It has been my privilege for the last two years to be associated with the colporteur work in the capacity of Bible instructor. My time has been limited to the interests found or created by the colporteurs of the Southeastern California Conference. During that time ninety names have been given me by the•colporteurs, of which sixty have materialized into Bible studies.
Many of these people have moved away during the time they were taking the course of studies; yet thirty-two have completed a series. Approximately forty have attended Sabbath services. Eight have joined the church, and six more are definitely planning on baptism in the very near future.
The plan we have followed has met a long-felt need and has resulted in so many good experiences that it has really justified itself. The colporteur has found or aroused a desire for Bible study, and has then been able to offer the interested individual the choice of a personal instructor or the 20th Century Bible Course. Let me relate a few of my most recent experiences.
One Thursday evening I went to a home where I have been studying with the wife in the afternoons for several months, and had just begun the study of the Sabbath. Then she had started working, and it had been several weeks since I had seen her. She wrote me, asking that I come any evening I had free.
When I arrived, and had been introduced to her husband, almost her first words were: "Our last study has been worrying me, and my husband says if I feel as I do about it I had better ask my boss for Saturdays off. You know, I think it is just awful for people to work on that day if it is the true Sabbath. Why don't the other churches keep it? And why doesn't the law enforce it?"
This was a large order. But what a marvelous opportunity and a mighty challenge!
First, I reminded her of our study on Daniel 7, where a power was introduced who would tamper with God's law, and get away with it for a specified number of years. Then I recalled our study on the judgment, which was to begin at the close of the longer time prophecy, and which had been heralded by a message which included Sabbathkeeping. She had been very much interested as I gave her the study.
I was sure she followed me in all this, but I was fearful lest her husband might wonder what it was all about. But, as he seemed intently interested, I felt safe in going on into a study of the Sabbath.
We began with Genesis 2:2 and 3, and for an hour considered the history of the Sabbath, in both the Old and New Testaments. Under ordinary circumstances this would have been too much. But I can truly say that the Holy Spirit seemed to be present, and that not once did their interest abate.
As they accompanied me to the bus they promised to read the chapters I had assigned in The Great Controversy and to pray earnestly for the Lord to help them both keep the true Sabbath.
Experiences in Working for Others
About a week later I had another encouraging experience. A Mormon with whom I have studied for several weeks informed me that she could not study with me anymore. I expressed my surprise and regret, and asked her what had brought her to such a decision.
Then she confided to me that the elder of her ward had asked her to discontinue the studies, as they were confusing both her and her sixteen-year-old boy. I asked her whether she herself felt confused, and she replied that many of her church's teachings were contrary to my teachings.
Then I asked her whether she thought I had followed the teachings of the Bible. She said, "Oh, yes, I know you have, but they are so different." Then she added, "But I know some things you've taught me are true, because they are so plain and sensible."
I tried to show her that there were false religions in the world, using some of my favorite texts, as Matthew rs :9 ; 7 :21-23, and praying constantly that God would give me tact. I begged her to give God's Word a chance to speak for itself. I told her how much I had enjoyed her intelligent mind, and obvious interest in the studies.
As I arose to go, she said : "Mrs. O'Neil, I just feel terrible. You have been so sweet, and I have truly derived much from your studies.
I don't want to let you go. But our elder says
I cannot carry on the primary work and be questioning the teachings of our church. I'll :resign from this work soon, and then we can :study again." I assured her that we would both Tray earnestly about it.
More recently a women who lives in a beautiful home, and who undoubtedly has more of this world's goods than any of my other readers, assured me that ours was the truth, and that she meant to follow all the things she had learned, although her husband had cautioned her against it.
Scarcely a day goes by without some assurance that God's Holy Spirit is at work upon human hearts.