ALTHOUGH I am German I studied in Eng land to be a Bible instructor. What a thrill it was when after attending Newbold College for four years I received a call from the North England Conference to join the team of one of the most successful English evangelists. Several nights I was unable to sleep because my heart was running over with joy.
In this team I learned that success depends on obedience. Every Monday morning in our workers' meeting we studied the book Evangelism, and every counsel given by the Spirit of Prophecy was put into practice by the evangelist. Success resulted accordingly.
First of all, the evangelist appealed to the church members for financial help, and they invested willingly. The conference office also did its part. Then the church was called upon to pray. These prayer meetings, at home and in the church, continued until the opening meeting and throughout the whole campaign.
There were seven of us on the team: The evangelist; an ordained minister, who also cared for the church and the new baptized members after the evangelist had left the town for a new territory; three young ministers who were responsible for advertising, musical items, technical work, and organizing hall deacons, ushers for the collection, et cetera; and two Bible instructors.
In Evangelism, page 37, we read: "No less than seven men should be chosen to carry the large responsibilities of the work of God in the great cities. And these men should humble themselves daily and seek the Lord most earnestly for sanctified wisdom."
"Can we expect the inhabitants of these cities to come to us and say, 'If you will come to us and preach, we will help you to do thus and so'? They know nothing of our message. The Lord desires us to let our light so shine before men that His Holy Spirit may communicate the truth to the honest in heart who are seeking after truth. As we do this work, we shall find that means will flow into our treasuries, and we shall have means with which to carry on a still broader and more far reaching work. ... As we advance, the means will come. But we must advance by faith, trusting in the Lord God of Israel. . . . God will have men who will venture anything and everything to save souls."—Pages 61-63.
By faith we rented one of the best theaters in town, for which we paid about §250 a night. When our means grew short, we prayed to the Lord. Twice on the following Sunday nights we received a $250 check in the collection plate. With this money and the other collections we were able to pay for the theater until a smaller hall was more suitable.
Big posters announcing our meetings were placed in front of the building where they were to be held. Before the campaign began and during a part of it, we distributed 100,000 hand bills. Two maps of Manchester were bought. One was hung up for our orientation; the other was cut into small pieces and given to the church members, two by two, for billing. Thus nobody trespassed on another person's territory, and through this systematic work, (1) the people were not offended by having the same bills put in their mailboxes several times; (2) we saved expenses by placing just one bill in each home; and (3) no house in town was left out.
Billing wasn't easy. The team members went out nearly every day. Some days I put nearly 1,000 invitation cards in mailboxes. Walking up and down the roads without a break resulted in sore and blistered feet, not to mention the fatigue. One night I felt rather discouraged, but then I had a wonderful dream that strengthened my faith. I saw Jesus in a long white robe walking up and down the streets of Manchester, knocking at every door.
When the campaign opened, we Bible instructors, dressed very neatly and wearing the same kind of costume, welcomed the people in the front hall and offered them the program. In the theater the people listened to music especially selected to draw their attention away from everyday things. According to the wishes of the evangelist, our church members sat in different parts of the theater supporting the speaker with their prayers throughout the meetings so that the Holy Spirit might prevail in that hall and prevent disturbances. Some mothers brought their babies and small children to the meetings. When they grew restless, we Bible instructors took them out and rocked them to sleep. We then returned them to their mothers. Although I am a foreigner, the mothers never objected, and the children were always willing to come. This also impressed me that in many ways the Holy Spirit was working throughout the campaign.
After the meeting, when the people had left the auditorium, the team stayed behind for a while, praying for those who had shown an interest in the message.
While visiting the people in their homes and giving them Bible studies later on, we had some wonderful experiences. Once I came to a home where the woman was English and the man Norwegian. They had two daughters, one six teen and the other four years of age. When they learned of the Sabbath, they started to keep it. They began to give tithe; and they accepted our health reform message and other doctrines. When the woman heard God's word about jewelry and make-up, she took off her earrings, her necklaces, and other jewelry. It gave me great joy to study the Bible with the whole family at the fireside every Wednesday evening. Father, mother, and daughter desired to be baptized. But then came the question about smoking. The man said, "I can't accept this. I have done every thing you asked me to according to the Bible, but I cannot give up smoking. I have been at sea thirty years, and tobacco was the only pleasure I had. I cannot give it up now; so I can't be baptized!" The other members of the family responded: "If father will not get baptized, we shall also wait." All my pleadings were in vain. Very sad in heart, I suggested a last prayer. We all knelt. In my heart I called upon the Lord, putting everything into His hands, for where we are unable to help He can still perform miracles. During the few minutes of prayer, the Holy Spirit broke this strong man's heart. With tears streaming down his face, he gave up smoking. Later on, father, mother, and the sixteen-year-old daughter stood together in the waters of baptism. Their four-year-old daughter stood beside the pool with her little hands folded, watching intently as her family performed this act of faith.
In another family I heard the testimony of a sixteen-year-old boy. Peter saw Pastor K. Lacey's advertisement in the newspaper. He urged his parents to come to the meetings. His parents were not enthusiastic, but finally they gave way. These people heard and accepted the message until we discussed the tithe. This was too much, and they would never agree to it. Peter admonished his parents: "Father and Mother, the evangelist has read from the Bible that the Lord will bless us if we give Him the tithe." But the parents were unmoved. "Then," Peter said, "I shall give tithe from the money I earn from my paper round after school." Every week he received ten shillings, one of which he gave to the church treasurer every Sabbath. One day Peter returned from school very excited. "Mother," Peter exclaimed; "we had a contest in school and I won. The prize was ten shillings. Look, Mother, I gave one shilling to the Lord for tithe every week. Today the Lord has given me back ten shillings. The Adventists are right. The Lord does bless us if we give the tithe to Him." Mother and father could find no more arguments, and the whole family was baptized.
One woman lost her asthmatic attacks through baptism by believing in the Lord's healing power.
These and many more wonderful experiences increased the joy of our service in God's cause.
After two winter campaigns, Pastor Lacey was able to baptize one hundred and fifty persons, a wonderful blessing from the Lord. I would not have liked to miss this experience for anything. God's vineyard is vast, and many evangelists are laboring in His field. Wouldn't you like to help too?