Thursday and Friday, February 15 and 16. Cleaned and stained two ceilings for Brother Thomas Foulkes.
Saturday the 17th took the 9:00 a.m. train to Styps and then walked to Papanui where I found Charlie well. Sister Mortensen had a little daughter a few days previous. The Saints were all glad to see me except Brother Boysen, and he was as _____ usual. I did not see Sister Boysen as she was out nursing.
Charley went to Rangiora and the Ashley on the 4 o'clock p.m. train. I walked down to Christchurch. I bought a Christmas number of the illustrated London News with Suppliment to take home, also a pair of pillows to take to __________ (?). Also arranged to get my picture (Maori Girl) framed. It will cost 12/6 Gilt.
Sunday, February 18th. There seemed to be a kind of bad influence over at Brother Boysen's. I felt like holding meetings at Brother Mortensen's house, and also on account of Sister Mortensen not being able to be up. Brother Nordstrand and I went over to have a chat with the Boysens. He acted very unsociable and we did not stay long.
We had a good meeting. Old Brother and Sister Foulkes and James Burnett came over from Kaiapai, Brother and Sister Walker and Sister Preble. John and Agnes Walker and Fannie came over from Prebleton. We had a good time, all felt well with one exception (Boysen).
I felt all the time like some terrible calamity is about to overtake the inhabitants of these colonies and I would like to see the Saints gather up as soon as possible.
After meeting I accompanied the Walkers home. Spent an agreeable evening. Next morning Sister Walker and Agnes drove me to Christchurch where I found Brother Foulkes waiting for me on the square according to previous arrangements. I went to a store with him to buy paints, oils, and varnishes, etc., for his house.
Sunday, 25th 1877. Worked nearly all the week at Brother Foulkes. Painted or rather varnished and papered two rooms.
On Friday, February 23rd I accompanied Charley to Christchurch. He kindly loaned me money to buy a suit of colonial cloth for everyday wear (it cost £3-4/6) when not at work, for all my clothes were too shabby except my black suit which is only suitable for Sundays.
I should have stated we held meeting. We held meeting Thursday evening at Brother George Brant's house. Brother J. Burnett took charge of the meeting. He occupied a short time stating he felt well and bore his testimony and said he would like all present to speak their feelings. He then called on President C. C. Hurst, who spoke in a spirited manner telling the Saints they were sleepy and needed to be woke up and be more alive to their duties. Exhorted Brother Burnett to be more punctual in holding meetings and have some system of order. If they would do this they would enjoy more of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Also told the Saints President McLochlan had counseled them to pay tithing but they had neglected to do so. He also very earnestly exhorted the Saints to gather up as soon as they had the means, counseled them to be faithful and obey all of the Commandments of the Lord.
I am sorry to say Brother James Burnett arose and manifest a wicked and rebellious spirit and replied to Charley and flatly contradicted some of his statements, said they had enjoyed the gift of healing, etc. Being called on I arose and spoke earnestly on the necessity of gathering up to Zion, exhorted the Saints to resist the evils with which they are surrounded daily and hourly, and to prove pure and holy and not forget their prayers.
Brother Burnett said in reply that when the Lord told him to gather up he would do so. Says he, "I have money sufficient to gather up now but feel like I have a call here in this land to preach the Gospel to this people."
I told him the Lord had been telling them for some time past to gather up.
He said he could not see it, but if the Lord would make it manifest some other way he would sell out directly.
I promised him he certainly would see the time, but if he was not careful he would be like the people who were shut out of the Ark. Charley also told him now was the time.
Sometimes I wonder if he (Brother Burnett) has committed some great sin for it is unaccountable to me to see a man manifest the spirit that he does. He seems to have no idea of humility and obedience.
Next morning he had a long chat with Charley down in the garden and said he felt sorry for what he had said, and told Charley that he wanted him to write down all he wanted him to do and he would do it, but Charley told him there was more written down now than he could carry out.
February 25th. Held meeting at Kaiapai at 10:30 a.m. after which Brother Foulkes offered to take us in his trap to Rangiora. We were calculating to walk. Brother James and John Burnett and myself had a pleasant ride. Called at Brother James Burnett Jr.'s at Southbrook and he went along with us. He informed us that his wife was confined last Wednesday and of the new arrival of a son.
We had a real good time in meeting for a good spirit of freedom prevailed. Very few strangers present. Brother James Burnett, Sr. and Jr. spoke well and felt well. I don't know when I felt better.
We were all invited out in the orchard to eat fruit. I arose to go with the Brothers and Sisters but felt impressed to stay and have a chat with old Mrs. Miles. She was glad of the chance, she being such a confirmed invalid. She is, and has been, entirely unable to get about for some time. 20 years she has been waiting for her husband to make up his mind to get baptized, but the old gentleman can't make up his mind. She told me she would not wait any longer and we had just got it arranged to baptize her in Kaiapai River, branch of Waiwaimakanui, when Brother James Burnett came in and said he would make a font at the back of his house and he invited all present to come to Kaiapai next Thursday and have a good day together as two others also wanted to be baptized. After eating a little refreshment we returned to Kaiapai, spent the rest of the evening singing.
Monday and Tuesday, February 26 and 27th. I was painting at Brother Foulkes.
Wednesday, February 28. Brother James and I dug a large square hole and fixed a very large case of drygoods box in and made it water tight by pounding clay all around the sides and ends.
Thursday, March 1st, 1877. I baptized Anne Stephens Miles, born Bradley, England, about 1811. Confirmed by C. C. Hurst. Also Mary Stephenson, February 20, 1869 in Dunedin, Otego, New Zealand, confirmed by C. C. Hurst. Also Jane Ann Burnett in Kaiapai, Canterbury, New Zealand, July 21, 1867, confirmed by F. W. Hurst.
Sister Norfolk and Stephenson, and Brother and Sister Foulkes also came and spent the day.
Sister Miles has been an invalid for 20 years, had lost the use of her legs, feet and hands with Rheumatism, also her sight, but felt better directly she came out of the water, and when they were going to leave said she could just as well walk to the station as ride. She appeared to have great faith.
We had a very pleasant day singing and conversing on the principles of the Gospel, and had a good meeting in the evening.
Friday. I painted all day at Brother Foulkes home.
Saturday, March 3rd. Brother Charles, James Burnett and I took the 8:00 a.m. train to Oxford. We passed Southbrook, through Rangiora, Fernside, Moraki, East Carlston, and finally reached Oxford about 11:00 a.m. Our road lay stretched across what is called the plains as far as the eye could reach to the left, but bounded by thickly timbered hills to the right. Oxford is very much scattered on the open plains East and West close to the thickly timbered hills, but the scenery is very poor. We put up at the Good Temples Hotel and hired the town hall.
The man in charge was very courteous and obliging, let us have it for 10/s. Fifteen was the regular price. We tried to get the Odd Fellows Hall, a little poking place. It was engaged for the afternoon and they wanted 10 for the use of it in the evening which we declined. We put up notices of two meetings respectively at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
After dinner we went up in the Bush to hunt ferns and mosses. The mosses were really beautiful but the variety of ferns very poor. On our way back we called to get a few peaches at a place near the Bush. Preached a little to the lady who appeared a little interested at first, but could not see how the people could receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands and left in disgust.
At night it rained heavily. Sunday it was bright and clear. Took a walk after breakfast. Called at a house on the hill close to the Bush to see a Danish man and family that Brother James Burnett had loaned a book to. We had a drink of milk but they did not ask us to sit down and felt glad to see us go.
Our afternoon meeting was not very largely attended. I spoke first for about 20 minutes, followed by Brother Burnett who got along very well until he began to talk about temples and other principles he did not understand. Charley made a few closing remarks after which Brother Burnett and I went to see a Mr. Gibbs and family he was acquainted with; but she was an out and out Irish woman, a regular spitfire, and just waded in on polygamy.
Gibbs was a Welshman. He was tolerably quiet, but his wife is a terror. She said she hoped we hadn't come there with the idea of converting her and her husband as it would be useless of us to try. As soon as I could get in a word edgewise I told her we were after the pure in heart. We did not want any other kind; that she was like hundreds of others in New Zealand that were not worthy of the Gospel and were not good enough to make Saints of. We were made welcome and stayed to tea with them but this woman's tongue went like a mill clapper all of the time. I bore a faithful testimony to them and then we had to hurry to be in time for meeting.
Charley was there and the people began to assemble and we had quite a large congregation of ladies as well as gentlemen. As a general thing in this country we have very few ladies come out to hear us. Charley delivered a powerful discourse on the subject, "Was the thief on the Cross Saved?" Some person threw a rock in and tried to disturb the meeting while some paid good attention, considering. I made a few closing remarks and then Charley invited anybody that felt so disposed to assist in defraying the expenses of the Hall were welcome to do so. Not a soul responded as usual.
Before retiring for the night we settled up our bill for board and lodging, 6p for beds, 19/6 for 13 meals. All together our expense came to £2-7/8. This is rather dear preaching.
Just as we were leaving by the 7:00 a.m. train to return to Kaiapai our landlady said they had made a mistake, they forgot to charge for supper Saturday night; but as we did not have any that was soon settled. Brother James had paid 6 pence too much but she lacked the politeness to give it back. This last meanness let us out of Oxford.
It was a lovely morning and we had a pleasant ride to Kaiapai. Charley stayed in Rangiora till afternoon. I was anxious to answer the last letters from home which I received last Thursday. One from Brother Curtis, my wife and all of the children. I thank the Lord that they are all well and are eagerly looking forward to the time when we shall return, though they hadn't then heard of our release.
Thursday, March 8th, 1877. I worked Tuesday and Wednesday at Brother Foulkes painting. Today I stayed to finish my letters. I have written to all the children, my wife, and Brother Curtis. Also to Brother Steed. Friday worked and finished at Brother Foulkes.
Saturday, March 10th. Charley came up on the morning train. I went to Christchurch on the 2:00 train. Paid out some money for Brother James Burnett. He paid my fare and gave me two shillings and paid me ten shillings which I handed to Charley on what I owed him for my suit of clothes.
Stayed at Papanui all night. Spent the evening very agreeably talking with the Saints who were all glad to see me.
Sunday, March 11th, Brother Walker, Isabella, Mary and Agnes and Brother Henry Foster came to meeting. We had a real good time together and I returned with them to Prebleton. All were delighted to see me and we had a good time singing, etc.
Monday, Sister Walker and I went to Christchurch in the trap to buy paint, varnish, oil to paint the trap next day. I first mount crossbar to the tail band and put new trimming, etc. I spent the whole day patching.
Wednesday, March 14, 1877. Painted the trap and wheels. In the afternoon went to Prebleton with Brother Walker and Sister Walker and Ellen and Harry Foster where we met Mary Walker Buckridge according to previous arrangements and baptized Mary and Harry Foster close by the back of Sister Prebles house in a very nice grove of trees. We all enjoy a good portion of the spirit of the Lord. I never felt better since I have been in New Zealand than I did confirming and blessing Mary Walker, also Harry Foster. We had a real good enjoyable time. I felt like saying to Sister Mary, "Thy faith hath saved thee, depart in peace." Both went down into the water as humble as little children. I cannot describe my feelings. In counseling together Charlie and I thought it would be better for Brother Walker to baptize Mary, but they expressed an earnest desire for me to do it.
We returned to Brother Walker's in the evening where I stayed painting trap and enjoying myself until 3 o'clock p.m. Saturday March 17th, 1877 when I walked to Christchurch. Got caught in the rain without either overcoat or umbrella. Took the cars to Kaiapai. Sister Walker had just finished lining my vest pockets. All were glad to see me. The weather was real cold and wintry and it rained very heavy all night.
The Saints in Rangiora sent word they were coming down to meeting at this place (Kaiapai) but owing to the bad weather they did not come although it did clear off toward noon. We held meeting in the afternoon. The Saints felt well and we had a good meeting. Brother Foulkes spoke his feelings for the first time, interesting.
On Monday I returned to Brother Walker's where I arrived about five in the evening, just as heavy rain set in. They were all delighted, especially the children, at my return here. I found Charlie, he is suffering from a bad cold.
Thursday, March 22nd. Sisters Bella and Mary came to spend the day. The day set in raining good and earnest again, but we enjoyed ourselves in the house. I read the Appendix, Vision and several other interesting pieces out of the Doctrine and Covenants out loud, and we had music and singing and the children dancing a few times. In the evening we had blind man's buff and several games new to me.
Friday, March 23rd. Ellen and I accompanied Sister Ball to Prebleton. We had a good visit. She gave me some very fine specimens of transparent shells, amber color and white. We went ostensibly to get a horse and colt that had strayed away. The day was truly lovely. We got back just before sundown.
Saturday, Charlie and I accompanied by Sister Walker and Agnes in the trap (which they all express looks as good as new now it is fixed up, painted and varnished) drove to Christchurch where we left them and we then walked to Papanui, and I took the cars to Kaiapai.
Sunday, just as we were getting ready to go to Rangiora, here comes a whole load of Saints so we held morning meetings here at Kaiapai and then after a hasty lunch they returned and took another trap load from here to Rangiora and we did have a good meeting. All present, with one exception, appeared hungry for the truth. I felt free and occupied most of the time followed by Brother James Burnett. All felt to rejoice. Old Sister Miles could scarcely contain herself and preached loud and long, and so great was the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, her own daughter accused her of drinking wine or strong drink when at the same time they knew she used neither but lead a very temperate life, more especially since she has been baptized.
I stayed to tea and spent the evening reading passages out of the Bible pertaining to gathering. Sister Norfolk also stayed in the evening till a late hour. Monday I walked to Ashley. Sister Norfolk accompanied me and stayed till evening, then she returned to Rangiora on the evening train. We spent a very agreeable evening studying the Bible, hunting up passages on the gathering in the last days till the clock struck 11:00.