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    Chapter 22—The Twelve who Couldn’t Wait

    “This seems like old times. How thankful I am to be back again in the work!” said James White, as he stacked satchels and bundles on the baggage rack in the train.SMG 152.1

    John Andrews turned one of the seats over so that two seats faced each other. “I, too, am thankful for better health since I began practicing the instruction God has given us in regard to healthful living,” he said. The two men sat down together.SMG 152.2

    Mrs. White placed the lunch box on the seat facing them and sat down by it, laying her handbag containing her manuscripts and writing materials where they would be handy. It was late October, and they were on their way to visit churches in the East.SMG 152.3

    After a few weeks in Maine, they went on to New Hampshire. At the Hillsboro station a team was waiting for them. A ride of twelve miles through sleet and snow brought them a little before Sabbath to the home of Cyrus Farnsworth near the village of Washington. Mrs. Farnsworth was the daughter of Rachel Preston, the Seventh-day Baptist who first brought the Sabbath message to the Adventists in 1844.SMG 152.4

    During the supper hour a lively conversation developed. “Mrs. Farnsworth, I understand that your husband and his brother William were the first Seventh-day Adventists in the world,” said John Andrews to his hostess.SMG 152.5

    “That’s right, Elder Andrews; the tracts that convinced you that the seventh day is the true Sabbath were some that my mother passed out to her Adventist friends,” Mrs. Farnsworth replied.SMG 153.1

    “I was only seventeen years old when I read one of those tracts,” Elder Andrews responded. “We were living at Paris, Maine. Marian Stowell and her brother Oswald, both about my age, read Elder Preble’s tract and kept the very next Sabbath. On Monday they handed the tract to me, and I kept their second Sabbath with them. Then we gave the tract to our parents, and they kept the third. Soon seven Adventist families in our neighborhood were meeting for worship on God’s holy day. We were really in earnest, for we expected Jesus to come soon; and we wanted to be obedient in all things so that we might be ready to meet Him.”SMG 153.2

    “Frederick Wheeler, our pastor, began to preach about the seventh-day Sabbath, and in time nearly all our members began keeping it,” Mrs. Farnsworth added. “That’s how the Washington, New Hampshire, church became the very first Seventh-day Adventist church in the world. Nearly all the congregation, including the original founders, became Seventh-day Adventists. How long can you remain with us, Elder White?”SMG 153.3

    “Our travel plan allows us five days here. We hope while on this tour to meet with the little company at Buck’s Bridge in New York State. You know, they claim to be the first Seventh-day Adventists to build their own meetinghouse, although the first church in Battle Creek was built about the same time,” Elder White answered.SMG 153.4

    “The Spirit of the Lord has impressed me that your church needs help,” said Mrs. White. “I doubt if there’s a church anywhere more in need of help than ours,” Cyrus Farnsworth replied. “Not long after we began keeping the Sabbath in 1844, Elder Wheeler went to labor in New York State. For years he supported himself and his family while he preached. We’ve been without a minister much of the time during the twenty-three years since then. Some of our members have become worldly, and many of our young people are unconverted. The husband of one of our faithful sisters has written unkind things about Adventists. He has told our young people, Mrs. White, that you make up the stories you relate as visions, and that no one needs to pay any attention to them. I believe God has sent you here to help us.”SMG 153.5

    Sabbath morning Elder White spoke in the little Washington church, and Mrs. White in the afternoon. Elder Andrews had charge of the evening meetings held in the Farnsworth home.SMG 154.1

    While Mrs. White was speaking in one of the meetings, she recognized in the congregation several persons whom she had seen in a vision and for whom she had been given special messages.SMG 154.2

    Mr. and Mrs. Newell Mead had endured great sorrow and trouble, and they were discouraged. Mrs. White said she had been instructed in the vision to tell them God loved them and would bring them safely through their afflictions.SMG 154.3

    Mrs. White told one young woman who was married to an unconverted man that she must do what she knew to be right and not let her husband force her to violate her conscience.SMG 154.4

    Another young girl had started out as a Christian but had drifted away. The message to her was that she had made a mistake in choosing non-Christians as her friends.SMG 154.5

    While Mrs. White was speaking, a young man of nineteen sat thinking, “I wish she would tackle my father.” As if reading his thoughts, Mrs. White turned to the boy’s father and said, “I saw that this brother is a slave to tobacco. But the worst of it is that he is trying to deceive his brethren into thinking that he has given it up, as he promised to do when he joined the church.”SMG 155.1

    Some time before this, while working with his father in the woods, the young man had caught sight of a brown stain on the snow and had seen his father quickly kick snow over it to hide the telltale tobacco mark. Now watching his father’s face turn red under Mrs. White’s rebuke, the young man thought, “Surely she is a true prophet; only an angel could have shown her these things.”SMG 155.2

    When Mrs. White finished, those to whom she had spoken stood up, one after another, and admitted that what she had said about them was true. With tears they asked forgiveness of God and of one another. Parents confessed to their children, and children to their parents. Even the man who had said and written the unkind things about Mrs. White and the Adventists humbly asked forgiveness.SMG 155.3

    And who was the man who had been chewing tobacco? He was William Farnsworth, the very one who had stood up bravely in church years before and declared that no matter what his brethren decided to do, he was going to keep God’s Sabbath. For years he had been a church elder. He had given up tobacco—many times. But each time the craving returned so strongly that he bought another plug and hid it away where he could take a chew now and then when he was alone. From this day he fought the habit in earnest and finally, with much prayer, gained the complete victory. And who was the son who saw him hide the tobacco stain in the snow? It was Eugene Farnsworth, who became a successful Seventh-day Adventist evangelist.SMG 155.4

    The following Wednesday was Christmas Day. In the meeting that morning a special appeal was made to the children and young people, and thirteen of them stood, saying that they wanted to follow Jesus. That was the happiest Christmas ever for the Adventist company in Washington, New Hampshire. The children were so overjoyed in making the gift of their hearts to Jesus that the presents for one another were nearly forgotten.SMG 156.1

    In the afternoon Orville Farnsworth took gifts to his cousins, Fred and Rosella Mead. “Come up to my room,” said Fred. Then locking the door, he turned to his cousin and said, “Orville, I’m going to be a missionary.”SMG 156.2

    “You a missionary! Surely you’re joking!”SMG 156.3

    “No, Orville, I’m not joking! I wish you could have been at the meeting this morning. I think you would have stood up with Rosella and me and promised to be a Christian.” Orville had missed the meeting because it had been his turn to stay at home with his four little brothers.SMG 156.4

    Fred now pleaded with Orville to give his heart to the Saviour. Together they knelt at the bedside and prayed. Orville surrendered to Jesus.SMG 156.5

    The day after Christmas the Whites and John Andrews went on their way. Behind them they left a revived church and a band of young missionaries. Those who had become Christians went in search of their young friends who had not come to the meeting. Soon there were eighteen boys and girls requesting baptism.SMG 156.6

    Their parents told them, “You’ll have to wait till the lake thaws in the spring; there’s no other good place for baptisms.” Twelve of the eighteen said, “We cannot wait; we want to be baptized now.” They went down to Millen Pond, about a hundred yards from Cyrus Farnsworth’s house, and cut out blocks of ice two feet thick and opened a pool of water. Then they cut steps in the ice from the bank to the pool.SMG 156.7

    We don’t know who the hardy minister was who stood in the icy water and baptized those twelve boys and girls. As they came out of the water, they were wrapped in robes and blankets and hurried up the hill to the house. The other six were baptized in the spring.SMG 158.1

    In later years three of these young people became conference presidents, three became ministers and foreign missionaries, and three of the young women became Bible workers. For fifty years Eugene Farnsworth, one of the eighteen, proclaimed the message in the great cities of America and in Australia. He had the joy of seeing hundreds converted.SMG 158.2

    His younger sister Loretta was, to our best knowledge, the first woman Bible worker in the denomination. During her long life she brought hundreds of people to the Saviour. She studied the Bible with families, wrote to her young friends, and visited patients in the sanitariums. In later years her husband, A. T. Robinson, was chaplain at Melrose Sanitarium, where she spent much time with the patients. They poured out their troubles to her sympathetic ear, and she prayed with them and read precious promises from God’s Word.SMG 158.3

    Many of the children and grandchildren of that missionary band who stood on Christmas Day and testified that they intended to be Christians are also workers today, either in the homeland or overseas.SMG 158.4

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