Despite all handicaps, the cause of Christ marches on to victory. Five years of drouth, loss of crops, alternating floods and dust storms, have brought severe trials to our believers in the Middle West. But in spite of all this, when our workers were gathered together in the twelfth session of the Central Union Conference, glorious messages of triumph were heard. Pastors, evangelists, executives, and leaders in the various departments of our work, all told the same story—a story of progress.
Early in the session, consideration was given to the matter of again dividing our field into two unions—the Northern and the Central. Our combined territory of nine States covers a very large area, making our union the largest of any in the United States. By having fields of less size, the union brethren would not have to travel such lengthy distances. After due consideration of the question, it was voted to ask the Spring Council to approve formation of the Northern Union Conference, which would, include the States of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota; and the Central Union Conference, which would include the States of Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, and Missouri.
With all the extra business such a move entailed, there was still carried on a constructive program of reports, discussions, worship, and plans. M. N. Campbell, L. H. Christian, W. G. Turner, J. C. Thompson, W. E. Howell, M. E. Kern, H. H. Votaw, and other general workers led out in a strong spiritual appeal to greater consecration and sacrifices on the part of all our workers and people. The work of the Holy Spirit in the finishing of the work was emphasized.
Various methods of public evangelism were discussed in the ministerial round table. E. L. Cardey and R. S. Fries led out in this instructive exchange. The true message, the consecrated messenger, and the receptive mind are indispensable elements in evangelism. O. T. Garner, president of the Kansas Conference, reported how in one instance a fine new pavilion was demolished by a storm. But the workers, undaunted, continued their meetings under God's great canopy of blue, and had the joy of baptizing a fine group of new believers.
Radio evangelism is becoming a fruitful feature of our work. Professor Howell stated that the Central Union broadcasters made up the largest group with which he had met at the various sessions. Fifteen men are carrying on this effective work in the Central Union, along with their regular program. One broadcaster in a large city is successfully making definite appointments for Bible studies to be given by our trained lay members. Each week brings new requests from earnest seekers for truth. A number were baptized last year who heard the message almost entirely over the radio.
Lay evangelists are carrying on successful work in various parts of the Middle West. One worker expressed himself as feeling that at last we were beginning to see the larger fulfillment of that statement in the Spirit of prophecy which reads: "There are men who will be taken from the plow, from the vineyard, from various other branches of work, and sent forth by the Lord to give this message to the world." —"Testimonies," Vol. IX, p. 270.
Gleanings From Here and There
Of the many statements made that loomed up above others at our Central Union session, we bring a few jottings which give a cross section of various meetings and conversations. With but two exceptions, no attempt is made to record the name of the individual making the statement—statements which begin whole cycles of thought.
"Seeing all these workers and old friends makes me think of the thrilling reunions there will be on the resurrection morn. People we have not seen for years will rise, and we will experience the joy of a meeting from which there will be no parting."
"It is encouraging to see this throng of workers and to know that all over these Central States there are fellow workers engaged in the same task as we—in helping to finish the work. Sometimes when one works alone for months, he almost forgets that everywhere there are others fighting the same battles for truth."
"Brethren, the Holy Spirit is at the head of our movement, and He is in charge of all our work; so certainly of all people on the earth we ought to be in touch with Him. But we cannot expect the latter rain unless we have experienced the former rain. If we fully submit our lives to the control of the Holy Spirit, we shall gain marvelous victories—we shall become incomprehensible mysteries to Satan."
"Many today are worshiping a living Mary and a still crucified Saviour. But we know that Mary is dead, and we have a living Saviour. Do not leave your Jesus nailed to the cross."
"The doctrine of living a sinless life is as dangerous as being content with living in sin."
"The Holy Spirit edits our prayers."
"We can no more expect an exact duplicate of Pentecost than we can expect a second resurrection of Jesus."
"The Holy Spirit convicts of sin. He is working on the hearts of bandits, criminals, heathen—every sinner feels His convicting power."
"In one of the cleansing ceremonies in the Old Testament, first the blood was applied to the ear, thumb, and toe. After that, the oil was applied. We must be cleansed by Jesus' blood, followed by the anointing oil—the Holy Spirit."
"Our work does not often attract the rich or the worldly wise, but there is a success accompanying the administration and forwarding of our work which witnesses to the fact that the Holy Spirit is at the helm. As a rule, our people are poor, but still we finance our work the best of any religious group."
"The future of our work and the destiny of our movement is bound up in the solidity of our doctrines, accompanied by spiritual power."
"A horse that pulls has no time to kick or buck."
"The success of the early church was due to its unconquerable faith in Jesus. There was no such thing as 'perhaps' or 'maybe.' "
"God will do anything for His church in order that its work may advance. As in the case of Paul and Silas, if an earthquake is needed, He will send it."
"It is high time that our ministers make every effort possible to get on the radio, so that our last warning message can be broadcast, for we know not how soon it may be impossible for any of us to get time on the air. Already scores of stations are barring religious broadcasts, and an organization is forming to eliminate all programs not agreeable to its group."
"It is time that all our workers take on themselves the burden of fighting for religious liberty. Legislatures are not impressed so much by scholarliness and bearing as by earnest sincerity. Events are rapidly taking place which seem to be lining up for the last scenes of earth's history."
"Great events are taking place before our very eyes. We know not how soon the final storm will break. Ministers, workers, we must arouse! We must rally and sound the message. Pass through the hosts and tell the people, 'Yet three days, and we will go over this Jordan!'"
Governor Cochran of Nebraska: "There is a great advantage which smaller colleges such as yours have over large institutions. In a time when Christianity is under attack, it is wonderful to see the strong stand you take for Christian principles. Our future outlook as a nation depends upon Christianity. We in the State offices have the highest regard for your religious faith, and consider Seventh-day Adventists a definite and important influence for good in our State."
"As mayor of Lincoln [Mayor Bryan, three times governor of Nebraska, and brother to the late William Jennings Bryan], I want to assure you that we consider Seventh-day Adventists a spiritual anchor to our community. Your influence in this city means a great deal to us. In our present civilization, the one who is causing the trouble is the educated crook—the one with high university degrees but no Christian training. Our greatest asset is our boys and girls, and they are not receiving the religious training which they should have. I am glad your college does not neglect the spiritual life. Morals and social standards are being lowered today. Church members openly do things which were once condemned by all. It takes courage to be a Christian today. I commend you for your high principles of Christian living. As an old man once advised me, 'You can afford to be in the minority, but you can't afford to be in the wrong.' "