The apostle Paul contributes to the phraseology of inspired statements the term " yokefellow," and applies it to one who has shared with him the stress and strain of service, as well as the fellowship of the divine presence, under the yoke of Christ. Only once does the term occur in the Scriptures, and standing thus alone, a deeper and richer shade of meaning enhances its application. " Fellow workers," " fellow laborers," and " fellow helpers " are often referred to in a general sense as classification in the household of the Lord, but here is a specific combination of service and experience which involves two workers in the most personal and co-operative way.
The term " true yokefellow " may with due propriety be applied in our day to the Bible worker and the Christian nurse working in co-operation with the minister, each voluntarily taking up the yoke of service, which becomes " easy " and " light " as the Master makes the yoke to rest in balanced proportion upon His obedient children. The. Bible worker seeks a fitness for presenting the written word of truth in such a manner as to win the hearts of the multitude, and the nurse, having been called, trained, and made efficient in caring for the body, as the gateway to the soul, skillfully applies the " opening wedge " for the entrance of the light of truth to darkened minds, and extends the glad " right hand " of the gospel message, thus paving the way for the unprejudiced, candid, and co-operative consideration of Bible teaching.
A. few experiences of such yokefellows in the proclamation of the third angel's message are cited in this connection, in the hope of proving a means of encouragement to more extensive yoking up of the Bible worker and the Christian nurse in reaching the masses who are in such dire need of the whole gospel for both body and soul.
In " The Bible Workers' Exchange " of last year (the former mimeograph bulletin) reference was made to a series of tent meetings conducted by Miss Jessie M. Weiss, a Bible worker connected with the East Pennsylvania Conference. Subsequent reports, printed in the Review and elsewhere, have revealed that a large number of believers have been baptized and duly organized into church fellowship. It is indeed a most inspiring experience, and demonstrates the truth of that statement which is so assuring, "God will do the work if we will furnish Him the instruments."—" Testimonies," Vol. IX, p. 107.
The " true yoketellow " in this experience was Sister Esther Bergman, R. N., superintendent of Washington Sanitarium field missionary work. Just how the Bible worker and the Christian nurse pulled together under the yoke of service in this encouraging experience, is shown by the following letter written by Miss Bergman:
"When Sister Weiss was notified that we [Miss Bergman and a corps of nurses in training] were coming from Washington to join her in the tent effort, she at once put a notice in the newspaper, announcing that nurses from the Washington Sanitarium would be present at the evening services, and would be willing to give any help or advice, free of charge, to those who came to the medical tent either before or after the evening service. As we talked over the program for the evening meetings, we decided that a health talk should precede each lecture. The song service had been announced to begin at 7: 45, but we noticed that people began to come earlier, and so we changed the song service to begin at 7 o'clock, and this gave us thirty minutes for a health talk. As we went up on the platform at 7: 30 every evening, we were encouraged by seeing the seats well filled with people who had come early for the health service. In giving the health talks, I made it a rule, no matter what topic was under consideration, to first of all read a text from the Scriptures having direct application to the topic of the lecture to follow that evening, and thus made the health talk contribute to the effective. ness of the Bible teaching service. For example, when I explained to the people the importance of knowing how to take the patient's pulse and temperature, and demonstrated how this is done, I called attention to the fact that God takes the temperature of His people to determine their spiritual condition, and He says that some are lukewarm; neither cold nor hot; and that the Lord tells us that the lukewarm state of Christian experience is a very dangerous condition, and should be remedied at once.
" Each health talk was accompanied by a demonstration simple treatments, making the patient's bed under unusual conditions, et cetera. All the material we needed for use in giving these demonstrations was provided by the people who attended the meetings. When the health talk was ended, at the close of the half hour, we nurses left the platform and stationed ourselves in the rear of the tent, where we were able to find seats for late corners, assist mothers in caring for their children, and corral unruly or restless children in a near-by tent, where they were entertained with Bible stories. At the close of the service, we mingled with the people. As we were in uniform, our connection with the meeting was well understood, and people were very friendly, often expressing appreciation for the information in the health talk, and extending invitations to us to visit them at their homes. In fact, the larger part of our work in connection with this tent effort consisted in our work in the homes, by which we were brought into touch with many and varied physical needs, and by giving attention to these needs we were able to break down prejudice. As an example, I will refer to one case in particular;
" Mr. - became very much prejudiced after listening to the presentation of the subject, ' The Mark of the Beast.' A little later he became ill, and his son asked me to call and see if I could do something to relieve him. I gladly agreed to do so, and secured his consent for a treatment twice daily. He became very appreciative, and was kind enough to say that I had done the only thing which afforded him any relief and made him comfortable. On one of my visits at the home of this man, I found three ministers assembled there. Only one of the three was able to rise to the occasion and appear to be on friendly terms, the other two maintaining a very serious and unfriendly demeanor. As I was taking the blood pressure of some of the neighbors who came in, one neighbor suggested that perhaps the ministers would like to have their blood pressure taken. So the invitation was extended to them to come out and take the test. The friendly minister responded at once, and he soon called the other two ministers to join him; and very soon prejudice melted entirely away, and a spirit of fellowship and good feeling took its place."
This combined effort in Drums, Pa., serves as a striking object lesson of what can be accomplished by true yokefellows in Christian service. In writing to Miss Bergman, some time after the close of the effort, Miss Weiss states:
"I often wonder since the Drums effort whether there will ever be another effort that I can enjoy like that one. Somehow it seemed different in so many ways from the many efforts I have been in. The Spirit of the Lord is still working on the hearts of the people, and after all, that is the only way the work can be done."
But it is the exception, rather than the rule, where opportunity is afforded for such team work in public effort as that of Bible Worker Weiss and Nurse Bergman. The fact still remains, however, that Bible teaching and health teaching may be and should be corn-blued in individual effort.
Sadie Baker, a Bible worker of Williamsport, Pa., expresses her conviction that " the Bible worker, to become the most effective worker, should have a nurse's training and a knowledge of healthful diet and cookery," and tells of her experience in securing a nurse's training, in organizing and conducting nurses' training classes in churches, and in assisting city evangelists as Bible worker and health lecturer. We quote briefly from Sister Baker's letter, in proof that the two lines of work are indispensably linked together, even though at times the lone worker must bear the double yoke:
" Some years ago I read that a sanitarium was to be established in Loma Linda where men and women were to be trained to do medical evangelistic work. I said at once, This is God's plan, and I expect to be there and receive that training! The time came in 1918, and I went. I finished my nurse's training in 1920, then had the privilege of associating in a medical evangelistic effort in Redlands, Calif. I attended the General Conference at San Francisco, and there I saw seventy home nurses receive their certificates. Since that time I have been organizing home nurses' classes in the churches where public efforts were held. In one city I went ahead of the evangelist, and organized the home nurses' class in the church. Eighty-six joined this class, and fifty or more were added later. As a result of this class work, the church was united as a body, and the members were organized into different bands for service. The conference president told me that if the evangelistic effort accomplished no more than the bringing of unity into the church and organizing the members for service, he considered it time and money well spent.
"When the evangelist arrived, the entire church membership was ready to join with him for effective work. The evangelistic effort developed an interest which led to organizing home nurses' classes for the benefit of those investigating the truth, and in teaching these classes I was assisted by the church members who had received instruction. As a result of the combined effort,— evangelism, Bible work, health teaching, and demonstration,— about a hundred people were baptized. I have been following this plan for the past six years, and the results have been most gratifying. The health teaching is an effective avenue for securing Bible readers, and I always have all the readers I can care for. I am a firm believer in Sister White's emphasis on education, when she said, ' Educate, educate, educate; ' and I am convinced that as we educate the people to study God's word, we should combine education along the lines of hydrotherapy and healthful living."
Violet E. Gilstrap, a registered nurse in the California Conference, who has had extensive experience in conducting home nursing classes in churches, states:
"In my estimation, the Bible worker without a knowledge of how to give treatments and teach health principles is as fully handicapped as the nurse who endeavors to engage in soul-winning work without a knowledge of how to give Bible readings."
At the time of writing, Nurse Gil-strap was engaged in teaching a special class [which organized itself for the purpose] of regularly employed conference Bible workers the simple methods of hydrotherapy and measures for preventien of disease; for these Bible workers have been brought to realize that it is not enough for them to know how to prevent disease in their own lives by living up to the laws of health, but that they ought to be able to demonstrate these principles to others. This teaching is balanced by a class conducted by the Bible workers for training the members of the home nursing class to give Bible studies in connection with giving treatments.
Referring to her connection with the St. Helena Sanitarium health extension work in San Francisco, Miss Gilstrap states:
"I made many visits each week. These visits were in behalf of those physically ill, but almost every case was to a greater degree spiritually ill. I carried in my kit Steps to Christ' and the Bible, and often it was my privilege to read from these books. Then I could pray with the people, and the results accomplished in these cases were both physical and spiritual. These people could not be reached by the Bible worker unless able to bring them physical relief. I will mention one case in particular, to show that the nurse must be qualified to do more than relieve the physical need, just as the Bible worker must be prepared to combine instruction in the Bible and in health principles:
"One day a lady came in for treatment. She was in a state of nervous breakdown, and I found it necessary to keep in close contact with her by making visits to her home. I found that her spiritual condition was even more alarming than her physical state. She had been brought up in a Seventh-day Adventist home, but had backslidden and severed all contact with the church. In connection with the treatments, I talked with her seriously about her need, and assured her that in order to regain her health it would be necessary to go to the root of the matter, and make things right in her relation to God. The woman broke down and cried, and between sobs she acknowledged that she knew that her trouble lay in failure to study the Bible and to pray. She said, ' I don't know how to pray any more.' It was my special privilege to have prayer with this woman, and to hold Bible studies with her for several weeks. Then she began to attend the weekly prayer meetings, also Sabbath school and* church service. Her physical condition began to improve, and it was evident that she had entered upon the road of steady gain. This woman and her husband joined the baptismal class, and in a short time both were baptized. Now it would have been impossible to reach this woman without first gaining her confidence; and nothing will so readily win the confidence of a prejudiced mind as being able to administer to the physical well-being."
The Divine Call to the Bible Work
A small group of Bible workers were engaged in conversation during an intermission at the Lake Union Conference session, and a near-by listener overheard the following statements of personal experience.
One said: " I could not get away from the Bible work. I had taken the nurses' training before entering upon the Bible work, and at one time I decided that I would leave the Bible work and return to the nursing profession. But in making the necessary adjustments for such arrangements, I became very much troubled and could not sleep because of the burden resting upon me. I realized in a new sense that God had called me to the Bible work, and also what it might mean to me personally if I deliberately chose to take myself out of the Lord's hands and follow my own way. For days and nights I struggled with the problem, but at last, on my knees, I surrendered to be used of the Lord in the way which He had so clearly indicated, and in any place to which He might lead. And ever since I have been very happy in my work."
Another worker said: "I remember the experience of a worker in our conference, which occurred a number of years ago. This sister had recognized that God had called her to the Bible work, and for a time she engaged in this work and was successful in reaching the hearts of people and bringing them into the truth. She was an experienced office worker,— a bookkeeper, secretary, and promoter,— and while working in the city where the conference office was located, there developed a great need in the office for such help as this woman could render, so she temporarily gave up the Bible work and went into the office. In doing so, she quieted her conscience by promising the Lord that she would return to the Bible work just as soon as the necessary help could be found for the office. A few months went by, the office helper was found, and the way was open for her to continue the Bible work. However, she was urged to stay on at the office, and special inducements were made. She yielded to the suggestion, and proved untrue to her vow to return to the work to which she knew God had called her. In a very short time this sister became ill, and has ever since suffered with an affliction which keeps her confined to her room. She feels that it is a judgment of God resting upon her, because she refused to follow the course which she knew to be God's plan for her life."
These remarks made a deep impression upon the silent listener, as to the reality of the call of God.