The foreign-language workers of the North American Division, some 300 delegates and their wives from all sections of the United States and Canada, met in historic Battle Creek, Michigan, from August 10-13, 1964. Host to the gathering was the commodious Battle Creek Seventh-day Adventist church located on the site formerly occupied by the famous Dime Tabernacle of pioneer days.
The historic setting impressed those in attendance with the faith and courage of the pioneers as they struggled to develop a strong medical, publishing, and educational work in Battle Creek. These lessons of early denominational perseverance and faith were especially helpful to language workers coping with similar problems today. As a result, torches of zeal and determination were relighted by those in attendance as various speakers recalled providential leadings of God's grace in our past history.
Authorized by the General Conference Committee for the purpose of revitalizing methods of winning foreign-languagespeaking people to God's truth, the meeting encompassed a comprehensive agenda, dealing with all phases of ministry for the foreign born. It was a thrilling sight to see assembled in one place Seventh-day Adventist ministers representing the languages used by the church in North America, namely: Armenian, Chinese, Czechoslovakian, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Polish, Portuguese, Rumanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian, Jewish, and Yugoslavian.
As these earnest workers recounted their blessings, hardships, and victories, we could envision the purpose of God in beginning a work for foreigners in North America. Truly, the 189 foreign - language churches and 11,500 members represent the tremendous potential in the 28 million foreign-speaking population of the United States and Canada. Reaching these heterogeneous peoples is our responsibility, and we cannot shrug it off as unimportant or belonging to someone else. Great issues depend upon the faithfulness with which we address ourselves to the task. Our work at home and overseas stands to gain if we diligently do our duty for the strangers in our midst. This God has made unequivocally clear.
We deeply appreciated the excellent help assigned to the meeting from the General Conference, the union and local conferences, and the publishing house staffs. These men of experience rendered invaluable service with their counsel and instruction. As a part of God's great family, and as members of the various conferences to which they belong, the assembled delegates saw in clear perspective their privileges, responsibilities, and possibilities in working for their kinsmen.
It was a moving and poignant experience to watch these earnest workers linking hands in the closing meeting and renewing their loyalty to Christ, the remnant church, and to one another. I do not recall witnessing another meeting where the Spirit of God was so manifest. We believe that as this consecration is maintained we shall, in the days ahead, even as at Pentecost, witness a great ingathering of souls from the foreign-language-speaking multitudes of North America. In this great task we solicit the prayers and support of our fellow believers.