THE work of the Ministry magazine covers more than what we nominally refer to as the work of the ministry. I am confident that the work of the ministry involves more than the spoken word. We refer to our colporteurs today as literature evangelists. We refer to our dedicated nursing staff as missionary nurses. The workers in our publishing houses and sanitariums all receive credentials as institutional workers. This article will deal with one such group, namely, the workers of the Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital at Hinsdale, Illinois.
Here is one of our institutions, established many years ago, that is today bearing strong witness for the truth. It seems appropriate that a report should go out to the readers of the Ministry magazine, giving a brief resume of what is actually being accomplished by way of evangelism.
The photographs accompanying this article represent the literature distributed gratis by the institution to patients and friends during this past year. Thousands of copies of These Times, Listen, Signs of the Times, Life and Health, Steps to Christ, Planet in Rebellion, Prophecy Speaks, Smoking and Cancer, The Desire of Ages, et cetera, are shown in this photograph. The money for the purchase of this literature was provided by the sanitarium as a part of their regular expenditures.
A. C. Larson, the administrator, and D. W. Anderson, the chaplain, work closely together with their staff of more than four hundred employees to provide the maximum spiritual touch for the patients. Hundreds of responses come in from friends as well as patients, telling of their deep appreciation for the sympathetic Christian attitudes demonstrated in hours of emergency and trying need. This is ministerial work of the highest order. This is that work so often spoken of in the Spirit of Prophecy writings as "the right arm of the third angel's message."
Here in this institution dedicated doctors, nurses, and technicians work together with the ordained ministry and the home church for the finishing of the work of God.
At the present time large plans are being made for the expansion of this institution. For the past few years putting beds in the halls has not been the extraordinary but the ordinary procedure, and it has been clearly demonstrated that here in this great center more rooms are needed, where the sick and the needy can be cared for and where they can find a Christian atmosphere in which to make a complete recovery.
It is interesting to note that the last biennial session revealed that many former patients have been baptized. Not only have these baptisms occurred in Hinsdale but they have occurred in churches far removed from Hinsdale, in places where patients have gone and where through the work of the chaplain they have been placed in touch with resident pastors. There, following further instruction, they have been led of the Holy Spirit to unite with the Adventist Church. This is ministry of the highest order.
As they take their training the student nurses receive good counsel and instruction in the art of giving Bible studies and in influencing hearts and lives for the message. During the regular courses provided by the school of nursing at Hinsdale three separate courses in religion in addition to two weeks of clinical training in the chaplain's department are outlined; here, in addition to the Bible, The Ministry of Healing, Medical Ministry, Steps to Christ, Training Light Bearers, and The Desire of Ages are used as textbooks. In addition, each student nurse prepares ten written Bible studies in connection with her training program, learning how personally to present the message to those who are interested and come under her care. That this is a telling influence on the life of the student nurse is evidenced by the fact that many of the graduates are now actively serving the church in overseas fields.
It is interesting to note also that during the period covered by the report given at the last biennial session more than 2,800 gospel messages were given by the chaplain and his guests through the medium of the broadcasts sent to each room of the institution. More than 9,000 hours of broadcast programs were presented from the chaplain's office. Surely, brothers and sisters, this is a type of ministry that greatly supports, strengthens, and upholds the hands of those who present the spoken word from the pulpits of our churches.
The administrator of the sanitarium opened his report with the following words:
"It is a great privilege to be connected with God's work in a time like this. While a terrible passion for destruction of life and property is pressing upon so many of the nations of the world, and while poverty, and hunger, and sorrow, and devastation, and death are stalking so boldly through the land, it is a real pleasure to be connected with one of God's life-saving stations where human energies are bent toward relieving suffering, saving life, enlarging the capacity for enjoyment, and pointing souls toward a better life.
"Sometimes when the burdens press heavily, it is a source of satisfaction to take this broader view and to see our institution and all of its workers as a part of God's great work in the earth for the salvation of man. This satisfaction has made our burdens lighter and our work a pleasure, and I can say for all our sanitarium workers that the past biennium has been a happy time, leaving with us all a very pleasant memory of days and hours spent together as colaborers with the greatest medical missionary.'"
Yes, this is cooperation. Here is an institution actively engaged in the promulgation of the gospel of Christ through medical ministry. Can we not with profit rededicate our hearts and lives to an enlarged and unified program as we share the closing remarks of Brother Larson's report?
"While our physical needs are many and important, still we feel, dear friends, that our paramount need is a deeper work of grace in our own hearts, a closer walk with God, and a more perfect revelation of the Christ life in our daily lives. We consecrate ourselves anew to the great work to which God in His providence has called us, and with full hands and hearts we gladly and cheerfully take up our appointed tasks and contribute our little part to the finishing of the work. An interest in your prayers will be appreciated."
Truly outstanding blessings are accruing to the work as a result of this type of medical evangelism. So let us one to another say, "Be of good courage, and advance the cause to the glory of our Lord."