Welcome back MOL Family (and all those who have recently joined us) – as we continue in our Advent Movement Survey! For those who may need to start from the beginning, to get a complete summary of our historic progress, please click here! Maranatha!
–In Southern California–
God was preparing for the reestablishment of His medical missionary training program on a broader, better-based program. I would like to look at some very interesting statements, brought out from Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7. You will want to know that Volume 7 was published in 1902. Had our people heard of Loma Linda in 1902? No. Of Glendale? No. Battle Creek was still the great medical missionary headquarters of our people in 1902. The Battle Creek Sanitarium had burned in the early part of 1902. It was then being rebuilt. But in that very year, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7 came out.
Notice that this is addressed to Southern California. Sister White speaks about the need for establishing sanitariums in Southern California, not for hotels or for those who simply want to come for entertainment, but those who will accept our health principles, and also receive spiritual help.
We are to do all in our power for the healing of the body; but we are to make the healing of the soul of far greater importance. Medical missionary work in Southern California is not to be carried forward by the establishment of one mammoth institution. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7, pg. 96
You might be interested to know that the Battle Creek Sanitarium, as reestablished after the fire, took care of 700–800 patients. Sister White said that was 10 times too big.
Our sanitariums are to be established for one object, the advancement of present truth. – Ibid, pg. 97
Several small sanitariums are to be established in Southern California…. – Ibid, pg. 98
Remember, this was in 1902.
For months I carried on my soul the burden of the medical missionary work in Southern California. Recently much light has been given me in regard to the manner in which God desires us to conduct sanitarium work. We are to encourage patients to spend much of their time out of doors. I have been instructed to tell our brethren to keep on the lookout for cheap, desirable properties in healthful places, suitable for sanitarium purposes. – Ibid
Why was it that Elder Burden and others looked around Southern California for such places? Because the message came that told them to. This was written and printed before that started. It is interesting to find the place where it’s written. Then notice the prediction:
Soon the reputation of the health resorts in Southern California will stand even higher than it stands at present. Now is our time to enter that field for the purpose of carrying forward medical missionary work. – Ibid
She said that, instead of investing in one medical institution all the means obtainable, we ought to establish smaller sanitariums in many places. Notice how that same counsel was spread to our people in other places:
It is not the Lord’s will for His people to erect mammoth sanitariums anywhere…. Cautions have been given me in reference to the work of training nurses and medical missionary evangelists. We are not to centralize this work in any one place. In every sanitarium established, young men and young women should be trained to be medical missionaries. – Ibid, pg. 100
With Battle Creek at the zenith of its power and glory, the eye of God looking ahead saw that, within a few years, it would be completely out of the picture as far as training Seventh-day Adventist medical missionaries. God was preparing His people for a broader view of training medical missionaries in all parts of the world. Not in one mammoth institution like Battle Creek, but in small sanitariums in many parts of the world… That was the picture.
“My people are to do a sharp, quick work.” – Ibid, pg. 101
Notice the clear predictions that were fulfilled just a few months later:
The Lord will work upon human minds in unexpected quarters. Some who apparently are enemies of the truth will, in God’s providence, invest their means to develop properties and erect buildings. In time these properties will be offered for sale at a price far below their cost. Our people will recognize the hand of Providence in these offers and will secure valuable property for use in educational work. – Ibid, pg. 102
Within three years from the time that was printed and put before the public, our three sanitariums in Southern California – Paradise Valley, Glendale, and Loma Linda – had been bought at far less than the original cost of buying the property and putting up the buildings. As far as I know, none of them were known about at the time that this was published. Oh, how wonderful are all these predictions from the Lord’s messenger.
Our people should be looking for opportunities to purchase properties away from the cities, on which are buildings already erected and orchards already in bearing. – Ibid
Notice how specific the counsel was. They were to look for property where buildings were already erected and orchards already in bearing. Both of those things were found in those institutions in Southern California, unknown at the time that this was printed, and all within a very short time after these words were sent out.
Soon after this was written, the Paradise Valley property near San Diego was located. Someone had built up this place in a suburb of San Diego. There had been a long drought, and the property was not being used. There was not any water. The nice building with all the olive trees around it, and the grounds, a number of acres, was purchased for just $4,000.
It’s interesting how it was done. Sister White could not get our brethren to move in the providence of God. Finally, she talked to a friend of hers and asked that the two of them take hold of this. She borrowed $2,000 at the bank, and her friend gave $2,000.
Together they paid the $4,000 to get Paradise Valley. If they had waited a little longer, they would have missed it, for a letter was already on the way to the owners of the property offering a little more than that. The letter would have reached them, but the lower offer was made by telegram, and it was accepted; so it came into possession. For six years, Paradise Valley was run as a self-supporting institution. You can read about it in Robinson’s Story of Our Health Message.
–Loma Linda, the “Hill Beautiful”–
After Paradise Valley got started, Sister White urged the brethren in the Los Angeles area that there must be something started up there. The property at Glendale was found. Again, they didn’t see how they could take on a problem of that kind. Private parties, by faith, had to take hold of it, pay down some money, and get it. Then it was taken over and operated as a conference institution.
With these two sanitariums going, the brethren in Southern California thought that they had a good deal to think of and help develop; but Sister White couldn’t rest. She kept writing from St. Helena, “Look some more.” She said to look out around Redlands and Riverside, about 65 miles east of Los Angeles. She said they must do something in that area. She had seen some of these properties in vision. And the place she was particularly interested in seeing established, the description was not fully answered at Paradise Valley or Glendale. So, she urged that inquires be made in the Riverside/Redlands area.
Finally, when it seemed they had nothing to report, she said that the property was between Redlands and Riverside, closer to Redlands, and they could find it if they wanted to. When they received that message, their minds reverted to a hill five miles from Redlands and eight miles from Riverside which was called Loma Linda. They had seen this place, but it seemed so far out of reach of their means that they had not pursued it.
For on inquiry, they had found that it was for sale for $110,000. That amount then meant several times more than it means today. You can imagine purchasing Paradise Valley Sanitarium for $4,000, but Loma Linda was so much more. But, of course, it was a larger place. It had orange groves around it. It had a dairy and farmland. It was, as its name says – “Loma Linda” which means “hill beautiful.” But $110,000?
It had been operated by various groups, and they were not making much of a success of it. Within a few months, the price came down until by May of 1905 when it was offered to our people for $40,000. But that’s a lot of money when you don’t have any, and when you are in debt for two other sanitariums, and trying to staff them and get them going. Good common sense doubtless said, We can’t do it. We mustn’t do it.
On the way to the General Conference, Sister White went through Los Angeles. There she talked a little with Elder Burden about the property at Loma Linda and requested that further information be secured and forwarded to her at Washington. The General Conference was held in Washington D.C. in May, 1905.
Elder Burden made further inquiries and sent her the information. Sister White did what she very seldom did. These are her words: “I will consult no one.” The reason she didn’t consult anyone was because she knew from inspiration what God wanted done. She also knew that the faith of men, the sight of men, could not reach at that time what God wanted done.
She called her son to her room and said, “Willy, will you do what I tell you?” He said, “I usually do, mother.” She said, “I want you, without consulting with anyone, to send a telegram to buy Loma Linda.” He said, “Mother, that’s not the way we usually do, is it?” She said, “Will you do what I tell you?”
So the telegram was sent. It’s an interesting story as it has been told by various participants and onlookers. As that message to buy Loma Linda came over the wires, within a few days messages were coming from others: “Be careful,” “Go slow,” “Better wait.” Yet Elder Burden was under the pressure of knowing that if he waited much longer he might not get the property – that somebody else might buy it. Sister White had plainly said that unless we went ahead in that area, some others might.
As it finally worked out, it was proved that if Elder Burden had not gone ahead in faith at the time he did, others would have secured the property. When he got that message, and was perplexed, all he could do was seek the Lord. He had the clear message from the Lord’s messenger to go ahead, so he went to look for money.
According to the terms, he had to give $1,000 of option money, then the rest of the first $5,000 within a short time, then $5,000 more in a little while, and so on. Then it was to be cleared up in a little over a year. Elder Burden talked to Elder R.S. Owen who was a Bible teacher in Fernando near Los Angeles. Elder Owen later became a Bible teacher at Loma Linda. Elder Owen encouraged him in it. He was a man of faith and prayer like Elder Burden. Elder Owen told him about a man living out in the country who might have a little money. So, Elder Burden went to see him.
He went out on the electric car, and he had to walk to a cabin where the man lived. There was no one at the cabin. He knocked but could not arouse anyone. So, he walked back to wait for the electric train. Somehow, as the train came, he failed to signal it in time. The train went past and left him standing there with the evening shadows coming on. An impression came to him to go back to the cabin. He went back and saw a light in the window. The man had come back. He knocked and went in. He told the man the story of Loma Linda, the “hill beautiful” that was offered for $40,000, and what Sister White had said.
The man said, “Praise the Lord. I have had some property, and I have put it on the altar. I sold it just the other day, and I have $2,400 lying in the bank, and the devil has been tempting me to put it into some property.” Without any hesitancy, the man turned that money over. It encouraged Brother Burden greatly, and in various other ways the first $5,000 came together.
You will be interested to know how the second $5,000 came. We read here that God was going to work in unexpected ways. He did. Between the first payment of $5,000 and the second payment, our brethren had been there and visited Loma Linda.
The conference was entering into the arrangements. On the morning that the second $5,000 was due, the Southern California Conference Committee was in session, and they were discussing what to do with Loma Linda.
There was no money in sight to pay that second payment, and it was due that day. There was a spirit of gloom in many hearts. In fact, on the part of some, there was a spirit of criticism against those who had gone ahead and saddled themselves or somebody with the obligation. Some openly advocated that it would be better to lose the $5,000 they had already put in and be free of further involvement than to go ahead with those thousands yet to be paid and to be used further in developing the place.
Time went by, but there were a few men of faith there who said, “Brethren, God has told us that if we will go ahead in faith, He will do some things.” Presently, the postman was heard coming in. As the mail was looked over, an envelope was found from New Jersey. In it was a check for $5,000. A sister in New Jersey had sent $5,000, the very amount needed, and it arrived in the mail the very day the payment had to be made.
With that, a hush came over the group. Tears began to flow. One man who had opposed it most definitely said, “It seems that the Lord is in this.” How had that woman in New Jersey sent that $5,000? And why had she done it? Sister White had been doing just what she said she would do. When she told Elder Burden to go ahead, she said, “We’ll stand back of you.” She had been writing some letters. One of them was to this woman in New Jersey, inviting her to have a part in this.
So it came to pass that, as her soul responded to the prompting of the Spirit, her gift came at just the right time and the right place to carry out the purpose of God. Elder Burden said that when he went to the bank to pay that $5,000, a little voice seemed to speak to him, “Well you got it, but you almost missed it, didn’t you? What are you going to do about the next?” Down in his heart came the answer of faith, “The money will come from unexpected sources.” I have heard Elder Burden say, “When you are looking for money from unexpected sources, you hardly know in what direction to look.”
So they had some most interesting experiences. Over the next few months, through a series of providences, the money came in. You can read about it in the book, The Story of Our Health Message by Elder Robinson, the last few chapters. Some of the money was loans, others in gifts, but payments were made to the people they were dealing with, and Loma Linda came into our possession…
We’ll see you and your invited guest next week, to conclude Survey 18 on Medical Missionary Evangelism and the developments at Loma Linda.
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.