"This meeting was different from any other workers' meeting I have ever attended!" Such was the comment voiced by many of the foreign-language workers in attendance at the session. Yes, it was different — different in that we dealt with matters and problems peculiar to the needs of the more than twenty language areas in which the work of gospel ministry is being carried forward in North America. The tremendous challenge of the 22 million people in the United States and the additional 8 million in Canada who "read, speak, write and think in some language other than English as their mother tongue" urgently demands that attention be given to study and plans on how to bring the third angel's message to the unreached millions.
God's hand was in the planning for this important meeting, which was carried forward in harmony with such counsel as was given by the Lord through His messenger, Ellen G. White, many years ago, and which applies with equal emphasis today.
"It is well that those in responsibility are now planning wisely to proclaim the third angel's message to the hundreds of thousands of foreigners in America. God desires His servants to do their full duty toward the unwarned millions of the cities, and especially toward those who have come to these cities in our land from the nations of earth."—Evangelism, pp. 569, 570. (Italics supplied.)
"Shall we not plan to send messengers all through these fields, and support them liberally? Shall not the ministers of God go into these crowded centers, and there lift up their voices in warning to multitudes? At such a time as this, every hand is to be employed."—Ibid., p. 34.
"This work calls for the exercise of all the talents that God has entrusted to our keeping—the pen, the press, the voice, the purse, and the sanctified affections of the soul."—Ibid., p. 571.
The fact that immigration continues to increase, and that there are more foreign-born persons coming into America (the United States and Canada) today than there were in the early days of the message gives emphasis to the need of an expanded program whereby these people may be reached. Recent data indicates that "in the past ten years 2,599,349 immigrants have come to the United States." Canada is also having a tremendous increase in immigration.
An impressive sermon, "The Challenge of the Unwarned Other-Language Peoples of North America," was preached by Theodore Carcich, General Conference vice-president for North America. In addition to the morning devotional services, and the closing service of dedication, there were eight areas of study and counseling. Assignments had been made in advance for denominational leaders to be responsible for the arrangements for the instruction and counseling in the various fields of study.
The instruction of J. R. Spangler emphasized the use of graphic blackboard designs, and met the needs of the foreign-language workers in a comprehensive manner.
Elder Spangler pointed out that a soul-winning ministry does not necessarily imply having a large amount of equipment with which to work. He used the experience of Abram LaRue, whom God used so wonderfully in Hong Kong and other ports of the Orient as a self-sustaining missionary. "If you have your Bible, that is the most important part of your equipment," he said.
His instruction also covered certain basic features of creating interest, sustaining the interest, and reaping the results.
Special emphasis was placed upon Bible evangelism by laymen in view of the fact that it is essential to the development of the foreign-language work in North America that every church member be trained, educated, and sent out into the field to "seek" for souls among the "other language" peoples. V. W. Schoen, past master in the field of developing charts, flannelgraph designs, and illustrations, brought his talent into play upon this occasion. The careful attention given by the hearers to the instruction that had been prepared for and directed to ministers, indicated that this was timely, well-chosen counsel and instruction. Methods for disseminating truth, reaching people, obtaining attention, using materials available, and obtaining decisions, were all correlated in practical, constructive sequence.
With the increasing demands that more radio programs in the foreign languages be used in North America, this area of study provided a comprehensive coverage of present activities and possible future radio broadcasts. Integration of present "local" or "personal" broadcasting into a well-planned and supervised organization was indicated, inasmuch as the history of "independent" broadcasts has been that they have a tendency to be sporadic and eventually fade away. Continuity of giving the message over the air is vital to reaching the thousands of people who use these "other languages" in North America. Not only was the instruction most helpful from an educational viewpoint but it was also spiritually motivating and encouraging to the ministers.
Reporting for the Pacific Press Publishing Association, Frank Baer, manager of the foreign-language publications department, indicated that an excellent advance had been made in the publication of foreign-language printed material since the meeting in Brookfield four years ago. Twenty-four languages are being used presently in the printing program. The essential demands for new literature have burgeoned tremendously. The challenge for a great use of truth-filled literature, from small tracts to full-message books, received a wholehearted response. The need for Spirit of Prophecy literature was also very urgent. Information and guidance in the use and distribution of this literature were adequately presented. Results will be seen in the entire North American Division. A slogan used by the brethren of the Pacific Press was inscribed upon their attractive envelope-type folder: "At Pentecost 'every man heard . . . in his own language . . . the wonderful works of God.' In North America people may hear the third angel's message in many languages!"
Living as we are in an age of visual education and promotion, the workers were given an insight into the availability of certain visual aids prepared by the department of audio-visual aids of the Review and Herald Publishing Association. Never before have we had so much material that can be adapted for use in any language. Filmstrips and slides in blank are available, and all that is needed for use among "other language" peoples is the translation to make them effective. Other visual-aid materials were presented by R. G. Campbell.
Inasmuch as the Bible correspondence schools for foreign-language students are largely under the supervision and direction of the Radio-TV Department of the General Conference and the Voice of Prophecy, consideration of this area of concentration was on the basis of how to use this instrumentality more effectively. Results have not been as adequate as they might have been, owing to several reasons. Some of the reasons set forth were lack of general distribution of enrollment cards, lack of continuous advertising through various media, failure to follow up contacts, lack of adequate literature in some cases. Discussion of these and related factors helped to clarify the methods for increasing Bible correspondence school enrollments, as well as to know how to obtain soul-winning results on a larger scale.
The area of public relations in its relation to the foreign-language work brought out new concepts for the workers to consider. This field of contact with the non-Adventist world among "other language" people can be used successfully provided right methods are pursued. Suggestions were presented that should make it possible for a widening use of the principles of public relations.
Gospel finance among the foreign-language churches is an area that needed to be considered from the standpoint of relationships of the tithes and offerings of the church in general. The comprehensive analysis presented by O. A. Blake indicated that the foreign-language membership tithe and offerings had not reached the average of the general North American Division membership. Ideas and suggestions of how this situation might be changed by the positive leadership of the church pastors were indicated. We may look for an upsurge in the gospel-finance feature of the foreign-language churches in North America.
The impact of the study and discussion in these eight areas is reflected in the number of recommendations and requests that came through the ethnic group meetings, and which will be summarized in another article in this issue of MINISTRY. We also believe that the most important impact will be the increase in the number of souls brought to Christ and His last-day message.