Faithfulness in Reporting

The title of this article may suggest to some that I am planning to admonish our workers in general, and our missionaries in particular, to be more cooperative in provid­ing for a constant flow of reports of progress for use in promotion work in the homeland. believe there is need for such admonition, but that is not my purpose at present.

By T. J. MICHAEL, Secretary-Treasurer, Central European Division, Section II

The title of this article may suggest to some that I am planning to admonish our workers in general, and our missionaries in particular, to be more cooperative in provid­ing for a constant flow of reports of progress for use in promotion work in the homeland. believe there is need for such admonition, but that is not my purpose at present.

Let me introduce my burden by relating an' actual personal experience. At a certain camp meeting I talked on missions. I described to the congregation the situation in a field with a population of about fifty million, where we have worked for almost half a century with practically no results. I emphasized the thought of our great unfinished task, suggest­ing that this should be a mighty challenge to God's people today. The conference president was present, and at the close of the meeting he told me what he thought of my effort ! "I have never heard a more discouraging pic­ture presented to our people. They need to be encouraged. It is evidence of providential progress which stimulates their interest in, and their giving for, missions."

I apologized for disappointing him, explain­ing that I thought our people would appreciate knowing the facts. The next day the presi­dent approached me again, this time to ex­plain that apparently he had been mistaken! Several persons had been to him, expressing amazement that we had mission fields where so little had been accomplished. They said, "It is evident that we must lift harder and do still more to finish the work in those lands." On the following Sabbath, the offering was the largest ever received in that conference, an evidence that the true facts, when presented, had not tended to dry out the flow of mission funds.

The writer of a new book on missions con­fesses that in a large measure he lost con­fidence in missions because of the apparent exaggeration and insincerity he observed in the reports of progress given by missionaries and others. Truly the accomplishments of our own movement in many mission lands are spectacular, and they justify that expression which has often been used—"the miracle of modern missions." God has indeed wrought marvelously through this people, and "the half has never yet been told" of the wonderful ex­periences met by our missionaries and people; but those who have been following the edi­torials by Elder Lee in the Review and Herald, entitled, "Look on the Fields," will have ob­served the large areas described as "Entered but Not Developed," and the enormous black patches indicated as "Unentered Territory.'

Confronting this people today there is a tre­mendous unfinished task, a task that is utterly impossible of accomplishment by human means alone. There are thrilling, marvelous stories of progress to be told, but is there not a danger that when we dwell only on spectacu­lar progress in certain places, our people may be lulled into a sense of security and satisfac­tion? A false sense of satisfaction is one of the outstanding characteristics of the Lao­dicean church. We should do everything we can to deliver our people from drifting into a false and unjustifiable satisfaction where the accomplishment of our task is concerned.

This work shall be finished, we know. But the finishing will call for increasing effort and sacrifice on the part of God's people. The Lord says, "Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice."

Let us thank God for the wonderful, spec­tacular results which the willing sacrifices of our people through the years have made pos­sible. Let us continue to encourage and thrill their hearts by presenting to them every true evidence of progress which we possess. But let us not neglect to keep continually before our believers the shaded and black portions on the world map! We need to be faithful and true in keeping before our people the prog­ress of our endeavor to preach this gospel of the kingdom in all the world in this genera­tion, and in it all let us be accurate.


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By T. J. MICHAEL, Secretary-Treasurer, Central European Division, Section II

November 1940

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