>Home >Prevailing Intercessory Prayer >Prayer And Fasting >Ellen White's Generous Support Of A Camp Meeting In Australia - An Excerpt

Financially Supporting The Advancing Work In Australia

Ellen G. White

"They had not enough to eat. We will supply you with all the food that you can eat at the camp meeting. It shall not cost you a cent. Then Brother Stephen Belden—he once lived here at Rocky Hill, and he often visited Middletown—he was my helper, and he took the team and brought them their goods to the camp meeting, established them in the tents, and we had a most excellent meeting. They came from the cities, hundreds of them, and they said they never were at such a meeting. That meeting lasted about four weeks."

O my soul, how sorry I am for Christ!—What we have, all the evidence that we have in the Word of God—that we do not have more vitality and more of His peace abiding upon us, so that we shall go forth as Christ went forth, and that we consider our commission as Christ’s appointed messengers to carry the truth to those that have never heard it. This is the very work that we are commissioned to do. {Ms155-1904.19}

And as I go from place to place and go through these great cities and inquire, Who is at work in them? Well, just as they said in Australia, There is no money, no money and no men. Did I stop there? No indeed. I just sent to persons that I knew had money, and told them I wanted it. I will hire your money, I will give you interest that you could get in the bank, but let me have your money. I stand in debt today twenty thousand dollars that I expended in Australia in helping to build twenty-one meetinghouses and schoolhouses, and helping to fit up and prepare sanitariums, and to say to the servants of God, I cannot go, I would like to go out into the field, my heart is stirred, but I have no money. Said I, Sir, if you have a message, go out, I will back you, I will see that you have means. You go right out into the field in the name of the Lord, said I, and I will see that you do not lack for means. I did not wait to let money come into my hands. If I did, there would have been but very little work. {Ms155-1904.20}

But we have established the work in Australia. There was nothing at first. I will tell you what a camp meeting we had. The first camp meeting, I said we must have one right near Sydney, at Ashfield. They asked, Who is going to sustain the camp meeting? Where are the tents? Said I, You just prepare the grounds. And they went to work to prepare a beautiful spot, it was a very nice spot in a private farm, (but there was a house we could hire and have some rest, but we could not go into the tents,) and there were the tents. {Ms155-1904.21}

Now, I went with my team round about there for fourteen and fifteen and twenty miles, and said I, Are you going to the camp meeting? We have got nothing, they said, to take us to camp meeting, but we have got some eggs here, they trouble us a lot, and we do not know how to take care of them. Said I, Will you sell them to me? Yes. Well, I will pay for the eggs, and when you are ready to come to the camp meeting, said I, when we get the tents up, we will pitch a tent for you, and we will come and take you in our carriage, and we will take you to the meeting. Well, this I did from family to family. They had no clothing. Well, said I, I will supply you. I went to the stores and bought their clothing, and got them fitted up; there were only a few families that had clothing. {Ms155-1904.22}

They had not enough to eat. We will supply you with all the food that you can eat at the camp meeting. It shall not cost you a cent. Then Brother Stephen Belden—he once lived here at Rocky Hill, and he often visited Middletown—he was my helper, and he took the team and brought them their goods to the camp meeting, established them in the tents, and we had a most excellent meeting. They came from the cities, hundreds of them, and they said they never were at such a meeting. That meeting lasted about four weeks. They broke off after two weeks, but they resumed the meeting again because the interest was so large, and we had the power of God in that meeting. But the first business we did was to collect the ministers together. Now we told them—in a tent ... in a separate tent—We want to know if you are in harmony, if every one of you will strike the keynote. Are you in harmony? {Ms155-1904.23}

Well, they had began to weep. No, they were not. They said they were tried with a brother, and do not see how they could get over it, and that brother was tried with them. Then one and another and another had a trial. Now, said I, let us take this matter just where it is. You say that one is to blame, and the other says you are to blame. Suppose now we bring this matter right on our knees to God, and not arise from our knees till everything is pardoned, and we know it. Now, said I, will you do that? They began to weep, and they fell on each other’s necks before they got down on their knees. They thought God would hear them better, and there was a great confessing time, and those little difficulties were swept away like dew before the sun. {Ms155-1904.24}

Then they went into meeting, and each could take his position without feeling jealous of the other one, and every one could draw in even cords. The blessing of the Lord rested upon that meeting, and many received the truth from that very first meeting. {Ms155-1904.25}

Now here we were. Some would go as canvassers. They had not shoes to wear on their feet. Said I, Do you intend to go into the city as you are now? Well, what can we do, Sister White? We have no money. Said I, You wait. There were stores not far off. I went right there and purchased them sets of clothing. Now, said I, come right together, every one who is a seamstress, and fit up these persons. Byron Belden was there ... he is now sleeping in the grave, but if ever there was a faithful worker, it was Byron Belden. His wife is somewhere in the State of Connecticut. How we missed him. We felt we could not spare him, but we tried to do the best that we could. Now that is the way that we went to work to introduce the truth in Ashfield. {Ms155-1904.26}

The next movement was a meetinghouse. But we could not dedicate this house until it was paid for. But here we were behind. I had given them my sum. We were behind. We have a hundred dollars or more to raise. Well, said I, put that hundred dollars to my name, and you shall have the hundred dollars, but we will have the dedication just when we had ought to have it. For four weeks that tent meeting was going, and every week there was a baptism, from five to ten or fifteen in a most beautiful lake in private grounds that they gave us the liberty to use, and we assembled around that lake, and we would have our prayers. {Ms155-1904.27}

Now, here was the way that we worked the interest near Sydney. And they would come from all parts of Sydney. There would come ministers, officials, and they would say, We never heard anything like this before. {Ms155-1904.28}

The idea that you must never move unless you have the means in your hand has often held us back. That is my principle, but I say, Circumstances alter cases. When there is a work that must be carried on, we must push the battle to the gates. We cannot always afford to wait to see the means in our hands. {Ms155-1904.29}

I look at these cities, and it seems as though my soul is in a perfect agony of distress. {Ms155-1904.30}

I sent some time ago to one that I knew had money, and I asked him if he would lend me one or two thousand dollars. I must have it, and if you don’t lend it I shall go right to the bank, and I will have to pay eight percent interest. But there is a work to be done, and it must be done. A work must be started in Nashville and the South, and we cannot wait; I cannot wait for the money to come in from my books. Christ’s Object Lessons has brought in three hundred thousand dollars to relieve our schools of debt, and yet not one penny did I apply to myself. That was the very purpose it was used for. {Ms155-1904.31}

Well, this brother responded, “I have five hundred dollars for you, and I had it in the bank for you, and I had sold property.” He had given to all his children their portion, but when he was about to give, his children came in and persuaded him to buy a piece of land, and the money is buried in that land. How much better would it have been for him to have laid it beside the throne of God! {Ms155-1904.32}

Only think what Christ suffered. He left the royal courts. He left His high commission. He laid off His royal robe; He laid off His kingly crown; He clothed His divinity with humanity. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich. And when we see people grasping the treasure they consider as their own, I know they are meeting with a dreadful loss. {Ms155-1904.33}

I feel that I can wait, I can pay interest on this twenty thousand. I tell them, Whenever you want that money, send, and you shall have it. I will borrow it of somebody else. You just send and you shall have it. I have had several hundred dollars, and a thousand or two sent for, but I always had it ready. I go right to some one else and tell them, I want your money for a time, and I would pay full interest on it. {Ms155-1904.34}

Now here is the way that we have had to carry the work in Australia. In every meetinghouse there stands the money that I have invested in them. I did not pay the whole, but I have helped them all. When we came to Newcastle, they said, You can do nothing at Newcastle. First it was Queensland, when we went there, they said, You can do nothing there. But, said I, we shall do something there. And we went and pitched the tents, and the blessing of God came down upon us there. The very first night they could not get into the tent, and they had to have a wall of people all around, and that kept up all the time that we were at Queensland at that place. That was the first meetinghouse that we had built there. But the blessing of God came upon us. Then I had to go to another place in Queensland and work for them there. The Lord gave me strength although I was very feeble, and the Spirit of God rested upon them there. {Ms155-1904.35}

Now if we can every one do the very best that we can do, we shall see the salvation of God. {Ms155-1904.36}

At Newcastle they said we could do nothing. There was the tents filled from week to week, and they would go from these tents with such an interest. And there was the water streaming down when the rain came, and we would have to take a company up in one end of the tent. No money. They came to me with the tears running down, O Sister White, what shall we do, what shall we do? Here is this big congregation, and this tent is all to pieces, like a sieve. “Have faith in God.” [Mark 11:22.] Kneel right down here with me, and let us pray. We knelt down, and we had a praying season. {Ms155-1904.37}

I tried to keep them uplifted as well as I could. I had sent for money, but somebody’s hand was stretched out, and the money did not come. Finally I told our Brother Jones, said I, There is my property. You dispose of it. Fourteen hundred dollars come in to those that we had at this praying season. When this came I sent for them. Now, said I, we need to have another praying season, we want a thanksgiving meeting. Well, we did have a thanksgiving meeting, and the blessed Lord was with us. Then after this money came, I paid it right into their hands. {Ms155-1904.38}

There is Brisbane, I think it was, where they were building a meetinghouse. Brother Haskell was there, and he said, We have got as far as we can go. A young man comes up and says, Elder Haskell, What do you want? O, said he, we want some money; we want this meetinghouse finished. How much will it take? Well, he told him how much it would take. I had already ordered that he should have three hundred dollars. Said he, I will cancel all that, and more; I will build a nice little yard around it. Well, after that he put in money, he put in sum after sum in that meetinghouse. I want that man to have the truth; I want him to see the salvation of God. This work was carried on in that way. The Spirit of God was in the work, and soul after soul would be converted. {Ms155-1904.39}

As I was going home from one of the meetings, there was a man hurrying after us. Sara said, They want to see us. Nevertheless, said I, I am in a perspiration; I cannot wait, because I must get under cover. He reached us before we got off the piazza. Said he, You must hear me, I must tell you my story. My wife was sick, O she was going to die. She had been sick a long time, and she was going to die. Said she, Husband, I listen to the ministers, and they do not give me a bit of courage. They pray and it seems as though their prayers do not reach above my head. I am going down into the grave hopeless. Her husband said, Wife, here is a book we have bought of a canvasser—it was Patriarchs and Prophets—take that book and see if there is anything in that. She read it. Said she, I know now that my Redeemer liveth. I have given myself wholly to Him. This is the first that I have heard of this truth. She read the book through three times, and then she said to her husband, Read it through yourself, and circulate it to the neighbors. {Ms155-1904.40}

Well, this work went on until we had a very nice meetinghouse built there, and I have spoken in that meetinghouse many times since it was built. {Ms155-1904.41}

And this work has been carried to Maitland, twenty miles from there, and I will tell you, it was represented to me as I was going to Newcastle. Something said to me almost as plain as a voice, Look out of the window. I looked, and there I saw two of the most beautiful clouds, as white as snow. There was nothing more over the whole heavens but these two clouds. These clouds signified to me that the angels of God were going before us. These clouds would come together and then they would separate. I watched them all day. In the morning I took the cars and continued to watch these clouds, just as white as snow, until they were where I could not discern them. Now, I know that angels of God went before us. I am just as sure of it as I am when I read these Scriptures here, and it brings to me such an evidence of what we might do and do not do it. {Ms155-1904.42}

Well, this brother that I asked to let me have the money has not sent me a dime. He was a wealthy man, but he has laid by God’s money, buried it in the earth. And may God have pity upon him for thus doing. Said I, Take this letter and read it to the whole congregation. I thought that might help him some, when I sent it to him, because once before I had asked means of him and could not get it. Well, he did, but I do not know as I have received one penny from that quarter. How should I, when they had his example before them? {Ms155-1904.43}

We have got to make a business of saving souls. Well, this is just a little tithe of our experience. {Ms155-1904.44}

How we began the school when we did was an incident. There I was, an invalid for eleven months; I was not able to turn myself on my bed. My arms, my limbs; it was the inflammatory rheumatism, and I had to suffer under it eleven months. But I want to tell you it was the happiest eleven months I have had in my life. Christ was by my side. That hand, from that elbow there, nothing was the matter with it. They would fix up a framework for me, and there I would work, with this framework so that I could write. I wrote in those eleven months 2,500 pages of letter paper, and I write very close in my writing. My workers took them right from my pen and struck them off on my typewriter, and then I read them all over again, to see if they were just right. I had no less than six workers, and they had all that they could do to keep up with me, and I was sick. {Ms155-1904.45}

I praise God for His goodness and His mercy and His tender kindness to the children of men. But Willie came in. Mother, said he, I have got some light. Well, said I, let me tell you my light first. Said I, During the night, as I slept, during the night light came to me that I should take the money on our foreign books in America I had placed for the benefit of the students who could not go to school. Now, said I, here is a school in this land that must be established. O, said he, Mother, that is just exactly what I thought we could do. I will take that money and I will invest it in the commencement of a school. O, said he, Mother, that is just exactly what I thought we could do, and it was what I was going to say was the only way we could start this school. It was a successful school. {Ms155-1904.46}

Here is Sister Hare, who attended that first school in Australia in Melbourne, and now she is my chief worker, and she has been with me now many years. She take great burdens off from me, and I feel so thankful, so thankful that she attended that school. {Ms155-1904.47}

Well, I paid the tuition of as many as six through school, and thus we carried the work along until we moved to Sydney. Then it was to Cooranbong, but I will not go on any further on that line. I could tell you great things if I had time, how we had worked, but we were there, and we instituted this school. {Ms155-1904.48}

What shall we do for money, was the word. What can we do? Elder Daniells said, We can make a little kind of a shanty and we could meet in that, and the boards go up and down. O, said I, Elder Daniells, I could not consent to it. In two days Sister McEnterfer and I went to work. We went all through Cooranbong, for the carpenters were there—they had come from Sydney and Ashfield, the first class carpenters—to have a little outing, and there we employed them, and we asked them what they would do for us under the circumstances that we were in. Well, said they, we have from three to four dollars a day. We will take half of it, and we will only charge for half price, we will take half of that price and put in also. Well, said I, that is all we can ask. By the time that that building was done, they had their meetinghouse to build near Sydney, so thus the work was carried on. {Ms155-1904.49}

Now what are you going to do? You have the school appointed at such a time; we cannot get the school done at such a time. Said I, Call them together. Now, said I, we are going to have the school opened at the very time it has gone forth that it would be opened. It cannot be done, rang from the house. “It shall be done.” How many of you men and women will stand up here, and take hold of any part of the business that you can do? Thirty stood up. Very well, we went to work, men and women. There were the men digging the large cistern for we had no water. The women would help lay the bricks in the cellar, and then they would help in every way possible. Sister McEnterfer and Elder Haskell’s wife went right in to lay the floors. There were two floors that they laid. Our school commenced at the very day that we said it should commence, and we had the blessing of the Lord resting upon us at that time. {Ms155-1904.50}