ON JANUARY 31, 1960, Brethren Arthur White, Odd Jordal, and I entered Poland for sixteen days of fellowship with our Polish brethren. Brother White conducted the Spirit of Prophecy course, Brother Jordal taught the class in Bible doctrines, and I conducted the class in public evangelism. Among the three of us, ninety-nine classes were held in those sixteen days. Thirteen public meetings were held at night in the Warsaw Seventh-day Adventist church, during which fifty people decided to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The Polish ministers are of good courage and are pursuing a vigorous program of evangelism. Public preaching and home visitation are unrestricted in Poland. In fact, our brethren are enjoying unprecedented privileges, especially in the publication of Adventist literature.
The administrators of our work in Poland are wholehearted in their encouragement of the public evangelistic program. Every minister could report a public effort in some portion of his district. These men are preaching the gospel everywhere.
Our final appointment in Poland took us to the south, where a group of our believers gathered just eighteen miles from the Czech border. More than five hundred filled a building whose normal capacity was three hundred. They sat for three hours, physically uncomfortable but spiritually hungry, listening to the Word of the Lord. Our visit to a large concentration camp maintained by the Germans during World War II convinced us more fully of the nearness of the end and the urgency of our times.
On February 16 I went by air to Finland, landed at 5:00 p.m., and at 7:00 p.m. conducted a public service. For six weeks we traveled in that lovely country, from Helsinki in the south to Sedankyla in the north. The story of Finland is a story of total evangelism. In this field everyone does some public preaching (to nonbelievers) each year. The union president, Onni Peltonen, despite a backbreaking schedule of administrative duties, manages to do some public evangelism. I also found the home missionary and Sabbath school secretary, young people's leader, and publishing secretary fitting in some public preaching.
In the light of this, the rapid growth of the Finland Union is no mystery.
I found most of the pastors were away from their churches except on Sabbath. I inquired if the affairs of the church suffered, and was told that the believers expected the ministers to be soul winners and were content to carry their share of the church burden, thus releasing him to do his first work.
Every pastor conducts public services four nights each week. In two separate areas, two meetings weekly are held. On the Sabbath they are with their regular congregation. The time put in on this program varies according to the minister's responsibility. Erkki Luukko, president of the West Finland Conference, had just completed a week of preaching at Sedan-kyla.
In Denmark it was much the same story, with Thorvald Kristensen, conference president, conducting public meetings each week in Copenhagen. The ministers of the conference are also conducting meetings.
Brethren, the time is short. What we do must be done quickly!