While an apparent overproduction in some departments of our work is receiving serious study, the efficient, all-round, practical Bible worker is still in demand. Since her services must increase with the urgency of this message, her development should receive greater consideration, and her sphere should be so elevated that the attractiveness of this profession will appeal to young women. And this can be materially aided by the tactful and encouraging touch of Bible workers of experience.
Bible workers are developed by a process that requires more than a course of study in our schools. Profoundly grateful for what the Christian school did for me, my attraction to the Bible work grew out of a definite call. I longed to take to others the message brought to me by an efficient Bible worker. Waiting for an opportunity to pursue my education, I entered the colporteur ministry, and spent two and a half years in house-to-house visitation, which brought frequent contact with persons seeking truth. Through this experience I learned to meet life as it is, and to forget personal discomforts. The power of prayer became a daily inspiration. and my Christian life was rounded out.
Feeling the great need of personal workers in their conference, the leaders persuaded me to enter the Bible work, and in that field I labored for eight years. During this period my experiences were varied. I worked with some of our leading evangelists and also with beginners. My time was equally divided between efforts for our English-speaking people and for the Germans. Our message brought a daily inspiration to my life, which I longed to pass on to other youth. To reach young people was my keenest joy-
It now seems to me that illy readers may have responded more to my earnestness and my personal convictions than to my ability to give good Bible readings. In preparing my studies, I was conscious that the beauty of the gospel message held a stronger appeal than the casting down of the strongholds of error. This did not detract, however, from the forcefulness with which I knew the message must be presented. I felt that I must take my work seriously, and studied faithfully. I especially needed to do this, since no professional training had prepared me for the Bible work. Under the leadership of an evangelist, I received help in preparing a few studies. His transfer, however, deprived me of further assistance, and left me to wrestle almost single-handed with the problems of taking care of an increasing interest and heavy church leadership.
Youthful and energetic, with a sympathetic church to back my work, the Missionary Volunteer Society became my helping hand. From that day, wherever I worked, the youth of the church were my coworkers. Before young readers accepted the truth, they were introduced to the society, and there the youth of the church helped me to bring them over the line. Our Standard of Attainment studies became evangelistic efforts, and our literature campaigns a part of the great scheme of youthful evangelism. While some of my methods might be questioned, today I know I made a right beginning in enlisting youth to share in the work. God takes care of many mistakes when the worker is yielded to Him.
Mingling freely with the young people in church fellowship, I realized that I must be careful to uphold the dignity of my profession. A Bible worker is too busy for familiarities. Specializing in friendships with a chosen few usually leads to trouble. A businesslike attitude graces the calling, and yet professional dignity must never interfere with a desire for genuine usefulness that will sacrifice itself to the limit. Burdened souls must find a refuge; but the Bible worker must have a clear-cut vision of duty and hold off the tongue of gossip.
Our message is one of good tidings. The depressed, poorly poised worker conveys the idea that the yoke of Christ is too heavy to accept. While youth pities, she also shuns the approach of such a worker. The wholesome laugh can be balanced by a seriousness that produces profound respect for truth and its necessary obedience. A sense of humor never comes amiss when properly under control. One reason the Bible work has not appealed to young people as 'much as have certain other lines, is because youth shrinks from gloom. Too much of it has shrouded the profession.
After a few years in the Bible work, I returned to school, hoping thereby to obtain a better preparation for the Work. This was a helpful experience, and one that would be of profit to Many workers. The association with fellow students, and their entrance into the various fields of service when courses in school were completed, gave me a different perspective of the work. My vision soon reached to the ends of the earth in a more tangible way than before:
Then, too, the sympathy of coworkers features strongly. More experienced Bible workers must open their hearts, and take youthful aspirants under their wings. There is no place for jealousies; there is room, and much of it, for helpfulness. Evangelists must sense their responsibilities by avoiding for the young worker a narrow plane of development. Many a promising Bible worker is ruined for the work during her first effort. She receives a mold which unfits her ever to work successfully with another type of worker.
As laborers together for Christ, may our vision of the Bible worker's profession be such as to cause us to draw young women into this gospel ministry. Then, having drawn them, may we rally to the help of youthful inexperience. My personal tribute to the score of noble workers who helped to fit me for this work, cannot be expressed in words. They dealt patiently with my overenthusiasm, and fanned the flames of initiative into increasing service for God. To them I owe much of the inspiration that urges me constantly to guide young women into this blessed gospel service.
New York City.