February 2, 1858. I took the first steps toward building the third house. A lady in London, a complete stranger to me, ordered her bankers to send three hundred pounds for the support of the orphans. I was also informed that in two weeks eight hundred pounds will be paid to me for the work of the Lord.
The three hundred pounds was sent the next day, and the eight hundred pounds arrived two weeks later. As the work grows, the Lord keeps pace with the expenses, helping when help is really needed, often even giving beforehand.
During the year 1857-1858, twenty-four schools were supported or assisted out of the funds of the institution, nearly four thousand Bibles and portions of Scripture were distributed, and over three thousand five hundred pounds were expended for the aid of eighty-two missionaries. I was later told that the money often came when the missionaries did not have a shilling left.
More than one million tracts and books were also distributed. Letters received from the people who distributed them show that they were greatly used in awakening and converting souls.
During the past twenty-two years, the Spirit of God has been working among the orphans; and many of them have come to know the Lord. But we never had so great a work take place as during the past year.
On May 26, 1857, Caroline Bailey, one of the orphans, died. The death of this beloved girl, who had known the Lord for several months, was used by the Lord to answer our daily prayers for the conversion of the orphans. All at once, more than fifty of the girls began to ask questions about heaven, hell, and eternity.
Young people often get concerned about the things of God, but these impressions pass away before long. I have seen this myself, having dealt with many thousands of children and teenagers during the last thirty years. If this spiritual awakening _among the orphans had begun within the last few days, or even weeks, I would not have mentioned it. But more than a year has elapsed, and in addition to those ten who were previously believers, twenty-three more girls have accepted Jesus as their Savior. In addition to this, some of the other girls -in the new Orphan House No. 2 and some of the boys also are interested in the things of God. Our labors have already begun to be blessed to the hearts of some of the newly-admitted orphans.
February 17, 1858. As far as I am able to judge, I now have all the financial means I require for the third house also. I am able to accomplish the full enlargement of the orphan work to one thousand orphans.
October 29. In the last report I stated that I was looking for land for the third house. I waited daily on God, and He has exercised my faith and patience. More than once when I seemed to have obtained my desire, I again appeared further from It than ever: Being fully assured that the Lord's time had not yet come, I continued to pray and to exercise faith. I knew He would finally help.
Last month I obtained eleven and a half acres of land with a house which is close to the new Orphan Houses and only separated from them by the road. The price for house and land was more money than I wanted to spend on the site, but it was important that the third house be near the other two to facilitate the superintendence and direction. The longer I go on in this service, the more I find that prayer and faith can overcome every difficulty.
Now that I have the land, I want to make the best use of it and build for four hundred orphans, instead of for three hundred as I had previously planned. After several meetings with the architects, I learned that it was possible to accommodate, with comparatively little more expense, four hundred and fifty orphans. I finally decided on that number. This means that I will eventually have one thousand one hundred and fifty orphans under my care.
January 4, 1859. I received seven thousand pounds left entirely at my disposal for the work of God. When I decided to build for four hundred and fifty orphans, instead of three hundred, I needed several thousand pounds more. I was fully assured that God would give me the money because I made the decision in reliance on Him and for the honor of His name. The Lord has honored my faith in Him!
May 26. During the past year, we have not seen as great and sudden a work of the Spirit of God among the orphans as during the previous years. Yet, the blessing of the Lord has continued. Many are showing an interest in the things of God among the four hundred and twenty-four orphans who were admitted within the last eighteen months. They have asked to be allowed to take their Bibles with them to bed so that, if they awake in the morning before the bell is rung, they may be able to read.
When I began the orphan work, one of my goals was to benefit the Church by my written accounts of this service. I confidently anticipated that my answers to prayer would lead believers to look for answers to their own prayers and encourage them to bring all their needs before God. I also firmly believed that many unconverted persons would see that there is reality in the things of God.
As I expected, so it has been. The reports of this institution have been used by God to convert many people. In thousands of instances, believers have been benefited through them, being comforted, encouraged, led to simply believe the Word of God, and to trust in Him for everything.
December 9. Today it is twenty-four years since the orphan work began. What a marvelous miracle God has done! We now have 700 orphans under our care.
December 10. The following letter was received today from an apprentice Most Beloved Sir: With feelings of gratitude and great thankfulness to you for all the kindness I received while under your care, and for now apprenticing me to a suitable trade to earn my own living, I write you these few lines. I arrived at my destination safely and was kindly received by my employer. Dear sir, I thank you for the education, food, clothing, and for every comfort. But, above all, I thank you for the instruction from God's Word I received in that Orphan House. There I was brought to know Jesus as my Savior. I hope to have Him as my guide through all my difficulties, temptations, and trials in this world. With Him for my guide, I hope to prosper in my trade, and thereby show my gratitude to you for all the kindness I have received.
Please accept my gratitude and thanks. I hope you will have many, many more years to care for children like me. I am sure I will often look back with pleasure and regret to the time I was in that happy home-with pleasure that I lived there, and with regret that I left it. Please accept my grateful thanks and give my love to my teachers.
Day after day, and year after year, we pray for the spiritual benefit of the orphans under our care. These supplications have been abundantly answered by the conversion of hundreds of the orphans. We are encouraged to wait on God for even greater blessings.
March 1, 1860. A great work of the Spirit of God began in January and 'February among the six-to-nine year old girls. It extended to the older girls and then to the boys. Within ten days nearly 200 of the orphans found peace through faith in our Lord Jesus. They asked to be allowed to hold prayer meetings among themselves, and they have had these meetings ever since. Many of them expressed their concern about the salvation of their friends and relatives, and they spoke or wrote to them about how to be saved.
During no year have we had greater cause for thanksgiving on account of the spiritual blessing among the children than during the last-and we look for even further and greater blessings.