Denominational schools endeavor to perpetuate a religious atmosphere and build up the spiritual life of their students while they are receiving their training. The first announcement of the Oakwood Industrial School expressed the desire of the officers to establish and maintain a wholesome spiritual tone and it also provided for a students prayer band and a students missionary society?
At the time of Mrs. Whites visit in 1904 she showed a very sincere interest in the students end assured them that Christ was able to transform their lives: "Students, God will help you, but you must not think you can retain the unchristlike traits of character you naturally possess. You must place yourselves in the school of Christ."[Ref 1]
After Mrs. White returned to her home in California she remembered the Oakwood students in an inspirational letter:
"Elmshaven," Sanitarium, California
TO THE STUDENTS IN THE HUNTSVILLE SCHOOL
Dear Young Friends:
Are you daily preparing for graduation into the higher school? Are you daily becoming better fitted for entrance into the heavenly courts? Are you making the most of your privileges, seeking earnestly to overcome all evil habits? At the great examination day, one wrong habit unconquered, will keep you from receiving the overcomers reward. Do not let sin obtain the victory over you. Strive to enter in at the strait gate. "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat." "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
There is a special and important work for you to accomplish. Clear directions are given in the word of God regarding the part that you are to act. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory... Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him."
Be kind in all you do and say. If any one speaks harsh, irritating words to you, do not retaliate. Speak gently, and thus help those around you to bear the cross after Jesus. In every perplexity ask God for advice and counsel, and it shall be given. When your mind is troubled, go to the Lord Jesus, and ask Him to give you His grace. Cast all your care upon Him who cares for you. "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Ask yourselves, "Why am I obtaining an education? Is it not that I may be better fitted to work for the Lord? I must make the very best use of my school days, honoring God by developing a character like the character of Christ. Then when I return to my home, I can be a help and a blessing to those around me.
Watch and pray, and keep the heart always in a condition to discern and receive all the good that God has for you. Ask Him for the wisdom that will enable you to turn from the evil that you may see and hear. Learn from Christ how to keep your souls in harmony with His. When the peace of God fills the heart, thank God, praise His holy name, and keep yourselves. where you can receive still more of the Holy Spirit. Thus you will make friends with God, and He will make of you true Christians.
The peace of God is worth everything to you. It is your privilege to be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. While a student here under human teachers, remember that you are also a student under the great Teacher, who gave His life for you, that you might learn of Him to be meek and lowly. He desires you to realize that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. In time of need, the true Christian will realize the keeping power of God. He who asks help from God will receive it. The student who is learning to serve God acceptably will be a blessing to those with whom he associates.
God will guide all who desire to be guided. In the time of temptation He will hide them in His pavillion. Do your best. Be faithful in word and act. Give evidence that the efforts made in your behalf are not in vain. Then God will greatly bless you. and will help you to make a success of your work. Give yourselves, heart, mind, and soul to the work of obtaining a fitness for God's service. Co-operate with your teachers. Respond to their efforts in your behalf. Give them evidence that their efforts in your behalf are not in vain. Thus you will disappoint the enemy, and cause rejoicing among the angels of God.
Pray and believe, and the Lord will be to you a present help in every time of need. Trust in the Saviour. Ask Him for what you need, believing that He will hear and answer you, that He will receive and bless you, because you confess and forsake your sins.
We are praying for you in Huntsville--praying that the Spirit of God may come upon you, to encourage you, to make you apt students, that you may know and do the Will of God and magnify the truth. Angels have charge over you, and they are ever ready to help you, to give you light and faith and courage. Submit yourselves wholly to Gods guidance, and you will be established in the truth. and will gain a fitness to teach those who know not the truth.
Yours in the blessed hope of Christs coming,
Ellen G. White [Ref 2]
1. (Information on file in the Treasurers office, Oakwood Junior