Gratifying Results in the South
To those who are waiting for that soon-coming day when truth shall triumph gloriously, there is nothing more cheering than news of fresh victories won on the battle front. Such is the news of the remarkable results of the recent intensified literature campaigns conducted in the Southern Union. It has been my happy privilege to visit this union and come in personal contact with the inspiring story of many honest souls being won. I am profoundly impressed with the possibilities wrapped up in our literature work as conducted by these brethren, and I believe we shall begin to see "the work of that other angel who lightens the earth with his glory" coming in among us with greater power when such programs shall become more general.
The Alabama-Mississippi Conference, at a cost of about $2,000, distributed a half million tracts and periodicals during the last year. According to the information brought to us at a recent council in this union, this field is now able to report a hundred souls baptized or soon to be baptized as the direct result. Costs were readily subscribed to in the field, and all expenses have been paid. The addition of these hundred members at the expense of but $20 each is, of course, very encouraging. The effect which the campaign has had upon our own people is equally encouraging. One young woman who had only a nominal experience in Christ, reported five souls preparing for baptism as a result of literature she had distributed. With deep emotion she told how she herself had been warmed and stirred in her efforts to save others. We understand that her experience is typical of that of many others in this conference.
In the Georgia-Cumberland Conference a much larger literature campaign has been carried on, and here, too, outstanding developments are being reported. My own soul was thrilled as I saw scores of letters pouring in, sornetimes as many as 300 or 400 in a single day, all coming from people who had received literature, and 95 percent of them asking for more.
Naturally, I was eager to know the contents of such an avalanche of mail, and in this the conference brethren were most obliging. I was permitted to pick at random envelopes I desired to open, and I found all the letters exceedingly interesting. One was written by a leading realtor of a large Southern city, requesting more literature. Another was from a widow with eight children who had, out of her poverty, enclosed a dime. In answer to the question, "Do you propose, when fully persuaded, to observe all ten commandments, including the fourth, which enjoins the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday) ?" she replied, "Yes." Later word from the worker who visited this widow reported her to be a sincere woman who had kept all her papers, lending some to her neighbors. She is now receiving Bible studies.
A third letter was from a woman in Knoxville, Tennessee, who was thoroughly convinced of our truth and was all aglow with the love of the message. She ordered a hundred "Steps to Christ," and a hundred Morning Watch Calendars for Christmas presents, and was anxious to supply fifteen thousand names to receive Present Truth. This was followed by a letter from a woman who vigorously demanded that her name be struck off the list. She said, "I have just learned that you people don't believe in a burning hell, and I don't want to have anything to do with you."
Next was a letter from the pastor of a large Protestant church, asking that the Home Bible Study League kindly desist from sending further literature to his people, as it was disturbing the people's minds and breaking up his church. He had dismissed his men's Bible class teacher for teaching advent doctrine. Soon after reading this pastor's letter, we found a questionnaire from the very teacher who had been dismissed. This earnest man had received the light regarding the Sabbath from the literature sent him, and reported that he was now attending our services. Another letter was from the president of the board, who stated that he felt the Bible class teacher had not been given a fair deal, and that he himself had decided to keep the Sabbath and all the commandments. We learned that this man is a merchant in one of the large cities of the South.
And so, on and on, from one letter to another, we gleaned the same interesting, appealing story of hundreds who are searching for truth and finding it. Altogether 2,800 families in the Georgia-Cumberland Conference are now requesting Bible studies to be given them by Seventh-day Adventists. The brethren fully anticipate that 3,500 families will soon be receiving Bible studies in their homes. More than seventy-five Bible workers' training classes have been organized to meet this unprecedented demand from the field, and to date 1,000 church members have enrolled and offered themselves for this work. One minister wired the office that he was entirely swamped by the deluge of requests for help in his district, having 600 requests on hand for Bible studies. Another worker reported thirty-seven homes in which he himself was endeavoring to give Bible studies. He was using an increasing number of laymen to assist him. In the Macon (Georgia) church, the pastor reported that twenty-six had been baptized as a result of the work of the laity.
Not the least in the results obtained by this well-organized, intensive campaign is that 85 per cent of the 3,000 members of the conference are now regularly reporting missionary work. Their Harvest Ingathering campaign was not neglected, but was completed in six weeks.
Sixty have already been baptized as definite fruitage of the literature campaign in this conference, and we have every reason to believe that many, many more will soon follow. Our hearts respond to a program of this kind, and we profoundly believe that the time has come when a larger literature work is due to be undertaken with greater earnestness and intensity.