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A group of missionaries on the deck of the S. S. "Empress of China," about to sail for the Orient.
Recent Developments Outside of
IN giving the reader some idea of the recent progress in countries outside of North America, we shall not attempt a complete recital of what has been done. To write the annals of the last ten years would require a book all by itself; for the work has grown rapidly, and the number of those who have acted a leading part is very considerable. We shall simply record a few representative facts and incidents, and shall give these largely in the words of those who are on the ground doing the work. The following pages are accordingly based largely on reports made by delegates at the Council held in Des Moines, Iowa, in the autumn of 1924. We have also drawn freely from the recent jubilee number of the Review and Herald, which came out about the same time. The reader will kindly note that these pages are intended to be illuminating and suggestive rather than complete.
Europe Since the War
The territory included in the European Division is Europe and those portions of Asia and Africa not included in other divi
sions. Since the World War, conditions in some countries have been almost as hard as while the great conflict was going on. The financial situation has perhaps been the most difficult to deal with. But the message is going with power. When a preacher hires a large hall in any of the great centers, it is sure to be filled.
Our books are being widely circulated, though many of the colporteurs spend a portion of their time in prison. Yet they go right on with their work, just as the apostles used to do. The gospel is everything to these people.
The year 1924 marked the fiftieth anniversary of our work in Europe. Ten union conferences had their annual meetings during the year. At one of these there were present more than 5,000 Adventists on the Sabbath; at another, 2,000. Hearts and doors are open everywhere. In the summer of 1924 our brethren in Russia held a conference at Moscow, attended by eighty-five delegates from all parts of Russia and Siberia. The government turned over to them one of the largest halls in Moscow, and advertised the meetings. We now hold open-air meetings in Russia, and baptize our converts in a stream on Sunday, with a crowd to witness the ceremony.
From very small beginnings in Europe in educational, sanitarium, and publishing institutions, we now (1925) have eighteen schools, with an aggregate attendance of 1,050 students; and four sanitariums, with a capacity for 700 patients. We are printing the truth in twenty different places, and in seventy-five languages. More than 1,200 colporteurs are busy the year round selling our publications, among which are included thirty-one periodicals.
Our mission funds everywhere show similar growth. For example, in 1888 our brethren in England contributed $700 to the work. In 1923 they contributed more than $140,000. The early efforts of Elder Matteson in Scandinavia cost less than $500 a year; last year (1924) the Scandinavian Union raised in tithes and offerings more than $185,000 for work in their own borders and in foreign fields. In Germany the work began later, hardly before 1886; but there it won its greatest triumphs, so that while their currency remained stable, our German conferences did their full share in supporting the general cause. In 1914 we had 14,234 believers in the three German unions; ten years later the membership was 32,011. In Russia the membership doubled from 1914 to 1924. In the Catholic countries of the large Latin Union, with its population of 140,000,000, the work is making a good growth, and is largely self-supporting.
The European Division also has large mission interests. In 1901, shortly after our first missionaries from America started for the Orient, Europe sent missionaries into Africa, and later into Asia. Today we have missionaries, schools, and churches. in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and the Gold Coast, Algeria, Tunis, Morocco, Egypt, Abyssinia, the British possessions of East Africa, in Mesopotamia, Persia, the Holy Land, and Asia Minor. Our people in Europe feel that they should carry the message not merely to the countries of Europe, but also to the large sections of the mission field which have been assigned to the European Division. Since the World War the European conferences have sent out more than sixty missionaries to foreign fields.
The Far Eastern Division
The territory of the Far Eastern Division of the General Conference includes the countries of Japan, China with her dependencies, eastern Siberia (extending to Lake Baikal), Siam, the Federated Malay States, Indo-China, the Dutch East Indies, Borneo, and the Philippine Islands. The combined population is 640,000,000.
The field is divided into eleven union missions, which are subdivided into forty-four missions and two organized local conferences. Each union mission is administered by an executive committee, the chairman of which is called the superintendent; while each local mission is presided over by a local committee. with its chairman, who is called the director.
There are in the employ of the Far Eastern Division, 282 foreign workers and 486 native workers. Should we include the native teachers in our schools, the employees in the printing houses and sanitariums, and the colporteurs, the working force would number 982 natives. This would make, including natives and foreign workers, a total working force of 1,278.
We have, in the countries named, five advanced training schools, which are prepared to give fourteen grades of work. In addition to these, there are twelve intermediate schools that carry work to the ninth or tenth grade, and 131 church schools.
There are five printing plants,- one each in Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines, and Malaysia. In 1923 we sold more than $170,000 worth of literature, printed in twenty-eight languages. We are publishing twelve periodicals, five of which are missionary magazines, with an aggregate monthly circulation of 100,000.
The condition of the masses almost everywhere is pitiful, and yet it has been difficult to secure help to promote medical
missionary work. We have a little dispensary in Korea, where our workers can minister to the people and give treatments to the sick. The number who can be helped is limited, however, by meager facilities and few workers. In Honan, China, there is a hospital dispensary that was built up by the faithful work of Dr. D. E. Davenport and his co-laborers. In Shanghai we have tried to conduct a little sanitarium, but are greatly hampered in carrying on our work by lack of funds. We have a little dispensary hospital in Nanning, Kwangsi. Canton, the Philippines, and other parts of the field are pleading for a physician and a small hospital where medical help can be given the people.
Evangelistic efforts are meeting with a fair degree of success. In 1918 the number of believers was 4,500; in 1924 it was more than 13,000. The membership of the Sabbath schools is more than 18,000, and many who have not joined the church are keeping the Sabbath, and are following on to know the Lord.
In many places the message enters by means of unforeseen agencies. The work began in Borneo through the visit to that island of a Chinese brother who volunteered to go there. He raised up a church, and then asked that a minister be sent to baptize the believers.
In the same way a Chinese convert opened the work in Siam, and prepared thirty-two converts there for baptism. One of the workers, a native of Celebes, was taken ill. He said he would like to go home to his father and mother and see if he could regain his health. He did so, and while he was recuperating, he talked the truth. Soon a letter came, stating that twenty-five had begun to keep the Sabbath. Many similar instances might be given. The whole East is ripe for the harvest. If men could be provided to follow up the openings, there is no limit to what could be accomplished.
The Australasian Union
The territory of the Australasian Union includes Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, and practically all our denominational missions among the South Sea Islands.
The membership in 1924 was about 9,000, including a fair number of native believers in the various island groups. The island work is extending. A new field of labor A new field of labor the Loyalty group, near New Caledonia was entered in 1924.
More than a million dollars' worth of books were sold in the eight years from 1914 to 1921. In 1922 alone publications to the value of $222,000 were placed in the homes of the people.