many more gave themselves to foreign work.]

Mrs. E. G. White

Before his ascension, Jesus told his disciples not to depart from Jerusalem till they had received the promise of the Father. “Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence,” he declared. “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

The day of Pentecost came. Great additions were made to the church. In one day five thousand were converted. The disciples began to think that they had a work to do in Jerusalem, in shielding the members of the church from the snares of the enemy. They did not realize that strength to resist temptation is best gained by active service. They did not educate the new church members to become workers together with God in carrying the gospel to those who had not heard it. Instead, they were in danger of being satisfied with what had been accomplished. To scatter his representatives abroad, where they could work for others, the Lord permitted persecution to come upon his church. Stephen and several others died for their faith; then the members of the church were scattered; and the gospel was proclaimed with power “in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

In every age since the first advent of Christ, the gospel commission has impelled men and women to go to the ends of the earth as missionaries for God. We thank the Lord that during this camp meeting several of our workers have given themselves to go as missionaries to different countries outside our land. My brethren, we bid you Godspeed. Our prayers shall follow you wherever you go. How glad we are to send men and means to other countries!

Years ago I little realized that I should spend many years of service as a pioneer missionary in distant lands. But when the call came to go to Europe, I responded. Afterward, when asked to go to Australia, I went, notwithstanding I was over sixty years of age. Nine years I worked in that field. My heart is filled with the missionary spirit, and although nearly seventy-five years old, I feel such a desire to see souls saved that should the Lord call me to the work, I would go to the ends of the earth to bring to men and women a knowledge of the truth for this time.

To these our friends who expect soon to go from us to other lands, I wish to say: Remember that you can break down the severest opposition by taking a personal interest in the people whom you meet. Christ took a personal interest in men and women while he lived on this earth. Wherever he went, he was a medical missionary. We are to go about doing good, even as he did. We are instructed to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the sorrowing.

The sisters can do much to reach the heart and make it tender. Wherever you are, my sisters, work in simplicity. If you are in a home where there are children, show an interest in them. Let them see that you love them. If one is sick, offer to give him treatment; help the careworn, anxious mother to relieve her suffering child.

Some of you expect to go abroad as canvassers. Sometimes you may wish to canvass a man whose time is fully occupied. You may have to put off your canvass, and it may be possible that you can join him in his work, and talk with him then. The sermon which you thus preach by your helpfulness will be in harmony with the sermon which you preach with your tongue; and the two, together, will have a power that words alone could never have.

When staying at the homes of the people, share the burdens of the household. Be thoughtful enough to keep the water bucket filled. Help the tired father do the chores. Take an interest in the children. Be considerate. Work in humility, and the Lord will work with you.

My brethren and sisters who are under appointment as missionaries, I greatly desire that your hearts shall be filled with Christlike pity, love, compassion. As I bid you farewell and return to my home, do not think that I shall soon forget you. We will offer our petitions to God in your behalf, pleading with him to open the way before you. He will hear our prayers; he has promised to hear us. And he is just as ready to answer your prayers for strength and wisdom to do your work. He has said that he is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him than parents are to give good gifts to their children. Wherever you go, pray to him in the morning, at noon, and at night. Pray in faith, without wavering.

Church Members Called to Work

Some of the members of our churches may feel that we are sending away too many conference laborers, and that the work in the home field cannot be done by the few who remain. But this is not the proper view to take of this matter. Those in the employ of the conference are not the only ones who should work for souls. Let the church members go to work. Let them communicate to others the knowledge they have received. In many churches in California the members have heard discourse after discourse, and yet they do not seem to have a large measure of the Holy Spirit. While I was in Australia, many of them sent letters to me across the broad Pacific, inquiring why they did not receive more power from above, and requesting me to pray for them. They did not seem to comprehend the reality of the Saviour's promise, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” They did not seem to realize that they could gain spiritual strength by imparting to their neighbors and friends the light they had received. They had not learned of the blessing that comes to us from telling our fellow beings enslaved by appetite, of that divine power which will enable them to overcome the desire for every harmful indulgence.

Let those who teach the truth, teach in simplicity. Let them not try to drive the truth home with a vim that will arouse antagonism. Let the voice express sympathy and tenderness. Christ's voice was full of pathos. By persevering effort we can cultivate the voice, ridding it of all harshness. Let us ask in faith for a converted voice, a converted tongue, and for Christlike sympathy and tenderness, that we may win souls to the truth we teach.

None of our churches need be barren and unfruitful. But some of our brethren and sisters are in danger of starving to death spiritually even when they are constantly hearing the truth presented by our ministers; for they neglect to impart that which they receive. God requires every one of his stewards to use the talent intrusted to him. He bestows rich gifts upon us in order that we may bestow them freely upon others. He keeps the heart flooded with the light of his presence, in order that we may reveal Christ to our fellow men. How can those who fold their hands in ease, content to do nothing, expect God to continue to supply their necessities? The members of all our churches should labor as those who must give an account.

Brethren and sisters, when these workers go to their fields of labor across the seas, will you close up the ranks in the home conference? Will you put on the Christian armor? “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Will you stand firm for the truth, even though your church may not often be visited by a minister? I ask you, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, to put on “the whole armor of God;” and be sure to wear the gospel shoes. Do not neglect to put them on. They will enable you to tread tremblingly, softly, in approaching the souls that you desire to lead to the Saviour.

“Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace,” you will be prepared to walk from house to house, carrying the truth to the people. Sometimes you will find it very trying to do work of this kind; but if you go forth in faith, the Lord will go before you, and his light will shine upon your pathway. As you enter the homes of your neighbors to sell or to give away our literature, and in humility to teach them the truth, you will be accompanied by the light of heaven. Learn to sing the simplest of songs. These will help you in house-to-house labor, and hearts will be touched by the influence of the Holy Spirit. Christ was often heard singing hymns of praise; and yet I have heard persons say, “Christ never smiled.” How mistaken their ideas in regard to the Saviour! There was joy in his heart. We learn from the Word that there is joy among the heavenly angels over one repentant sinner, and that the Lord himself rejoices over his church with singing.

The Blessedness of Laboring for Others

What a privilege it is to labor for the conversion of souls! Our calling is high. We may enjoy the companionship of the heavenly angels. We may not discern their forms, but by faith we may know that they are with us. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Brethren, sisters, God invites us to unite with the angels in their ministry. Thus every one of us may become his helping hand. To fit us to do this work, he will strengthen our minds as verily as he strengthened the mind of Daniel. As we give to those in darkness the truths that have enlightened us, God will enable us to understand these truths still better. He will give us apt words to speak, communicating to us through the angel standing by our side. Let us pray for the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Let us seek for living power from above, that we may indeed be laborers together with God.

May the blessing of God rest upon every one in this congregation. The presence of God is here. His angels are in the midst of us. And the evil angels also are here. Let us close the windows of the soul earthward, and open them heavenward. Let us not allow earthly things to take possession of the mind, but let us keep it open to receive the communications that the heavenly angels are ready to give to us.

May the Lord bless and strengthen you who are under appointment to go to other lands. We may never meet again in this life, but I pray that we may meet in that glad day when the gates of the city of God shall swing back on their glittering hinges, and the nations that have kept the truth shall enter in, there to hear Christ saying, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Then with all the redeemed we shall cast our crowns at his feet, crying, Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain!

As we recognize among the ransomed ones some whom we were instrumental in saving, gladness unspeakable will fill our hearts. Touching our harps, we shall fill all heaven with rich music. O what songs of praise for redeeming love will resound through the heavenly courts!

While living this probationary life, shall we not encourage one another to be steadfast? Shall we not impart a knowledge of the truth for this time to those in our very neighborhoods who have not heard it? Shall we not, by our prayers and by our means, support those who are sent to other lands to proclaim this truth? Shall we not practice self-denial on every point, that we may have more to give for missionary work abroad? Shall we not keep before us and in our homes a contribution box in which to place offerings for missions?

Let us teach our children to deny self in order to help sustain the Lord's work. Let us tell them that God, in giving his Son, gave all heaven to save not only us, but those who as yet have not so much as heard of him. Let us tell them how, in order to redeem mankind, Christ laid aside his kingly crown and royal robe, left his high command in the heavenly courts, and came to this world to live a life of poverty and hardship, a life of toil and suffering, and to die a death of shame. Shall he have died in vain for us? Shall he have died in vain for those whom by self-sacrifice we could save?

Brethren and sisters, will you today pledge yourselves before God to pray for these workers who have been chosen to go to other lands? Will you pledge yourselves not only to pray for them, but to sustain them with your tithes and offerings? Will you pledge yourselves to practice strict self-denial in order that you may have more to give for the advancement of the work in the “regions beyond”? We feel moved by the Spirit of God to ask you to pledge yourselves before him to lay by something weekly for the support of our missionaries. God will help and bless you in doing this. Give those who are under appointment to go abroad evidence that you will sustain them by your prayers and by your means. Let those who willingly, freely, gladly make these pledges before God today, signify it by rising to their feet. [Nearly the whole congregation—about one thousand—arose.]

Thank the Lord! As these missionaries go to their new fields, they will have an assurance that their brethren and sisters in this conference will be faithful in doing their part at home. The time may come when some of those who remain will go to distant fields. We expect to see the Lord taking men from the plow, and sending them out to proclaim the truth. We expect to see children bearing a message that their parents cannot bear. Let us all stand ready to respond to God's call to duty, whatever the sacrifice.

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