We of the Voice of Prophecy are confident that we could be of vital assistance to evangelists, pastors, and lay workers—and they to us—through their much wider knowledge and use of our several Bible correspondence courses in the dozen or so languages available. The United States and Canada are peopled with those who have come from every country of the world, to start life over again. Many of them are more or less bewildered, heart hungry, and a bit homesick. They will welcome food for the soul and the good news of an even better land to come, in which they will be forever secure against separation and sorrow, suffering and loss. We are confident that if our ministers and other workers and lay members would introduce to these folks the Bible courses offered by the Voice of Prophecy in their various mother tongues, the harvest of souls would be infinitely increased.
In the Hungarian language we have the Faith, 20th Century, and Light of the World Bible courses. Our students are in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and twenty other countries the world around. Many of them have already been baptized. At present we have 265 active correspondence students, and 55 readers who are studying with local Bible instructors in preparation for baptism. We know of 44 persons who have accepted the Advent message through studying our Hungarian lessons since 1955; 25 in the United States, ten in Canada, four in Brazil, and one each in Germany, Yugoslavia, Peru, Sweden, and Switzerland. We have also many students in Australia.
Twelve sets of tapes of the Hungarian 20th Century Bible Course have been made and are available to our ministers and other workers.These will be most helpful for work with those Hungarians who do not yet use the English language freely, and will surely be fruitful in winning souls. Those Hungarians immigrating now are interested in Bible study, and' the demand for Bibles in the Hungarian language is so great that for several months the American supply has been completely sold out. Many of our students are preparing for baptism. The address of the Hungarian Bible School is P.O. Box 767, San Bernardino, California.
One elderly Hungarian widower married a widow who was an Adventist, but he was not much interested in English Bible study. He became ill and had to spend some time in a hospital, where a minister visited him and read to him from a Hungarian New Testament. He was so interested that he asked the minister to leave the Testament with him, and he read it through in a short time. He eagerly studied the Faith Bible Course in Hungarian, requested baptism, and became a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus and an earnest worker among his friends. The Bible course in his own language helped him make his decision.
The German language course consists of thirty-six lessons, and has been in use for fifteen years. There are currently forty-five active students, mostly older people who, during their life in America, have never acquired a good use of the English language. The younger folks who are now coming from Germany to the United States and Canada are eager to learn and use the language of their adopted country, therefore, few of them enlist in the German Bible course.
As in any evangelistic effort only a comparatively small number follow thfough with the studies—many of them drop out by the way. During the past five years, the first two lessons in German were mailed to 3,559 persons; only 62 completed the course and received diplomas. Among them was a retired minister who was led by the Spirit of God to embrace the Advent message.
Our Spanish Bible school at the Glendale, California, headquarters, takes care primarily of students in Mexico, the United States, and Europe. About 70 million Spanish-speaking people may be reached by the broadcast of "La Voz de la Esperanza." Yet we are just beginning to touch with our finger tips the great number of souls that, undoubtedly, God would have us reach in all these places. In our senior and junior Bible schools we have well over 4,500 active students, and 131 baptisms were reported to us for the year 1958, with at least 40 more preparing for baptism.
It is very expensive for a person living in Spain to write and ask for lessons. It takes almost a month for a letter to come to us from there by surface mail; and the postage for a letter sent by air mail is sometimes equal to a quarter of a day's wage! Yet every day dozens of letters come to our office by air mail. Owing to difficulties in transmission of mail sent in recent years, all our mail to Spain is now sent registered. This is very expensive, but it is the only way we can be sure it will reach its destination.
There are millions of Spanish-speaking people who have not heard a word of the message. We need to teach these people, and our most effective means is by the radio broadcast and the Bible school. Hundreds of letters come to our office every week from people who are thirsty for the water of life, and are anxious to know more of the gospel. Just a few words from one such: "I am happy for the lessons I am studying and for the peace and joy they bring to my heart. I thought everything was bad and confused; but when I learned that Jesus loves me, my life was completely changed."
We have only one correspondence course in Russian, the Worldwide Bible Course of thirty-six lessons, and this is ten years old. In our best times we received about 1,000 applications a year; of whom 25 per cent enrolled, but only about 10 per cent became active students and followed through the course.
Most Russians of the older generation left their homeland with little or no education, and they still cannot write, though many of them have learned to read. They are interested to get and to read the Bible lessons. A number of students who never filled in and returned a single question sheet, at the end of the course asked for personal contact and some have been baptized. For this reason we continue to send our lessons to a large group of "passive" students—but only on their request. We have mailed out more than 200,000 lessons, and graded 26,000. At present our active enrollment is low, mostly because of meager means for reaching the Russian people. We have no radio program in Russian; few Russian-speaking workers to follow up interests; no periodicals,
and not enough literature to compensate for the lack of personal contacts. Our only means of follow-up work is through personal letters, answering the questions of students who can write or can get someone to write for them. In five years the faithful director of our Russian Bible school has written more than 2,000 such letters. In spite of the many difficulties, we have issued diplomas to about 600 graduates, and have 44 reported baptisms, most of them overseas. In America the Russian converts join the American churches and the Russian Bible school seldom gets a report of these. In fact, that is true of all our Bible course students, English as well as other languages.
We have at the present time 350 enrolled Russian students in North America, and 200 in other countries. There are many Russians living in Canada and in the United States. Large numbers of these could be won to Christ if the Bible course in their own language were introduced to them and they were encouraged and helped to study the lessons themselves.
Since World War II, the Korean war, and other engagements and military assignments in the Far East, hundreds of Oriental brides have been brought to the United States and Canada. Many of them are lonely, bewildered, and heart hungry, and will eagerly accept Christian friendship and Bible study if it is introduced to them in their own language. The Japanese and Chinese Bible schools follow up every interest turned in to them. This is our only contact with most of these people.
Space will not permit us to report at length on the work done by our Greek, Italian, Portuguese, and other foreign-language Bible schools.
A new series of Bible lessons in the Polish language is now in preparation and will soon be available. Advertisements in foreign-language newspapers, distribution of enrollment cards by church members, names of relatives and friends sent in by students—all of these bring us new opportunities to send lessons, tracts, pamphlets, and books to these strangers that are within our gates.
Please write for information and tell us of your opportunities and needs. We believe we can help you, and we are sure you can help us to reach many more with the gospel message.