Quite a number of the classes consider it wise to provide a supper at the home where the afternoon and evening meetings are held on the occasion of a Pilgrim visit. They are frequently unwilling to have this a light luncheon, but rather an elaborate meal. Various Sisters proffer their assistance to the one at whose home the meeting is held, but they fail to realize that even with their help she has many times as much to do as they have in getting house and dishes ready beforehand, and in cleaning things up later.
This week I have been in two different towns where almost identical conditions exist along this very line. One of these sisters, a noble, self-sacrificing character, told me that she was so nearly in a state of collapse after the strain of such an occasion that it had become a severe trial to hear another Pilgrim was coming. But she is afraid to tell the class lest they misunderstand and think her selfish.
I find that sometimes the older and more practical sisters see the unwisdom of this, but the younger ones who have less home cares, and better health, will insist on a more elaborate program, though in the end the major portion of the work does not fall on them. Often it seems prompted by a pride that wants to surpass the hospitality of another class.
However, there are some sisters who have the matter of a luncheon down to the point of ideality, and if the friends knew that such methods gave us the greatest satisfaction they might adopt the same. Let me tell the method of a certain class where almost all week-day meetings are held at one home on the occasion of a Pilgrim visit since it is the only house large enough.
Probably 25 or 30 will sometimes stay over from one meeting to the next. They do not go to the table, but are asked to take seats around the room, leaving the middle of the room open for passage. Then there is passed to each one a picnic plate on which are two sandwiches (probably one is meat and one cheese), a pickle, a piece of cake and a banana (or some other fruit). Then tea or coffee or water is passed to each. On each plate is also a paper napkin.
There is no dish-washing, except of cups and saucers and [R5915 : page 190] spoons. Even tin cups will simplify this. When all are served, everybody is free to enjoy the discussion of Scripture questions, etc. As each one is through he puts his cup on a convenient table, from which sisters finally remove them in a few moments.
In this way the friends have clearer minds for the evening discourse and are in a better state to take in the more spiritual food. If any feel a cooked supper is necessary they can go to a nearby restaurant.
At the class I have in mind the Sister usually speaks to the Pilgrim brother earlier in the day somewhat like this: "Now, Brother, we know you must have little luncheons so often that something more substantial may be needed, so if you tell us what you want, we will see you have it." However, it suits me far better than a heavy supper, while there are other places where a memory of the elaborate variety of heavy food I am supposed and urged to eat, puts a little measure of fear into me when it is apparent I must endure it over again. If I had partaken of one-tenth of all the cake and rich things offered me during the last fifteen years, I would have finished my pilgrimage long ago.
These sisters at the place mentioned estimate the number to be provided for, and then divide it up amongst themselves. One brings 12 or 15 sandwiches, another the same, another a [R5915 : page 191] dozen bananas, etc., and thus the expense as well as the labor entailed is made very light.
Many of the sisters making extensive preparations for entertaining have the best of motives; they thus desire to show their appreciation of the presence of the friends, the Lord's children; but there is a lack of wisdom in it.
Another thing: When a home meeting is held the friends as they arrive are shown to a room where they can leave their coats. If they get there early enough this is all right, but it sometimes happens that even those coming in late are thus treated. Escorting them to where the wraps can be left, not only keeps the hostess out of meetings, but also preserves confusion among those near the stairway or hall; at least it distracts the attention of some. How much better if all such moved promptly to the nearest vacant chair, keeping their coats with them as they would in a more public place!
I also desire to mention the fact that the classes are not so particular to supply free literature to visiting strangers as they once were. I have been to public services, even, when not a single tract was on hand. It made me think of "Billy" Sunday's comments on "the deacon who didn't deak." That surely is one of the things to which the deacons of the various classes should see.
It isn't my intention to complain of the classes, for they are really in a glorious state, but there are some places where the foregoing suggestions might make them still more of a blessing to one another. With warmest Christian love,
Have thought many times of writing you since that most helpful article on Love appeared in THE WATCH TOWER, and especially since you suggested that we write you stating the progress and growth we have made in the development of this all-important fruit of the Spirit. And now as my cup of joy and blessing is simply overflowing in gratitude to our dear Heavenly Father, and to you, His faithful servant, for your loving ministry, I write you of my experiences.
Desiring more and more to become Christlike, I had been striving to develop more love. It became the burden of my prayer. Then in the providences of God the article on Love appeared in THE TOWER. It was just what I needed!and how it helped me! By God's grace I have noted growth in love as I daily seek to walk in the Master's steps. It has helped me to be more kind, more patient, more sympathetic, and to daily examine myself by this standard. Truly, the articles in THE WATCH TOWER become more and more to me "meat in due season," and I rejoice to see how wonderfully the Lord is providing all things needful for them who love Him supremely. (Philippians 4:19.) The Lord is indeed blessing us during this period of waiting, that the Bride may make herself ready.
Would like to relate to you several experiences in the Volunteer work, which were a source of joy and help to me, and we believe of interest to you. The other day, in serving a nearby town with tracts, we learned in conversation with a merchant's son how much he and his father enjoyed the tracts. He said, "Father has been treasurer and a member of council of the Lutheran Church for many years, and they have recently reelected him, but he will not serve any more; he is thoroughly disgusted with it all, because there are so many hypocrites in the Church. We don't want anything to do with it." A lady, hearing the conversation, said, "I haven't been in Church for two years." We sought, by the Lord's help, to lend a helping hand. They received the literature with gladness and would surely read it.
The next day, going to another town, we met a gentleman on the train (a tract serving as an introduction), and he spoke freely concerning conditions in his (another Lutheran) Church. He told me, "You would be surprised to know how many read these tracts. Why some of our members (mentioning names of business men) won't come to Church any more. When approached about it they say, 'What is the use, I get Pastor Russell's sermons at my house every Sunday morning, and there I get just what I want, and I would not get that if I went to Church.'"
No doubt the Truth is reaching more people than we might realize. (Ecclesiastes 11:6.) However this may be, these experiences awakened in me a deeper concern and appreciation as to our privileges and opportunities, and a greater diligence in the service of our Lord and Master.
Again asking you to pardon me for the length of this letter, and thanking you for your loving service, which is proving invaluable to me, and praying that our loving Heavenly Father continue to bless and to keep you strong in the Lord and faithful unto death, I remain
I have received the PHOTO-DRAMA booklet, and wish I could eat it and know it by heart. Forward to my new address THE TOWER (French), the BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY and Brother Russell's sermon. I am not very old, enjoying spiritual life only during the past five months. I never would have believed that such love could be found among God's children. I have known the Bible for ten years, and that it was God's Word, yet I was without knowledge, since darkness surrounded me. Is it possible that I could ascribe to the loving God the cruelty to torture everlastingly His creatures? Oh, how much I now bless the Father for having made known to me His love!
This second message to you is to show my love and to tell of the change in my character since receiving THE WATCH TOWER (French). You have addressed to us an invitation which has greatly helped me, and since that time I pray every morning and evening, and run to the Throne of Grace to confess my failures and my progress. Dear brother, I can tell you I have received great blessings, and I ask your prayers to the end that perfect lovenot the love of the world, but that for life eternalmay abide in me.
I thank the Lord with all my heart for granting me to know your excellent books and also the dear WATCH TOWER (French), which I value as a pearl. The Lord in His mercy has sent us His messengers with the torch of the true Gospel. Therefore, as Paul said to Timothy, "Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called." Forgive my intrusion, but I wished to tell you how much your labor and devotion are precious to my soul. M.R.Switzerland.
It is ever with keen pleasure and deep gratitude to our God that I receive THE WATCH TOWER (French), that messenger of good news which is as refreshing water. (Prov. 25:25.) THE TOWER truly sums up our experiences, joys and hopes. As our face sees itself in a mirror, likewise the printed lines of THE TOWER reflect the truths we perceive in the Holy Word. Therefore, I more and more thank the Lord that I am among those having reached the 1335 days. I rejoice while listening attentively to the teaching of the faithful and wise servant.Rev. 1:3.
I hasten to give you my most sincere thanks for so graciously sending your journal, THE WATCH TOWER (French), to my son, Oscar, who is a war prisoner in Germany. I take [R5916 : page 191] the liberty, sir, to present you my warmest felicitations for the work you have undertaken, which consists in giving to our associates spiritual meat in harmony with their faith and belief. I would gladly reimburse the expenses you have made for these services rendered to my son, who is very well pleased with THE WATCH TOWER and MILLENNIAL DAWN. Our correspondence with Switzerland not being allowed, I send this to my aforesaid son in Germany, who will transmit it to you.